Mathews Maritime Foundation
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Family Boatbuilding - Current Projects

The Family Boatbuilding Program is open to anyone with the desire to build a boat with the help of a professional boat builder. Families or groups are invited to build together. Boatbuilding projects emphasize interaction and cooperation. Participants develop a strong sense of pride in each other, seeing the value of each person's contribution to getting the task done. It's not ten families building ten boats but rather ten families seeing to it that ten boats get built.

Sawing out new floor boards for big skiff.

Hollowing out an oar blade with a cabinet scraper.

Prepping the Dyer dinghy for paint.

Fairing out the hull on the 12-foot skiff.

9AM Fri. & Sat., Gwynn's Island Boat Shop

We have ongoing boat restoration/repair and boat building projects at the Boat Shop on Gwynn’s Island. Come and have a look. The boat shop is currently open Friday and Saturday mornings from about 9 am to noon. A new skiff build is just starting. If you like what you see and want to take up a tool and help out you’d be more than welcome to do so.

If you are not ready to actually help out at this time, and just want to watch, learn and then participate later, that is fine too. This is an easy way to gain skills in boat repair/restoration without signing up for a formal class.

We welcome experienced boat repair hands as well as those interested in learning. There are always more boats needing repairs than skilled people to fix them. This is a great opportunity to take part in these projects and also to bring along any middle school or high school students who might like to learn these skills. Please pass this info on to others in the boating community who you think might be interested.

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Shown here deck covering going on the Old-Town Skiff in the background, and lofting for a new 12-foot skiff in the foreground.

The restored rowing dory, just in time for the Islander Regatta, a 9-mile circumnavigation of Gwynn's Island, Virginia, taking place June 24, 2023.
Visit their website for event info.

This ongoing project in the boatshop is a custom-designed playground skiff for Grace Church in Gloucester. The finished boat will have a small cabin.

New Dynel and epoxy covering being applied to the Old Town White Cap sailing skiff.
A sister-ship, “Tinkerbelle”, crossed the Atlantic in 1965. Click here to see the Tinkerbelle on
You Tube logo.

New project begins... Carolyn pictured with the components to a “Salt” rowing and sailing skiff. The boat will be 12’ when completed and all the pieces have mostly come from one sheet of plywood. A cardboard model is shown on top of the parts for the full-size skiff.

The Playground Skiff is nearing completion, installing trim and applying final paint, and the 12-foot Salt Skiff has pieces joined together and the frames cut and beveled. A new set of 7 1/2 – foot oars have been dimensioned and lined off for the first cuts.

The guys are repainting a cargo hatch for the Peggy in preparation for this year's Heritage Festival on the 30th of Sept.

Meet the Miss Grace, now installed at Grace Church playground in Gloucester, and built by the Gwynn’s Island Boat Shop volunteers.

Work continues in the boat shop on a 16-foot skiff in need of a new bottom and planking, and, above, dry-fitting the bottom on Carolyn’s 12-foot skiff.

Mike continues to chop away at the oars. Meanwhile, Peggy is sitting pretty in the October sun.

Today in the boat shop, Francis is at work restoring his Dyer Dinghy, installing new rub rails and frames.

Garboard repairs continue on the Big Skiff, a new garboard was milled to shape and set up for the final fit.

Carolyn tried out new “cornering irons” to round the edges on the rails and keel of the 12-foot skiff.

Mike continued the 8-siding shaping for a new set of oars.

Mathews Maritime Museum
482 Main St.
Mathews, VA 23109

Fridays & Saturdays, 10am-2pm

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(804) 725-4444


Mailing address:

Mathews Maritime Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 1201
Mathews, VA 23109-1201

Gwynn's Island Boat Shop

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