Bluenose II: Rebirth of a Canadian Original
Todd Battis, Atlantic Bureau Chief, CTV News
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2012 8:33PM EDT
Note from editor: In our latest Canadian Original segment on CTV
News, Atlantic Bureau Chief Todd Battis raises the mast on the Bluenose II: a multimillion dollar renovation to a schooner with a storied past that's set to sail again soon.
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HALIFAX -- Under a three-storey, canvas-covered shelter, long strands of cotton are hammered by hand into seams between planking that makes up the deck of the new Bluenose II.
It's caulking, making the ship water tight, the way it was done for centuries. The workers are the grandsons of the men who built the original Bluenose launched in 1921, the sons of those who fashioned its replacement in the Sixties.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us," said production manager Michael Higgins.
On the shores of Lunenburg harbour in Nova Scotia, at the same shipyard where Bluenose was fashioned in just a hundred days, shipbuilders employ skills handed down through the generations.
Turning wood from South America into a 44 metre, 143-foot wooden yacht. With the exception of modern navigation and propulsion equipment, and creature comforts below deck, it is an exact replica of the world famous racing vessel.
"I don't know of another project like this happening on the globe. This is probably the biggest wooden boat in the world right now being built," said Higgins.
It's become a spectacle for visitors who stream to the construction sight to gaze in awe at the size of the job.
"It's great to come in and see that kind of skills and know that we still have that kind of workmanship in Canada, it's fantastic," marveled Martin Shields of Alberta.
Twenty-four hour webcams allow the curious from around the world to keep an eye on the project's progress.
The province of Nova Scotia commissioned what they're calling a renovation of Bluenose II, though anyone in town will tell you, this is a brand new schooner from the keel up. A multimillion dollar work of art designed to promote the province and serve as Canada's sailing ambassador.
The original came to fame in the Twenties. A fishing boat that raced against the fastest schooners of the day and never lost a race. It made headlines across the continent, its exploits so well known, it won a place on the dime, and became an icon.
(Bluenose at Racing Angle  W.R. MacAskill, Nova Scotia Archives)
This latest incarnation of Bluenose will be launched in the summer and is designed to sail for 40 or 50 years.
A piece of the past, the pride of a people, ready to set sail.