Current News and Events
Friday, August 31, 2018
Attention Gaffers! Today is the last day to register for the Moffett Race online, which means the 30th Pat West Gaff Rig and Schooner Race is nearly upon us! Race is held on Saturday, September 15th, and open to all gaff rigged boats 18’+. This annual race honors Francis “Pat” West, lover of the gaff rig, and benefits one of our favorite island non-profits, Sail Martha’s Vineyard, dedicated to teaching island children to sail, maritime preservation and education, and environmental/ecological/marine sustainability.
This year’s event will be “Zero Waste”, so please, no disposable plastic bottles, and bring your refillable water bottles with you!
To register for the Gaff, please email GandB@GannonAndBenjamin.com for forms, or register in person at the Skippers’ Meeting on Friday, September 14th, 5:00PM at Gannon & Benjamin’s waterfront shop.
A look at Captain Scotty DiBiaso’s Panerai watch from this year’s Opera House Cup Regatta. Schooner JUNO won the schooner class division, the Vintage Grand Classic, as well as the coveted Panerai Best Performance winner award.
JUNO Places First in 2018 Opera House Cup Schooner Division
Full race results can be viewed at: http://www1.headwaycloud.com/clients/51/uploaded_files/ohc_-_results_version_2_uGPIgN.pdf
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
In Honor of Francis Pat West, and benefitting Sail Martha’s Vineyard
Entry Forms are now available!
Please email Angie at : GandB@GannonAndBenjamin.com to register.
All entries due by Friday, September 14, 2018
Skippers’ Meeting at the G&B waterfront shop : Friday, September 14, 2018 at 5:00PM
2018 Eggemoggin Reach Regatta
Keep an eye out for “Juno“, “Eleda“, and “Mah Jong” at the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta on Saturday, August 4th!
REVONOC Places 2nd Overall in Classics Class of the 2018 Vineyard Cup Regatta
Owner/Captain Richard Herbert receiving his award from Sail Martha’s Vineyard Executive Director Brock Callen
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
“Mah Jong” Places First in Class at the 2018 Antigua Classics Yacht Regatta.
Link to Race Results: Yacht
The reports from this year’s Antigua Classics are filtering in, and we are pleased to announce that:
“Mah Jong” took first place overall in the Classics Class B Division.
Owner, Pat Ilderton placed second in class in the Single Handed race.
“Mah Jong” received the Concours d’Elegance Award for “Best Professionally Maintained” vessel.
“Mah Jong” skipper, Alex Goldhill received The FitzRoy Cup for Best Young Sailor.
We are beaming like proud parents here on the Vineyard. Congratulations to Pat, Alex, and the entire crew of “Mah Jong”, including our partner Brad Abbott who raced with MJ!
Also, hearty congratulations to our friend and new papa, Captain Mat Barker of “The Blue Peter” who placed first overall in the Vintage Class and also received a Concours Award for Best Privately Maintained vessel!
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
“Sloop gets a Nose Job”
An article on Nat replacing the bowsprit on “Welwyn” appeared in the Martha’s Vineyard Times Newspaper. Link to article: “Sloop gets a Nose Job”
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
“MAH JONG” ANNOUNCED WINNER OF
“CLASSIC BOAT MAGAZINE’S”
2018 BEST RESTORATION OVER 40′
Thank you to Classic Boat Magazine for the nomination, and to all who voted for us!
Restoration of the Year (over 40ft)
It’s been quite a comeback year for this ocean-going yawl, which after a three-year project at Gannon & Benjamin won a restoration award at Mystic Seaport and now, thanks to you, has a CB Award to her name too. Sixty-one years ago, her shakedown cruise was from Hong Kong to New England, demonstrating ably the class of her build, and now her voyaging continues, with a trip to Maine last year, and the Caribbean ahead.
Designed S&S, built Cheoy Lee Shipyard, 1957, LOD 52ft 2in (15.9m), rig bermudan yawl
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
“MAH JONG” WINS 2018 BEQUIA EASTER REGATTA
“MAH JONG” Nominated for Restoration of the Year
The Classic Boat Magazine 2018 Classic Boat Awards nominees have been announced,
We are honored to have “Mah Jong” nominated in the
“Restoration of the Year (over 40ft)” Category.
Voting is now open online at :http://awards.classicboat.co.uk/
The deadline for voting is 11:59pm, Wednesday 28 February, 2018.
Winners will be announced in their May issue, on sale on 6 April, 2018.
“Mah Jong” is currently in Caribbean waters for the winter.
Visit www.SailMahJong.com for her latest news, charter information and whereabouts.
Please also visit Soundings Magazine online to see images, video, and two recent feature articles on “Mah Jong”, written by our shipwright, Seaver Jones :
January 15, 2018
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Please enjoy this montage of images from our year: 2017. A great year indeed!
November 7, 2017
Nat Benjamin will give a presentation about his charitable mission trip to Haiti aboard his 50′ schooner, “Charlotte” Including a Q&A session about wooden boatbuilding and sailing. WHEN: Tuesday, November 7 at 6:00pm to 7:00pm LOCATION: Oak Bluffs Public Library : 56R School Street, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR THE
29th PAT WEST GAFF RIG AND SCHOONER RACE
Gaffers — It’s that time of year again!
The 29th Annual Pat West Gaff Rig and Schooner Race is Saturday, September 16, 2017.
Click to download PDF copies of the:
Please print and fill out/sign forms. — Entries & Fees due by 9/15/17
Submit your entry and fee:
-Via scanned email to GandB@GannonAndBenjamin.com (Entry Fee paid at Skippers’ Mtg.)
-In Person to Angie at G&B Office (Race forms also available at boatyard)
-In Person at the Skippers’ Meeting on Friday, September 15th, 5:30PM at G&B
See you at the Skippers’ Meeting,
Nat Benjamin & Scott Dibiaso
Friday, July 28th, 2017
“Mah Jong” Receives Sparkman &Stephens Award for Excellence in Yacht Restoration at the Mystic Seaport ANTIQUE & CLASSIC BOAT RENDEZVOUS
Sparkman &Stephens award for excellence in yacht restoration: Mah Jong. Owner: Patrick C. Ilderton “MAH JONG was originally owned by Gilbert M. Grosvenor, Hovey Freeman, and Mike Merle-Smith. The maiden voyage was chronicled in a 48-page article in the December, 1958 issue of National Geographic. The vessel was sailed from Hong Kong, through the Suez Canal and through the Aegean Sea, stopping at Rhodes, Crete, Turkey and Greece. An extensive rebuild of MAH JONG was completed in June 2017 by Gannon & Benjamin in Vineyard Haven, with spars by Myles Therlow and sails by Ben Sperry. A redesign and rebuild was completed with new deck, dog house, trunk cabin, and all new interior. This was essentially Ross Gannon’s project but almost all of the employees contributed to the design and execution.” (https://www.mysticseaport.org/news/2017/antique-classic-boat-rendezvous-winners/)
Tueday, April 25, 2017
Triumphant moment. Juno Crew. Photo by Kirsty Morrison
GO “JUNO”! Race Results can be seen at: https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm…
Monday, April 24, 2017
“Juno” Takes First Place in Races 1, 2, & 3 of the Antigua Classics Classics Class Division C.
The 65′ Gannon & Benjamin Built/Nat Benjamin Design No. 45 schooner, “Juno” placed first in their division at the Antigua Classics for Races 1, 2 & 3. Race 4 takes place today. Go “Juno”! “Juno” info: Visit G&B Construction Portfolio Race results can be viewed at: https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eid=2820 Race info and photos can be seen on the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta’s site: www.antiguaclassics.com An article on Gannon & Benjamin appears in the 2017 Antigua Classics can be viewed at: www.antiguaclassics.com/2017-programme
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
“Artemis” Wins 2017 Classic Boat Magazine Award for “Best Traditional New Build”.
http://www.classicboat.co.uk/spotlight/classic-boat-awards-2017-winners/ Huzzah! Thank you to Classic Boat for the award, huge thanks to everyone who voted for us, and to Sam Llewelyn for accepting the award in London on our behalf! Below is the acceptance speech that Sam read aloud at the awards ceremony, which took place in London last night: Dear Friends, We wish we could be here to join you this evening, but we are with you in spirit. We’re honored to receive the award for “Best Traditional New Build”. On behalf of our boatyard: Thank you to Classic Boat Magazine for the nomination, and for the recognition of our work. A hearty thanks to all who voted for our “Green Goddess” – Artemis. Congratulations also to our fellow nominated boatbuilders:
- Adrian Morgan & Viking Boats for Bay of Plenty
- Jari Vantahalo & Miilu Boats for Lili
- Ian B Richardson for Orkey yole
- West Country Cutters for Unity
We are humbled to be in such great company. And, last, but not least, a warm thank you to Leslie and Andrew Cockburn for commissioning the build of “Artemis”. It was through Leslie’s vision and love of sailing that “Artemis” came to be. Leslie and Andrew, we share this award with you. Fair Winds, Ross Gannon, Nat Benjamin, Brad Abbott, and the crew of Gannon & Benjamin
Thursday, March 23, 2017
The 31′ Canoe stern gaff sloop, “Artemis” is on the cover of the April 2017 issue of Classic Boat Magazine.
CLASSIC BOAT APRIL 2017 Link: CLASSIC BOAT
“Our star boat this month is the brand new, traditionally-built 32ft double-ended sloop Artemis, from the American yard of Gannon and Benjamin. Author Sam Llewellyn went to Martha’s Vineyard for a sail.” “Artemis” was nominated by Classic Boat Magazine’s 2017 Awards in the “Best Traditional New Build” Category. We await the announcement of the winners, yet to be publicized as of today.
Friday, March 10, 2017
Nat Benjamin Receives the Charles H. Vilas Literary Prize from the Cruising Club of America
Charles H. Vilas Award . Photo by Jon Wilson. ©Jon Wilson
New York Yacht Club— On Friday, March 7, 2017 Nat received the Charles H. Vilas Literary Prize member award from the Cruising Club of America for his story, “Passage to Haiti”. “It was one of 11 awards given to extraordinary people who have made incredible journeys on sailboats, sailed around the world several times, or saved someone’s life at sea.” — Pam Benjamin
Photo by Jon Wilson. ©Jon Wilson
Photo by Jon Wilson. ©Jon Wilson
“Passage to Haiti” can be viewed on our site! Please click link: http://gannonandbenjamin.com/press-books-films/articles/passage-to-haiti/ Congratulations, Nat! Tuesday, March 7, 2017
“Artemis” On The Cover of Classic Boat Magazine’s April Issue.
Our April issue is out now, with a new, traditionally-built 32ft double ender by Gannon & Benjamin on the cover!
Our star boat this month is the brand new, traditionally-built 32ft double-ended sloop Artemis, from the American yard of Gannon and Benjamin. Author Sam Llewellyn went to Martha’s Vineyard for a sail.
The Nat Benjamin Design No. 86, “Artemis” is on the cover of the April issue of Classic Boat magazine. http://www.classicboat.co.uk/news/april-issue-now/ She’s also been nominated by the magazine in the “Best Traditional New Build” category for their 2017 Annual Awards. Votes can be cast online at: http://www.classicboat.co.uk/awards2017/ Please visit our Construction Portfolio section for information and photos of “Artemis”. http://gannonandbenjamin.com/construction-portfolio/sloops/31-gaff-sloopartemis/
January 13, 2017
Thank you to Classic Boat magazine for the 2017 Classic Boat Awards nomination of Nat Benjamin’s Design No. 86, the 31′ gaff sloop, “Artemis”, in their “Traditional New Build” category.
September 21, 2016
28TH PAT WEST GAFF RIG & SCHOONER RACE RESULTS
“Juno” wins the Ingrid Robinson Memorial award taking first place, and the Zeb Tilton Prize for first schooner over the finish line. In the Gaff Boat (Non-Schooner Class) Our Brad Abbott, skippering owner David Grain’s G&B Holmes Hole 29 “Lisca”, received first place for the fastest gaff rig over the line. (3rd over the line behind “Juno” and “Brilliant”!) Lyle Zell placed 3rd in corrected time, skippering on the G&B Bella class 21′ sloop “Minnehaha”.
Thank you to ALL of the captains and crews who entered and for supporting the island non-profit program, Sail Martha’s Vineyard
. Gaff rigged boats and schooners ranging from 18′ (the G&B Hazel 18′
daysailer skippered by Greta Gannon) to 122′ (Gloucester Schooner, “Adventure”
) raced on the same course from East Chop start, to the West End of L’Hommedieu, to the East End of Hedge Fence, back to East Chop, an approximate 15NM course for the larger boats and schooners, and a shortened course for boats under 28′ . It was a weird and unpredictable wind and weather day, but fun nonetheless. Pat West was with us. Thank you to Schooner “Juno” and Goodnight Louise for the fab music, and to Captain Jamie Enos of “Saphaedra” for the Cottage City oysters at the awards ceremony! Here’s a look at some shots from the race and the awards ceremony. https://flipagram.com/f/w11A1Juppv
September 17, 2016
28TH PAT WEST GAFF RIG & SCHOONER RACE SCRATCH SHEET CLICK ON LINK TO OPEN SCRATCH SHEET: gaff2016scratchsheet COURSE WILL BE ANNOUNCE BY 10:00 AM
SEPTEMBER 15, 2016
Please join us Friday evening as we welcome our friend, third generation sawyer and recognized authority on Live Oak, Mr. Steve Cross. Steve will speak about the significance and use of Live Oak in shipbuilding history and its current status as a species for use in today’s wooden boat building industry.
SEPTEMBER 10, 2016
LINK TO REGISTRATION PAGE AT REGATTA NETWORKS: http://www.regattanetwork.com/event/13263#_home
August 22, 2016
MARTHA’S VINEYARD TIMES – AUGUST 17, 2016 Two Island-built schooners finished first and second in their respective class in the 2016 Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, a favorite and well-attended annual race and event among classic wooden boat owners held in Brooklin, Maine. Of the 12 boats that raced in the gaff and schooner class, the Gannon and Benjamin built/Nat Benjamin-designed 60-foot Rebecca (built in 2001) took first, and the 65-foot Juno (built in 2003), took second place on Saturday, August 6. Rebecca, with owner and Captain Jesse Smith at the helm, had a corrected time of 2hrs:38min:59sec (elapsed time: 3:09:44). Juno, with Skipper Scott DiBiaso and owner Robert Soros aboard, took second place with a corrected time of 2hrs:41min:52sec (elapsed time: 3:07:37). Specifics on both Rebecca and Juno can be viewed on the Gannon and Benjamin website:gannonandbenjamin.com.
August 17, 2016
28TH PAT WEST GAFF RIG & SCHOONER RACE
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!
Online Registration Link : https://www.regattanetwork.com/clubmgmt/applet_registration_form.php?regatta_id=13263
SKIPPER’S MEETING: Friday, September 16th, 5:30PM at the Tisbury Wharf.
A Skipper’s Reception will immediately follow the meeting aboard the schooner, “Adventure”, who will be docked at the Tisbury Wharf.
May 11, 2016
We had a visit from our friend, Steve Stone of OffCenterHarbor.com last week. Steve has since posted a two part story on Nat and Pam Stevens Benjamin‘s charitable trip to Ile-A-Vache, Haiti aboard his schooner “Charlotte”. Part 1 can be viewed on their website: http://www.offcenterharbor.com/…/passage-haiti-schooner-c…/…
“This is about sailing and giving, both of which OCH Guide, Nat Benjamin, excels at. In CHARLOTTE, a wooden schooner that Nat designed and built for himself and his family, Nat takes us on a winter voyage to the south coast of Haiti where he delivers a boatload of supplies to a local orphanage, and learns about the people who live there. Nat’s booklet, Passage to Haiti, which had limited circulation, compelled us to create a Guide Post so that OCH members could read about CHARLOTTE’s voyage. Part 1 of this two-part series gets us, by water and in winter, from New England to Haiti via Bermuda. Part 2 will cover what a Haitian coastal village is like.”
March 15, 2016
As winter moves into spring, here’s a catch-up look at our current projects at the waterfront shop and the schooner shed, Mugwump:
February 11, 2016
Classic Boat Magazine 2016 Boat Awards.
We’re honored to be recognized and shortlisted by the publication for two nominations in this year’s Classic Boat Awards. Thank you to Classic Boat Magazine for the recognition! Voting is open until the end of the month. http://www.classicboat.co.uk/awards2016 Our March 2016 advert in Classic Boat Magazine.
Lyle, Dana and Matt torture boarding “Artemis”. Classic Boat Magazine Advert March 2016
“Sheldrake” in the “Traditional new build (Under 40ft/12.2m)” Category “Cara Mia” in the “Restoration (All Sizes)” Category.
December 4, 2015
“Sheldrake” and “Cara Mia” Projects – Both Nominated for the 2016 Classic Boat Magazine Awards.
We were pleasantly surprised to learn that 2 Gannon & Benjamin projects were short-listed by Classic Boat
Magazine for their 2016 Classic Boat Awards: Category: “Traditional New Build” (Under 40ft/12.2m) “Sheldrake” Nat Benjamin Design No. 85 / 19′ Gaff Sloop
Category: “Restoration of the Year” (All Sizes) “Cara Mia” – Herreshoff NY30 Voting is open to the public and can be submitted on the CB website:http://www.classicboat.co.uk/awards2016
Thank you to Classic Boat Magazine for the recognition, and thank you in advance to those who cast a vote for our projects.
October 28, 2015
We received this lovely card in the mail today from the owners of the Design No. 86, 19′ Gaff Sloop, “Sheldrake“, featuring a photo taken by our friend, Benjamin Mendlowitz.
September 14, 2015
UPDATE: The 27th Pat West Gaff Rig and Schooner Race Entry Form – Release Form – Circular – Now Available for Download.
Registration due by Friday, September 18th.
Skippers’ Meeting :
Friday, September 18th. 1700hrs. Gannon & Benjamin 30A Beach Rd. Vineyard Haven (508) 693 – 4658
- 2015 GAFF RIG ENTRY FORM
Print, fill out, and sign the Entry and Release Forms. Options for Submission: A) Scan and email completed Entry and Release forms to GandB@GannonAndBenjamin.com. Pay $40 Entry fee (Check made out to Sail MV) at the Skipper’s Meeting. B) Submit the forms and $40 Entry fee (Check made out to Sail MV) in person at the Skippers’ Meeting. Please email GandB@GannonAndBenjamin.com letting the race committee know of your intention to enter, and to have your boat added to the list of entrants. C) Register in person at Gannon & Benjamin any day this week, up until the Skipper’s Meeting. See Angie in the office for forms and circular. See you on Friday!
The 27th Pat West Gaff Rig and Schooner Race will take place on Saturday, September 19th! This annual race benefits the island non-profit program, Sail Martha’s Vineyard. To register for the race, please email GandB@GannonAndBenjamin.com to be added to the list of recipients for entry materials. (All 26th Pat West Gaff Rig Race registrants will be emailed the Entry Form and Release Form by the end of this week.) You may also register in person at the Skippers’ Meeting. to be held at 1700 hrs. at Gannon and Benjamin’s waterfront shop on Friday, September 18th.
August 21, 2015
Registration for the 38th Annual Moffett Race is Now Open DON’T DELAY! Registration for the 38th annual Moffett Race is now open, and closes for receipt of mailed in entries in two short weeks on Sept. 4th! If you are entering online, you have until the evening of Sept. 7th. There are now even more courses for the race committee to choose from and as always with the Moffett Race, anyone can win! The cost of entering is still only $40. Please go to the following link for online entries, Notice of Race, etc. www.regattanetwork.com Full information on this year’s race is also on the www.holmeshole.org website, but some of the headers may still read 2014; just make sure you are seeing 2015 information! We hope to see you there! If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. HHSA Moffett Race Committee
August 4, 2015
Press Release describing the Castine Schooner Celebration on July 29th and the sixteenth annual Castine Classic Yacht Regatta on July 30th:
Sonny wins Ames Cup in Castine Classic Regatta “Castine, ME In the sixteenth annual Castine Classic Yacht Regatta, Sonny, a 53’ Sparkman & Stephens sloop built in 1935, sailed by Joseph Dockery, led a fleet of 35 classic yachts to win the coveted Ames Cup. The Ames Cup honors the memory of Richard Glover Ames and Henry Russell Ames who were lost at sea on June 9th, 1935 south of the Grand Banks in an unsuccessful effort to save their father, who was washed overboard during the Newport to Bergen, Norway yacht race. The Ames family hailed from Castine. This year’s Castine Classic Regatta celebrated schooners. The Castine Yacht Club, in cooperation with Mystic Seaport and the American Schooner Association, sponsored an exhibition of significant schooners at the Town Dock, as well as a symposium at the MMA. A large group of visitors were treated to an exhibition of historic schooners, including the 88’ Bowdoin, built in 1921 to explore the Arctic, now owned by MMA; the 61’ Brilliant, built in 1932, designed by Olin Stephens and gifted to Mystic Seaport which has introduced generations of young people to sailing at sea; 42’ Malabar II, designed and originally owned by John Alden in 1922; and three recently built schooners designed by Nat Benjamin and built at the yard of Gannon & Benjamin in Martha’s Vineyard: 60’ Rebecca of Vineyard Haven, 65’ Juno and 50’ Charlotte. “These schooners represent the best of the breed, developed over centuries,” commented David Bicks, Chairman of the event. The symposium, chaired by Dana Hewson, senior curator at Mystic, included presentations by Nat Benjamin, designer and builder at Gannon & Benjamin; Andy Chase of the MMA, former captain of the Bowdoin; Nicholas Alley of Mystic Seaport, Captain of Brilliant; Harold Burnham, master shipwright, part of a Massachusetts boatbuilding tradition dating back to the 1630s; Kip Files, owner and captain of the three-masted windjammer Victory Chimes, originally built in 1900 to haul lumber and freight; and Sam Chamberlain, designer and project manager at Rockport Marine, which recently restored 1924 William Fife designed schooner Adventuress, and 1940 Concordia schooner Mya. The discussions ranged from the history and significance of these boats, the backbone of world commerce in their time, to the need to not only build replicas for the future but to restore and maintain these original gems. The Castine event kicked off three days of classic boat racing, culminating in the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta. The 19.6 mile race from Castine to Camden, sponsored by the Castine Yacht Club, was sailed in generally fair conditions and light winds with occasional fog. The boats beat down East Penobscot Bay, rounded Robinson Rock off the southern end of Islesboro, and finished under spinnaker off Curtis Island at Camden. In the Classic A Class, Sonny was followed by Spartan, a 72’ Herreshoff NY 50 built in 1912 and skippered by Victor Paul. Black Watch, a 67’ Sparkman & Stephens yawl built in 1958 and sailed by John Melvin, last year’s winner, took third place. The Class A Class included a highly competitive match race among three Sparkman & Stephens NY 32s built in 1936. Falcon, sailed by Bob Scott of Castine, won by about two minutes over Isla, sailed by Henry May and Gentian, sailed by Richard Armstrong, which finished just two seconds apart. In the Classic B Class, Leaf, a 38’ Luders 24, built in 1946 and sailed by Chris Bouzaid, bested Rogue, a 37’ Herreshoff/Newport 29 sloop built in 1953, sailed by Savill Simonds. Thora, a Little Harbor 36 built in 1960, skippered by Vince Todd, followed in third place. In the Spirit of Tradition Class, Isobel, a 68’ sloop designed by Stephens-Waring and built in 2011, sailed by Richard Schotte, claimed first place honors. Lynette, a Stevens-Taylor 48’ sloop, also built by Brooklin Boatyard in 2013, skippered by Michael Cook, took second, followed by Vortex, a 52’ Reimers design built in 1990, sailed by Steve White. In the Schooner Class, the 1921 schooner Brilliant skippered by Nicholas Alley led, followed by 65’ Juno, built in 2003 and sailed by Scott DiBiaso. Rebecca of Vineyard Haven, a 75’ Gannon & Benjamin schooner built in 2001, owned and sailed by Jesse Smith, took third place. At the awards ceremony at the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, following the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, Bicks presented the Ames Cup and the Sparkman & Stephens trophy to Joseph Dockery of Sonny. The Phalarope Trophy, awarded to the top Concordia yacht in memory of Thomas G. Ashton of Castine, was presented to Robert Keefer of Otter.”
July 23, 2015
Nat Benjamin to speak at this year’s Castine Classic Yacht Race symposium on July 29th. From the “Castine Patriot” : “To launch its 16th annual Castine Classic Yacht Race, the Castine Yacht Club, in cooperation with Mystic Seaport and the American Schooner Association, is sponsoring a celebration of significant schooners on July 29. Dana Hewson, Senior Curator at Mystic, will chair a symposium featuring a distinguished panel of skippers, builders and historians. The symposium will start at 4 p.m. at Maine Maritime Academy’s Delano Auditorium. The public is invited.
Preceding the symposium, the schooners will be on exhibition at the Castine Town Dock from noon until 3:30 p.m. The schooner fleet will include: …Rebecca, Juno, and Charlotte, each designed by Nat Benjamin and built by Gannon & Benjamin from 2001 to 2007…” Link to full article: Castine To Celebrate Schooners
June 30, 2015
Sail Martha’s Vineyard Annual Seafood Buffet and Auction
Thursday, July 9, 2015 — The Quintessential Island Event
The major fundraising effort of Sail MV is the Annual Seafood Buffet and Auction. It is a great Island event with delicious food, and both live and silent auctions. This year’s celebration will be held July 9 at the Tisbury Wharf in Vineyard Haven, starting at 5:30 PM. The harbor offers a beautiful backdrop for this special evening. Many of the yachts competing in the Vineyard Cup, including our wonderful classic wooden fleet, will be tied up at the dock for viewing while everyone enjoys cocktails and listens to the Beetlebung Steel Band. Live and Silent auctions will include many wonderful prizes, including a Boston get-away, sails on beautiful wooden boats, Island art and local restaurant dinners. Reservations are $175 per person or $350 for VIP tickets that include tentside parking, prime table location and complimentary wine.
June 26, 2015
Ross, Brad, and crew will be at the WoodenBoat Show in Mystic, CT this weekend. Please stop by our booth to say hello, and to view the brand new Design No. 85 “Sheldrake” at the floating docks. Photo: Mystic Seaport The newly restored Herreshoff NY30 “Cara Mia” is also at the show! Located at the North Dock, this is a wonderful opportunity to see one of the original 18 NY30’s designed by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff. See you at the show!
June 5, 2015 The Unveiling of Ross Gannon’s Portrait by Artist Elizabeth R. Whelan
On Thursday, June 4th Elizabeth R. Whelan – Artist unveiled her portrait of our one and only, Ross Gannon. Family, friends and crew members gathered at the waterfront shop to see Elizabeth’s incredible piece. Thank you, Elizabeth!
June 4, 2015
, founder of Grain Surfboards
, historian, and builder of wooden surfboards, and artist Imogene Drummond came for an extended visit to build and create a wooden surfboard outside of our waterfront shop as part of Rich’s “Tree to Sea Surfboard Art Project.” Read about his project and their time spent with us at Treetosea.org Thanks, Rich and Imogene!
May 7, 2015
For those who were unable to attend Monday’s launch of the Design #85, “Sheldrake”, here is a link to a video of the event posted by Michael Cummo : Click: Launch of “Sheldrake”
May 6, 2015
Ross and Kirsten departed at 6:30AM from the Vineyard to deliver ‘Sheldrake’ to her owners, Steve and Maureen Corkery, on Shelter Island. Given the distance between MV and SI, which involved 2 ferry rides and many miles driven, we were pleasantly surprised to receive these images of the Corkery’s already taking their first sail on their brand new Design #85 gaff sloop!
May 5, 2015
Monday was a picture perfect day for launching the Design #85. Thank you to all whom attended, participated, and helped launch “Sheldrake” into Vineyard Haven Harbor. Nat Benjamin welcomed and addressed the attendees, thanking the shipwrights for their work, especially the lead builders in the project, Matthew Hobart, and Lyle Zell. He also spoke of “Sheldrake’s” owners, Steve and Maureen Corkery, longtime Gannon and Benjamin customers and friends, and owners of the 25′ Gannon and Benjamin sloop, “Canvasback”. Greta Gannon christened the boat to great cheer and enthusiasm from the crowd. Nat and Matt took “Sheldrake” out for successful sea trials on Tuesday, and she is now en route to her new homeport on Shelter Island, in the safe hands of Ross Gannon. We wish Fair Winds to the Corkery’s, and look forward to seeing them, and “Sheldrake” again at the WoodenBoat Show in Mystic, CT. in June!
May 2, 2015
Design #85, Nat Benjamin’s most recent design, will be launched on Monday, May 5th at noon. Please join us along the railway to celebrate her completion and to view the lovely 19′ Gaff Sloop, “Sheldrake” as she is lowered into the Vineyard Haven Harbor. Congratulations to owners Steve and Maureen Corkery! We look forward to seeing “Sheldrake” again in June at the WoodenBoat Show in Mystic, CT.
March 12, 2013
Catching up with Nat Benjamin aboard his 50′ schooner, ‘Charlotte’. An article in today’s edition of the Martha’s Vineyard Times on Nat’s humanitarian visit in Ile-A-Vache, Haiti, and his trip to Cienfuegos, Cuba. Read the article in full at: MV Times – Nat Benjamin Sails Charlotte Into Warm Welcome In Haiti and Cuba March 9, 2015 Friends, an update on the MV Film Festival opening night movie “Red Dot on the Ocean”, being co-sponsored by Gannon and Benjamin on March 19th: Ross and Nat will be moderating the discussion with film subject Matt Rutherford immediately following the screening. We hope you can join us. Info and tickets are available at: http://tmvff.org/reddot March 4, 2015 Tickets can be purchased at http://tmvff.org/reddot We hope you can join us. February 10, 2015 Gannon and Benjamin are proud sponsors of this year’s Vineyard Cup Regatta, an annual race that benefits the island based non-profit, Sail Martha’s Vineyard. Sail MV is an organization dedicated to the preservation of maritime life here on the island. They offer sailing lessons and maritime education classes, and are the primary supporters of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Sailing team, recently ranked in the top 5 in New England. Please take a moment to visit their site at www.SailMV.com to learn more about their efforts. Registration for the Vineyard Cup in July is now open! See you at the starting line! January 28, 2015 Winter storm ‘Juno’ left a deep blanket of snow on the island, but we faired through it well. Unlike our friends on Nantucket who experienced an island wide power outage during the brunt of the storm, the Vineyard had minimal and brief electricity losses. The boats in winter storage with us are fine, and we are thankful we escaped what was a powerful, wind driven nor’easter unscathed. We came back to work to find the Black Dog’s ice machine blown off of their dock and washed up onto our beach front. It appears that Mother Nature brought decided to deliver us snow and some ice. January 12, 2015 A very special thank you to Gilly Gobinet, Editor for the “Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta Programme” for this feature article on ‘Eleda‘, ‘Juno‘, and our Ross Gannon from the 2014 Antigua Classics Race. This year’s race is set to take place April 15 – 21, 2015. See you there? December 26, 2014 A heartfelt thank you to all who were a part of our year, 2014. We wish you, as always, Fair Winds, and a happy and prosperous New Year. We look forward to seeing you at the boatyard in 2015. Ross, Nat, Brad, and the Gannon and Benjamin crew. Please follow this link to view a retrospective video of 2014: http://youtu.be/yainZH8a8Dg December 23, 2014 Gorgeous photos taken by Ian Ridgeway in Île-à-Vache, Haiti of “Charlotte” anchored just off shore, and of the beautiful children of the Sister Flora Orphanage who received generous donations from Martha’s Vineyard residents and friends of Gannon and Benjamin, of clothing, food, art supplies, shoes, and financial support. A very warm thank you to all who donated to Nat and Pam’s Île-à-Vache charitable and humanitarian mission. Nat and Pam will depart to Île-à-Vache on the 28th of December. While there, Pam will be giving art lessons to the children of Sister Flora Orphanage, and Nat will be distributing boat building tools to the local boat owners. While in Haiti, Nat noticed that the islanders were using iphones. The number of Haitians living on the island of Île-à-Vache is greater than the year round population of Martha’s Vineyard. *****If you have an old iphone that you no longer use, Nat will be bringing gently used/functioning iphone donations to the residents of Île-à-Vache. Phones can be dropped off at Gannon and Benjamin boatyard prior to his departure on the 28th. Thank you! ****** Nat told us there are around 75 children currently living at the orphanage, of all ages. According to recent facts: “Because of both violence and AIDS, Haiti has the highest percentage of orphans of any country in the Western Hemisphere. Before the 2010 earthquake, the United Nations estimated there were 430,000 orphans.” Donations for Sister Flora’s Orphanage can be sent to Pam Benjamin, P.O. Box 1558, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Please make checks payable to Sense of Wonder Creations/Haiti Fund. Sense of Wonder Creations is a 501c(3) and donations are tax deductible. All money goes directly to the orphanage. If you would like to read about their mission in detail: http://vineyardgazette.com/news/2014/11/28/heading-out-sea-share-bounty?k=vg544921e81a6b3 December 22, 2014 A lovely hand drawn card we received from Christa Culbert, our apprentice from last season.
December 11, 2014
A communication from Nat aboard ‘Charlotte’, on the way from Bermuda to Ile-A-Vache, Haiti: “The wind has dictated a Windward passage (west side) approach which is a bit shorter anyway. We’ve been using the salt water washdown pump for laundry and shower then follow w/ my forward shower device which is great. Temperature is tropical and lovely. Malcolm’s (Malcolm Boyd) bday today. Zoli ( Zoli Clarke) made fritata, Brad (Brad Abbot) brownies. Will be sailing between Grand Turk and the Mouchoir Bank tonight. Pos now 21 40N 70 23W @ 1900 12 /08.” Nat and crew stopped at Grand Turk island to refuel and refill water tanks, and is expected to reach Ile-A-Vache early this morning. Fair winds, “Charlotte”!
December 3, 2014
Under cloudy skies and dusting snow, Nat Benjamin, along with Brad Abbott, Zoli Clarke, Ian Ridgeway, and Malcolm Boyd set sail aboard ‘Charlotte’ headed toward Bermuda. Nat will be cruising southerly waters throughout this winter season with destinations including Haiti, The Dominican Republic, and if all goes as planned, Cuba – where he will conduct research on the Cuban wooden boat and fishing culture and communities on the south coast. While in Haiti, specifically, the island of Île-à-Vache, Nat and his wife Pam Stevens Benjamin, will be visiting the Sister Flora’s Orphanage to bring donated items of food, clothing, medicine, and art supplies. Nat will also be visiting the local boatbuilders to give them gently used sails and boatbuilding tools. ‘Charlotte’ was filled to the rim with donation items as she left the dock at G&B, and we thank everyone who rallied together for their generous contributions. An article featuring Nat and Pam’s mission can be read in its entirety on the Vineyard Gazette website at: http://vineyardgazette.com/news/2014/11/28/heading-out-sea-share-bounty?k=vg544921e81a6b3 Here is a photo from Ian Ridgeway of ‘Charlotte’ in Bermuda. The crew made nice time and arrived in their first destination port yesterday.
November 12, 2014
We have continued to enjoy some temperate and sunny days here on Vineyard Haven Harbor, and have been appreciative of the extended sailing days into the fall season given to us by Mother Nature. As Autumn begins to turn to Winter, we have been busily welcoming back, and arranging the hauling, de-commissioning, and winter storage of our regular fleet of wooden boat owners, along with some new ones, and have found our winter lot booked to capacity. At the shop at Beach Rd., we have seen a steady flow of boat owners hauled onto the railway for various projects, including the lovely 40′ Gannon and Benjamin built gaff sloop, ‘Liberty‘, pictured below, getting a fresh coat of bottom paint: Autumn also signals the departure of our New England homeport based friends, as they set off for southerly climes for the winter season. After a grand summer of sailing and racing, ‘Juno‘ Skipper, Scott DiBiaso and crew, including our Lyle Zell, set out early last week to Bermuda. Last we heard, they reached their destination safely, where they were reunited with the crews of ‘Sumurun’ and ‘Saphaedra’, both of which were in Vineyard waters over the summer. A shot of ‘Juno’ approaching ‘Charlotte’ in the Moffett Race: Nat has also been readying his 50′ schooner ‘Charlotte‘ to leave the G&B dock later this week, with Brad, Zoli, and crew aboard. They will also head toward Bermuda as their first stop, with travel plans this winter set for Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba where Nat will be conducting research on traditional wooden boats, along with Cuban maritime and fishing history. While in Haiti, he and his wife Pam will visit the Sister Flora’s Orphanage, (Saint Francis of Assisi Orphanage) bearing charitable gifts of clothing, basic supplies, powdered milk, food, and school and art supplies. Nat will also be bringing donations of wooden boat building supplies, tools, sails and rigging for the boat builders on Île-à-Vache. ‘Charlotte’ alongside of Brad Abbott’s ‘Aurora’ on day two of the Vineyard Cup: We have thoroughly enjoyed having the 60′ G&B built schooner ‘Rebecca‘ here for the summer season, and to see her in the Vineyard Haven Harbor amongst her schooner sisters, ‘Juno’ and ‘Charlotte’. She returned to her place of launch for some restoration work, and even got an island race in. Here she is at the start of the 26th Annual Pat West Gaff Rig and Schooner race, with our Ross Gannon at the helm: ‘Rebecca’ will head to Newport soon, and we look forward to hearing updates as to her travel destinations from her owner, Jesse this winter season. Fair winds to all. Activity at our annex location, the schooner shed, Mugwump, is hopping. Please visit our Current Projects section for updates on the rebuild of the Sparkman and Stephens yawl, ‘Mah Jong’, and restoration work on the Nathanael Herreshoff designed NY30, ‘Cara Mia’. November 5, 2014 ‘Halcyon’ For Sale. An update on the restoration of our Sparkman and Stevens Nevins 40 Yawl: ‘Halcyon’ has new coamings and toe rails, a new deck, and all varnish has been stripped and refinished. After rebuilding the hull last winter, with the exception of deck paint, she is also freshly painted. Gannon and Benjamin is actively looking for her new owner. All inquiries can be made by phone at (508) 693-4658 or by email to: GandB@GannonAndBenjamin.com October 15, 2014 The November/December issue of Woodenboat Magazine will include an article penned by Nat Benjamin titled, “The Boat Shower — A practical, minimalist solution. The issue also includes a glorious cover photo and feature article on the ‘Charles W. Morgan’ whaleship. The last remaining whaleship in the world. Gannon and Benjamin was one of the boat builders who created an exact replica of the 19th Century whaleboats as part of the Mystic Seaport Museum’s restoration project, and can be seen aboard the ‘Morgan’s’ davits. (Ours is the one with the green stripe.) See more at: http://www.woodenboat.com/current-issue October 8, 2014 CBB is excited to announce that we will be offering our first adult workshop during the weekend of 11/8 & 11/9! Nat Benjamin will join CBB’s Executive Director John Rowse to co-teach the workshop focusing on unlocking the secrets of lofting a boat.
|Workshop Description: Nat Benjamin of Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway & John Rowse of Community Boat Building will lead a hands-on workshop in basic lofting. We will work in small teams to loft a 10ft Periwinkle Jr. This flat bottom rowing skiff was designed by Nat and is used by Community Boat Building in their boat building experiential learning program in Boston Public Schools. CBB has built over 50 of these beautiful skiffs with 5th graders in Boston. The first two days of the student experience is lofting. We have lots of experience with folks who have no idea what we are talking about when we start. Anyone can do this. It is the essence of understanding a boat design before you start building. Join us on 11/8 and 11/9 to gain a comprehensive understanding of this important process! Where: The workshop will be held at CBB’s shop on Fan Pier, located at 21 Liberty Drive, Boston, MA 02210 (at the corner of Liberty Drive and Courthouse Way) When: Saturday 11/8 from 1pm-5pm and Sunday 11/9 from 10am-3pm Price: The cost for the two-day workshop is $350. All proceeds from the workshop will go towards funding CBB’s programs with Boston Public School students E-mail email@example.com to reserve your spot Space is limited and expected to fill quickly – so sign up today!
OCTOBER 2, 2014 A nice write up by both island newspapers on the 26th PAT WEST GAFF RIG & SCHOONER RACE in this week’s issues… The links to each article can be accessed by clicking on the newspaper names: MV Times Vineyard Gazette SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 26th PAT WEST GAFF RIG & SCHOONER RACE RESULTS It was a sun filled and windy day for the 26th PAT WEST GAFF RIG & SCHOONER RACE held on Saturday, September 13, 2014. Nat Benjamin’s schooner “Charlotte” took the win in corrected time, with Robert Soros’ schooner “Juno” receiving Line Honors for first schooner over the line in uncorrected time. This year’s race was a particularly memorable one for Gannon and Benjamin; the 60′ schooner “Rebecca” of Vineyard Haven was also entered. (Skippered by Ross Gannon) It was a pleasure to see “Charlotte”, “Juno”, and “Rebecca” all in the same waters. Jeff Craig’s “Corineus” placed 2nd in corrected time, but also received the award for 1st Gaff Rigger across the line. Jeff Robinson’s “Phra Luang” placed 3rd in corrected time. Congratulations to all of the racers, and see you again next September! Below are the results ordered in corrected time: September 9, 2014 — 26th PAT WEST GAFF RIG AND SCHOONER RACE Registration for the 26th Pat West Gaff Rig and Schooner Race on September 13th is now open! Please contact Angie at Gannon & Benjamin to sign up. Call 508-693-4658 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Previous entrants were emailed registration forms. Check your inboxes! September 1, 2014 — Happy Labor Day June 27, 2014 — Nat, Ross, and the annual WoodenBoat Show in Mystic, CT. Nat and Ross have reunited for the first time since the Antigua Classics at the annual WoodenBoat Show in Mystic, CT. Nat departed south from the Vineyard aboard Charlotte, toward Connecticut, while Ross and Kirsten traveled northeast aboard Eleda from New York City. Please stop by the Gannon and Benjamin table at the show to say hello! Vineyard Haven Launch Service The Vineyard Haven Launch Service, (VHLS) operated by Gannon and Benjamin, is now fully up and running. The service is available 7 days a week from 8:00AM to 11:00PM Please hail our VHLS Driver on Channel 72* upon your approach or arrival into Vineyard Haven Harbor. * The summer season is very active and busy, so if at first you do not reach our driver, hail, hail, again! We also have outer harbor moorings available for rental; we normally operate on a first-come/first-serve basis. Please call the office with any specific questions at (508)693-4658 regarding moorings or the VHLS . June 19, 2014 The “Charles W. Morgan” Whaleship’s Arrival into Vineyard Haven Harbor Yesterday The Gannon and Benjamin crew sailed out aboard “Charlotte” and “Aurora” to meet her in pristine sailing weather. Here are a few shots taken from “Aurora” of “Charlotte”, the “Morgan”, and of the whaleboat that G&B built. A grand day, a historic moment for Islanders. Please visit the whaleship and see her in person… She is a mighty vessel! June 1o, 2014: Spring Commissioning Work Continues at the Schooner Shed, Mugwump The crew at Mugwump have been working on shaking off the winter storage dust and getting a long line up of beautiful wooden boats ready for launch. For more images of the spring commissioning, please visit our public Facebook page to view an entire album of the work being done this spring by clicking the post link below:
April 23, 2014: A Recent Article from the Vineyard Gazette Newspaper:
Monday, April 21, 2014 – 3:52pm “Two boats built at the Gannon and Benjamin shipyard in Vineyard Haven won top honors and special recognition in the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta held over the weekend. Owned by Robert Soros and skippered by Scott DiBiaso of West Tisbury, the wooden schooner Juno placed first in its class in four races that concluded Monday. Nat Benjamin was on board Juno along with his skipper and crew. Ross Gannon and his family also raced in their 45-foot double head sail sloop Eleda which placed first in its class as well as being singled out as the recipient of the Arne Frisell Prize for greatest attention to structural integrity and safety.
Ross Gannon’s son Lyle Zell was also part of the crew aboard Juno.
The Gannon and Benjamin shipyard is known for its wooden boat craftsmanship.
The 27th annual classic yachts regatta was sponsored by Panerai and marked by strong trade winds and high seas. “Classic sailors came ashore soaking wet, covered in salt and wide-eyed from the thrill of it all,” reported one account on the website Sail World. “The heavy weather showed the Classic Yachts in their element. There is no more impressive a sight, to sailing enthusiasts, than beautifully maintained elegant yachts crashing through Caribbean surf.”
April 22, 2014:
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta 2014 Recent Post
‘Juno’ and ‘Eleda’ Overall Winners in Their Respective Classes.
From the Antigua Classics Website : “Racing at the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, sponsored by Panerai came to a conclusion today with the Windward Course, a reaching start with a tricky reverse triangle and a reach finish. The breeze was still in but had moderated enough to allow shifts to make a big impact on performance. Several classes were decided on the last day of racing. The magnificent fleet cast off lines and headed out to the race track for the last time until next year! … In Vintage Class C, Michael Jarrald’s British 66′ Cutter, Lily Maid has had an outstanding regatta, winning all four races. Robert Soros’ American Nat Benjamin 65, Juno also claimed a perfect set of results, as did Eleda, Ross Gannon’s family boat which was co-designed by Antonio Salguero. The duel between Stormvogel and Whitehawk was decided on the last race. Ralph Isham’s Bruce King 105′ Ketch, Whitehawk took the gun and the prize in the last race.” View article in full at www.antiguaclassics.com April 21, 2014:
‘Eleda’ and ‘Juno’ are Both Recognized in the 2014
Ross Gannon’s ‘Eleda’ Receives the ARNE FRISELL PRIZE
for Greatest Attention to Structural Integrity, Safety
About Concours d’Elégance : “The Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance is proud to be the sponsor of the Concours d’Elégance. The wealth of maritime skills and traditions of Nova Scotia, especially the Lunenburg area, makes The Lunenburg Shipyard Alliance a perfect partner to sponsor this part of the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. The term classic or vintage yacht invokes several images: sleek racing boats with impeccable sheer lines and tiny transoms, or perhaps thoughtfully designed cruising sailboats with teak decks and varnished trim. Today the resurgence in interest in classic yachts is evidenced by the numbers of yachts being lovingly restored and by the many classic yacht regattas held around the world. The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta week is one of the finest such regattas with increased participation by a wide variety of world-class yachts. In judging this event, points are awarded according to the condition of each yacht, including how close she is to her original form. There are two categories: best professionally-maintained yacht and best privately-maintained yacht, with winners in five divisions; Traditional: vessels built as work boats, Vintage: vessels built before 1950, Classic: vessels built and rigged traditionally since 1950, Spirit of Tradition yachts and Classic Motor Yachts. We would like to encourage yachts of all types to enter the Concours. Beyond gleaming brass and unstreaked varnish, we are looking for yachts that achieve their “personal best.” While the appeal of classic yachts is caught up with aesthetics, sailing performance, a sense of history and timelessness, the most profound draw to classics is something intangible…perhaps it has to do with heart and soul…the way a yacht has a life of her own, transcending her owner…Since all the various yachts we judge were built to different standards with different design specifications, it is only fair that we judge each yacht according to her own unique qualifications… Anyone can win… please don’t hesitate to register for the Concours d’Elégance.” CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE – 2014 RESULTS: CLASSIC CLASS (Professionally Maintained) 1 WHITEHAWK 2 JUNO CLASSIC CLASS (Privately Maintained) 1 HOLLY MAE 2 ELEDA 3 LILY BOLERO ARNE FRISELL PRIZE (Greatest Attention to Structural Integrity, Safety) ELEDA Full results can be viewed at the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta website: http://antiguaclassics.com/v1/2014-concours-delegance/ April 21, 2014 : Antigua Classics Race 4 Results are in! Both ‘Juno’ and ‘Eleda’ once again placed first in their classes, making them their overall class leaders in 4 out of 4 races in all. Time to celebrate! Congratulations to Robert Soros, Scott DiBiaso, Nat Benjamin, Lyle Zell, the crew of ‘Juno’, and to Ross, Kirsten, Olin and Greta and the crew of ‘Eleda’! Sending a big “WOO-HOO!!!” to all of you from everyone at the shop! Race results can be seen at: http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_detail.cfm?Race_Number=4&eID=950 April 21, 2014 : “When in Vineyard Haven… ” by Wayne George Gannon and Benjamin friend,Wayne George, has scribed a lovely article about our boatyard at http://www.muffyaldrich.com. Wayne, who took charge of the restoration of the 1903 Herreshoff, ‘Nellie’ , (http://synellie.com/ ) and designs clothing for the mariner shop F.L. Woods in Marblehead, Mass will be co-hosting our “Vineyard Haven Harbor Classic Boat Gathering” event in August, along with Jeffrey Boal, and the crew of ‘Nellie’. This 3 day event is open to all owners of classic wooden boats to participate in. Please mark your calendars for August 14-16th, 2014 and join us for fun, music, food, and games along the shores of our shop. F.L. Woods will be providing prizes for games! (Row your dinghies up the the G&B dock and get ready for dinghy races!) We humbly thank Wayne for taking the time to write about us in this heartfelt, sincere and kind way. It truly embodies our philosophy and spirit; You really ‘get us’, Wayne! Thanks, again!
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2014
When in Vineyard Haven… by Wayne George
By Wayne George. When I think about favorite places — nooks of authentic New England– one section of Martha’s Vineyard island bubbles to the top. True, I have been known to love the crunch of up-island destinations, the glamour of Edgartown, and even occasional debauchery in Oak Bluffs. But there is something that happens on one certain little patch of Vineyard Haven that brings it all together for me. It is a little sliver of working waterfront, tucked between the Black Dog Restaurant to the west and a Marina to the east, called Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway.
|Launching of the William Hand designed Sword-fishing Boat
It is not the humble facility with a fantastic wood shop and old creaky sign, and piles of old bronze marine hardware that defines the place for me. It is not the lumber pile, the old varnished spars on the side of the building, the crystal clear warm water and lapping waves out front. Nor is it the unusual fantail launch named Baguette on the dock that was designed and built here. It’s not the odd collection of traditional boats and yachts scattered everywhere about the railway, pier, beach and the mooring field to the north, although that comes close. And despite it being my favorite perch, it’s not even the wooden bench on the sandy beach out front of the shop where you can watch the world go by and admire the schooners designed and built by Ross Gannon, Nat Benjamin and their associated tribe of shipwrights.
No, all of this is just the canvas on which a unique community has evolved under the careful direction of some very special people. Here are people that operate from a position based on relationships, caring and dare I say love. This is a placed based on old fashion values, where people come together to help each other and make things happen. It’s a place where it’s really hard to differentiate between who works there, who might be a customer or who might just be a part of the community that swung through and decided to lend a hand or make some music on the beach. What they actually do here is design and build some of the most beautiful yachts ever seen; from small dingys and day-sailors to beautiful world traveling schooners. And they also perform all sorts of boat maintenance.
|Schooner Launching After Repairs
In all that they do, it a place where craftsmanship reaches heights, not just through the amazing talent that exists there, but through talent that is driven by a desire to so unselfishly please others as well as ones self by working to the best of ones ability. It’s a place where so much is given back that you can’t resist the temptation to grab the broom and sweep the sand off the pier, to in some small way be part of it.
|Nat Benjamin Schooner Drawing
Next time you get off the ferry in Vineyard Haven, skip over the t-shirt and ice cream shops and walk the beach east to Gannon & Benjamin. It’s not a shop with a sales clerk or front desk, so wander in softly and courteously and see what it feels like. If you love craftsmanship and an amazing community, get involved … have them build your dream sailing dingy or maybe a racing schooner to cruise south in the winter! The process of working together with them is only outdone by the memories of the process while you enjoy your new craft thereafter.
|On Deck of a Nat Designed Schooner – JUNO
This past winter they designed and have been building a new tender for Nellie. Here are some pictures:
Next time you in are Vineyard Haven…
…you may see Nat rowing out to the schooners.
About the author (as described to me by a friend): Wayne George designs clothes, restores ships, and runs the store F.L. Woods. F.L. Woods opened about 75 years ago by Marbleheader and sailor, Fred Woods. Originally Fred ran the shop out of his home, specializing in providing nautical charts to local and visiting mariners. When his business began to pick up, his wife made him take a proper location. Today the store remains in the same location in Old Town, Marblehead in the historic building affectionately known as the “old wood box.” Back when Fred was running the shop, children in town would be thrilled to be let in and warned by Fred, “Don’t touch anything!” After Fred passed away, the shop was in danger of closing until his friend and neighbor, Wayne George stepped in and purchased the shop. Today the store remains true to it’s maritime roots but sells more clothing than charts. An engineer by trade, Wayne designs much of the store’s beautiful clothing. Everything he designs is made in the states with careful attention to quality and detail. This season Wayne introduced his Marblehead Mariner’s Jacket and his Sopwith sweater. He says of the jacket, “you won’t lend it out, but you’ll hand it down.” You can check these out at http://www.flwoods.com/. He also headed up the restoration of the 1903 Herreshoff “Nellie. See his video of the finished product here: http://www.muffyaldrich.com/2014/01/guest-video-restoration-tour-of-1903.html Wayne George also provided the pictures.
April 21, 2014 : G&B BOATS ‘Juno’ and ‘Eleda’ CURRENTLY FIRST IN THEIR CLASSES IN THE “ANTIGUA CLASSIC YACHT REGATTA” ! The annual Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta is underway! Both Nat and Ross are in Antigua taking part in the races–Nat aboard ‘Juno‘, and Ross on his 45′ Ketch, ‘Eleda’. Ross’ son, Lyle Zell is also crewing with ‘Juno’. Both ‘Juno’ and ‘Eleda’ have placed first in their classes for Races 1,2, and 3! For the most recent race news, please visit the regatta’s website at www.antiguaclassics.com. ‘Eleda’ and ‘Juno’ have also been recognized in the CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE in the following categories: CLASSIC CLASS (Privately Maintained) 1 HOLLY MAE 2 ELEDA 3 LILY BOLERO CLASSIC CLASS (Professionally Maintained) 1 WHITEHAWK 2 JUNO ARNE FRISELL PRIZE (Greatest Attention to Structural Integrity, Safety) ELEDA Here is an excerpt from a report on the Classics website mentioning Ross and Nat, and quoting ‘Juno’ Skipper, Scott DiBiaso: “Robert Soros’ 64′ Juno and her sister ship, Ross Gannon’s 45′ Ketch, Eleda were both built at Vineyard Haven, USA. Both of the beautiful creations are winning their respective classes and look likely to celebrate tomorrow. “What a lovely day, the Cannon is like the kindergarten race, everybody feels good about it!” Laughed Juno’s skipper, Scotty Di Biaso. “Classics is a great way to end the Caribbean season, everyone gets together, you have your hugs, your kisses and goodbyes until the next season. Today seemed tranquil compared to the last two days, much more civilised! There was still a ton of water everywhere but it was really enjoyable, the course doesn’t push the boats as hard. We have a really good crew and the owner has enjoyed sailing with some of his friends. We also have the boat’s designer Nat Benjamin sailing and the co-designers son, Ross Gannon, some girls from Key West who have just jumped on and Rosie and Peter providing the local knowledge plus our secret weapon, Gidget – that’s all I can tell you!” “ View the full write up here: http://antiguaclassics.com/v1/a-barrel-of-fun/ We will be posting more information on the race and regatta. Stay tuned!