Participants in The Dory Shop’s spring dory building course took a little field trip yesterday, down to Second Peninsula to visit another historic (but considerably less dusty) workplace – the Michele Stevens Sailloft.
Located on the second storey of an unassuming little building at the very end of the road, this sailloft is filled with history – you can almost feel it as you walk across the workworn but always clean wooden floor – and so much skill. Michele is a fourth generation sailmaker whose business occupies the very loft established by her great grandfather Randolph when he moved across the bay from Tancook Island. Literally thousands of sails have been built here – from the largest working mainsail in the world today, for Nova Scotia’s own Bluenose II, to sails for our little dories.
Just hearing Michele talk you quickly understand both her dedication and passion for her craft. I mean this is spring – saillofts are busy, busy – and here she and her staff are giving us more than an hour of their time, telling us about the fascinating, and huge, Stevens family (so many of them notable boatbuilders and sailmakers, but also farmers who love the Peninsula and kind-hearted generous people all), showing us how it is that a sailmaker puts the shape into a sail and how to lay out a sail. And as for quality workmanship, you really wouldn’t find anything better.
Many thanks to Michele and the gals for their time and hospitality!