An interview with Adrian McCullough

Adrian was a trainee aboard a tall ship at the age of 15, during a semester at sea and was recently the Captain for a season aboard Alma, the 1891 National Historic Landmark scow schooner at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Below we celebrate his volunteer work and welcome him as brigantine Matthew Turner’s professional first (really, first) First Mate!

Where do you come from, and were you involved with boats there?

I was born in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. It is a fairly landlocked region of midwestern Canada but I was given an opportunity to get on the water and sail when I was 15 years old and that experience helped lead me down the path of a working mariner.

How did you hear about the educational tall ship Matthew Turner? 

As a working professional sailing on other ships in the Bay Area, and being on the Sausalito waterfront, it was hard to not hear about the tall ship being built! When the ship was being framed and planks spiled (Spiling is a technique used in building wooden boats in which a smaller component is used as a pattern against which the outline of a larger component can be drawn), I would drop in and visit and see the progress made…an awe inspiring project to observe and one I would later participate in.

How long have you been volunteering with the Matthew Turner?

I started volunteering on a regular basis a year ago, focusing on the rigging aspect of the vessel. One of the things that has always attracted to me to traditional tall ship sailing is the old style rigging. I love square sails and working with three strand line, tucking in splices, moving heavy and obscure objects and slathering it all in pine tar. I love the challenge of designing and building projects 130 feet in the air. It is a peaceful place to work and be at one with oneself.

What is your favorite task here, boat-building or otherwise?

Coordinating with others, developing plans and implementing ideas, just the whole visionary process to creating this magnificent ship into a working vessel that will shape the lives of thousands of kids and inspire future generations.

Is there anything specific you’ve learned while volunteering here?

I have learned about a whole new ship while also learning how to work with many new people and forming new relationships. This is the first time I have been involved in building a ship from the keel up so it has presented many rewards and challenges along the way.

Do you plan to continue working on boat building after Matthew Turner is complete?

It is my intention to stay involved onboard the ship once building is complete and the ship has been certified. I am going to be part of the full-time professional crew, overseeing the safe operation of the vessel and assisting with the dissemination of the mission. It’s also my hope to make some long distance off-shore passages with Matthew Turner when the time comes!

What is your next adventure?

Matthew Turner is my next adventure!
Special thanks to Tappan Wilder for supporting our volunteers!

Adrian McCullough Pic 1
Adrian McCullough
At the Helm!
Adrian Under Sail
Adrian Under Sail
Life on the Bow!
Life Near the Bow!

An interview with Newcomb Barger

Where is Newcomb from, and was he involved with boats there?

Newcomb hails from Stanford, Connecticut. He loved sailing with his dad in the family’s 35” Rhodes Eastern Interclub on Long Island Sound. After many years away from sailing, he bought a Nacra 5.2 Cat in Miami in the late 1970s and trailered it north. It was the first one in the Northeast. He later sold it to Dave Hubbard, an early designer of wing sails for Little America’s Cup catamarans, decades before Oracle used a wing sail to win the 2010 America’s Cup.
Many years later, after moving to California, he visited Port Townsend, Washington. While there, he left a notice on bulletin boards all over town—artist, machinist, mechanic, luthier, “wanna-be” boat builder looking for a job or intern position. He forgot about the notice until he got a call from a couple restoring a boat in Port Townsend. He flew up from California, spent a few days with them, and saw their new workshop, where one of the projects was restoring a 52” Alden, re-planking her with trunnions (wood fasteners, not metal nails). After the interview, he got the green light to move there and work with the boat builder. It was a dream come true for Newcomb, to stay with this lovely couple—he would live in his RV at the new shop—and work on boats!  Back in San Rafael, while arranging to move to Port Townsend, he had a medical checkup and got a diagnosis of cancer, which required an operation. He decided not to move and impose his problems on the nice folks in Washington. He felt so bad that he did not even inform them of his reason for not following through.

How did he hear about the educational tall ship Matthew Turner? 

In late 2013, soon after the heartbreak of losing his chance to learn about boat building in Port Townsend, Newcomb heard about Call of the Sea and the educational tall ship. He offered to be the night watchman for the project, a position he held for over four years. Work on the educational tall ship took the place of his dream job in Port Townsend. The family of volunteers, a place of belonging, and the opportunity to be involved with building the tall ship “sailed” into his life at just the right time.

What is Newcomb’s favorite task with the educational tall ship—boat-building, or otherwise?

His skills as a machinist, which he studied starting in 10th grade to being a trainee machinist for Pratt and Whitney Aircraft, and as a woodworker who made wooden instruments have been widely applied to the building of Matthew Turner. His talent with metal work has been the most valuable, since there are not many individuals with that skill volunteering on the ship. He did lots of woodwork on planks and took on a key role making most of the spars. Constructing the eliptical boom with the help of Billy Hager was the most rewarding and enjoyable job for Newcomb because of the math and drafting involved. He has also sharpened tools and fixed machinery and boat parts at the workshop.

Is there anything specific he’s learned while volunteering here?

All his life, Newcomb has taken ample time to think through and learn more about the process of ship building and to make things just right, with no thought to deadlines. At the educational tall ship, he learned to get work done in a timely way, in consideration of practical matters and deadlines.

Does Newcomb plan to continue working on boat building after Matthew Turner is complete?

He would like to, provided he can find a place, such as an old barn, where he can build small boats.  He hopes to build a 33” trimaran of his own design.

What is his next adventure?

Newcomb has been doing music-related woodwork over the past few years, such as restoring pianos, and using his skills as a luthier. He is now getting serious about his career in musical instrument construction and repair and in doing other types of woodworking.
Special thanks to Jim Gabbert for supporting our volunteers!

Newcomb Barger
Volunteer Team Hard at Work!
Newcomb and friend
Newcomb Barger (right) in the Construction Tent
Testing the Forward Sails
Ship is About to Set Her Sails!

An interview with Ingrid Cabrey

How did you hear about the educational tall ship Matthew Turner?

I saw the giant educational tall ship construction tent in Sausalito, California. I stopped by one day because I have always been interested in traditional boats. In fact, my first son was born on a 1928 100-foot schooner! Since May 2018, I have been part of the sewing team. We’re working on designing the sail covers for Matthew Turner.

Where do you come from and were you always involved with boats?

I was raised in Miami and my family spent a lot of time on boats in the Bahamas. My first experience was crossing the gulfstream on a 27’ O’Day sloop.  My first job at the age of 15 was on a boat. I drove a small dive boat for the spear fishermen who supplied lobster and fish for a club in the Bahamas. By the time I was in my 20s I was working on sail charters in the Caribbean. From 1989-2002 I circumnavigated 1.25 times with my husband and two boys. The adventure took place on a catamaran that we spent most of a year rebuilding in Sables D’Olonne, France. We stopped and worked as opportunities came our way. The longest stop was three and half years in New Zealand, where I was a resident artist, at The Quarry in Whangarei. We then took 12 years to journey from France to Thailand, then six months getting from Thailand back to Miami…. boats are my life!

What is your favorite task working on Matthew Turner, boat building or otherwise?

Contributing here is a pleasure more than a task. I love being on board Matthew Turner, to go around and see the various projects underway, and the maritime arts being practiced here.

Is there anything specific you have learned while volunteering here?

I have learned a lot by observing how others approach their tasks. I have seen wooden blocks and belay pins being made by hand, incredible metal work that fabricated the hanks for the headsails, and of course, new-to-me knots!

Do you plan to continue working on building other boats after Matthew Turner is complete?

Yes, as opportunity comes my way. My husband and I have always made our living in the maritime world. He is a marine engineer and project manager who now works mostly on large powered yachts… what he calls “big white boats.” At heart, he is still a sailor, but is happy to get offshore when an opportunity comes his way. I sometimes join him on deliveries. We’re based here in Marin, where I spend time painting, mostly beautiful landscapes. I recently participated in the Marin Open Studios event last May.
What is the next adventure for you? Do you have any sailing or travel plans?
If they were planned, they might not really be adventures. We love Northern California and are looking for a spot to build a home. We built an island home in the Bahamas for a British client in 2003. A house need neither float nor go to weather and hat!
Special thanks to Dr. Raymond Zablotny for supporting our volunteers!

Ingrid Cabrey at Work Sewing
Ingrid at Work Sewing
Image of Matthew Turner’s sail
Anchor Chain
Anchor Chain for of Matthew Turner

An interview with Peter MacInnis

 

How did you hear about the educational tall ship Matthew Turner?

The day after retiring from my career as an optician, I enrolled in the Cal Maritime Academy to pursue my passion for all things maritime. While I was studying for my major in marine transportation, I heard about the tall ship project, which sparked my curiosity.
During my free time, I used to volunteer at the Hyde Street Pier (in San Francisco), working on the C.W. Thayer. One day, three years ago, there was nothing going on at the Thayer, so I headed over to see the construction site of Matthew Turner. No sooner had I entered the tent when the shipwright, Franz Baichl, hollered at me to help with planking. After the day’s work, he asked, “Ya coming back tomorrow?” I have been involved ever since.

Where do you come from and were you always involved with boats?

I’m from the old commercial fishing port of Gloucester, in Massachusetts. I have always considered myself a boat nut. Since childhood, I was interested in all things maritime, such as maritime history, the Navy, fishing, ship design and all kinds of sports associated with boating. As a teenager, I grew a deep affinity for boating while working on sport fishing boats, fishing for blue fin tuna. Boats would become my lifestyle.

What is your favorite task working on Matthew Turner, boat building or otherwise?

I love the diversity of projects here; however, I picked one type to attach myself to. I gravitated toward solitary projects such as braising or caulking. I also enjoy collecting and building new tools, which requires specialized skills such as metalworking, splicing, etc.

Is there anything specific you have learned while volunteering here?

I have a desire to learn and master things such as rigging and metalwork, like bronze welding. My first mentor was Newcomb Barger, a longtime volunteer who I enjoyed working with on the bowsprit project (see image on right). Following that, there was the caulking of the hull, when Allen Grose came aboard to lead that phase. Then, with Dan Higgins’ guidance, I transitioned to metalwork fabrication.
What is the next adventure for you? Do you have any sailing or travel plans?
I have my 100-ton license and plan to get the sailing endorsement so I can stay involved with the maritime industry. 
Special thanks to Stephen and Lauren Gertz for supporting our volunteers!

Peter MacInnis at Work
Peter McInnis