Section 1 – Basics
Who is building Matthew Turner?
Call of the Sea, is a public benefit 501(c)(3), non-profit, educational organization, which was founded in 1985 by Alan Olson.
Why are we building this ship?
To provide additional student capacity to our Marine Educational programs which provides hands-on experiential learning such as sailing, navigation, teamwork, ecology and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics). Our programs are designed to engage students in their local waters and inspire environmental stewardship.
Today the 82’ staysail schooner Seaward takes 4,000 young people per year sailing in San Francisco Bay. When complete, Matthew Turner will increase Call of the Sea’s capacity to 15,000 students each year.
How much will it cost and how is the project funded?
$6.5 M. We are mostly funded by donations and have raised $5.5 million thus far. Most donations are from individuals and range from $5.00 to over a million. No government funding is involved.
Volunteers donate 75% of the labor. Thus far, volunteers have logged almost 150,000 hours.
When did we begin and when will she be finished?
Construction began October 2013 and Matthew Turner was launched April 1, 2017.
Click to see the Construction Timeline.
We hope to ready for students by Fall 2018.
How did you get her in the water?
Bigge Construction will lift her onto a large custom moving dolly that will then be moved 400 yards to Army Corps of Engineers dock. The dolly, with Matthew Turner, will then be gently backed down the ramp an into the water at high tide.
Cranes will later be used to set Matthew Turner’s mast and bowsprit.
What age students will sail on Matthew Turner?
Our educational programs are primarily designed for young people 12 years old and up. We use credentialed educators, who provide accredited learning experiences.
How many students will be onboard each day trip? Tuition?
$40, scholarships are available
Will adults will also have sailing opportunities?
Yes. Periodically there will be day sails, sunset cruises and overnights. Matthew Turner will also be available for charters.
Occasionally there will be long distance, adventure travel cruises, to and from such destinations as Mexico, Hawaii and Tahiti.
Who will crew the Matthew Turner?
There will be a professional crew of 8, including a USCG licensed Captain and a USCG licensed Mate. There will be a Volunteer Crew Program where individuals, after being trained, tested and certified, will be able to serve as crew aboard Matthew Turner.
How many berths are there?
38, including 8 for the captain and crew.
Is Matthew Turner a replica?
No, but she is based on Matthew Turner’s brigantine Galilee.
Does she have cannons or a figurehead?
No, because these features were not characteristic of Matthew Turner’s ships.
No pirates, no mock naval battles
Section 2 – History
Why is the name of our ship Matthew Turner?
Matthew Turner (1825-1909) was a San Francisco sea captain, marine architecture and shipbuilder. He constructed 228 vessels, of which 154 were built in his shipyard in Benicia. He built more sailing vessels than any other single shipbuilder in America, and can be considered the ‘granddaddy’ of big time wooden shipbuilding on the Pacific Coast.
The hull of Matthew Turner’s ships were exactly the opposite of what was the customary at that time, being long and sharp forward, lean and full on the waterline aft. Despite the predictions of skeptics that his ships would dive and pitch into the water, resulting in a very wet ride. his ships turned out to be very fast, stable and commercially successful.
On her maiden voyage, the Galilee set a record of 21 days for the return trip from Tahiti. The brigantiene Galilee (the ship Matthew Turner is modeled after) was designed and built in 1891. She started on the packet line between San Francisco and Tahiti and was reckoned a very fast ship. In 1905 she was chartered by the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism and converted into a magnetic observatory. She was beached in Sausalito in 1936, where, at low tide, her keel and remnants of her frames may still be seen. Turner also built some of the fastest racing yachts in the world, proven out during the famous races sponsored by the San Francisco Yacht Club, of which Turner was a charter member. Lurline, one of the most famous Turner yachts, built for William Matson, won three of the first four San Pedro-Honolulu yacht races (precursors of the modern day Transpac races).
Section 3 – Design and Construction
What are the dimensions of Matthew Turner?
Length = 132′ overall, 100′ on-deck
Beam (width) = 25′
Draft (depth below waterline) = 10′
Mast height = 100′ off the water
Displacement (weight) = 175 tons
Lead ballast = 86,000 lbs.
What is a brigantine?
A brigantine is a sailing vessel with two masts; the main mast is aft and is slightly the taller of the two.
The foremast is a fully square rigged, while the mainmast is rigged fore-and-aft with a main sail and ring tail.
What about Matthew Turner’s sails?
She will have 11 sails, for a total of 7,200 sq ft. of sail area.
Her sails are be made of a modern fabric.
How were the frames (ribs) made?
Thin strips of Douglas fir were coated with epoxy resin and clamped into forms. 43 different forms were used, twice each, to custom-make 86 total frames.
Resin laminations, which are many times stronger and more durable than wood alone, were used in Matthew Turner’s bowsprit, masts, booms, yards, deckhouses, transom, stem and keel.
How are the frames attached to the keel?
By custom-made 3/8 inch bronze plates (one for each frame) attached with silicon bronze bolts.
How big are the planks? How are they bent? How are they fastened to the frames?
Planks are 3 inches thick, width varies from 6 to 18 inches and Length varies from 14 feet to 46 feet. Altogether they are almost a mile long.
Planks are precisely measured and shaped to fit snuggly onto the frames. When ready they are hung on the hull temporarily with straps. Next a plastic sleeve is fitted over and clamped at both ends. Steam is then forced into the bags for 3 to 4 hours.
When the hot plank is pliable, the bag is cut off and the plank forced into it’s new shape using clamps, wedges, sledgehammers and brute force. It is fastened temporarily onto the frames with lag screws. The crew has about 15 minutes to bend and fasten a plank (sometimes twisting as much as 90 degrees) before it cools and becomes unworkable.
After cooling, the new plank is drilled and screwed with 6-inch custom-made bronze lag screws ($10 each – we are using 9,000). The counter sunk screw holes are then filled with epoxy resin and a wooden plug. Oak butt blocks with bronze nuts & bolts are used to fasten planks to one-another.
Is a Naval Architect involved? What about the Coast Guard?
Yes. Andrew Davis, Naval Architect, Tri-Coastal Marine, Pt. Richmond, CA. Architectural drawings of the ship are offered for sale to donors.
Because Matthew Turner is a commercial passenger vessel, her construction is carefully inspected by the US Coast Guard to ensure compliance with every construction and safety regulation.
What kind of wood is she built from?
90% Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Douglas fir
We harvested and milled about 100 second growth trees that are about 100 years old.
The trees were sustainably harvested from the Big River Watershed, Mendocino.
We are replanting 10,000 Douglas Fir seedlings to replenish the forest
10% FSC Oregon White Oak
Used where extra strength is needed; such as butt blocks, mast collars, samson post, etc.
Will Matthew Turner have motors?
Yes. We are installing a hybrid regenerative system that will have two, 200-kilowatt electric motors to propel the ship. Each with adjustable propellers, separate 45-kwh lithium batteries banks through which all ships electrical needs are supplied.
When at the dock, the batteries will charge from the Bay Model’s solar energy system.
The twin props will “freewheel” when sailing and generate electricity to charge the batteries.
For longer passages two 150 hp bio-diesels will charge batteries as needed allowing a 2500 mile range with half of the fuel supply.
What can you tell us about the ship’s wheel?
Six feet in diameter – made of mahogany, holly and oak.
Believed to be about 150 years old, from the New York waterfront (ship unknown). Donated by a volunteer.
Will there be modern electronic navigation and communication tools onboard?
Yes. GPS, chart plotter, depth sounder, radar, AIS, VHF radios, SSB radio, satellite phone.
What other equipment will be onboard?
All USCG required safety equipment.
De-salinization water maker, freezer, washer dryer, all-electric galley appliances, hot water heater, electric windlass, bow thruster.
Scientific gear and educational materials.
Asking For Donations
Be genuine and authentic.
Donors want to give to an organization they can believe in. Communicate your sincerity during the donation appeal.
When people ask, “How much will the ship cost?” is a good time to ask for their help with funding.
Most donations are small, but we do have some generous large donors who like to see evidence that the project gets broad support from the whole community. On the low end, we have one donor who sends us $5.00 every month!
Explain what the funds will go toward. People don’t just throw money at nothing. Tell them their donations are needed to help build the ship so that we can provide educational opportunities for young people.
Give every visitor a postcard, newsletter and, most importantly, a donation envelope. Ask for their support.
If you sense that a donor is going to be particularly generous ($100 or more), introduce them to Alan or Meghan. Pass out business cards.
Say thank you more than once. Gratitude is one of the most important components of fundraising. Make sure your donors are aware of your appreciation.
Encourage people to sign-up for our email list so we can send them our newsletter
We need help with Construction, Food Preparation, Events, and Fund Raising. There’s a job for everyone!
Volunteer perks include:
New friends, good fellowship, good karma
Free lunch and happy hour
25% off in gift shop
Appreciation Day sailing aboard Seaward
Section 4 – Glossary
Ballast – material (in our case, 86,000 lbs. of lead) that is used to provide stability to a sailing vessel. The ballast is below the water level, to counteract the effects of force (wind in sails) and weight above the water level.
Belay – to fasten a line by winding around a belaying pin inserted in a pin rail so that both ends of the pin are clear. Also, to cease (an action); to stop: to ignore (an announcement, order, etc.)
Belaying Pin – a solid wooden device used on traditionally rigged sailing vessels to secure lines of running rigging.
Berth – a bunk or bed on a ship.
Bilge – The bilge is the lowest part of a ship where the bottom curves up to meet the sides. The water that collects there is called bilge-water.
Boom – the horizontal spar at the foot of a sail
Bow – front end of a vessel.
Bowsprit – the spar projecting from the bow of a sailing vessel, used for fastening standing rigging and holding the tacks of various jibs.
Bulkhead – steel wall constructions inside a vessel, forming watertight compartments, subdividing space, and strengthening the structure.
Bulwark – planking above the shear plank enclosing the perimeter of the weather deck for the protection of persons and objects on deck.
Butt Block – a strong support used for joining planks on the inside of the hull.
Ceilings – a planked lining applied for structural reasons to a inside of frames. Historically used to protect the planking from cargo that may have broken loose during a storm. (What a landlubber might call the ceiling, is called the overhead aboard ship)
Floor – a strong bronze bracket that fastens the frames to the keel.
Frames – ribs that are transverse bolted to the keel. Frames support the hull and give the ship its shape and strength. Planks are fastened to frames.
Halyards – lines used to hoist and lower sails.
Hawser – a heavy rope used for mooring or towing.
Hawes Fairlead – bronze fittings that protect openings in the bulwarks for the hawsers.
Keel – the central fore-and-aft structural member in the bottom of a hull, extending from the stem to the sternpost and having the floors or frames attached to it, at right angles: projecting from the bottom of the hull to provide stability.
Overhead – that which is above you when down below (called a “ceiling” when not on a ship).
Pin Rail – a strong rail at the side of the deck of a vessel, for holding the belaying pins to which some of the running rigging is belayed.
Plank – the individual boards which make up the hull.
Port Side – left side of a vessel
Rudder – the vertical blade at the stern of the ship that is turned horizontally by the ship’s wheel to change the vessel’s direction when in motion.
Running Rigging – polyester lines used to hoist sails (halyards) and control sail shape (sheets).
Samson Post – the strong post near the bow that secures the bowsprit.
Scupper – openings in the bulwarks which permit sea water to quickly drain from the deck of the ship.
Sheets – lines used to control sail shape.
Shutter Strake – the final stake of planks that “shuts” the hull.
Sole – that which is under your feet when down below on a ship (called a “floor” when not on a ship)
Spars – stout poles such as masts, yards, booms and bowsprit
Standing Rigging – fixed, rigging which supports the masts. Made from steel braided cable that is tarred and custom spliced for our ship.
Starboard Side – right side of a vessel
Staysail Schooner – a sailing vessel with fore-and-aft sails on two masts, the foremast being shorter than the mainmast.
Stem – The stem is the most forward part of the ship’s bow and is an extension of the keel itself.
Stern Post – the central upright structure at the stern of the ship, which bears the rudder.
Strake – a line of planks around a ship.
Transom – the flat surface forming the stern of a vessel.
Yard – a cylindrical spar, tapering to each end, slung across a ship’s mast for a sail to hang from.
Yardarm – the ends of the yards.
Whiskey Plank – the final plank placed on the hull. Traditionally celebrated by shipwrights with shots of whiskey.