Monday, August 25, 2008

Lance Lee and Lansing Madura

I had the opportunity to meet Lance Lee twice this month, and to see the Indonesian fishing boat Lansing Madura, the building of which came about as an offshoot of Lance's Tremolino! project. Lance had the boat on display at the Maine Boats Homes & Harbors show in Rockland, Maine, and at a lecture at the new Sail, Power & Steam Museum, which is busy a-birthing, also in Rockland.

Lance has been at the forefront of the movement to merge boats with experiential education for decades. The founder the The Apprenticeshop and Atlantic Challenge, he is now involved in something he calls "The Tremolino! Project." This is actually a related series of projects that Lance chooses not to turn into a formal organization. Drawing inspiration from educator Kurt Hahn and author Joseph Conrad, Lance uses boatbuilding and seamanship as vehicles to teach self-reliance and internationalism, and to crusade against youth's propensity to prefer virtual reality over the real stuff.

Lansing Madura is a Java Sea fishing gole'an. She was built in Indonesia over the course of about six weeks by one of the few remaining native builders of this type of craft and members of his community, assisted and inspired by one of Lance's proteges, Brian McClellan, also associated with
Atlantic Challenge. The boat was built entirely with hand tools, with the objective of helping to revive the use of traditional boats to rebuild the local fishing fleets.

She is built entirely of teak in a shell construction method -- i.e., from the outside in. Virtually no metal fastenings were used -- she is pegged together. The most modern technology involved in her construction was the use of a come-along to pull the plank edges tight against each other. She uses a crab-claw rig with a good sized mainmast and a very small foremast -- I suppose you might call her a crab claw schooner?


  1. Bob, thats an interesting boat, and I love the idea of a crab claw schooner! Could you get a bigger photo?

    Wasn't (isn't) the apprenticeshop in rockport?

  2. Hi Thomas,
    I wasn't able to get a bigger photo, but one exists in an article about Lance Lee on the Maine Boats Homes & Harbors site, here:
    Go to #10 in the slideshow.
    The Apprenticeshop was indeed in Rockport, Maine, many years ago; it's now part of Atlantic Challenge in Rockland, the next town down the coast.

  3. I have a 1986 pamphlet by Lance about Rockport and Atlantic Challenge available on Specialist Auctions just now. The url is