In the last quarter of the 20th century St. Mary’s County Maryland still had outhouses, tobacco farms, fishing villages and plantations. One of the last live radio stations in America carried the only available daily news. There were a couple of traffic signals, a couple of dress shops, small community grocery stores and a Navy base that most military personnel considered a hardship posting.

Still, just as the first English settlers had determined 350 years before, there were always some who saw the remote and marshy peninsulas for what it is: a marketable paradise.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Merging Regs and the Zen of Boat-building

June, 2010

Francis Goddard is 78 years old. "Seventy-eight-and-a-half," he brags. He climbs a tall ladder up high sides then scuttles back down onto the floor of the hull of the first skipjack he built. He wields a small chain saw. He built the Dee and appears to recall how she went together splinter by splinter. He shows little compunction at sawing out her guts and rebuilding her. He would do it better just by the fact that he had done it once before.

Of building a boat Francis says, "Once I dream it, I can build it."

Ben Goddard, more than a decade younger, is a cousin once removed, or a second cousin, but more importantly another respected Goddard boat builder of Piney Point.
Piney Point, until the 1980s, was primarily a fishing village and settled in the horizontal traditions of cousins and clans rather than the more vertical father to son set ups. The sweeps of various European cultures across America had clannish, horizontal systems forming the Appalachians, more Scottish than British. And bits of this fell throughout St. Mary's.
Good thing. Ben isn't one for dreaming but for the practicality of the minimal disruption to reach the maximum goal. Where Francis wields a chain saw, Ben will hone a piece of wood into its cradle. And cousins respect cousins. And the same with boat builders.

In the photo above of Francis he is creating a template. In the photo below of Ben he is sawing and planing the new right cheek of the keel.

The collaboration has worked well. The captain remains calm and pleased. Phew.

In the video posted Jack shows where the center keel and its starboard (right) cheek have been removed. The Coast Guard visited later that week and met with Jack, Francis, Ben and Surveyor Michael Previti. The determination was to also replace the left cheek as well. This was the concurrence of the Coast Guard, Shipwrights, Surveyor and Captain.

This final third of the boat's spine can't be removed until both the new center keel and right cheek, which makes sense to me.

Work on the center and starboard cheek continues.

All these photos were shot by Jackie. Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. I have a dream which brought me to this sight. I want to build a scrape approx. 20' powered by a small motor. Not sure what I'm going to do with it when I'm done, but I cant get the build out of my head unless I complete it.