Apalachicola Maritime Museum Newsletter
December 2011
In This Issue
View from the Stern: Boat Building in Maine
Photo Journal: Building a Rowing Shell
View from the Bow: Teaching Old Traditions to a New Generation
At the Helm: Daniel Stewart
Volunteer Spotlight: Ken Klein
Historic Preservation: Saving the Home of a Riverboat Captain
Call for Artifacts

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A Banks Dory Takes Shape

Click here for related article.

View from the stern plate looking forward toward the bow with the frames in place.  Note the notch at the top of the transom for the sculling oar.



Braced off and stabilized with the batten attached on the top of the starboard side frames to establish the sheer line in preparation for planking and to allow evaluation of the frame bevels.


This is how the plank looks before being attached to the frames.


The first plank is hung.


The third round of planks are fitted and prepared for clinch nailing.



Planking progress.  Notice the run of copper clinch nails connecting the planks.  The joining of planks to frame and bottom are done with countersunk screws.



A finished banks dory on the water.

Building an Annapolis Wherry 



This build-it-yourself rowing shell kit offers thoroughbred performance on the water combined with breathtaking grace.


Craftsman Greg LaSchum is completing one in our wooden boat shop to add to our fleet.  The photos below document his progress.  Find out about how you can build this and other wooden boat models by clicking here



 Frames and bulkhead glued in place with epoxy. 

Glassing outside of garboard strakes and bow.


 Cutting a bevel in the cloth at the forefoot so it will lay flat around a curve.


Securing the breasthook and quarter knees in place.


 Interior sand out and epoxy.



 Rub Rails being glued at scarf joints


 Sanding the interior.


The aft seat and the thwarts were permanently glued in place. All inside surfaces have the 1st coat of epoxy. 



 Nearing completion.


From the Founder
A Special Thanks 

As 2011 winds down, we pause to show our appreciation to all those who have supported the museum this year by becoming members, attending events, making donations, and spreading the word about our programs. 


Your enthusiasm is contagious.  The many volunteers helped make the mission possible, and so special heartfelt appreciation goes out to Pete Burgher, Ken Klein, Ralph Chambers, Mary Kilts, Lois Swoboda, Kay Cromartie, Scott McCleod, and Kate West. We also recognize the museum board of Harry Arnold, Betty Webb and Clayton Studstill for their support and guidance. 


We look forward to an even better 2012 as we expand our educational and recreational programs.  Best wishes to all for a very merry Christmas and happy New Year.  May you all have fair winds and following seas.


George Kirvin Floyd  

View from the Bow
Apalachicola's First Youth Boat Building Program to Teach Traditional Nautical Arts to a New Generation

The "Passagemaker" dinghy

Our Wooden Boat School was founded to revitalize traditional maritime skills that once flourished in Franklin County, creating new opportunities for jobs and recreation. In January, we will continue our educational partnership with Project Impact with Apalachicola's first youth boat building program. Project Impact is a community after-school and summer program that provides educational enrichment and recreational activities.  Director Faye Johnson is working closely with our staff to make the joint program a success.  The George K. Floyd Foundation will provide funding for the project.


The first boat to be built will be a sloop-rigged "Passagemaker," a lightweight dinghy that can be rowed or sailed, pictured above. The boat will be constructed by a group of students from a kit of pre-cut materials. This technique has the advantages of increasing the speed of construction, eliminating the need for potentially dangerous power tools, and focusing the students' efforts on learning to follow building plans and using traditional hand tools.


Each student will be provided with educational materials that complement the hands-on work with knowledge of terminology, techniques, and historical and cultural context.  Once completed, the passagemaker will be docked at the Maritime Museum, where it will be available to students for both instructional and recreational use this summer. Small boats such as this are excellent for learning to sail due to their responsiveness.

A half hull built by Greg LaSchum.


Another group of students will build half-hulls, decorative wooden boat

models. Historically, these were constructed by shipwrights as part
of the planning process for a ship's design. One half of the hull was carved and mounted on a board, representing an exact scale replica.  Made obsolete by computer design, half hulls are now constructed as a nautical art. Each student will work on an individual project to take home upon completion.


AMM's boat builder, Greg LaSchum, will be the instructor. Evidence of Greg's talent is the Catspaw Dinghy on display at the museum, which he built with beautiful craftsmanship.  Volunteer Captain Pete Burgher will present a knot tying course, a prerequisite for any aspiring mariner.


We will not only teach a new generation to build magnificent boats through this program, but also instill a sense of heritage, pride, and the values of detail and precision that are valuable life skills.

To learn more about Project Impact, please visit their website.  If you would like to participate as a volunteer on this project, please email us


doryView from the Stern

Boat Building at the WoodenBoat School in Maine


During July, three of our crew ventured to Brooklin, Maine for a week of boat building and learning at the WoodenBoat School operated by the same folks that publish WoodenBoat magazine.  Our main objective was to learn how this successful program was run as we prepared to launch our own emerging wooden boat school in Apalachicola. 


Courses there range from actual boat building to seamanship, navigation, design, island exploration, sail making, maritime art and writing courses, and more.


We signed up to build a Banks Dory under the leadership of Walt Ansel of the Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum (see photos at left).  Heavily used for fishing on the Grand Banks in the 1800's, this type of vessel would also have been common in Apalachicola in the same era.  Its features include a double-ended design which could be powered by oars or sculling, wide beam gunnels, and a very gradual dead rise for stability in rough seas.  


The Banks Dory was captured in Winslow Homer's painting The Fog
Waning, which we had the 

Banks dory painted by Winslow Homer.

pleasure of seeing at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on our trip home.


Ten other students from all over the U.S. comprised our team, and represented a broad spectrum of talent.   We were joined by a very skilled craftsman who was making his tenth annual pilgrimage to the campus for a week of boat building, as well as an investment banker and his young son who had virtually no knowledge of tools.  By the end of the week, we gained an enhanced appreciation for what our forebears dealt with in their pursuit of maritime trades and lifestyles, and key insights into practical approaches for running our own successful wooden boat school. 


The materials were mostly rough cut stock that required much shaping.  Although power tools were used, the focus was on the use of traditional hand tools such as planes, chisels, mallets, and augers.


We also made a visit to the Brooklin Boat Yard and met with Steve White, builder of our flagship vessel Heritage (fka Quark).   It was heartening to learn that their wooden boat building operation is still going strong despite the poor economy, employing about 50 full-time craftsmen, many of whom gained experience at the WoodenBoat School.  At the time of our visit, White was just finishing out a new design (fourth in a series) with internally run rigging and very sleek, modern look.


Our time at the WoodenBoat School was an invaluable opportunity to reconnect with the traditional boat design and building processes, meet others with similar interests and goals, and build teamwork and leadership skills.  These elements are key components in our own emerging program.


For more information on AMM's Wooden Boat School programs, click here.  For more information on the WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine, visit http://www.thewoodenboatschool.com.

At the Helm

Daniel Stewart


Manager Daniel Stewart on board Heritage.


In his almost two years with the maritime museum, Operations Manager Daniel Stewart has become an integral part of the crew.


Whether serving as mate on board educational cruises, overseeing daily operations of the museum, or rolling up his sleeves on a construction project, Daniel is diligent about getting the job done.


"I love being on the water," he says, "and I really enjoy meeting people.  We get visitors at the museum from all over the country--and the world."


Daniel grew up in the Tallahassee area, where he ran his own construction business before moving to the coast. He oversaw the land development and building restoration at the Chattahoochee Landing facility, a former gravel mining operation 100 miles upstream, which will soon become an extension of the museum's educational and recreational programs. 


He also managed the impressive renovation of the museum's main facility on Water Street, transforming it from a former seafood processing warehouse into a beautiful exhibit space.  His next major project will be leading the restoration of the historic Floyd house on Avenue E, which will provide lodging to visiting staff, lecturers, and students of our wooden boat school (click here for related article). 


Daniel has also completed two of our annual kayak trips from Chattahoochee to Apalachicola, providing logistical support to paddlers along the challenging 100-mile, eight day journey.  Look for Daniel to be serving as mate once again this spring when we resume our full schedule of recreational and educational tours and cruises. 


Volunteer Spotlight
Captain Ken Klein's passage from Charleston, SC to Tortola, British Virgin Islands


Text and photos by Scott Kopel


[Editor's note: Ken is a volunteer captain for the museum. This journal describes an adventure he experienced last month as he encountered a 
dangerous tropical storm and dealt with equipment failures at sea. Adapted from the journal of his crewmate on the passage, Scott Kopel].


Day 1

The mission: deliver a 43 foot Jeanneau sailboat from Charleston, SC to Tortola, British Virgin Islands


The captain: Ken is an extremely competent captain. He has tons of experience. He's a good leader and all-around good guy. A technician retired from FSU, he earns his living as a captain and also makes a little extra cash as an Earnest Hemmingway impersonator in Key West during the winter.


As we leave Charleston harbor, we pass Fort Sumter, and head out to open sea, waves 8-10 feet, winds 15-20 knots. It's 4pm on Sunday, November 6, 2011.


We use every muscle in our bodies just to stay upright in the pitching boat, and sleep is hard to get. After 24 hours of this, we experience extreme fatigue. Due to this fatigue, I begin to see hallucinations of houses on top of the breaking waves. These are hallucinations not of just random houses, but shore scenes with which I am familiar, mostly houses along the Caloosahatchee River in south Florida where my parents used to live.


Day 2

Location 250 miles east of Jacksonville, Fl.

Waves 10-12 feet


I have not been able to sleep in my assigned berth which is in the V shaped bow of the boat. As the boat rides up and down the waves, the vertical travel of the bow is more than other parts of the ship, and with every third wave or so, the bow drops so fast that my body is lifted a few inches off the mattress. Needless to say it's hard to sleep there.


To make an uncomfortable situation even worse, the boat leaks from the waves constantly breaking over the bow. As a result, as I lie in my bunk, there is water dripping on my feet. I finally discover that the bench seat in the main cabin, being in the center of the boat, moves least. So I begin to sleep there and I get 8 hours of sleep.


Today I discover Keith's plot to sabotage the boat and sink it in mid ocean.  Looking forward out of the cockpit we see one of the forward shrouds flying free in the wind. A shroud is one of several thick wires that run from the deck to the top of the mast. On this boat there are 11 in all. Their purpose is to hold the mast up. If the mast falls down we have a serious problem. We diagnose and find that the bolt that holds the shroud to the deck is missing.


Click here to read the full story. 


 houseSaving the Home of a Riverboat Captain

The Historic Floyd Home to be Part of Museum


Museum founder George Floyd's latest acquisition is his ancestral family home, located on Avenue E in Apalachicola. 


The house was built by his great-grandfather, riverboat captain Theodore Archibald Floyd, in the 1890's. 
CVS Pharmacy had hoped to buy the property and demolish the house to make way for a drive-through, but the original owner's great grandson had another vision.  


Now back in the family, the home will be restored and become part of the museum, housing visiting staff, lecturers, and students of our wooden boat school. 

Call for Artifacts

This winter, we're working to enrich the museum experience with new exhibits, expanded content, and more extensive artifact displays.
Do you have photos, documents, or artifacts you'd like to share?
We accept permanent donations to our collections as well as loans for reproduction or temporary exhibits.
Please contact us if you'd like to help tell the story of our maritime heritage.