By John Peckham member of the Southern Calif chapter
Half-Hitch is a 13’2” sloop built in 1940 with apple that was felled locally by a 1938 hurricane, as well as with oak and Pacific hardwoods. She was designed by Edson I. Schock of Kingston, Rhode Island. She was built by a Mystic Seaport trustee and his son (names unknown). The boat has a rich history of being a fixture on the Mystic River. She was used for many years by the Mystic Seaport staff and some time in her life she was restored by the seaport and was given to Williams-Mystic College where she became a sail training boat for many generations of Williams-Mystic college students. As an aside, the WM College is a great place to train the next generation of people who love the ocean and help keep our hobby alive, I find it a good place to donate my money.
After many years of being loved and used by the students, it was time for her to find a new home. She was stored in a garage for 5 years before being offered for sale at the Mystic Seaport Wooden Boat Festival in 2017. And this is when she came into my life! I spotted her during my wanderings of the festival, picked up a flyer and during the festival; I kept eyeing her and finally struck up a conversation with Tom Van Winkle, Director of the Williams-Mystic College. We struck a deal (he would store her over the coming winter) and she was mine! When I returned home I sent him a check and talked my good friend Scott Robinson (President, New England chapter) to help me pick her up in the following spring.
We finally drove down in August from Scott’s house on Lake Winnipesaukee to Mystic, which took us around 5 hours or so. When we got there everything was ready, so we backed the truck up and went to lift the trailer on to the hitch and we couldn’t lift it! This boat is very heavy! One inch thick planks! We got out the hydraulic we brought and used that to jack up the trailer so we could attach it. We did some repairs to the trailer lights and soon we were on our way home.
The boat is currently being stored inside a boat yard until later this year when I can repaint the hull and get new standing rigging. (R&W Rope will do the rigging). I summer on the Lake and after she’s shipshape, I’ll be sailing her on the lake and hope to show her at the ACBS boat show on Lake Winnipesaukee, and the Mystic Wooden Boat Festival. Even though I currently live in Southern California, I plan to leave the boat on the East coast, since I already have too many boats here at home! (is that possible)??
I love this hobby and I’ve met so many good people who’ve helped me and have become good friends with me. People like Scott Robinson who I consider to be my best friend, Rick Olson, who helps me on my big boat and lets me help him drink his scotch! And Al Schinnerer, who lets me use his shop and has given me lots of great advice over the years. I’m currently working on Lark, A 1932 Fellows and Stewart Enclosed bridge-deck 39’ cruiser. But that’s another story.