Loving Restoration for This Old Boat

An old wooden powerboat from Chilmark named Souvenir is being rebuilt this winter at Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway. Souvenir is a 32-foot wooden Brownell powerboat with a diesel engine that was built in Mattapoissett in 1962. She is getting a whole new bottom: a new keel, below the waterline planks and ribs and a fuel tank. She is powered by a five-year-old 225-horsepower Cummins diesel.

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Oak Bluffs Looks to Get into Business of Harbor Boat Fuel

Plans for a town-run fuel facility at the Oak Bluffs harbor met with some resistance at a Martha’s Vineyard Commission hearing last week, with some abutters to the potential facility questioning why the town needed to be involved, and voicing concerns that the fuel dock will lower property values and cause safety concerns.

Oak Bluffs has plans for a fuel facility at the harbor master’s shack in the Oak Bluffs harbor, with the 10,000 gallon gas tank stored under the parking lot. Boats would be able to fuel up at a floating dock between May and October.

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Tisbury Proposes Mooring Fee Increase, Pump-Out Changes

Mooring fee increases and pump-out program changes are on the horizon in Tisbury. At the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday, the harbor management committee proposed a 20 per cent fee increase for private mooring holders for next year, and two 10 per cent increases to take effect over the next four years. Harbor master Jay Wilbur said annual mooring fees currently range from $75 to $300 based on the size of the boat. There are about 800 private moorings in Tisbury town waters, Mr. Wilbur said.

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Southern Sailboat Migration is Rite of Fall

When Scott DiBiaso and his crew sailed the 65-foot schooner Juno out of Vineyard Haven harbor on Wednesday, Nov. 14, they had a single reef on the mainsail along with a fore staysail. Even with a conservative amount of sail exposed to the cold wind, the 25 knots of northeast breeze pushed the vessel from West Chop, down Vineyard Sound toward Aquinnah at a fast 12 to 13 knots. They were helped along by a three-knot current. It was cold and unlike summer sailing.

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Fishing Permit the Main Catch in Viking Purchase

With the sale of Viking, a 40-foot fishing boat that has plied the waters off the Vineyard for three generations, the Island’s once-vibrant fleet of small wooden draggers is now at the brink of extinction.

Craig Coutinho of Vineyard Haven confirmed this week that he will sell Viking along with his fishing permits.

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Vineyard Harbors Report Active Summer; Weather Bolsters Boating Business
Manning the front lines of the Island economy, Vineyard harbor masters often see business trends before merchants do. As summer draws to an end, four of the five Island harbor masters told the Gazette that a season typically busy in some regards was even busier than normal in others.
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Saturday Fire Destroys Sailboat in Harbor; Two Towns Respond
Vineyard Haven harbor was lit up on Saturday evening by a fully involved boat fire. Tisbury firemen and harbor masters from two towns responded to a blaze aboard a 30-foot Catalina sailboat called Tippy Canoe, owned by Tyler Weggel of Port Washington, N.Y.

There were no injuries. The vessel, a total loss, now lies partially submerged, a black shell, in shallow water at the foot of Grove street.

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Owner of Quitsa Strider in Menemsha Sells His Fishing Rights, Ending an Era

One of Menemsha’s most respected fishermen, Jonathan Mayhew, has quit fishing the high seas.

Mr. Mayhew recently sold his federal permits, giving up his license to ply the offshore waters of Georges Bank for cod, flounder and other fish.

A Vineyard native who grew up in a family of generations of fishermen, Mr. Mayhew, 56, said a chapter has closed in his life. He said he worries now for the future of young local fishermen facing current fishing rules.

The changes that have come down are killing the fisherman and not necessarily saving fish, he said.

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Boat Builder Launches His Dream

After 27 years of building the wooden boats of other men's dreams, Nathaniel Benjamin, 60, built a boat for himself.

They christened her Charlotte under parted skies on Saturday afternoon. Hundreds of onlookers spilled onto the beach, down to the end of the dock and up to a rooftop of the boat yard. The potluck was plentiful and the beer flowed from a rowboat packed with ice. Boat launchings mean big parties at Gannon & Benjamin and this was no exception.

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Island Dragger Roann Returns to the Sea

MYSTIC SEAPORT, Conn. — A 60-foot Eastern dragger named Roann, a living example of Vineyard maritime history, was relaunched under sunny skies here last Saturday.

The Roann is the last of an era. No one makes fishing boats like this anymore.

The restoration of the Roann cost $1.2 million, lasted three and a half years, and involved a team of 50 boat builders, aided by another 50 volunteers. Mystic Seaport Museum, the owner of the Roann, organized the restoration of the vessel at its on-site shipyard.

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