Tag Archives: Nautical Research Guild

Back from the NRG Conference

This year’s Nautical Research Guild Conference was held in Mystic, Connecticut, and I managed to go through the aid of my ship modeler friend Jack Lindley and ship modeler distributor Ages of Sail. Jack let me bunk in the spare bed in his room and Ages of Sail flew me out there, so I just paid for basic registration and some expenses. Of course, I had to work much of the conference, which can be a drag. But, it’s better to work at the vendor table at the NRG conference than to miss the whole thing entirely.

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Vendor room and model display

This year, I made sure to take some time out to make it to the talk on Japanese Wooden Boatbuilding by Douglas Brooks. If you’ve been on my blog site here, you’re probably already aware of his work and about his book on the subject, which came out only a few months ago. We’ve been in communication for more than a year and I’m the one who connected him with the conference organizers. We’ve been emailing back and forth a little about the content of the talk and what might be of interest to the attendees.

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Japanese boat models brought by Douglas Brooks which were made by his teacher.

While the subject matter is very interesting, neither one of us was sure just how much ship modelers would be interested. But, the talk was very well received. It was truly fascinating and I heard many people telling Douglas that it was the best talk of the conference. In the end, it sounded like a very successful event for him, and he managed to sell quite a few books as well. He was even invited to give his talk to the Mystic Seaport staff the same afternoon.

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Later on, he and I sat down for dinner and had a nice long chat. Turns out that we had to talk about being about the same age, having both lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, both being involved with the San Francisco Maritime National Park and having life connections in Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara, and of course, both having experiences traveling to Japan, particularly rural Japan. He also had some revealing stories about being a westerner facing bias while trying to study and preserve disappearing Japanese craftsmanship. Some very interesting stuff that he mentions in his book.

Beyond this, the Conference was also attended by fellow ship modelers from the South Bay Model Shipwrights club of Los Altos, CA. It was nice to see their familiar faces there, though I felt bad not being able to spend more time with them. Between working the vendor table all day and trying to spend some time meeting up with people that I only see once a year, at most, I felt like I was ignoring my friends. Hopefully, they understand and spent time getting to know the many other people from around the country that were in attendance.

Finally, I had a nice, but embarrassing moment from the dinner banquet, as they announced the winners of the Photographic Ship Model Competition. The first thing that came up on the screen when they started talking about the winners was my Mary Taylor model. That was just a warm up handing me a blue ribbon, which many people get for their work. The next one was the actual award winner, my Privateer Lively model, which got me a bronze medal in the Journeyman category. This is the lowest of the six awards given in the competition, and I was very honored to receive it, particularly given the tremendous ship modeling skills of the competition and the members in attendance that night.

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New York Pilot Schooner Mary Taylor, 1850. This is a scratch built plank-on-solid-hull model based primarily on plans from BlueJacket.

This is my model of the Private Armed Schooner Lively, 1813. It is a scratch-build based on kit plans from the old North River Scale Model company. Maybe I'll enter it finally this year.

This is my model of the Private Armed Schooner Lively, 1813. It is a scratch-build based on kit plans from the old North River Scale Model company. Winner of the Bronze Medal in the Journeyman category of this year’s NRG Photographic Ship Model Competition.

After recovering from awkwardly standing at the front, not really knowing how these things went, I finally wandered back to my seat with supportive congratulations from my South Bay friends and the folks at my table. Was nice. Awkward, but nice. And, while still in shock, I saw that Paul Reck, who heads our group, Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights in San Francisco, won the silver medal in the same category. So, we should have a nice celebratory meeting or two in November.

The Conference ended on Saturday and I came home on Sunday. It was a rotten flight set with two separate flight delays, losing my preferred seating assignment, and making back to SFO and hopping aboard the last BART train with literally 3 minutes to spare.

It was a great conference experience, but it’s good to be home and back to ship modeling! Ω

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2014 NRG Conference in St. Louis, MO, Oct 16-18

Next week is the Nautical Research Guild conference. It’s in St. Louis this year and I actually get to go. This will be only the second NRG conference I’ve attended. My first was the one held in the San Francisco Bay Area back in 2011, I think it was. I only made it to that one because it was local. The one in St. Louis will be my first one that’s out of the area, as most of them are. However, I managed to get the trip paid for by the ship model distributor and store Ages of Sail.

As I’ve mentioned before here, I’ve been doing some work helping them out as they’re right down the road in the East Bay in San Lorenzo, CA. I basically told the owner I’d be willing to help him out with the business if he sends me to the conference. He agreed, so I’m flying out of SFO a week from tomorrow. Of course, I’m going to be working there, but it’s a 3-day conference, so I should have plenty of time to meet up with ship modeling friends and acquaintances. I’m told that it shouldn’t be a problem to pop in on a seminar or two, so I’ll target a couple and catch what I can.

The NRG is a good organization and I encourage all ship modelers to support it. You don’t have to be a member to attend, but I believe members receive some kind of discount. You can visit the NRG site for information about the Technical and General sessions and Round Table discussions: http://www.thenrg.org/2014-nrg-ship-model-convention.php

I believe we’re past the date for getting hotel discounts (the event is at the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel), so you might need to find accommodations to fit your budget, but you should still be able to register for the conference itself.

 

The Nautical Research Guild and Model Ship World Team Up

Last week, the Nautical Research Guild sent out an announcement that it had acquired the ship modeling forum Model Ship World. At the same time, notices were posted on MSW announcing the merger, as they called it. Now, the site is officially called The NRG’s Model Ship World.214497643.jpg

The only details I’ve seen regarding the new relationship is that the NRG will fund any shortfall in the sites fundraising operation, and any surplus MSW funding will go to the NRG. MSW members will automatically become associate members of the NRG. Free membership with MSW gets any benefits of NRG membership, but won’t receive the Nautical Research Journal.

Model Ship Word is a very active forum with a large membership, and already, MWS members are becoming more aware of the NRG and some have responded that they are now signing up for full membership. That’s a very good thing for the NRG. This also gives the NRG a stronger web presence, which it has sorely been lacking and will perhaps encourage it’s regular members to become more active and networked.

Reactions of MSW members are very good. But, MSW members tend to not speak out against actions of the site’s administrators, as on a site like this, people do tend to dog-pile on dissenters. Still, this will probably work out very well for MSW and offer more opportunities to learn and share the art of ship modeling.

Personally, I’m already a member of both, but I think this will end up encouraging me to do more on the NRG’s MSW site. I currently maintain a blog on my USS Saginaw model there, though it hasn’t been updated very quickly lately. I may end up moving or starting another blog there soon. They do tend to encourage you to make progress on your projects.

And here’s my own personal plug for The Nautical Research Guild. This is a great organization that encourages ship modeling. You don’t have to be an expert ship modeler to be a member, nor do you have to be a scratch builder. I joined as a beginner back in the 90’s and found tremendous inspiration in the pages of the Journal. And now, they have a mentorship program if you want someone to help you along, and will soon be hosting webinars and more. So, join today if you haven’t already done so.