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Hello everyone. I am starting a new project. This is a 1/48 scale scratch built model of a Biloxi lugger named Captain Roy, built in 1948 by local builder Jules Galle'. This was one of two identical luggers he built that year for Roy Rosalis, owner of Biloxi Canning Co. The other boat was named Boston Bill. I have used tonnage admeasurement data and photographs to reconstruct the lines and details for this model. Here are two photographs; one is a rather poor copy, and a bow view. I also include the outboard view from my plans so you can see the finished model's appearance, and her original certificate of admeasurement showing her dimensions etc. Russ
Hello everyone. When I first reposted this log, I did so in a hurried fashion and did not include any background details on this vessel type or the nature of this build. Here is a short thumbnail of the history behind this vessel type. The Biloxi schooner is a two masted gaff rigged, centerboard working schooner. These schooners were built along the Mississippi coast as early as the 1830s and the last pure sailing schooner was built at Biloxi in 1929. The hull form is characterized by a markedly shallow draft, broad beam, with a midsection having a low, hard turn of bilge. The cross sections were most always rounded with no hard chine. The stern is usually flat or slightly curved across its face and set with a moderate rake. The stem is usually a clipper style stem with a stem head reaching out under the bowsprit. Sometimes, we see a more upright stem, and in a few cases, the stem was rounded and called a spoon bow. In the more usual clipper bows, there is a simple head trim. The sheer in the earlier schooners was more marked than in later boats. These boats were used for fishing, harvesting mostly shrimp and oysters, but also some other types of seafood in local waters. With the development of the local seafood canning industry in the 1880s, fishing schooners were built larger over time. While earlier fishing schooners averaged about 40-45 ft in length, the later schooners of the 1920s averaged around 60-65 ft. The fishing schooners were built in large numbers in the early 1900s because of a 1902 state law that prohibited oyster dredging under motor power. The Bowers oyster law shaped the way the seafood industry did business and inadvertently kept the fishing schooners around for another 30-40 years. The law allowed shrimping under motor power and so there was a trend towards building auxiliary schooners in the period beginning in the early 1900s, but the development of purely motor powered shrimpers developed alongside the schooners. During the mid to late 19th century, freight schooners were built larger and heavier than the smaller fishing schooners, carrying, lumber, charcoal, and locally produced naval stores. They were either carried out to the deep water harbor at Ship Island, about 10 miles off the coast for shipment abroad, or over to New Orleans, by way of Lake Ponchartrain and the basin canals for local sale. With the development of railroads and trucking, these schooners lost their place in the coastal freight industry. Many of them were abandoned in local rivers etc, but some found a new life in the seafood industry in the 1920s and 30s. Although this type of schooner was built in several different locations In Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida pan handle, Biloxi was a single place where more were built than anywhere else. That is why it became known as the Biloxi schooner. In fact, in the Smithsonian's National Watercraft Collection, Howard Chapelle applied that name to this type of schooner. This model is a commission, but the client is a good friend of mine who is allowing me to build at my own speed. The model is intended as a gift and it will be named for the recipient. Thus I will withold the model's name until the end. The plans were developed from a several years study of customs house records, local contemporary photographs, newspapers, builder's half models, various private collections, and some personal archaelogical studies. The most interesting and useful documents I have found are the old tonnage admeasurements from the customs house. These admeasurements contain detailed internal measurements of the hull that were used to determine tonnage. I have studied these documents and the federal regulations that governed them and I can now use them to "reconstruct" plans for some of these schooners. This is how the plans for this model were developed. The model is loosely based on a design for a Biloxi fishing schooner built in 1900 by Martin Fountain, Sr., called American Girl. I have reduced the size of the model to fit what the client wants in an overal finished model. The plans for this model yield a schooner about 41 ft on deck and about 8 tons. This would be a typical schooner for the 1890s. Here are some pics of the components and the beginning of the construction. Comments welcomed. Russ
I am in the process of building a series of large scale skiff models for some friends. I thought I would share with you the first one. This is a very simple model, somewhat similar to the smaller 1/24 scale skiffs I have built for the past several years. This skiff design is compilation of my skiff research from about 15 years ago. One really neat feature is I can build several skiffs off the same design and then fit and finish them in different ways. No two can or will be alike. Hope you find this interesting. Russ
Hello everyone. As some of you may recall, I restored a locally made fishing schooner model a few years back. Now that I have a few moments, I am reposting that log. The story begins in the 1940s. My friend Gabe Kasovich was given this model by his father in about 1948. The origins of the model are uncertain, but Gabe recalled that it was made by one of the Fountains, a local boatbuilding family. The model may have been made as early as the 1930s. It seems probable that the model was repainted at least once before Gabe got the model in 1948, so this would support the idea that the model being a few years older than 1948. Here is a photograph of the model in 1948 The hull is a single piece of wood, most likely red cypress. It was carved to shape on the outside of the hull and then hollowed out on the inside. It originally had a lead keel that was bolted to the hull. The deck was a single sheet of cypress laid over about 5-6 deck supports. The model was originally intended as a sailing model. These models were used by the local children back in the 1930s in model regattas along the beach front. The bow area of the model is a bit crude, but the midsection and the stern area are remarkably well formed and certainly look very much like a Biloxi schooner. Here is what the model looked like as the paint was stripped in the summer of 2005. As you can see, she needed "a new everything" on deck. We were able to salvage the two lower masts, but that was it. Actually, the main mast was the only original mast. The foemast was a smaller diameter replacement that was possibly made from a pool cue. The bowsprit was a hideously oversized hunk of wood that begged to be replaced with something more in scale. Gabe wanted the model restored as a static model, with as much accuracy as we could get without disturbing the outer hull's original construction. The decision was made to strip as much of that lead based paint as possible and repaint the hull white with a water based paint. Gabe agreed to do the stripping since he does some of his own furniture restoration. Not having to strip lead paint was fine by me. This project almost did not happen. Gabe brought me the model in mid August 2005. He had repainted the hull, but it was a bit too glossy for my taste, so I suggested he go for a more satin finish. He took the model back home and a couple of weeks later, Hurricane Katrina came plowing through and everyone was preoccupied for several months. In truth, I was not able to get hold of Gabe for several months and I did not know for certain if he or the model had survived the storm. Fortunately, when we spoke in late November, he said that while his house had been damaged in the storm, his old work shed out in the back yard where the model was kept had not even been touched. Go figure. So, he brought the model back to me in mid January 2006. Next time, the restoration begins. Russ