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The Final Plank Is In

When it came time to attach the whiskey plank, everybody wanted to get into the act. Who wouldn’t?

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

At least 350 supporters were on hand Saturday night to witness the attachment of the final plank — the so-called "whiskey plank" — onto the 100-ft brigantine Matthew Turner‘s hull. As you’ve probably guessed, once the 3-inch-thick Douglas-fir plank was bolted in place with 6-inch bronze bolts, those 350 supporters raised a toast of whiskey to this major benchmark in the build process. With any luck, she’ll be fully operational about this time next year.

The backstory on conceiving and building the Matthew Turner is extremely impressive for many reasons, two of which are that much of the work has been done by volunteer labor, and the project has been completely funded by donations, large and small, from private citizens. Once she’s completed, her mission will be to introduce West Coast youth to the magic of sailing, while weaving in aspects of local history and marine science. In addition, she’ll eventually offer offshore expeditions for sailors of all ages.

Once completed, the Matthew Turner will carry a brigantine rig: square sails on the foremast, with a Marconi main on the mainmast.

Matthew Turner Project
©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The brainchild of Sausalito’s Alan Olson, this ship borrows its lines from its namesake’s creations during the late 1800s. He was the West’s most prolific boatbuilder, and his designs brought products to market — including sugar from Hawaii and fruit from Tahiti — faster than any competing vessels.

If you missed the fun this weekend, no worries, the build site tent (near Sausalito’s Marina Plaza) is open to the public six days a week. Visitors are always welcome, but we warn you. Many past visitors have been so impressed with the project, that they’ve made volunteering to help move her toward completion a priority in their lives. Read more about the brigantine in the July issue of Latitude 38, and see the official website for additional details.

A look at the 6-foot-high wheel gives you an idea of the size of the Turner.

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

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