Sunday, June 14, 2009

Silent Maid: SPLASH!...the launching of an historic replica @ the Independence Seaport Museum

Catboat,Silent Maid
LOA: 33'
Beam: 12'6"
Draft: 2' 6" Board up
Sail area: 960 sq. ft.
Commenced: November 18, 2004

Silent Maid was designed by Francis Sweisguth and built by Morton Johnson of Bay Head, NJ in 1924. Intended primarily as a cruising boat, she was capable of some speed and was the B class catboat champion on the Barnegat Bay in 1925. We are building a copy of Silent Maid to sail on the Barnegat Bay and the original boat will become a museum piece. In this way the original is preserved with all of her history intact yet the experience of sailing an early 20th century catboat is still available.

My first view of her.

Stern view


Volunteers rigging the forestay

John Brady, the Workshop on the Water's manager, head builder and guiding light, overseeing the preparations.

Fitting the cockpit benches.

The indispensable Newt Kirkland making final cuts to the benchtops in the workshop.

Russ and Julia Mannheimer came up from Barnegat Bay for the festivities.
They own Sjogin, (see a previous post).

That's longtime volunteer Wendy Byar rigging the mooring lines. Wendy has built some 50 odd boats and blogs about it here.

Up the mast in the bosun's chair, making some last minute preparations. removing this piece of carpet.

Karl Schoettle, grandson of Edwin J. Schoettle, was one of many relatives of the builder and owner of the original Silent Maid present.
Edwin built her in 1924 and owned her until 1948.

She's up...

And in!

John tosses the mooring line.

Setting the fenders.

John Brady with a look of satisfaction (I think). He should take satisfaction in a job well done. With her bright hull and meticulous workmanship throughout, Silent Maid is worthy of pride.

Down below she is spacious with lots of headroom, lots of lockers, clean and neat.

And gorgeous.

That's my brother John (red shirt) who's been volunteering at the museum library and invited me to the event. We had a great day, thanks John.

Lori Rech is the museum's President.

The party moves onboard as John and I depart.

Time for one last shot.

All in all it was a wonderful afternoon. John and I, not realizing the scope of this launching, were expecting a small informal gathering. Imagine our surprise and delight to find a huge crowd, live band and a catered affair, not to mention an open bar! We felt a little underdressed, but I suppose it's not the first time. John had done some work last year surveying a part of the Museums collection and liked the place so much he's gone back to volunteer in the library. It's a very impressive museum, especially with the active boatshop producing such excellent work. A recent exhibit, Skin and Bones, Tattoo's in the Life of the American Sailor has been receiving high praise, including this double thumbs up review in the New York Times. Next weekend, the Traditional Small Craft Association is holding it's Annual Meeting to coincide with the Seaports' Wooden Boat Festival, this Saturday, June 20, 1-4 pm. See you there.

And a big thanks to the owners of this boat, Peter and Cynthia Kellogg and Jane and Shepard Ellenberg, for making all of this possible.

postscript: Gavin Atkin of intheboatshed today (6/19) posted this piece on Edwin Shoettle's classic book from 1928, Sailing Craft, and has included some of his own musings on the catboat. There are picture's and plans of the original Silent Maid along with other catboats of the day. Don't miss this.


doryman said...

You've out done yourself lately! Hard to beat an old fashioned cat boat for timeless beauty. And it's plain to see Silent Maid has been well loved by all her volunteers.

Thank you so much for all the good reading. And I like the new header, by the way.

Thomas Armstrong said...

Just trying to keep up with you, doryman. She is a beautiful boat.

Bursledon Blogger said...

Nice post Thomas, sadly we have all to few cat boats over here in England.