Few books I have written have required such in-depth research as ‘Into the Shade’. This is where historical fiction comes into its own and as an author something I take immense pride and pleasure in doing.
‘Into the Shade’ is set in 1914, immediately prior to WWI and features a segment on a 73-foot yawl. For non-sailing people, this is a sailboat with two masts and a rudder post forward of the rear mast. In my story, the sailboat is called Mana, and is loosely based on a very real boat called Chubasco.
Convenient for me, Chubasco is undergoing a massive re-fit, and parts of her that hadn’t seen daylight in almost 80 years were being replaced. I took the opportunity to study Chubasco during various stages of this lengthy and expensive process and was very fortunate to talk to the craftsman performing the work. It isn’t every day you see a wooden-hulled classic boat receiving this kind of attention.
Today the last plank or ‘Whiskey Plank’, was attached to the hull, and true to nautical tradition it was deemed a special occasion and an excuse to celebrate with a shot of whiskey. The last plank even has ‘Whiskey Plank’ stencilled across it, although only visible for a short time before the hull is sanded and painted.