Paula and the forecourse

The weather continues cold with wind driven rain. As a result we are all still indoors at work on various project related to the ship, our waterfront exhibit or the marine program. Like yesterday this weather gives me a chance to continue to introduce the maritime Artisans staff. Today’s featured artisan is our very own Paula Marcoux. Paula is a multi-talented women who tells me her favorite food is cherry tomatoes and her favorite bird is the black-capped chickadee.

Paula has had a long and varied career here at Plimoth Plantation. She worked as a costumed interpreter for many years in the colonial village, she managed the food-ways department for colonial interpretation and she is the go-to-gal if you want to know about beer. Whether you want to know about beer in the 17th century or beer in our modern times Paula knows quite a lot about beer.

She works with our rigger, John Reed, in the enormous task of maintaining and rebuilding the rig for Mayflower II. She has been involved in building our new suit of sails from the very beginning. We have six sails on the ship. In the past 6 years we have been building a new suit starting with the fore and main topsails. They constructed the mizzen sails next. The fore course sail, the biggest in area so far, needed a large open space in which it could be laid out. Paula arranged with a trustee to use a large open space, once used as a girls scout camp dining hall to lay out the sail.

In the above picture Paula is sewing the bolt rope to the linen canvas sail. All our sails are made of linen. The linen comes from England and is woven in two-foot wide panels. The panels are hand sewn together with waxed linen thread. The bolt rope is hemp, pre-stretched and hung up to assure everything lines up as it is sewn onto the sail.

Nat Wilson of East Booth bay, Maine made the old suit of sails we have in the 1980’s. He Came to Plymouth when we started work on the new suit, helped us lay out the first sail, and has been available by phone dispensing advice and encouragement since.

Sail training for the upcoming sail with start on May 15th. Paula is working hard to meet the deadline and have the new sail ready but we always have the old sail, weather beaten as it is, as a backup for training. Others, who we will meet in time, are also ready and able to help get our new suit of sails ready for July 22nd.

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