Page 18 - Ulysses LeLievre and his Boats
ISSUE : Issue 8
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1974/6/1
Ulysses LeLievre and his Boats I was a fisherman for at least ten years in Cape Breton. I've been on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. And when you look at those old boats of those first people that came down here • I don't know yet how they were able to sail. The way those boats were made. They had no engine. They had to have fair wind and they weren't lucky to get that kind of wind all the time. Then, that's a lot of pressure on the mast when the wind was blowing. You can just imagine. For those boats there I would say it would take a mast about 3 feet in diameter • 3 feet at the deck to give you about 18 inches up here. Or those masts would break like nothing with an awful sail like that. You just take a sheet of plywood 4 by 8 and put it in an easterly wind • you'll never see that sheet again. Manpower is not strong enough to hold a sheet 4 by 8 in the wind. It would take quite a lot of wood to build those boats, A 120 ton t>oat would take over 2000 oaks. You can imagine. They had to quit because Europe had no hardwood anymore. The first ones that came down here had enough wood on to repair his own boat if something happened by ice, if they hit on ground, Cabot, Cartier, They were all alone. No such thing as radio, no such thing as SOS. If you were going to the Strait of Belle Isle, there's ice there darn near 8 months of the year. Icebergs and everything. Those fellows that came down here first had to get through storms. I was aboard one of those big draggers that was built in Port Hawkesbury and on the Grand Bank we got storm and it was just the same as a rowboat. Bouncing. We had an engine. We put everything we had into it. Four or five draggers got lost in that storm. To? tal loss. Crew and all. To make any manuever on those boats without an auxilliary engine • I don't know how they did it. I really think those Vikings, those first ones, came down here and had a good survey before they sent anybody else. Because those old Viking boats, they didn't draw more than 6 or 7 feet of water. If they drew more water they wouldn't be able to row. The Viking ships were so light. They had no forecastle, no cabin • to sleep they would cross oars over themselves on deck. ??I decided to make these kinds of boats because I dreamed one night when I was a fisherman on the Grand Banks. I dreamed I started pacing the deck one night. I was Cape Breton's Magazine/
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