Chris Morejohn: Carving Wood and Wind

I had the pleasure of Skyping with Chris Morejohn for an hour or two yesterday, catching up on his evolving life story.   Even if you’ve never heard of Chris, you’ve benefited from his perspicacity.  He was the leading force in the use of foam core and in progressive styles of  hull lay-up in the early 1980s, and his designs influenced most of what we’ve come to know as the “technical skiff” concept.

Chris is going to be detailing his experiences as a skiff designer and boat builder on Skiff Republic in the coming months, but meanwhile I thought I’d share a little of what he’s been doing from his Bahamas base.    Chris’s carved wooden eels–created from found wood–are really stunning.  They’re finished with various stains and have the wood grain still visible under a glossy varnish. “Mouths with metal teeth are open as an eel would have naturally as it breathes.”

Carved wooden eels, by Chris Morejohn, on Etsy.

Carved wooden eels, by Chris Morejohn, on Etsy.

One other aside: Chris and I got into a long discussion about sailboats and skiffs.  Chris’s core business has long been custom sailboat design, and I suggested that there was a close connection between sailing and driving and poling skiffs.  “No question,” he said.  “You’re really sailing a skiff when you are poling it.  You’re tacking according to the wind direction, and almost everything you do is influenced by which way the wind is blowing and how hard.  They are very, very similar ideas.”