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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Boat Launch a Yo Ho Ho Success!

Last Friday night was a wonderful Boat Launch Event, as we launched the Bevin Skiff now christened the William A. Harn, after Lighthouse Keeper William Harn, a man who was at Ft. Sumter as member of the Union army when it was fired upon. This small skiff, designed in New England was perfect for Harn, whose family might have kept such a craft for bringing in supplies from Steam boats named Fern and Armeria, when they docked on what is now Salt Run. This boat is the first finished product of our recently established traditional boatbuilding program, LAMP Boatworks.

UPDATED! More pictures and video below the fold . . .

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A great crowd, as many as 200 people, gathered at the Lighthouse to witness the christening of the William A. Harn, and to enjoy the traditional nautical fare of grog and hardtack, along with a delicious Frogmore Stew (Low Country boil).

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Dave Reed, a Lighthouse volunteer and the great-grandson of Keeper William A. Harn, christens the boat named after his ancestor.

But breaking the bottle was not as easy as it looked--as you can see in the video above!

Our volunteer master boatbuilder Maury Keiser leapt into action, placing a shipwright's adze across the bow. With that iron surface to strike, it was easy for Dave to break the bottle, and finally christen our new vessel.
[video coming soon, please check back]

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With a large crowd in tow, we hand-carted the William A. Harn from the Lighthouse to the beach at Salt Run.

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LAMP Director Chuck Meide and LAMP archaeologist Brendan Burke place the boat in the water for the first time, as LAMP boatbuilder Maury Keiser and LAMP intern archaeologist Lindsay Jones look on.

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She handles very well under oar power.

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Our boatbuilders modified the original design of the Bevin's skiff by adding a centerboard and trunk so that this flat-bottomed skiff would also be able to sail. After rowing the boat to the dock, we step the mast, but not before placing the traditional coin under the mast step. First to sail are volunteer boatbuilder and accomplished sailor Curt Bowman (at the helm) and Chuck (just along for the ride).

Curt Bowman and Brendan find the skiff to be a fine sailer.


More video of the skiff under sail in Salt Run. Fair winds and following seas!


Sam also gets a chance to sail . . .

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Curt welcomes Dave Reed aboard. It seems pretty clear that Dave is proud of this little boat, named after his great grandfather.

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Also proud are our boatbuilders, as they should be for a job well done. Here Eli Subin, Maury Keiser, and Wally Crew pose for the camera as their first LAMP boat sails in the background.

After everyone gets a chance to sail, we re-join the crowd back at the Lighthouse to continue our celebration. What a wonderful night! And what a show of support by our friends in the surrounding community! Warm thanks are offered to Commissioner Sanchez, Commissioner Rich, and City Commissioner Gardner for coming. (Thanks too to George for his donation of a set of his bedtime stories for our museum library!) A good time was had by all and we are so appreciative of Sherri and Andrew Davies for their fantastic Frogmore Stew, not to mention a special thanks to the one-night-only reunited Bilge Rats and to all our grog makers and volunteer boat builders.

"One part sour, two parts sweet, three parts strong, four parts weak."

Help us keep the story alive!

(This post was co-authored by Kathy Fleming and Chuck Meide)

Comments (2)

Hey, we enjoyed the launch from up here in Virginia. Would have been fun to be at the party! Nice looking craft, we'd say. Happy sailing!

Your Web Site is really wonderful and I bookmarked it. Thank your for the hard work you must have put in to create this wonderful facility. Keep up the excellent work!

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