By Robert Pelrine member of Chesapeake Bay Chapter
One day in 2014 my wife, Verna, said out of the blue, “You need a project.”
A year earlier I spent 60 days in the hospital having four surgeries, fighting with infections caused by metals poisoning in a recalled hip device. I was sent home in a wheelchair never to walk again,these were especially grim days. A specialist, got me walking again after more surgeries and lots of rehab.
Like old boats that rot and rust, I was the human version. So in my rehabbed state I went looking for an antique boat already rebuilt from the ground up.
Miss. V was built in 1947 in the glory days of Garwood at their factory in Newport News, Va. She is hull #10406. She was shipped to Keuka Garwood Marine.
Sometime around 2002 Miss V was found in a barn and a full rebuild was undertaken in Canadaigua, NY.
Like me before rehab, she was in rough shape, rotted wood and frames, a derelict engine, a daunting project. It leaves me deeply admiring those many amateur and professional boat builders across ACBS who undertake these rebuilds. An elderly gentleman in Florida owned Miss V. Sadly his boating days were ending. The owners and I agreed to terms and I brought Miss V to Maryland.
I had a through survey done and began a process to refasten the bottom and glass it with two layers of 10 oz. cloth. The engine needed a rebuild and a new paint job. In the process, I changed her 6 volt system to 12 volt and added an engine blower. She is a very usable piece of furniture!
All of this was done with the help of Joe Reid, Mast and Mallet Boat Works and Keith Gunther of GPS Marine.
As I approach 75 and Miss V approaches 72, all the parts and pieces work albeit with lubricant for both of us. I can enjoy quiet mornings and evenings on the Magothy River, an ideal body of water just off the Chesapeake Bay.
In 2016, Miss V had come full circle from that barn, to win the Competitors Choice Award at the ACBS/Chesapeake Bay Chapter annual show at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. It was a proud moment in her life and mine.
What I learned from my hospital days is that the patient responds to care and skill. Antique boats are no different. With vision and hope both can be brought back to life.