Are you tired of doing the same old thing every summer? Here’s something traditional, fun, hands-on and it floats!
It’s Family Boatbuilding Week at the Deltaville Maritime
Museum the week of July 13-18th! Come out and watch this family, team building, spirit evolve into boats built with pride!
It all started 13 years ago from a challenge by Wooden Boat Magazine to develop a way to bring families or groups together to preserve the skills of wooden boat- building using an achievement oriented project – and to get more families on the water! The multi-day camp provides an inexpensive introduction to boating on the Museum’s waterfront. It begins with the basic construction of the “Wright Skiff” and ends with the family’s first outing on the water in their very own boat. The Deltaville Maritime Museum’s Family Boatbuilding Week is the only remaining week long school, still
using real wood planks, with the camp atmosphere and traditional methods.
Ten boatbuilding teams are set up with stacks of lumber, hardware and paint for the five day camp to build either a 12’ or 14’ version of the iconic “Wright Skiff” originally designed and built by Deltaville boatbuilder, John Wright.
John England, Deltaville Maritime Museum’s boat shop director and Chuck McGhinnis, FBW coordinator and the boat shop volunteers instruct and guide the “build teams” through the entire construction process.
During the years before our road system, most people who lived on the waterfront traveled more by water than they did by road. The Wright Skiff was the traditional light utility vehicle of its day, designed to carry passengers and smaller loads of cargo along creeks and rivers where most people’s businesses and homes were located.
Camp starts with choosing team names; “Oar Else,” “One Fish, Two Fish,” and “Faster than Slow,” and could consist of grandparents with grandkids or a gaggle of cousins, a group of friends or the old fashioned nuclear family. Prior to their arrival, the coordinator had given the build teams a list of tools that they needed to bring with them to the camp. The construction begins with cutting, fitting and assembly. The first few days are spent sawing, sanding, hammering and applying adhesives. There will be special tasks for each member of the family or group. Family members develop a strong sense of pride in each other as they see the value of each person’s contribution during the construction of the skiff. By Thursday, the watercrafts are in their final stages of completion, taking their finished form and lines. On Friday, the skiffs are painted their final color, boat names lettered and the boats are launched to allow the planks to swell (hopefully) watertight. On Saturday at 11am, teams jockey for a position behind the starting line, listening for the blast of the F.D. Crockett’s air horn, and the “Great Skiff Race” begins. Families maneuver their freshly constructed boats around the windward mark during the “free for all” competition. Who will cross the finish line first?
After the race, Master of Ceremonies hands out trophies for awards such as Most Original, Most Colorful, Leakiest and Most Authentic. Following the awards ceremony, all are welcome to join the fish fry social to hear all the great stories of the week’s experiences of boatbuilding. Fish Fry Social advanced tickets are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children under 12 years old.
This is a wonderful way to reconnect and bond with family in a wholesome, unplugged way. Events like Family Boatbuilding Week allow families to get back to experiencing nature and the free spirit of the water. Nothing feels quite like the pride you have paddling around on a boat made with your own hands.
We encourage everyone to come to the charming village of Deltaville, also known as “The Boating Capital of the Chesapeake.” Charter a boat at one of the many marinas and feel yourself relax on the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay. Rent paddleboards or kayaks and enjoy the coastal wildlife. Shop at our beach and nautical shops. Grab some seafood in restaurants or wholesale to take home.
It’s so popular that 2015 Boatbuilding Camp is already booked, but reservations are being taken for 2016. There’s plenty to do July 13-18 at the Deltaville Maritime Museum.
Enjoy being a spectator watching the boatbuilding develop, bring a picnic, walk the trails in the nature park or hang out
on the pier walk by the water and tour the museum.
For more information or to visit Family Boatbuilding Week contact Deltaville Maritime Museum and Holly Point Nature Park by phone, e-mail or website. The Maritime Park is located by land at 287 Jackson Creek Road, Deltaville, VA and by water at Mill Creek, Deltaville, VA. Turn right across from the Citgo Station on Route 33, or access the “How to Get to Us by Water” info on the website.
Website www.deltavillemuseum.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (804) 776-7200.