Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Elf and the CYRG

I heard about Elf and Rick Carrion and the CYRG through my brother, John Armstrong, who was doing a survey of the collections at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philly. He's working for the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries which has a grant to survey the collections of 22 major cultural institutions in the Philadelphia region. Needless to say the Seaport Museum was one of his most rewarding sites. There he met Rick and learned of Elf and the CYRG. Elf is a racing yacht built in 1888, 30' LWL, and originally she carried a 2100 sq. ft. topsail cutter rig. Built by George Lawley of George F.Lawley and Sons, Boston, Mass. State of the art and successful as a racing yacht in her early years, she's had several lives and alterations, with the 1960's seeing her near demise. Rick rescued her in 1971 while attending college in Maryland, and thus began their journey to a full restoration. In 1982 Rick founded the Classic Yacht Restoration Guild, a non-profit dedicated to preserving historic watercraft. Major project: Elf and its total restoration, which is ongoing but largely achieved. The guild also encourages and provides opportunities to teach and learn restoration skills as well as participate in sailing events and cruises. Its mission statement: "The Classic Yacht Restoration Guild is dedicated to the preservation of traditional watercraft. Yacht restorations are accomplished through a combination of member donated skills and resources. The Guild is fortunate to have talented volunteer leadership and a growing membership.
The mission of the Guild is continuing education of those interested in boat restoration. The flagship, Elf, is used to educate students and community members interested in maritime history, historical restoration techniques, seamanship, and tidewater ecology. Elf's mission embraces an established tradition of giving back to the community that has provided a home and resources needed for her restoration." Rick is currently campaigning the Chesapeake, raising awareness about Elf and the Guild. The Guild also has two smaller projects in hand, a Barnegat Bay sneakbox and a wooden Lightning. If you are near the bay, join the Guild, contribute what you can, and celebrate this beautifully restored piece of our nautical heritage. Rick has invited me to join him for an in person interview and sail, yet to be arranged, so stay tuned.

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