Cape Gazette

Families rekindle art of boat building

Elbow grease, caulking, sandpaper and nails are key ingredients
Jul 06, 2013
Photo by: Ron MacArthur With a large crowd gathered in Lewes Canalfront Park, Gene Daffern and son Jarrett prepare to launch their skiff on Sunday afternoon.

From the 1600s until the mid-1800s, hundreds of vessels of all sizes were built on Lewes Creek, now known as the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. The Lewes Historical Society rekindles the art of boat building each year during its Family Boat Building Weekend.

This year, eight teams worked with the aid of society volunteers the weekend of June 14-16 to build shallow-draft wooden boats called Bevin’s skiffs. The society's wooden boat crew had pre-cut pieces for each boat.

At about 12 feet long, these wooden boats are great for fishing and recreation. The Bevin’s skiff was created to be a teaching vessel, designed to be constructed by beginning builders, and is a perfect introductory boat for families.

After construction, the teams launched their new handmade skiffs at Lewes Canalfront Park.

Amy Buckley, left, and Amanda Buckley work under the boat as part of Team Buckley. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Lori Swift, a member of Bessie's Lewesers, sands the team's skiff during a long work day June 15. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Matt DiSabatino applies caulking to the skiff's seams, an important step to keep water out. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Gene Daffern lines up nails on the bottom of the skiff. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
It's all hands on deck as Team Buckley gets in on the action. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Luke Ratliff applies caulk to the inside of his team's skiff. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Mia DiSabatino works on a little boat project as her family's team works on the big boat. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Members of Team Patton are busy sanding their skiff. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
As Janice Pinto rows, Deena Pers holds up team mascot Bessie on their skiff's maiden voyage in Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Bessie's Lewesers and supporters cheer as their skiff nears the launch site. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Friends and supporters toast Bessie's Lewesers on their maiden voyage. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Members of the DiSabatino and Burris families fill the skiff during its first launch. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Team Campbell proudly shows off their skiff before taking it to the launch area near the Lightship Overfalls in Canalfront Park. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The Bevin's skiff is a 12-foot boat perfect for fishing and recreation.
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