Thursday, August 11, 2011

Modeling the Skipjack "Virgil G. Dean" With Garry Cerrone: Part Two

The full sweep of the shear with the gentle curve of the jib boom can be seen here.

At this point, the superstructure of the Virgil G. Dean model by Garry Cerrone is complete. As can be seen the main hatch is in place as is the cabin trunk. The masts are set and aligned with the use of wedges called partners. The centerboard and rudder are also installed. It is at this point of building that Garry draw the greatest pleasure from just viewing the sculptural aspects of the form. Being able to hold the form is an added experiential plus.

In this view the hard chine of the deadrise hull melds into the stem near the water line. This unique part of the skipjack is often fabricated using large blocks of wood chiseled to graceful confirmation. This model of the Dean is made in that traditional fashion.

 As in most work boats, the form and function of the skipjacks are very closely intertwined. They must be fast and strong under sail to haul the "drudges" full of oysters yet be capable of carrying a full load of product without floundering. Much of the beauty clearly rests in the grace of the sweeping sheer enhanced by the jib boom which is traditionally slightly arched on the top to continue the visual line all the way forward.

Looking aft we see the cabin trunk in all of its utilitarian functionality. This is a no nonsense , low headroom compartment that can used to cook in , sleep and get a crew man out of a blow but not much else.

  Although the traditional skippy employed a somewhat standard method of fabrication there was much room for individuality from boat to boat. Width of beam, width of transom and entry all were choices faced by the builder. But perhaps the most important influence on the construction of any wooden boat such as a skipjack was the length of the available keel, as that always determined the length of the hull. For Garry, the ultimate aesthetic aspect of the skipjack design was that it grew from a need, used native materials, was locally built and was thus totally organic from concept to operation.

This port side view gives one an overall sense of proportion and the rack of the masts. The two masted or three sail bateau's as they were called were popular in the early years of skipjacks but went out of fashion later. In many cases three-sail boats were converted to single mast rigs.

With the hull complete, begins a whole new phase of construction. As an artist, this is the most creative and downright fun. This is the detail creating part. That part that makes it quite clear what these boats did to pay their way. In this phase all of the machinery of oystering, dredges, dredge winders, pusher boats, davits and sails get designed fabricated and installed. There will be more on that in the coming weeks.

You can visit part one of this blog by following the link here "Modeling the Skipjack "Virgil G. Dean". You can also visit Garry Cerrone's page on Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery website by following the link here Garry Cerrone at Skipjack.


  1. questa è una bellissima modella

  2. Can't wait to see the next phase, incredable work!


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