Based on the premise that indigenous rowing craft from New England have stood the test of time and maritime natural selection i.e.. if the boat design was no good, they wouldn’t return home, the process of assembling a fleet began. The fleet had to be foolproof with the emphasis on fool. They had to be stable and sturdy , easy to maneuver and fun to use for both skilled rowers and neophytes. The following currently ply Fort Point Channel year round.
Lighthouse Keepers Peapod:
This 18′ double was issued to every lighthouse in the country for the use of it’s keeper to row ashore to take the kids to school, to pick up mail and supplies and to respond to a rescue near the light. This particular ‘pod came from the coaster of Maine is total disarray and was lovingly restored by adult craftspeople under the leadership of “ace spiler” Beth Howard at the Windmill Point Boathouse. It is the biggest and by far the sturdiest of all the livery boats and is of particular value when a family with small children want to ply the Channel. It is cedar planked over oak frames with a traditional U S Lighthouse Service color scheme. It can be easily rowed as a single or double.
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“Good Little Skiffs”:
Legend has it that renowned small boat builder John Gardener of Mystic Seaport Museum tasked equally renowned boatbuilder Pete Culler to design a good little skiff for use around the Mystic inlet. The resulting 14′ single with sail rig was reproduced in Mystic over the years. To help the BRC Livery Program to get up and running, Mystic loaned two “GLS” to us and they have become the quintessential first boat to scores of people. Known as the “pink one” and the “lavender one” they have fit in both aesthetically and metaphysically with the intent of the Livery Program.
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True to the design of local style boats, the BRC has two similar but distinct dories in it’s fleet. One is a classic plywood dory with a seldom use motor well, a very common addition small outboards became available and rowers got lazy. The other dory in the fleet differs from the traditional dory in that it has a perfect double ender design rather than the classic “tombstone” transom of Winslow Homer fame. This maroon beauty was a gift of the renown small boatman Dick Wheeler of Wareham who felt that in his eighties he really only needed one dory to go long lining in Buzzards Bay and sent her north for us. She has a knockdown sail rig and a yuloh sculling oar.
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The Tenants Harbor gunning skiff:
This cute double ender, easily mistaken for a small pea pod, is made for bird shooters and fly fishermen off the coast of Maine. Built by the Apprenticeshop 30 years ago it is fast and agile and one can stand easily and safely to shoot or cast. It has many first place prizes to it’s name.
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Named for a Brazilian goddess of the sea. This 12′ strip planked whitehall type boat of mysterious origin was restored by the apprentices of the MAP (Maritime Apprentice Program) in Boston for the Livery fleet. It’s probably the lightest boat in the fleet and rowed as a single or a double Like any goddess, it takes a while to learn how to co-exist with her but when one does, it flies!
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Taken from plans in WoodenBoat magazine, it’s premise is that it can built from materials readily available in any lumberyard. In fact it can and was by the MAP apprentices as well. Launched in 2012 it ‘s kelly green self has become a favorite first time boat. Sturdy and simple, it’s an icebreaker.
Unique in the fleet, this classic 14′ Norse fishing boat, the dory of the fjords, is on loan to the BRC from Terje Korsnes, the Norwegian consul for Boston and Fort Point Channel neighbor. She was built in Norway and shipped deck passage on a fish import vessel to Boston years ago. Restored by South Shore shipwrights, Jon Daly and Steve Woll, this beauty slips effortlessly up and down the Channel and have a classic red striped viking lug sail. A cultural counterpoint to the New England fleet from the other side of the North Atlantic.
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