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Georges River Land Trust

Land Trust Trees to Sail East

Imagine reinvigorating a marine tradition in Portugal, a country whose seafaring culture is at risk of being lost, from the coast of Maine. João Bentes, an instructor at the Apprenticeshop will build a traditional Portuguese sardine carrier, sail it across the Atlantic, and start a traditional boat building apprentice shop in Portugal. João approached the Georges River Land Trust for “spar” material.

Spars – the masts, yards and booms which serve to hold up the sails – can be made of any locally available wood that is flexible, light and strong. Our coastal Maine woods are full of such softwood timber. João noted downed spruce trees at the Ash Point Preserve in Owls Head that, in his mind, would be perfect.

With the blessing of Georges River Land Trust, João will carefully remove four or five red or black spruce, and transport them by water to the Apprenticeshop. There, with local youth and apprentices, he will build the Canoa de Picada, which translates to “boat minced with salt.”  The early nineteenth century Portuguese vessels caught sardines, salted them at sea, and stored them below deck. João is eager to introduce the tradition of wooden boat building practiced at the Apprenticeshop to Portugal, where presently no wooden boat building schools exist.

Georges River Land Trust is pleased the Ash Point Preserve can play a role in this cross Atlantic project. João expects to collect the wood sometime in June, and notices will be posted at the kiosk and on the Land Trust Facebook page.

To learn more about this project, go to www.breaktheanchor.com.

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