A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.

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LAMP Boatworks Celebrates a New Launch!


For the past several months volunteers at the LAMP Boatworks have been diligently working on the building of our eight hull, a boat type called the ‘Susan’. Designed by Robert M. Steward in the 1950s, this classic little boat got her feet wet this morning at the hands of the lead builders, Richard Sexauer and Steve McMullen .

The launching crew.

At eleven feet long, the Susan skiff is rowed through the water very easily from either of the two rowing stations and handles two people in a comfortable and stable manner. Even in the wake thrown by passing boats the skiff rode high and dry. The ‘Susan’ name only denotes the type of hull and for now, this skiff will go unnamed. During the coming year, LAMP Boatworks will hold a drawing for one lucky person to win this boat. The boat is light, very sturdy and well constructed. LAMP Boatworks deviated from the original plans calling for crossplanking (boards fastened athwartships for the bottom, as opposed to longitudinally placed) and used epoxy soaked marine plywood. The durability and stability of this material allows the boat to handle and act like a wood boat but with less maintenance and chances for rot. Similarly, her planking is from epoxy-saturated plywood strakes. After a professional paint job, you cannot tell the difference betwixt the two. The transom is honduras mahogany and her seats, breasthook, and quarterknees are made from sapele, a tropical hardwood that is one of the finest and most figured marine-grade woods. Frames and stempost are of white oak. Oarlocks and oarlock sockets are cast and polished silicon bronze and the oars are made from cypress with hand-stitched leather lock guards. The transom, breasthook, quarterknees, inwhale, thwarts, and oarlock pads are all left bright and finished with multiple coats of Epifanes varnish. Copper and silicone bronze fasteners were used througout the boat. All together, a smart little package!

Craftsmanship afloat!

LAMP Archaeologist Brendan Burke holds the skiff while LAMP Boatbuilder Richard Sexauer prepares to get underway. This is her first time in the water!

Since this project skiff has come to a close, the volunteer builders at our boatworks are currently working on repairs to the Privateer Lynx’s sternboat, continuing the build of the 1760s pattern ship’s yawl, and refining plans for our next build. The LAMP Boatworks is operated as part of the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, the maritime research arm of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum. Our program is volunteer run and operates primarily on a Tuesday-Thursday schedule just about every week of the year. LAMP Boatworks is a Coast Guard inspected builder of traditional watercraft. Join us as we continue the art of boatbuilding in the Nation’s Oldest Port!

LAMP and the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum would like to take this opportunity to thank our volunteer boatbuilders for their time, effort, and skill. Without them, the Boatworks could not exist. Thank you!

For more information, call 904-829-0745, or visit us online at www.LAMPmaritime.org

Lighthouse Educator, Susan Graffweg gets a birthday ride on our new skiff. Two Susans on their birthdays!

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