I greatly appreciate all the hard work going into the repair and restoration of a great Old Sailing Ship. The Nathaniel Bowditch was badly in need of some repairs, looking at the pictures I would say that they could not have come at a better time. The skilled craftsman at Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding are working hard on replacing a ton of rotten wood. The images in this story will give you an idea of the daunting task ahead. Much more rotten wood being replaced than anyone thought except for the professionals. Many years at Sea have taken their toll on this old schooner.
Great news though about the schooner Nathaniel Bowditch. In February, we posted about the foreclosure and auction of the 82 foot long schooner. There were no bids at the auction in Camden, ME, which ended after 27 seconds. The future of the 1922 built wooden schooner, which for years had carried passengers around Penobscott Bay as part of the Maine Windjammer Association, was very much in doubt.
In August, Noah and Jane Barnes acquired Nathaniel Bowditch in a transaction that the Penobscott Bay Pilot describes as with “an unnamed owner and for an undisclosed price.” The Barnes’s have been owners and operators of the schooner Stephen Taber out of Rockland since Noah’s parents retired in 2003. The Barnes are currently restoring the Nathaniel Bowditch at the Lyman Morse Boatbuilders on the Thomaston waterfront and hope to have the schooner back sailing by mid-summer 2015. There is a lot of work to be done however. As described by the Penobscott Bay Pilot:
“Right now though, the Nathaniel Bowditch is a rough, holey skeleton of its former self. There’s a pile of rotted and splintered wood, as well as newer boards, piled up on the ground under the schooner’s bow. The frames of the schooner can be seen about midship to the stern, where planking has been pulled off to expose the wood underneath and below deck. Planking has been removed a couple feet down from the rail on both the port and starboard sides, again exposing frames and rusted spikes and hardware that needs to be replaced.”
Noah Barnes, however, is undaunted.
“It is a magnificent vessel and we are doing all we can to get it back to its former state,” said Noah Barnes. “We are grateful to the Dorrs for their stewardship and also the good work that was done in the past 10 years they had her, keeping her safe and doing the work necessary to get it to where we can now bring her back.”
We wish the Barnes the best of luck in restoring the beautiful old schooner and we look forward to seeing her again under sail.