Finding Cecil Heisler

Greetings, Jed here!

2018 has arrived and it is time to pick up where we left off! 46 North is resting on the hard in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, protected under shrink-wrap, patiently waiting for springtime to arrive! Spring is when she will splash and make her way over to Lutwick’s to be hauled into the shop on a marine railway system. That is when the restoration will really gain headway! Currently Bill has a beautiful wooden sailboat in his shop getting a restoration of her own! We are next on the list at Lutwick’s and can’t wait!!!

So let’s rewind a bit, back to finding Cecil Heisler! Being a lover of the ocean and everything to do with boating I was already familiar with the name Heisler! As a child summering on Second Peninsula in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia I grew up with the ocean and boats as my backyard! I can remember fondly the Wooden Boat Festival, an event every summer in Mahone Bay. This was a multi day event celebrating the tradition of wooden boats! Nova Scotia has a rich history of wooden boat building and the Canadian Bluenose, a wooden schooner was built just a few miles from our family cottage on the waterfront in Lunenburg! Being a child it was a blast to zip over to Mahone Bay for the festival in my little runabout with a 9.9 hp Evinrude! It was then, as a young child that I was drawn to the classic lines of the Cape Islander, also know as a Downeaster. With very distinct lines, a high step up bow, and powerful stout look, what’s not to love about these classic boats! They took fishermen safely to sea in every kind of weather and they are well known for their sea keeping abilities! These boats are at home on the sea, built by hand, crafted of wood, designed with impeccable care and hours of love. When you see a Cape Islander underway parting the sea, hearing the diesel pushing her along, it is an impressive sight!

Cecil (the builder of 46 North) and Jed…  A new new friendship begins!

Heisler was a name anyone who had anything to do with boating in Lunenburg knew well. My father took me to Giffords Island where the boat shop was (where 46 North was built) back when I was a child during one of the Wooden Boat Festivals. Many years later, knowing Cecil had retired and was no longer building boats I wanted to meet him in person. I was so eager to learn more about 46 North from the builder himself! While meeting with Bill Lutwick for the first time at his shop, I was given Cecil’s phone number! After leaving Lutwicks I gave Cecil a ring and he agreed to meet Amy and I! Just a short drive from Lutwick’s we pulled up to Cecil’s house very excited to hear what he had to say!!!

Jed & Cecil reviewing pictures of the current condition of 46 North.

Cecil was a bit unsure of why Amy and I were so eager to meet, yet we started talking in his driveway and he quickly warmed up knowing how excited we were about the possibility of purchasing 46 North! I shared the detailed pictures I had, and it clearly brought him down memory lane! He began to share intimate details of how the boat was built, how the owners wanted her to have no detail overlooked or expense spared. He explained that the design was his fathers, and many a fisherman loved that hull design. It was a wonderful conversation leading to a tour of his small boat shop above his garage where he was building a beautiful rowing boat! It was the beginning of a new special friendship! Talking with Cecil was just what I needed to confirm purchasing 46 North and bringing her home to Nova Scotia for repairs was indeed what I wanted to do!

Cecil (now retired) proudly showing his current wooden boat project.  A true master boat builder!


Posted by Jed



3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Living on the Gulf Coast so many things are different yet so many are the same. My wife Cindy and I made our first visit to Maine last year and were in awe at some of the beautiful wooden boats we saw.
    I started reading at your most recent post but now I’m hooked. Like you I have loved the sea since my first memories of my fathers Chris Craft. Constellation.
    I am excited to follow you and Amy on this journey!

    Liked by 1 person

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