THE PRIVATEER LYNX
In 1997 Woodson K. Woods embarked on a journey to build a privateer inspired by the original historic tall ship from the War of 1812 – The Privateer Lynx.
His goal was to create a living history museum to educate children and adults alike about American history through active sail training aboard a real wooden sailing ship.
What went into Lynx was not just wood, rope, brass and canvas. It was not just sweat, blood, heartache and laughter either. What went into her goes far beyond history, ambition, inspiration, determination and commitment.
On July 28, 2001 in Rockport, Maine Woods’ vision was realized. Past and present converged as Lynx was launched in a gala event ordaining a magnificent future on the high seas.
The creation of Lynx embraces eternal truths: passion, sacrifice, perseverance, honor and courage. All of these emotions gave her a soul long before she tasted her first saltwater. At sea, Lynx is the legacy of her creators: the thinkers, the designers, the builders, and most important, the dreamers…
The meticulous attention to detail and shape in the design of Lynx are shown in the line drawings and hull construction plans by noted naval designer Melbourne Smith. Inspired by the lines taken off the original Lynx in Deptford, England in 1820, these plans highlight the process by which the vessel was transformed from its 1812 incarnation to its 2001 interpretation.
DESIGNING THE PRIVATEER CLIPPER SCHOONER LYNX
By Melbourne Smith – Designer
Woodson K. Woods is a remarkable student of the maritime history of the American War of 1812. He is an astute collector of ship models, armament and writings of this historic period when the United States finally secured her independence from Great Britain.
And when Mr. Woods asked me to submit a few preliminary design plans of Lynx, an 1812 Baltimore Clipper schooner, I knew I would be working with someone knowledgeable on the subject. He explained he was not looking for an exact replica, but rather an intelligent interpretation that could be adapted under the U.S. Coast Guard regulations as being suitable for youth training and illustrating the history of this special era in maritime history.
The only restriction as to the size of the vessel was to keep her draft at eight and one-half feet. From this, I was able to give Lynx a 72-foot waterline with a maximum beam of 23-feet to accomplish the required stability to carry the traditional rig of a square fore topsail schooner and setting a jackyard topsail on the main mast. Most clipper schooners had a pronounced drag to their keels, the draft being much greater at the stern end.
To maintain balance with the required reduced draft, the keel was laid parallel with the waterline. And by designing a near perpendicular rudder post and making up the lateral area by filling in the space (except for a propeller aperture) between the stern post and a prick post, it allowed the underwater center of lateral plane to remain in the same vicinity of the original schooners – and for her to carry a similar sail plan with less drag and draft.
A preliminary lines drawing was prepared and a half model carved for approval. Final hull lines were completed with a hydrostatic characteristic study to assure that the vessel would be capable of her intended purpose. With her project stability, it was found that a lofty rig could be set to show the sail to hull relationship for schooners of 1812. To ease sail handling, especially for novice training crews, the traditionally overlapping foresail was fitted with a boom and the staysail was designed loose-footed on a boom as well. This simplified tacking and sail handling.
To facilitate maintenance considerations, the keel, keelson, stem and frames were each laminated in single pieces from treated yellow pine. This method first tried on the frames of the topsail schooner, Californian has proved indestructible and impervious to deterioration. To increase further the life of the vessel, the stern post, bitts and planking were fashioned from durable hardwoods.
Early in the design stage, Mr. Woods explained he wanted to carry ball-firing carronades and swivel guns. These were designed and cast in iron, all in working order. To this, Mr. Woods has added his own collection of muskets and swords. These, with the crew intended to be in period dress, will give a most impressive demonstration of a well-found privateer of 1812.
Most of the original Baltimore Clippers were simply built, but Lynx has been given great attention with well-appointed saloon, great cabin and staterooms. The galley is at waist-height to the main deck to assure good ventilation and practical access. The engine room is independently fitted between watertight bulkheads with a separate deck companionway. Unique among most working vessels, the drive shaft is fitted with a Hundested variable pitch propeller unit that allows the speed to be governed by varying the pitch rather than engine revolutions.
While many modern amenities and appointments have been fitted, the ambiance aboard is still very much that of an historic 1812 Baltimore Clipper schooner that originated on Chesapeake Bay. Woodson K. Woods has insisted at every design and building stage that the best materials, the finest workmanship and the spirit of only dedicated people be a part of this vessel. Hence, his motto raised in the shipbuilding shed when the keel was laid: “Be excellent to each other and to your ship.”
The designer, builders and riggers all have the same pride in Lynx as does her owner. Good luck to Lynx.
Located about one-third of the way up the western shore of Penobscot Bay in midcoast Maine, Rockport Marine was incorporated in 1962 by Luke Allen – a legendary Yankee boatbuilder – and is now owned and operated by his son, Taylor.
“Since the beginning, we have focused our efforts exclusively on wooden boats,” said owner Taylor Allen, “and mostly on yachts rather than commercial boats. Lynx is unlike most boats being built today. You don’t find much call for Baltimore Clippers anymore and we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to build this boat. We’ve always been inspired by custom projects, but this one has been on a much larger scale.”
Planked with angelique, a dense hardwood from Surinam, Lynx has been far more physically demanding than previous
projects. “It was a labor of love — with an emphasis on the hard labor,” quipped Taylor Allen. “We don’t often use an overhead crane to run planks through the planer, but for this boat we did.”
It was the combination of Rockport Marine’s stellar reputation with wooden boats and its dedicated crew of workers that convinced Woodson K. Woods, executive director of Project Lynx, to select Rockport Marine to construct the 80-foot privateer clipper schooner.
Rockport Marine employs a year round crew of 35 skilled craftsmen, versatile in all aspects of wooden boat construction and repair. They are carpenters, painters, mechanics, metal fabricators and electricians. Sail-making, electronics and other trades vital to modern wooden boat building are all in the area.
“It was immediately apparent to me that Taylor was very enthusiastic about building the schooner,” said Mr. Woods.”Hen thoroughly evaluated all of the challenges of constructing a vessel the size of Lynx and had good answers to all of my concerns.”
“Woody is a terrific owner from our perspective,” said Mr.Allen of Mr. Woods. “Woody’s a demanding owner, which I happen to like. He’s clear about where he wants to go and is clear about the quality of the effort. And that inspires us to keep the quality of our work high. It makes it easier for us to achieve that.”
When Mr. Woods met with the men and women who would be building Lynx, he knew she would be built with pride and care.He also knew that the crew at Rockport Marine could not only meet the challenge, but would exceed it.
The fact that they love their work is obvious in their craftsmanship,” Mr. Woods said. “After six months and regular visits to Rockport Marine, I also became aware of a unique camaraderie that exists in the shop, a deep mutual respect that exists between Taylor and his crew.”
He continued, “There was no doubt that this place would create a wooden schooner with a soul. These men would not only physically build this ship with talent and understanding of classic wood construction, but I also felt that they would bring more: they would match the dream. And they did.”
“Each boat, whether new construction or restoration, poses unique challenges that attract and keep the work interesting for the crew,” said Mr. Allen.
Among the challenges for Mr. Allen was to add 20 feet of shop to accommodate the length of Lynx. He also purchased a nneighboring building to manufacture the spars.
“From the beginning, forethought has been effective in anticipating possible problems,” noted Mr. Woods. “Under
Taylor’s leadership, this quality has smoothly guided the Lynx project.”
“Wooden boat restoration and repair have been our primary focus. Over the years, dozens of fine yachts, mostly private sailboats, have been restored in our shop,” said Mr. Allen. “Over the past 10 years, we have been able to apply our skills to new wooden boat construction so that it is becoming an increasingly large part of our business. Depending upon the intended use of the boat, we employ a variety of building techniques, each with its own advantages.”
Since Lynx was designed to be used as a sailing training vessel, Mr. Allen was further determined to realize the project.
“I enjoy being involved with educational endeavors,” said Mr. Allen, who recently completed six years on his local School Board. “The Lynx program, teaching seamanship on this privateer, celebrates a unique piece of maritime history.” When not busy at Rockport Marine, Mr. Allen also works with the Boards of The Landing School of Boatbuilding and Design in Kennebunkport, Maine and Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut.
Mr. Allen is very grateful to Woods Maritime for allowing him and the crew at Rockport Marine to build Lynx. “It’s been a terrific project,” he said. “Both the owner and the architect have been demanding, yet responsive to our suggestions, and the design has enabled our crew to fully utilize their skills. It’s the sort of project that makes good boatbuilders like working here – and makes us want to keep building boats. Lynx has been the project you hope for – and we’ve enjoyed being a part of her history.”
LYNX COLORS, ORDNANCE & UNIFORMS
Lynx honors the spirit of the original vessel in her design and accoutrements with modifications to meet current U.S. Coast Guard regulations and safety requirements. Displacing 114 tons, the Lynx is 76 feet in length over all, with a sparred length of 122 feet, a 23-foot beam and a draft of 9 feet. She is fitted with period ordnance and flies pennants and flags from the 1812 era.
|American Privateer||British Dispatch Schooner||Pirate Ship|
Lynx is armed with a functioning main battery of four six-pounder carronade and four swivel guns. In addition, a complementary stand of historic small arms, for demonstration and instructional purposes, is aboard, including muskets, pistols, cutlasses, boarding pikes and axes.
The cannons were cast by the Iron Brothers Foundry in Wadebridge, Cornwall, England under the direct supervision of noted ordnance expert Austin C. Carpenter.
To maintain the historic integrity of the onboard experience, the permanent crew of Lynx wears uniforms and operates the ship in keeping with the maritime traditions of early 19th Century America. The uniforms have been researched extensively by maritime history expert Victor Suthren.
THE LYNX SAILING CREW
The captain has supreme authority over all matters concerning the ship’s handling, safety, itinerary, program, transactions and discipline.
The first mate is second in command and is responsible for assuming the Captain’s authority if anything should happen to the Captain. He or she is specifically responsible for overall maintenance and physical neatness of the vessel and for conveying the Captain’s orders to the rest of the crew.
The boatswain (bo’s’un) has specific responsibilities related to the rigging, rope work and mechanical aspects of the vessel. One of the officers, the boatswain aboard Lynx may also assume the duties of the gunner who is responsible for servicing and firing the ship’s ordnance (guns).
The leading seaman is the head deck hand, making sure that junior members of the crew know their tasks and duties aboard ship. On board Lynx, he or she is also a watch officer, responsible for the supervision and welfare of the crew and vessel during his or her watch.
A seaman is a deck hand and junior member of the crew who assists in sail handling and other tasks aboard ship while gaining the necessary experience and sea time required for an officer’s position.
The cook is responsible for provisioning the vessel, planning meals and supervising food preparation. The cook is the only member of the crew who is not required to stand a watch.
The engineer is responsible for handling and maintaining the mechanical power of the vessel. Working below deck, the engineer is in charge of the engine room and other machines and mechanisms on board.
Other crew positions aboard the Lynx include:
A student trainee is an unpaid member of the crew who comes aboard as part of a training program to learn, by experience and by instruction, while standing watch and carrying out regular shipboard duties. Usually a modest fee is levied to cover training costs and is met either by the trainee or through scholarship funds — or a combination of both.
A voyage crew joins the ship for the purpose of obtaining instruction in the discipline of sail training. He or she is required to stand a regular watch and perform regular shipboard duties.
Usually a voyage crew signs on for port-to-port coastal trips or longer blue water passages. A fee is charged for this position.
Volunteers with expertise in sailing, historical interpretations or as relief crew are occasionally invited aboard to contribute to the shipboard programs in their areas of specialty.
|United States of America|
|Square Topsail Schooner|
|Type:||Baltimore Clipper Schooner|
|Interpretation:||Privateer / Letter of Marque – War of 1812|
|Port Of Registry|
|Portsmouth, New Hampshire|
|Height of mainmast with jackyard:||94′ 0″|
|Height of foremast:||84′ 0″|
|Power:||Cat 3306B – 290 hp Hundested Variable Pitch Propeller|
|Keel, Keelson, Stem, Frame and Beams:||Laminated Southern Pine|
|Hull color:||Black with White Gunport Stripe|
|Masts and Yards:||Laminated Douglas Fir|
|Light Spars:||Sitka Spruce|
|Mainsail:||1,219 square feet|
|Foresail:||865 square feet|
|Main Topsail:||346.5 square feet|
|Fore Topsail:||585 square feet|
|Main Topmast Staysail:||438.5 square feet|
|Staysail:||572 square feet|
|Jib:||453 square feet|
|Flying Jib:||190 square feet|
|Total Sail Area:||4,669 square feet|
|Melbourne Smith – International Historical Watercraft Society|
|Rockport Marine – Rockport, Maine|
|Project Supervisor:||Taylor Allen|
|Project Foreman:||Eric Sewell|
|July 28, 2001 in Rockport, Maine|
|U.S. Coast Guard Certification|
|Passenger Vessel (Subchapter T)|