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Keeping Alive a Bayshore Tradition

Three friends work to expand Baykeeper's Fleet while keeping alive the Bayshore's tradition of boat-building.

It started with three old friends thinking of a way to make time to see each other. 

Andy Willner, former NY/NJ Baykeeper, Bill Cahill, an attorney and Baykeeper board member, and Rick Jacks, a retired pilot and captain of the Baykeeper (NY/NJ’s Baykeeper’s patrol boat), committed to building a boat together one evening a week throughout the fall and winter months. 

Lucky for NY/NJ Baykeeper, the group decided to donate the finished product to the organization! They settled on and purchased the plans for a 7’6” skiff called the Cabin Boy, designed by John Atkin & Company of Darien, Connecticut. 

NY/NJ Baykeeper operates a 30 foot Pederson skiff that patrols for polluters, illegal and fill activity, dredging and other violations, and oil spills. The boat is also used to monitor work at projects such as the Diamond-Alkali Superfund site. It is also used to take members of the press, elected officials, government representatives and other groups out to the see our communities from the vantage of the water.

The Baykeeper boat is a symbol of Baykeeper’s presence in and commitment to the Estuary.

When complete, the Cabin Boy can be loaded on The Baykeeper with a custom-built boom and used for rowing to shore or shallow water exploration, such as going up creeks. 

The Cabin Boy is a lapstroke boat with an oak backbone and a mahogany transom. All of the wood is bent on site in a custom-built steamer. The vessel will have Atlantic White Cedar planking, purchased from Hans Pedersen & Sons’ in Keyport.  Pedersen’s is also donating white oak chine logs to the project. 

Rick Jacks loves the idea of “keeping alive a Bayshore tradition” of boat-building.  They are learning as they go and find the practice useful for working on bigger wood boats, such as the Baykeeper. 

Work began in Fall 2010, the boom is expected to be completed this summer, and the vessel is expected to join the Baykeeper fleet in Summer 2013. You can see more photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/raritanbaykeeper/ I will keep you updated on the boat’s progress through this blog. I am looking forward to smashing that bottle of champagne over the bow! 

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Shannon K. Winning May 31, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Great to see boat building kept alive. My husband is a boat designer and builder in his spare time. It is a wonder to see a boat go from a paper drawing to a wood skeleton to a finished vessel. Thanks for writing about this Debbie. As always, Baykeeper folks are practical, hands on stewards of the environment so all us boaters can enjoy the water. Hi to Andy.
Debbie Mans May 31, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Thanks, Shannon!
Charles Schwarz June 04, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Hello everyone.. I got a first-hand look at the Cabin Boy Sat...simply amazing..! I will surely track your progress from this point on.. Don't hesitate to call if you need a hand!

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