What we're watching
The Hardanger Maritime Museum on YouTube
Based in Norheimsund, Norway, the Hardanger Maritime Museum is a bustling boatyard that aims to preserve traditional boatbuilding methods while restoring historically important wooden vessels. The museum’s YouTube channel, Hardanger Fartøyvernsenter, offers the viewer a deep dive into everything from crafting wooden fasteners (tree nails) to using cow hair as caulking for wooden planking. Other videos show how to make four-strand, tarred-hemp line from scratch and steam-bend 30-foot lengths of timber planking onto a stout and salty fishing vessel.
If you’ve ever “deep-sixed” something, “moonlighted,” or been “over the barrel,” then, whether you know it or not, you’re familiar with expressions tied to nautical heritage. Clear the decks (yup, there’s another one), because Cynthia Barret just published a book with 176 pages of words and phrases that have marine origins. The paperback Three Sheets to the Wind: The Nautical Origins of Everyday Expressions, turned out to be a happy hour hit with my neighbors, who learned that “cup of Joe” refers to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, who prohibited alcohol on naval vessels in 1914. We also learned that “Happy Hour” came from the USS Arkansas crew, who scheduled get-togethers to smoke, make music and relax. We won’t let the cat out of the bag about the rest of the sayings in the book. ($17, Lyons Press)
If you’ve ever dipped a fishing line along the East Coast, you’ve likely caught a striped bass or two. Known as rockfish in some places—or “stripahs” around Boston—these gamefish are strong and fun to catch. For some enthusiasts, casting chunky lures into the suds with a long, heavy surf rod is the only way to snag these majestic fish. Janet Messineo writes about her obsession with the striped bass in Casting Into the Light. The story is a journey through Messineo’s life. She describes growing up in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and Salem, New Hampshire, where she tagged along with her father while he fished along rocky shorelines. For Messineo, there was no happier place than on the edge of a rock jetty at night, with a surf rod, waves, and wind-driven rain pelting her face. ($27, Pantheon)
The Art of Wood
If you love the craftsmanship and handsome lines of a stately wooden vessel, consider tuning into the Hooked on Wooden Boats podcast, which is available on Apple’s Podcast app. Episodes include interviews with experts in the field, including John Lockwood, founder of Pygmy Boats, John C. Harris, who started Chesapeake Light Craft, and world cruising sailor Lin Pardey.
This article originally appeared in the July 2019 issue.