The 2018 edition of the Oriental In-Water Boat Show is scheduled April 13 – 15. Sponsored by the Oriental Rotary Club, it is known all along the East Coast as the greatest show of its type between Annapolis and Charleston. NCCHA’s Frances Mae, a Core Sound workboat built rack-of-the-eye style, will be fundraising for the Association by selling boat rides for short excursions in the Neuse River or Green’s Creek. Look for the Frances Mae on C dock throughout the boat show.
Heber Guthrie built the Frances Mae, a rack-of-the-eye wooden Core Sound work boat, for NCCHA use as a traveling example of a boat building technique on the brink of extinction. Frances Mae will travel by sea and land to schools, festivals, parades and other appropriate venues. Above, Heber guides the vessel off its trailer at the Oriental boat ramp for one of its sea trials.
The Rotarians also invited NCCHA to exhibit the 20 ft. sail skiff built during the week of the 2004 Folk Art Festival on the National Mall. The event is sponsored each year by the Smithsonian. DownEast natives Heber Guthrie & Karen Willis Amspacher, along with her husband, Jimmy Amspacher, were the builders of this replica of a Core Sound fishing boat before the days of internal combustion engines. Smithsonian volunteers helped with the construction. Framing for this sail skiff was pressure treated pine left over from the construction of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center; the planking is all juniper; the mast and sprit is Douglas fir.
The following images were made at the 2004 Folk Art Festival. The Core Sound group joined both national and international teams at the festival. Heber Guthrie on day 4. Karen Amspacher and her husband, Jimmy at work. On the way to be launched on Sunday. Reagan Airport Control Tower is in background on the right. Headed out into the Potomac. After the sail on the Potomac, with very light winds, the craftsmen sailed back to the marina. The former presidential yacht, the Sequoia, is in the background 2 docks over.
Donors contributing to this effort included Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, Heritage Boat Works, Hancock Marine, Eastard Variety Store, Billy’s of Harkers Island, Otway Hardware, Cap-N- Squid Boat Works, Barbour’s Marine, and Atlantic Veneer Plant.
Heber Guthrie reported, “A boat trailer dealer from Marshallberg loaned us a boat trailer to haul the lumber up to Washington. Then, of course, at the end of the week, we brought a skiff back on that trailer.
The sails were purchased from Omar Sails, at that time located in Beaufort. Omar was the sail maker’s cat. The late Sonny Williamson and Rodney Kemp delivered them to Washington in time for the Potomac launching on Sunday, the last of the event.
Heber added, “I guess one of the stories about that experience was how long it took us to build her. People from Long Island, NY brought a 22’ Cat Boat, its side planking already done. That week, they were going to plank her bottom and be done.”
Continuing his recollection with an obvious declaration of pride in both his facial expression and in the tone of his voice, Heber said, “We show up with just a pile of lumber, and four saw horses. By Wednesday we were planking the bottom, and they had only made two boards for the Cat Boat. Thursday, a couple of their boys saw we were going to be good on our word of sailing on Sunday morning. They jumped ship and helped us to get our skiff done. They asked me if I was going to name her, I said ‘Sure. Her name will be 2 × 4, meaning 2 men, 4 days. I see your craft will be 2 × 6, meaning 6 men, 2 years.’ Believe it or not, I followed their progress on the internet, and it was about 18 months later when they launched her.”
“Something else that caught our eye, The boat builders from Haiti had never seen or heard of stainless steel screws and 5200.”
On Sunday, the last day of the festival, the DownEast trio launched the vessel against the backdrop of what was National Airport, now Reagan. Airport. They sailed in the vicinity of the 14th Street Bridge where Air Florida’s Flight Palm 90 crashed right after take-off in a February 1983 snowstorm. On the launch day, the sail skiff was docked at the same marina that was hosting the John Trumpy designed presidential yacht, the Sequoia.
The NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort was the most recent owner of this sail skiff. Outgrowing its space to store significantly historical vessels, it was donated to NCCHA. The maritime Museum’s Brent Creelman helped make that transfer possible.
In the photo at the top of this story, made March 29, 2018, Heber Guthrie stands by the rudder of the sail skiff. He recently refurbished it and is doing other touch-up work before the boat is exhibited in the Oriental Boat Show.
NCCHA looks forward to visitors to the boat show taking a ride on the Frances Mae and also visiting the Wooden Boat Show venue near the dock where Frances Mae will be docked..