After an open water voyage of some 300 miles, the crew of the Apprenticeshop delivered their whaleboat for the Charles W. Morgan in style with a brisk row up the Mystic River. They were greeted at the Mystic drawbridge by a Museum crew rowing one of the demonstration whaleboats and the two proceeded in tandem to arrive at Middle Wharf at Mystic Seaport to the enthusiastic cheers of a welcoming crowd.
The crew set sail in the 29-foot open boat on June 16 in Rockland, ME and proceeded to row and sail through the Gulf of Maine, Massachusetts Bay, the Cape Cod Canal, Buzzards Bay and along the Rhode Island coastline. They made it as far as Point Judith where uncooperative weather and a looming arrival deadline forced a brief portage via trailer to a marina downriver of Mystic Seaport.
The voyage began at 5:45 a.m. on June 16, departing The Apprenticeshop pier in Rockland on the outgoing tide. The first port of call, Portland, ME, was reached on June 18. Next it was Rockport, MA where they staged for the trip through the Cape Cod Canal. Accompanying the whaleboat on the trip was a chase boat, the 35-foot Bud McIntosh schooner, Advent, owned and captained by Anna Rich and her father Ken Rich, both of Rockland. Advent was essential in journeying the Canal, as only boats under power are allowed passage.
The Apprenticeshop is a school for traditional boat building and seamanship. Five students (called apprentices) were assigned the whaleboat project in August 2012. Their task was to build a replica of a 29-foot 10 1/2-inch New Bedford whaleboat, designed by Ebenezer Leonard, from plans dated 1935. The whaleboat was one of ten ordered from different boat building organizations by Mystic Seaport to compliment the restoration of the Morgan. The whaleboats will become part of the equipment of the ship on her 38th Voyage in 2014. The Apprenticeshop boat is the only one being built to the Leonard design. The others are all Beetle designs, including the boat being built by the Beetle Boat Shop for the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
The student construction team consisted of second year apprentice Simon Jack with first year students Chris Konecky, Daniel Creisher, and Kirk Folk. Assigned to lead the build was second year apprentice Tim Jacobus.
In January 2013, during the course of the build, Jacobus and lead instructor Kevin Carney were invited to a whaleboat builders’ meeting at Mystic Seaport. Along with construction details were questions on how the various outfits were planning to transport their boats to Mystic. The accepted plan was to transport them on trailers; the apprentices had a bolder idea in mind, travel by water. Thus, the Leonard Whaleboat Expedition was born.
The Apprenticeshop’s boat was completed in early May, 2013 including a full set of oars, and the students actively trained in the craft by rowing early mornings before classes and on weekends. Besides having the responsibility of completing their own daily projects, the apprentices all had active roles in the planning and provisioning for the trip.
The expedition crew included:
Bryan McCarthy, Shop Director, Skipper, Course and Navigation
Kevin Carney, Lead Instructor, 1st Mate, Course and Navigation
Simon Jack, Graduating Apprentice, Personal Gear
Timothy Jacobus, Graduating Apprentice, Waypoint Coordination
Christopher Konecky, Tides & Weather
Daniel Creisher, Safety and Boat Gear
Bridget Jividen, Fundraising and Accounting
Rachel Davis, Crew Provisioning
Garrett Farchione, Contingency Planning
Anna and Ken Rich, Expedition Support
The other whaleboats at The WoodenBoat Show are from from the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia; New York City’s Rocking the Boat; Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway of Vineyard Haven, MA; the Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville, MI; and the Beetle Boat Shop of Wareham, MA.