Merganser

The Merganser is a Chesapeake double ended sharpie, two-masted gaff rigged ketch built in 2006 and launched that fall. She was entirely hand-built by Chris Collins. Sails are hand-stitched canvas. Much of the line used in rigging was made on our ropewalks at our Vermont property, and all blocks and tackle are hand carved or forged by us. We tanbarked her sails in spring 2012, which came out a little pinker in shade than expected.

After 7 years of faithful service, we sold her to a gentleman on the coast of Maine in order to concentrate our efforts on completing Heron.

The SV Merganser

Length on deck: About 22 feet

Merganser at the Kids' Pirate Festival 2012, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Merganser at the Kids’ Pirate Festival 2012, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Sparred length: About 30 feet

Beam: 7.5 feet

Draft: Approximately 2-3″ fully loaded (centerboard up); ~4 feet with centerboard down.

Hull construction: Marine plywood over oak frames. The original upon which she was based used 30″ cedar planks, which are unavailable nowadays, so the marine plywood recreates the visual effect of extremely wide planking.

Armament: Potentially 2-3 swivel guns (we usually only carry one or two), plus a variety of small arms. The larger swivel gun fits on a scaled down naval carriage, allowing for a very cool gun drill in running out the guns during tacticals.

Propulsion: Sail and oar. There is no modern engine on this vessel. Merganser traditionally uses two oars midships, with either one or two rowers, but has stations for a total of four oars.

Crew: Merganser can be singlehanded easily enough for sailing. For reenactments and tacticals, we usually carry a crew of 3 or 4 – one swivel gunner, one helmsman, and two oarsmen/small arms gunners. We are capable of carrying up to 12 people in addition to crew for short-range troop landings (and there it’s a matter of deck space rather than freeboard). Merganser sleeps 2 comfortably on deck, and up to 4 if necessary.

Merganser off White Island, Isles of Shoals, fall 2007. Photo by Sarah O'Connor.

Merganser off White Island, Isles of Shoals, fall 2007. Photo by Sarah O’Connor.

Despite her small size, she  has traveled extensively Рin addition to being trailered to events ranging from the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence Seaway, we have sailed her many times from Rye, NH, to the Isles of Shoals, a distance of approximately 6 miles of open ocean. (In calm winds, it takes 4.5 hours to row Merganser this distance. Go ahead, ask Ekk how he knows!) When at a mooring, we frequently sleep aboard under a boom tent.

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