Publisher description for Sloop / Daniel E. Robb.


Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog


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When Daniel Robb set out to rebuild a family sailboat that had been deteriorating for years, he couldn't have anticipated what he was getting into. Although Robb was a skilled carpenter, boatbuilding (and boat repair) required a specialized set of skills. And this wasn't just any boat; it was a Herreshoff 12 1/2, a classic wooden sailboat. Built especially for the coastal waters of New England, this little sloop had sailed for years out of the author's boyhood home in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, before being relegated to a quiet corner of a yard, no longer the focus of the family's summer. Restoring the sailboat was both an act of respect and an homage to a place and a way of life that are in jeopardy of disappearing.

Sloop is the captivating story of Daniel Robb's education in boatbuilding, peopled by an eccentric cast of characters -- lumbermen, boatbuilders, and local artisans -- who are part of a changing and perhaps dying world. They tell Robb how to find the materials -- certain kinds of wood, fastenings, caulking, and canvas -- he'll need, which are increasingly hard to come by, and they educate him in the techniques of restoration, an all-but-lost art. Building and restoring wooden boats means an initiation into a world where life is lived simply, with respect for materials, for labor, and for the local waters.

A craftsman and environmentalist, Robb is a willing and able student, and although the restoration of the boat takes far more time and effort than he'd calculated, it is ultimately successful. After all Robb's struggles with quartersawn white oak, homemade steam boxes, bronze screws, copper rivets, andold mast hoops, the Herreshoff sails again -- and a dying art and a vanishing way of life remain alive and vibrant just a while longer.

By turns charming, meditative, and wonderfully quirky, Sloop is a paean to a sense of place and to old-fashioned values.


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Boats and boating -- Conservation and restoration.