Nat is a Master sailmaker, rigger and sail designer based in East Boothbay, Maine. He is most well known for building sails for large traditional sailing vessels in the United States and abroad. Nat is very excited about designing and building sails for Eleanor as sailboat Eleanor is being restored rather than being replicated. To build the sails for Eleanor, a historical vessel on the New York State and National Registers, is an honor and a privilege. We are pleased to have Nat Wilson and Suzanne Leahy, our spar builder, join in the restoration of Eleanor.
Main Sail & Rigging — 1998
Bliss has been working with Wilson since 2014 on the sail rig which includes, sails, spars, and rigging. Much research was completed by Leahy, Wilson, and Bliss which has been very challenging as there are no plans in existence about the sail rig of Eleanor. Final details and planning are still to be completed and we must raise the funds to Raise the Sails.
Ships that have sails and/or rigging built by Wilson include the U.S.S. Constitution, USC Eagle, Spirit of Massachusetts, American Eagle, and Mayflower 11.
It is a thrilling to watch as the Hudson River Historic Boat Restoration and Sailing Society community volunteers steadily restore Eleanor to her former self. When she sails again on the Hudson River she will be there for the general public’s enjoyment and education: an intimate class room on the water where people will learn to sail, communicate and work together as a team, and gain both an appreciation of the River’s history and environment and a keen awareness of nature’s unstoppable forces.
This year, as illustrated by the contributions and grants received both locally and on a state level, HRHB can proudly declare that we are recognized and trusted to be an organization managed with integrity.
After much research and evaluation beginning in the summer of 2014, we placed the money received by grants and contributions for the building of our mast, boom and gaff into the capable hands of the Beetle Boat Shop in Wareham, Massachusetts. Our spars look great.
Progress during 2015 was impressive. Our volunteers installed the new keelson, scarffing the bow and stern sections together. They cut, steamed and shaped elm for mast hoops.
At the last Thursday restoration session only four of the 40 floors which are shaped out of White Oak still remained to be fitted and installed. We still have a chance!
Our goals for 2016 include completing projects begun this year: finalizing the design of and building the new deadwood, completing the transom rebuild, beginning the deck repair and installing new ribs made of White Oak purchased from Newport Nautical Timbers in Rhode Island. This last job is a difficult project requiring steaming and bending wood, and it requires a great deal of our volunteers’ time.
We worked with Nat Wilson, Master sailmaker from East Boothbay Harbor, Maine on the design of the sails. Eleanor will join a long list of boats and ships that have Wilson sails and rigging, including the U.S.S. Constitution, Clearwater, and Mayflower II. We had no drawings and Nat worked closely with our members who had sailed Eleanor and were familiar with her sails and how she maneuvered, and with Beetle Boat, so that the sails and the spars will work together and will perform as in the past. We anticipate that this next major expense will be about $6000, and 2016 fundraising will be to “Raise the Sails!”
While she is being restored, community volunteers learn, hands-on or through discussion, how boats like Eleanor were built back in 1903, using the materials and craftsmanship of boatbuilders at the turn of the century.
We encourage organizations and classrooms to schedule visits to our restoration site to see what we are all about. To schedule a visit or inquire about volunteering as a woodworker or a crewmember on our unofficial committees write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
View the complete timeline of Restoration Progress
See you down by the riverside — with your deck shoes on!