May 28, 2014 4:18 pm
Updated: May 28, 2014 7:38 pm

Former sea captain worries Bluenose II project veering off course

HALIFAX – A former sea captain who once sailed on the Bluenose II fears the re-build of the famous schooner is veering far off course.

Lou Boudreau professionally sailed schooners around the world for decades and has helped re-build schooners similar to the Bluenose. He even spent a year aboard the Bluenose II.

Lou Boudreau was 17 years old when he became a deckhand on the Bluenose II.

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“For me, the Bluenose is the stuff of dreams,” he said.

When he first heard about the Bluenose II project, Boudreau was thrilled.

“A wooden schooner is a very, very special thing,” he said.

Lou Boudreau kept his criticisms to himself, but after years of delays and high costs he is voicing his concerns about the problem-plagued project.

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“We’re at this crossroads. If the province accepts it, we own it. But we shouldn’t own it after pay $18 to $20 million unless it’s right,” he said.

“If things start to go wrong next year or the following year, I’m sorry you’ve bought it and you’re on the hook for the additional millions.”

Boudreau voiced concerns over the vessel’s stability and rudder but he was especially critical after Wednesday’s failed pre-sea trial. The province did not receive an American Bureau of Shipping, ABS, certificate to allow the vessel to leave the dock to the trial was cancelled.

EXTENDED INTERVIEW: Lou Boudreau sailed schooners around the world for more than 30 years. He speaks to Global’s Julia Wong about the problem-plagued Bluenose II project.

“You can’t blame it on ABS any more than you can blame it on your building inspector for not passing your house when you built it,” he said.

“If the schooner cannot leave the dock to go and do a toodle around the harbour, that would be pretty concerning to me.”

“The vessel could become a dockside tourist attraction and it may not sail, which would be tragic.”

Boudreau thinks the project has gone on for far too long. He says it needs to stop and be re-assessed.

“I feel so sad for it because it’s almost like an orphan, nobody wants it,” he said. “We need to go through it from A to B, from top to bottom.”

Despite his criticism, the former sea captain wants the vessel to be successful and wholeheartedly believes it can be fixed.

“We need to be buying something that’s a good wooden schooner called the Bluenose that has a rudder that turns and can sail. That’s fast. That’s what we’re paying for. That’s what we want. That’s what we deserve. It’s our schooner.”

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