Dogs, Boats and a Sled
Attached to the farmhouse facing our kennel is my husband, Stephen's workshop where the scent of steaming oak timbers and freshly planed cedar planks mingle with the sounds of various power tools and the tapping of copper rivets. Whether it's a wooden boat, traditional handcarved rocking horse, Windsor style chair or dog sled there's usually an interesting project under way.
1999 saw the launch of Oak Dog, (*see: Wooden Boat Magazine, #154, June 2000, pg. 108 "Launchings") a 12' sailing dinghy, based on the lifeboat designed by Nathaniel Herreshof for the 1899 America's Cup defender Columbia. Oak Dog is a very light and able boat, built of cedar lap-strake planks, copper riveted and bent over white oak frames. Oak Dog sails in Manchester, NH's Massabesic lake and makes occasional voyages to the Sea-coast.
Oak Dog will soon be joined by Raven, a Sam Crocker designed 20' sailing sloop. Raven displaces nearly 4000 lbs and is a rugged sea-going centerboard sailboat. After the 20' wooden frame of Raven outgrew the small work-shop, she was sent to Redd's Pond Boat-shop in Marblehead, MA where her construction has been resumed with her launch planned for the summer of 2007. Meanwhile back at Coyote farm, Stephen and Jacy continue to fashion many of the wooden accessories needed by such a vessel.
In the late 90's when Stephen was working on Oak Dog, I took one look at the first frame out of the steam box, and the thought occurred to me that the steam box was just the thing needed to make runners for a dogsled. Stephen completed the sled that year and Jacy (5 yrs.old) began 1-dog mushing with our two pet huskies Sky and Thor.
As Jacy turned 7 we added a Siberian husky puppy to our home. He named the black and white, blue-eyed puppy Khita, meaning "north". We joined the New England Sled Dog Club and when Khita was 8 months old the two began racing in NESDC's 1-dog Jr. class. A few years later Jacy moved into NESDC's 3-dog Jr. division. We were given Russell, a 10 yr. old Alaskan Husky, experienced, gee-haw leader who ran solid with Jacy for 4 years. Russell retired at the age of 14 winning his last race, running on their 3-dog Jr. team at Tamworth, NH.
Racing veterans, Russell and Luna taught us much about running the trails properly by placing their combined years of experience at our feet. I continue to honor their images and spirit through my current paintings, drawings and cards.
Cooper, Beth, Sqwrl, Bill and Jack are the most recent additions to our family. As Jacy turns 14, he and myself are conditioning our dogs for their second season in the 4-dog class while still enjoying the same lightweight, "salty" sled Stephen built for us ten years ago.