Lance Lee, founder of the Apprenticeshop (the peripatetic organization dedicated to the development of people through boatbuilding), has been busy in his retirement. We met for coffee this morning, and then visited the Nobleboro, Maine, boat shop where he and his crew are building a 1/3-scale balancelle--a lateen-rigged western-Mediterranean cargo vessel. This one is a replica of the boat at the center of Joseph Conrad's The Tremolino, and is called TREMOLINO. It will launch in May or June. Watch WoodenBoat's pages for more news of this in the Fall.
Meanwhile, here's a passage from The Tremolino:
"If the Mediterranean, the venerable (and sometimes atrociously ill- tempered) nurse of all navigators, was to rock my youth, the providing of the cradle necessary for that operation was entrusted by Fate to the most casual assemblage of irresponsible young men (all, however, older than myself) that, as if drunk with Provencal sunshine, frittered life away in joyous levity on the model of Balzac`s "Histoire des Treize" qualified by a dash of romance DE CAPE ET D`EPEE.
"She who was my cradle in those years had been built on the River of Savona by a famous builder of boats, was rigged in Corsica by another good man, and was described on her papers as a `tartane` of sixty tons. In reality, she was a true balancelle, with two short masts raking forward and two curved yards, each as long as her hull; a true child of the Latin lake, with a spread of two enormous sails resembling the pointed wings on a sea-bird`s slender body, and herself, like a bird indeed, skimming rather than sailing the seas.
"Her name was the Tremolino. How is this to be translated? The Quiverer? What a name to give the pluckiest little craft that ever dipped her sides in angry foam! I had felt her, it is true, trembling for nights and days together under my feet, but it was with the high-strung tenseness of her faithful courage. In her short, but brilliant, career she has taught me nothing, but she has given me everything. I owe to her the awakened love for the sea that, with the quivering of her swift little body and the humming of the wind under the foot of her lateen sails, stole into my heart with a sort of gentle violence, and brought my imagination under its despotic sway. The Tremolino! To this day I cannot utter or even write that name without a strange tightening of the breast and the gasp of mingled delight and dread of one`s first passionate experience."