by Brad Hedrick member of ACBS

When I was a kid, growing up in Norfolk, Virginia, we lived very close to my grandparents. My brothers and I got to spend a lot of time with my grandfather while my father was in Viet- Nam. My grandfather had a 17’ Barbour Silver Clipper that he took out every chance he got and was delighted to have my brothers and I as his crew. We went out with him often to fish and for him to teach us about boating.

I was happy just to be out on the water in that wonderful boat with my “Pop”. He kept it in perfect condition, building a garage onto the side of his house just so he could keep it out of the weather and protected.

I especially recall the smells associated with the boat, the little compartment in the forward area where he stowed the life jackets and lines, the mixture of gas, oil, and varnish which were all part of the experience.

We moved to the desert in California when my father returned and trips out in the wonderful boat with my Pop became only a memory. A year later, when I was 10 years old, he got cancer and passed away quite suddenly, breaking my heart and ending a favorite chapter of my life. My grandmother couldn’t bear to see the boat in the garage because it reminded her so much of him. So, she sold it, and it became forever one of my favorite memories.

About 10 years ago, through the magic of the internet, I began looking to see if I could find a similar boat. I located one in Connecticut, came to terms with the seller and purchased a little replica from my past. It was also a 17’ Silver Clipper, almost identical to the one my grandfather had. It was in pretty good shape and I was able to keep it at a nearby lake in Virginia. My wife and I went out often. We even took my grandmother out in it once and she seemed quite tickled to also relive many fond memories. We had several enjoyable summers with it until my health declined due to a congenital heart condition.

I had a heart transplant in 2015 and spent many months afterwards recovering from the multiple surgeries. After going through the transplant, my outlook on life changed. My wife, Kim, and I decided not to wait until we retired to relocate. We recently built a home in Beaufort to enjoy the warmer climate and the whole coastal vibe. After a year, we were once again back out on the water, enjoying our wonderful little boat.

We attended the annual Wooden Boat Show in Beaufort, NC, over the years and fell in love with the town. The Barbour Boat Works was originally in nearby New Bern, so there were always lots of other Barbours to look at and appreciate. We look forward to bringing our boat down here soon and being able to ply her in “home waters”.

4 Comments

  1. Great story. I look forward to seeing you in Beaufort next year. The Coastal & Piedmont chapter of ACBS has some great events. If you get down to Wrightsvlle Beach please look me up. Jim Dean

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