‘Build me straight’ 1963 Scottish documentary about the building of a fishing boat

[This has been pulled from YouTube but is still available from the Scottish Film Archive. My thanks to Iain McAllister of the Peggy Bawn Press for letting me know.]

Thanks to Hans Christian Rieck for pointing this one out.

The poem, by the way (isn’t the Internet wonderful!), the title comes from a poem by the American poet Longfellow, which turns up on the Poetry Foundation website among other places.

Poetry can be a complicated thing, and at a big distance in time its meaning can be lost if no-one explainsd it. So here’s a short quotation from the Poetry Foundation’s piece about Longfellow:

‘The Building of the Ship combines a tribute to the master builder who designed the ship with a love story linking the master’s daughter to the ‘fiery youth’ employed in its construction while making clear that the Union stood allegorically for the United States on the eve of secession. Fanny Kemble performed this poem in dramatic readings, bringing herself and audiences to tears in the memorable emotional crescendo of the last stanza with its invocation to an imperiled country that is nonetheless the best hope for the world: ‘Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State! / Sail on, O UNION, strong and great!’ President Abraham Lincoln, hearing these lines recited in the midst of the Civil War, is reported to have wept before remarking, ‘It is a wonderful gift to be able to stir men like that.’

Nowadays, of course, we tend to titter at ‘ship of state’ analogies and patriotic idealism, and instead of high hopes for the future, instead worry that our political leaders may be influenced a little too much by the rich and powerful. Such different times…

I also note that Longfellow clearly had an inkling about the aims of the ship designer – not too much tophamper, centre of gravity not too high, the importance of hull form in steering, and a stern designed to allow the water to close nicely aft…

(By the way – there’s a fairly recent post on this weblog about another famous nautical Longfellow piece, The Wreck of the Hesperus.)

The Building of the Ship

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

‘Build me straight, O worthy Master!
Stanch and strong, a goodly vessel,
That shall laugh at all disaster,
And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!’

The merchant’s word
Delighted the Master heard;
For his heart was in his work, and the heart
Giveth grace unto every Art.
A quiet smile played round his lips,
As the eddies and dimples of the tide
Play round the bows of ships,
That steadily at anchor ride.
And with a voice that was full of glee, Continue reading “‘Build me straight’ 1963 Scottish documentary about the building of a fishing boat”

Intheboatshed.net skiff – now we can make a model

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Model drawing sheet 1

Model drawing sheet 2

Model drawing sheet 3

Model drawing sheet 4

Model drawing sheet 5

Well, now we come to a moment of truth, and although I’m optimistic that what has worked before will work again, I don’t know for certain how it will go!

Tonight I hope to make a model of the Julie skiff, and I hope some of you readers will also be interested in having a go. So I have made up some drawings that I will print out and stick to cereal box card (I might use model maker’s sheet plastic material, if I was feeling posh).

Then I’ll cut out the components and make the model up using sticky tape.

Making a model is a useful and even important preliminary step before starting boatbuilding, so if you’d like to play this game too, open up the images above by clicking on each of them, and then print them all at exactly the same size. Unless you want to make a large model, A5 would be reasonable in Europe, and some standard size that would be about half-letter would be good in the USA.

If you do make a model, please send us a photo at gmatkin@gmail.com and we’ll put up a gallery here at intheboatshed.net. It would be great to see some.

See the whole series of posts on this project:

Complete free plans package for the intheboatshed.net flat-bottomed 15ft 6in skiff
intheboatshed.net skiff – drawings and coordinates for stitch and glue
intheboatshed.net skiff – photos of our model, and maybe yours too?
Intheboatshed.net skiff – now we can make a model
Intheboatshed.net skiff progress
Early drawings for a 15ft 5in lightweight flat-bottomed American-style skiff

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