Mhaighdean Mhara Dry Docks


Original Artist's Concept (it's changed...)

The Concept, the Need, the Desire...

Welcome to the Dock Yard! Here I will be chronicling the construction of the latest addition to the Drunken Mariner's physical Pennsic (and other Events) fleet: the Mhaighdean Mhara. The name is Gaelic for Mermaid. Took a couple of us six months to finally land on the name but everyone took too it.

We have attended the Society for Creative Anachronism's (or SCA) largest annual event for 18 years now. This two week 'camping' event sees between 9,000 to 12,000 members essentially convert a public campground into a private medieval town. While there people stay in everything from basic one person dome tents to massive, elaborate homes that can't even leave the site. Some of these Homes are built on trailers to be movable and provide a solid, dry, comfortable place to stay.

The wife and I have moved through a variety of evolving residences over the 18 years. From the lowly days in a nylon Hilary tent, then a screen house with canvas sides, then adding wooden floors, then adding a second screen house with floors for a two room abode and most recently upgrading four years ago to a Panther Pavilion measuring 22' x 13' with wooden floors (floors = comfort).

And now, after camping with several other Pennsic Homes (Rae's Vardo, Darren's Bowtop, and Max's Ship) and years of quiet preparation and study the time has come to complete my trip to insanity and also build a home on wheels......

Join me, in the journey to build a Pennsic Home!


La Couronne, circa 1638

The Design

I began with an idea of the type of ship - something majestic and mighty would do nicely - I am The Captain of this Crew after all - and thought about any specific features I wanted. Oddly enough, the main feature I was fixated on was the bow shape. When you ask most people to draw a ship you will get a high, curving bow right to the top of the deck. Admittedly very pretty and classic. I however have always loved the 'flat front with a beak' look of the galleon.

So there it was, but what type? There were scores of galleons and styles throughout history. I needed a shape that would lend itself to being proportionally shrunk from 150 feet to 16 to 18 or so which meant the more squat, fat guppy styles were top of list. I landed on a combination of a few but generally the French Galleon Couronne formed the nucleus of the Mhara's design with some blending in of the Golden Hind (both seen to the left).

Of course, the final trailer ship will not perfectly mimic these majestic and stunning real vessels but I believe that the general form I am working toward will make a reasonable facsimile.


The Golden Hind

I will post another Artist's Rendition once it is complete, but with recent sizing changes and other design requirements the most current look is actually much more "shippy" and has a more natural 'line' than the original concept art shown in the first panel above.

Overall the Mhara will be eight foot abeam and seven and a half keel to deck. She will measure 18 feet fore to aft at the keel and 20 feet at deck level. This should provide a raw square footage of approximately 144 square feet, though we realize that things like the built in cabinets, closets, and other structural features will reduce this space - possibly down to the 110 to 125 square foot range.

She'll have the three masts and the bowsprit as galleons should have, though I believe I prefer the full square rigged look of the Couronne over the lateen aft sail.

The aft castle will be interesting, however at this point I suspect it will likely be more structural facade than permanent structure. Obviously this will aid in travel as it will reduce wind resistance.


Contact the Captain!