Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Phoenix Rising: Silent Maid Sendoff

Silent Maid, a 33’ sleek gaff-rigged catboat, hand-crafted by Workshop on the Water at Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, PA, will be touring boat shows, regattas, and yacht clubs from New York to Maine. This lovely vessel is a recreation of the original Silent Maid, designed in 1924 by Francis Sweisguth for Edwin Schoettle of Island Heights, NJ,and built by Morton Johnson of Bay Head, NJ. Intended primarily as a cruising boat, the original Silent Maid was the B class catboat champion on the Barnegat Bay in 1925. The original boat will become a display piece at Independence Seaport Museum, preserved with all her history intact.

courtesy ISM

John Brady offering thanks to the volunteers who have helped make Silent Maid a reality.
Joan Bernstein, in the green 'lascivious biddies' T, organized the event, with the help of Wendy Byar and Gina Pickton.

Carolyn Hesse varnishing the mainmast

Gina Pickton working on...?

Maid's stern counter littered with tools, the previous Sunday as last minute preparation is underway

Here my brother John seems to be contemplating Torch, in for maintenance. Torch is one of the fleet of the much ballyhooed A Cat Barnegat Bay racing revival. This is a local to NJ racing class which evolved from the classic working catboats of Barnegat Bay and dates back to the 1920's. It is an all out pure racing group, constantly evolving, grounded in tradition, and a viable though expensive alternative to today's hyperventilated carbon fiber delicacies. John Brady and David Beaton and Son's Boatyard have been the main producers of the contemporary boats, each with about five builds. There is a valuable book on the boats, their origins and contemporary exploits here.
ohn and I were hanging out hoping to sight
and Pinta, replicas commissioned and sailed by the Columbus Foundation, due into the ISM basin for a weeks stay, but they had not arrived late in the day and we decided to go.

all photo's Thomas Armstrong

The Independence Seaport Museum is a Phoenix rising. Despite the not so distant trauma inflicted by a negligent and criminal director, the museum is healing and emerging as a vibrant and vital presence. The recent Tattoo exhibition mounted by curator Craig Bruns was a flash of brilliance, and the museum's core collection, library and archive is a deep and valuable cultural and educational resource. But the heartbeat of the museum is the Workshop on the Water, the museum's boatworks, where invaluable pieces of the past are renovated and maintained and where newly minted traditionally built instant classics are the norm. John Brady, lead builder at the workshop is recognized as one in the highest echelon of contemporary boatbuilders using traditional build techniques and is a very fair hand at designing boats with traditional roots. He is supported by a(very) small number of paid employees and a large group of volunteers, who range from quite skilled and experienced to completely green (not for long) folks wanting to get a taste of boatbuilding. If you stop by with a little time on your hands, you will be put to work. It offers a learning experience as deep as you'd like to take it.
John Brady is not only a gifted boatbuilder, he's also a very experienced sailor, and this summer he will be visiting ports from NY to Maine, campaigning the Maid in both races, appearances at boat festivals and assorted soirees. If you'd like to volunteer as crew, there may be some openings on some legs of the journey...contact John Brady at215.413.8638 or jbrady@phillyseaport.org

Here's the schedule:

May 25 Silent Maid departs Philadelphia for Bay Head, NJ
May 30 Bow Tie Party at Bay Head Yacht Club
June 11-13 New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, Newport, RI
June 25-27 Wooden Boat Show, Mystic, CT
July 10-11 Catboat Association, Wickford Rendezvous, Wickford, RI
July 17-18 New York Yacht Club Raceweek, Newport, RI
July 24-25 Woods Hole Historical Museum, Woods Hole, MA
July 30-Aug. 1 Padanaram Cat Rendezvous, race Kathleen, Padanaram, MA
Aug. 5 Castine, ME, race to Camden, ME
Aug. 6 Camden, ME, race to Brooklin, ME
Aug. 7-8 Eggomogin Reach Regatta, Brooklin, ME
Aug. 8-14 New York Yacht Club Cruise, stops in NE/SW Harbor, Swans Island,
Mercent, Gilkey Harbor, Camden, ME
Aug 18-22 Arey’s Pond Regatta, Arey’s Pond, MA
Aug 27-29 Herreshoff Regatta, Bristol, RI
Sept. 4-6 International Yacht Restoration School/
Museum of Yachting Regatta, Newport, RI
Sept. 11-12 Race Rock Regatta , Stonington, CT
Sept. 18-19 Greenport Classic Regatta, Greenport, NY
Sept. 25-26 Governor’s Cup, Essex, CT
Oct. 2 NY Classic, Manhattan, NY
Oct. 8—13 New York Yacht Club Cruise on the Hudson

For the inside view of whats going on at the Workshop, check John's website, and Wendy Byar's
blog Green Boats for frequent updates on the activities at WoW. Wendy is the dilithium fuel cell for the boatworks, a volunteer who radiates the energy for projects getting done and an invaluable member of the team.

I'd like to also mention that this incredible replica was generously commissioned by Peter Kellogg, with help from some friends, and he's put the boat into safekeeping with John and the ISM.

This communication was sent to me by Charles Bernstein to correct my erroneous assumption that the TSCA had organized the event:

"The sendoff was organized by Joan Bernstein (a WOW volunteer who is handling publicity and advance work for the Maid's summer tour at John's request,) with much assistance from Gina and Wendy as well as, of course, John Brady. "

Several members of the Delaware River branch of the Traditional Small Craft Association attended. What fun we had.

1 comment:

uurchin said...

Gina was fitting the bronze endcaps on the new spreaders.