New Leadership in the Shipyard

Mystic Seaport Museum announced the appointment of Chris Sanders as the new director of the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard. Sanders succeeds longtime director Quentin Snediker, who will stay on at the Museum in his role as the Clark Senior Curator for Watercraft.

“Chris brings a wealth of ship and boatbuilding experience to the leadership of the duPont Preservation Shipyard. He has proven his knowledge and skill during the Mayflower II restoration project and many others since he started here, and I am excited to appoint him to this new position,” said Peter Armstrong, president of Mystic Seaport Museum.

Sanders is a native of Connecticut and attended the University of North Carolina, where he studied physics and psychology before he began his career in wooden boat restoration and construction. He is a graduate of the apprentice program at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum as well as the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, Rhode Island. Since his graduation, he has worked on restoration projects in six states, including several years in both Northern and Southern California. He ran his own boat restoration shop in San Diego for several years before deciding to return to New England. He returned with his family to Connecticut to work on the Mayflower II restoration at Mystic Seaport Museum. He has served as the lead shipwright in the duPont Preservation Shipyard for the last two years, and lives with his wife, Dr. Megan McCarthy Sanders, and daughter Vann in North Stonington.

The appointment is effective immediately.

As the Clark Senior Curator for Watercraft, Snediker is responsible for providing direction and leadership in the preservation and development of the Museum’s watercraft collection, which presently numbers more than 500 vessels of all sizes, ranging from small rowboats and kayaks to four National Historic Landmarks, including the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan. Under Snediker’s leadership, the shipyard completed large-scale restorations on the Charles W. Morgan, the Mayflower II, the fishing vessel Roann, and the steamboat Sabino. He led the construction of the schooner Amistad, which was launched in 2000, and he managed the completion of significant maintenance work on the rest of the Museum’s fleet during his tenure in the position.


Morgan Hauled for Maintenance

Mystic Seaport Museum hauled the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan for routine maintenance and preservation work on Monday, July 19.

The ship was moved from its berth on the Museum’s waterfront to the shipyard at the south end of the property. The public was invited to watch as the ship is pushed and towed down the river beginning around 3:30 p.m.

Once at the shipyard, staff hauled the Morgan out of the water on the yard’s synchronized shiplift and then moved it onto dry land so the Museum’s shipwrights could access the hull for work. Once pulled into the work area, the hull was power washed and inspected. Of note was a significant level of corrosion of the copper sheathing that protects the keel.

The Museum hauls the ship approximately every 3 years for inspection, maintenance such as painting and caulking, and repairs as needed. The ship should be out of the water for about a month and will remain open to the public to go on board during much of that time.

“This is a rare opportunity to see an historic vessel such as the Charles W. Morgan high and dry, where one can walk right up and see the shape and details of the hull, which is normally invisible under the water,” said Peter Armstrong, the president of Mystic Seaport Museum.

About the Charles W. Morgan

The Morgan is the last of an American whaling fleet that numbered more than 2,700 vessels. Built and launched in 1841, it is America’s oldest commercial ship still afloat.

The 107-foot long whaleship typically sailed with a crew of about 35, representing sailors from around the world. Over an 80-year whaling career, the Morgan embarked on 37 voyages with most lasting three years or more. Built for durability and not speed,  it roamed every corner of the globe.

The Morgan was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and it is also a recipient of the coveted World Ship Trust Award. Since its arrival at Mystic Seaport Museum in 1941, more than 20 million visitors have walked its decks. While built to hunt and process whales for profit, its purpose now is to tell an important part of America’s maritime heritage for current generations.