Today, after some refurbishing and sprucing up, Village Community Boathouse re-launched our most precious and beautiful boat, the David T Heim. We were lucky to have Judy Heim attending, telling us about the illustrious life that David Heim has had. We learned about his career as a master marine electrician, tug boat captain, captain school instructor, boat builder and adventurous, entertaining, and wonderful character. We toasted the splashing and will keep David, who used to build boats with us in the early days along with our legendary founder Mike Davis, in our memories. …while many more memories will be formed and shaped in this boat that carries his name into the future. With special thanks to Lorne Swarthout who oversaw the original building process of the “DTH” and who strong-armed the boathouse into not just building another Whitehall gig, but building this smooth cedar strip beauty (breaking our boat-building budget in the process). Thanks also to Marcel Dejean, the coconspirator / master on the project. And thanks to our then-treasurer Paul Caviano for putting up only symbolic resistance. And special thanks are also owed to Sally Curtis who embraced the project back in 2017.
The Sunday boatbuilders on Pier 40 made progress on both our big projects today. We added one more plank to the Peapod, and would have added a second if we had a few more clamps. We also added new white oak thole pin blocks to Quixotic. In the middle of this sunny afternoon we welcomed Sally, Frank, Dave and Marcel back from the Snow Row up at Hull. They returned a bit weary but very proud of the blue ribbon the youth crew had won on Saturday. The boat shop will be open for business and welcoming all volunteers on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons through the rest of the month. No appointment necessary.
On Sunday the VCB boatshop was rocking like it was February 2020. Of course, on this second anniversary of the first great 21st century pandemic, everyone was vaxed and boosted and masked. Things are not yet—and may never be—the same. Nonetheless, out there on Pier 40, beneath the roar of the gas heater, a dozen volunteers were hard at work building and repairing boats. They were sanding, planning, gluing, painting and fiber-glassing with focus and camaraderie: it felt like old times.
Our boatshop has been slow to reopen this winter. Like everyone else, we have hunkered down as the blizzard of delta and omicron has swept through our region. Now that it seems the worst is past, we are cautiously putting out the welcome mat on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons for volunteers who want to help refurbish our gallant fleet of Whitehall gigs or lend a hand with a new project, a 14’ Maine peapod.
In addition, on Fridays after school, a clutch of VCB high school rowers are learning new skills as boatbuilders. They are tackling an 8’ Opti row/sail pram which is a continuation of a winter 2020 project. This crew is making good progress and having a good time in the process.