A Family Treasure is Revived

Posted: February 7, 2013

By: Jack Sherwood [Soundings]

I am a boatyard prowler drawn to distant, weed-filled corners where neglected old boats on jack stands are left to wither and die. You don’t see many of these vessels nowadays because wise boatyard operators have become wary of overly ambitious projects heavy on dreams but light on finances and boatwork skills.

Even when a boat is abandoned, breaking it up and hauling it off to a trash bin can be a complicated bureaucratic procedure. So some boat owners who have an emotional attachment to a vessel stubbornly pay storage fees year after year and refuse to let their rehab dreams die. They may return from time to time to patch, peel and putter, but often they get nowhere. Of course, they always have the option of turning the project over to the yard pros.

One time capsule of a boatyard that I have enjoyed exploring for more than 30 years is the legendary Cutts & Case Shipyard (www.cuttsandcase.com) in Oxford, Md. Older sailboats whose owners judge to be worth saving are tightly packed here bow to stern in a large shed with a high ceiling. The farther back they are, the longer they’ve been in dry storage. I have always been curious about the fate of such boats and the stories behind their continued survival.

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