Family Boatbuilding

SAILBOATS for 4-H | The dedication ceremony for the 4-H boats at the Jamestown 4-H Center was held the afternoon of June 29, 2011. The idea for this project was conceived in January of 2010 when MMF learned that the Jamestown 4-H Center was planning to establish a sailing program as part of their camp offerings and was looking for a fleet of suitable sailboats. MMF had some boat kits left over from our Family Boat Building event, and so decided to partner with the Mathew 4-H to contact individuals, marinas, yacht clubs and the like to solicit “adoptions” to fund a fleet of six boats. The boat, a 10’ William Atkin design called the “Nymph” is a flat bottom hard chine boat quite suitable for kids learning to sail.

By September we had raised enough to fund three boats. The Piankatank Ruritan Club and the Mathews Yacht Club adopted a boat each; and contributions from individuals, marinas, and others were sufficient to fund a boat. In 2011, three of the six boats needed were built and delivered to the Jamestown Camp and were commissioned in a ceremony on June 29 of that year. In July of that year funding for two more boats was received from The J. Edwin Treakle Foundation and Dr. Timothy Catchings. A third boat, a “Nymph”, was donated by the Johnson family of Mathews who had purchased the boat built at our Family Boat Building event in 2008.  Construction of two new boats and restoration of the donated boat began in January of 2012. All three boats were delivered to the Camp in June in time for the first camp session of the summer.

This project highlights so many positives: youth and adults working together toward a common goal; volunteers creating opportunity for valuable educational programming for youth; small donations adding up to making a big difference; collaboration among organizations; benefits to youth beyond the classroom such as teamwork, problem solving, decision making, skill development, generosity and community service, quality control, and pride in work. Youth who build these boats will see their work and will be able to witness how their work is benefiting others when they attend camp. They will have an opportunity to leave a legacy.

Pictured are, from left, Pete Hall MMF Treasurer, Tony Lea Director Jamestown 4-H Center, and Nancy Roche Mathews Extension Agent.

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2009 SIX-HOUR CANOE | The 5th Annual Family Boatbuilding event was held Sat., Sept. 12, 2009, at the Foundation's Museum on Main St. in Mathews Courthouse. Family and friends were invited to build a boat together in a weekend, and then take it home. The event was open to anyone with the desire to build a boat with the help of a professional boat builder. The finished product is shown at right.

The boat chosen for this year's event was the Six-Hour Canoe. The canoe is the brainchild of Mike O'Brien, editor of "Boat Design Quarterly," from the publishers of Wooden Boat magazine. She is suitable as a personal boat. She is 15'3" in length with a beam of 31 1/2", and is constructed of 6mm marine grade occume 1088 plywood. She is light and easy to carry and handle, and was an ideal boat for an introduction to boat building.

The Six-Hour Canoe was in kit form with all pieces and parts pre-cut and ready for assembly. The kit was priced at $375.

Designer Mike O'Brien has this to say about his canoe: "Nothing, absolutely nothing, conveys the joy of being afloat so purely as a light paddling boat."

Photograph from the book Building the Six-Hour Canoe is used by permission of Tiller Publishing.

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2008 NYMPH SAILBOAT | The 4th Annual Family Boat Building event was held the weekend of Mathews Market Days, Sept. 5-7, 2008, at the Foundation’s Museum located at 482 Main St. in Mathews courthouse. Family and friends were invited to build a boat together in a weekend, and then take it home. The event was open to anyone with the desire to build a boat with the help of a professional boat builder.

With interest from adults and children in the county to learn to sail and the lack of boats on which to learn, the Foundation decided to offer a sailboat in kit form. It was hoped that families with children and parents interested in learning to sail might also enjoy building their own boat. There is nothing like the experience of building a boat and the pride of accomplishment one feels showing it to family and friends.

The chosen boat was a 10' sailing dinghy called a "Nymph." It is an adaptation of a boat designed by William Atkin in the 1930's. More pictures of the Nymph can be seen at atkinboatplans.com.

Members of the Foundation previously built a Nymph during the Gwynn’s Island Festival on June 28th of this year. The boat was in kit form with all pieces and parts pre-cut and ready for assembly. The kit was priced at $1250 and included the hull as well as the sail, spars, rigging hardware, dagger board, rudder, tiller, and two 6' oars with oarlocks.

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2007 PEACE CANOE | Our 3rd Annual Family Boat Building event was held on Saturday, June 30, 2007, at the site of the Gwynn's Island Festival.

The event was open to anyone with the desire to build a boat with the help of a professional boat builder. Family or even groups of friends were invited to build a boat together in one to two days, and then take it home with them.

The event stressed interaction and cooperation among participating families and groups. It's not ten families building ten boats but rather ten families seeing to it that ten boats get built. Family and group members developed a strong sense of pride in each other as they saw the value of each person's contribution to getting the task done.

This year's boat was the Chesapeake Light Craft "Peace Canoe." Designer John C. Harris says the peace canoe "is a fast and easy assembly. It's an excellent all-around canoe, stable but fast and easy to paddle and capable of carrying 600 pounds." The canoe was in kit form with all pieces and parts pre-cut and ready for assembly. The price of the kit was $695.

Find out more about this canoe at chesapeakelightcraft.com.

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2006 BEVINS SKIFF | The 2nd Annual Family Boat Building event was held in 2006, and as in the previous year, family and friends worked together with the help of a professional boat builder to build the Bevins skiff.

The 13 ft. flat bottom wooden skiff design was in kit form with all pieces and parts pre-cut and ready for assembly.

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2005 BEVINS SKIFF | Mathews Maritime Foundation's 1st Annual Family Boat Building event was held the week of July 17-24, 2005. This year's event was held in conjunction with Wooden Boat Magazine's 3rd Annual Family Boat Building Week.

Family and friends were invited to build a boat together in 2-3 days, and then take it home with them. Participants worked together with the help of a professional boat builder to build the Bevins skiff, a 13 ft. flat bottom wooden skiff design. The boat was in kit form with all pieces and parts pre-cut and ready for assembly.

If you would like to learn more about family boat building go to familyboatbuilding.com at Wooden Boat magazine.

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