The violin confused me.
Clearly I had entered a sacred space. A vessel's shell ran the length of a large open bay with parts and pieces and tool stations everywhere, filled with wood smell. It's an interesting world that has always fascinated me. Building a boat. Preparing for water.
Until a couple of months ago I'd never met David Stimson. I'd seen his work and admired a good friend's boat, that David built, often moored on Back River.
David has been around here for a long time, partly at Sample's, now Boothbay Harbor Shipyard. During his tenure there, a well documented endeavor, restoring Alera, was most memorable. Alera, NY 30 hull #1, was designed by Nathaniel Herreshoff, a nautical God — David oversaw its salvation.
I knew David's stepdad, Dr. Robert Guillard, from Bigelow Lab. An extensive collection housed at Bigelow, was dedicated to Dr. Guillard and Dr. Luigi Provosoli for their pioneering work in the area of marine phytoplankton. I didn't know Dr. Guillard and David were “related.” David's mother, Ruth Guillard, is a longtime, highly regarded director at Midcoast Transcendental Meditation.
There is much art and ingenuity in David's past. He is well known throughout the New England boating community for his design and craft. His accomplishments are legion. But I must admit shock when he dusted off a case well covered by sawdust and surrounded by machines, to reveal a beautifully handcrafted, from local woods, violin.
It's shape did recall lines of Alera. Perhaps this could be the future of boatbuilding for David — miniature transoms and well defined intricate joinery.
Our region is rich with the heritage of boats. David is leaving his mark in more ways than one.