Stewiacke cousins complete ocean voyage on wooden schooner

via The Chronicle Herald

Two cousins from Stewiacke sailed into the Halifax Harbour this weekend after five months on a wooden schooner that took them five years to build.

The Katie Belle was carried into the harbour by a light breeze from the east Saturday. The 24-metre schooner glided past the Bluenose II in full sail, capping off what Evan Densmore describes as the perfect ending to a long journey.

Evan and Nick Densmore began five years ago when they decided to build a wooden schooner without any prior experience. They followed through with their idea without the help from any consultants.

“The way I had it pictured in my mind was the way it played out,” Evan said Sunday.

The crew was welcomed home by hundreds of cheering family and friends, many of whom travelled from their hometown of Stewiacke to show their appreciation.

“Nick and I built the boat, but our whole community really backed us up when it came to launching it,” said Evan.

Their voyage began this past winter when they launched their boat in Stewiacke — the first ocean trip to be launched in the river for more than a century. Their trip took them to New Brunswick for three weeks, then across the Gulf of Maine to what Evan calls “lobster Massachusetts.” After a few days they took the Cape Cod canal to New York, Virginia and ended in Charleston, S.C.

On the way home from Charleston, the Densmore cousins got to run under sail for days without the noise or fumes of an engine. “We spent four days with no engines on, just the nice sail,” he said.

Evan said the only snags came during some rough weather along the Gulf of Maine.

But all the sea sickness was forgotten when the crew arrived in New York City for what he calls “a surreal moment.” They sailed through the East River at night by the way of big snowflakes and bright city lights.

They anchored just off of Ellis Island that night and woke to the Statue of Liberty illuminated by the sun rise.

“It hits you all at once that you’re in the middle of New York City in your boat that you built,” said Evan.

If he had to do it all over again, he wouldn’t really do anything differently. Well, except shorten the building time by a few years. “Five years is a long time to put into a project,” he said.

That being said, the Densmores’ determination and dedication showed what can happen when you follow through with something you love.

Evan’s advice: “Stick to what you want to do and your beliefs, and just have lots of fun with it.”

Original publish date: Jun. 13, 2016

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