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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Obit for Angus et al

photo courtesy Marine Museum
of the Great Lakes, Kingston, ON
I've been trying to get this post done for a bit. I'll let Al Purdy tell the story of the little boat at the right. I'm snipping bits; the poem must be read in full to get the story of the boat and appreciate the layers in the writing - history, geography, sailing, reflections on mortality, and "the long human sweep of things".

",,,One grey Sunday Angus
found the skeleton
on a sand beach of Scott
Hutcheson's boat built in 1910
the same he saw being born
when he was a very young man...

...Then Angus found it again
derelict in  1968
and tore it apart lovingly
piece by piece tenderly...

...-the thing is boat & Hutcheson & Angus
and a fourth is me hanging around
for something to write about
and maybe some other ghosts..."

A 28 foot wooden sailing boat. Owned (built?) at one point by Scott Hutcheson, amateur boatbuilder and fisherman of Prince Edward County, discovered rotting on the shore near Barcovan Beach in western Prince Edward County. (Lots of PEC connections: Mowat Sr. lived at Northport, Farley had a place on Weller's Bay near Consecon). She was rebuilt (how expertly I ask myself) by Angus Mowat  in the 1960's, and donated to the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, Ontario, in 1989. The boat is not currently on display, but I obtained the above photo from Lena Beliveau, curator. Isn't she a beauty?

Lena also made me aware of an academic paper written by John E. Ratcliffe, former Registrar at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston Ontario, and available through the site ''. This paper, entitled 'The Mowat Boat and the Development of Small Craft on the Great Lakes' commands a thorough reading (which I have not yet done, and which the sailors among this blog's readership may get to before I). I expect it will answer some questions, and reduce the excessive parentheses in this post. Do Mackinaw boats ring bells for any of you? If so, read Ratcliffe.

I love this multi-layered story of a Prince Edward County craft, that made its way into a poem by Al Purdy, first published in 'Poems for All the Annettes" (1973).

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