Sunday, November 15, 2009

the small world of small boats

I got out on the Elizabeth River for (possibly) the last sail of the year today. It started out cloudy and foggy but quickly cleared to clear blue skies. Wind was moderate to light, but no complaints here. Just fun to be out on the water in 70 degree weather in mid-November. I know everybody must be tired of seeing this shot looking out from Spartina over the Elizabeth River, but I never get tired of seeing (and shooting) it. So no apologies here.
While I was out I was thinking it was a day for small boats on the river. There were some snow bird boats heading south, but otherwise very few local big boats out on the water. Maybe they were winterized already. Most of the local sailboats on the water were small boats. The catboat I mentioned last week was out there, he was motoring downriver towards the James River where he does most of his sailing. And I also saw a Melonseed Skiff that I have come across before. As usual I don't know the owners name but we wave and say hello. It is a great little boat that he sails out of the western branch of the Elizabeth River. I think the boat is called Ruddy Duck. It is fun to be out there sailing with a classic looking boat like that.
There is a drawing of a Melonseed Skiff below. The classic plans for the boat were drawn by Howard Chapelle. It's a gunning skiff designed for hunting waterfowl. I believe Rubber Ducky was built by Roger Crawford, it is a beautiful looking boat. He builds a fiberglass hull and then will fit it out with whatever wood trim the owner might want.
So I get home from a nice day on the water and get an email from Barry (below). He sent a nice note about this blog (thanks Barry) and mentioned that we had met briefly at the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival courtesy of our mutual friend Kevin. Barry says it was an awkward, brief meeting (which I can believe - I'm a social misfit and most meetings for me are awkward).
I checked out Barry's blog and he is building - of all things - a Melonseed skiff. In fact I think he is building two of them. Neat! This looks like beautiful work and I can certainly see how these boats will fit right in with all the art work floating on the water at the Small Craft Festival. We had just a brief meeting in St. Michaels but I do wish we had more time to visit.
It was a nice coincidence to see a Melonseed on the water this afternoon and then hear from a Melonseed builder this evening. Barry says he has plans to sail in some of my sailing areas. I'll look forward to seeing his boats on the water someday.


1 comment:

Patrick said...

Hi, Steve,
A fellow melonhead saw your post and sent me the link. I am the owner of the Crawford melonseed, Ruddy Duck, you see in the harbor occasionally. I am glad you like the boat. Spartina is a beauty, too. And the b-log is fun. Keep on writing... and posting pictures.

Patrick Goold
"Ruddy Duck"
Hull #358