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Searsport’s new look

The DOT met with the Board of Selectmen and interested citizens Oct. 29 about construction plans for downtown. Brick sidewalks, granite curbing and appropriate light fixtures are planned for the area between Pike and Reservoir Street. It will be advertised in fall 2021 to coincide with the road work on Route 1. Construction will begin in spring 2022 and continue until fall 2023.

Knot workshop at PMM

On Thursday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m., Penobscot Marine Museum will hold a virtual decorative knot workshop on Zoom. Participants will learn the Monkey’s Fist and a basic Turk’s Head Knot. Materials are provided. Cost is $15 or $20 for larger material requirements. Registration deadline is noon on Nov. 18. For more information, visit penobscotmarinemuseum.org.

Library news

Book Club meets Tuesday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m. at Union Hall. November’s pick is “Last Bus to Wisdom” by Ivan Doig. Masks are required and social distancing will be maintained.

The library will be closed for Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov 11.

If you enjoy reading plays, you can participate in reading a script with Cold Comfort Theatre on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 5:30 p.m. at Union Hall. They will be reading “One More Hurrah” by Maine playwright Laura Emack. It’s a lot of fun ― give it a try! No experience necessary!

From time to time, I will be spotlighting various businesses. A reader mentioned she enjoyed learning what was “behind the sign,” so I am entitling this series, “Behind the Sign.” If there is a Searsport business you would like to know more about, give me a shout at searsportnews@gmail.com.

Behind the Sign

Since Veterans Day is coming up, I decided to visit BlueJacket Model Ship Crafters. What a fascinating place! It was the sight of the first model ship kits started in 1905 by Horace Boucher who was a model builder for the U.S. Navy. The business remained in the Boucher family until the 1970s, when it was sold and the name was changed to “BlueJacket” after the blue dress jacket of the Navy sailors.

Today, under the direction of Nic Helmsman, the company produces over 80 models in its Searsport workshop that range from simple skiffs and dinghies to complicated projects like the USS Constitution or the Red Jacket Clipper.

To give you an idea of what goes into these models, the Red Baron Maine Lobster Boat might take 20 to 50 hours to complete, while the Constitution will take over 1,000 hours to complete, with its 2,600 metal fittings, all manufactured here in Searsport.

Each model has a history included with the instructions. The Red Jacket was a fast clipper ship that set a transatlantic record which stands today: 13 days, 1 hour and 25 minutes.

The scale is generally 1/8 to 1 inch, similar to HO train scale. The hulls, which were originally hand-carved, are made from bass wood (Linden tree), a good carving wood with a clear, fine grain. The small parts like ship wheels, anchors, railings, etc., are cast from many of the original 1905 to 1930 molds. Windows and hold openings are precisely laser-cut. They use over 20 sizes and colors of rigging thread. And the list goes on.

They also make beautiful display cases to house finished models. And if your handmade model needs some repair, BlueJacket can arrange for that as well.

So, if you are thinking of trying a new hobby this winter, consider building a model ship. If you have more interest in the process, there is a video taken for the TV program, “How It’s Made,” on their website at bluejacketinc.com.