August 2012
Events Calendar
View from the Bow
View from the Stern
Volunteer Spotlight: Ron Dierolf
At the Helm: Captain Wes Hagler

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Look for us in WoodenBoat magazine!

We're in the latest issue of Wooden Boat magazine! The Article "Where Are They Now? A Roundup of 100 Classics" includes the Golden Ball, recently donated to us by Jaime Canfield:


This 46' L. Francis Herreshoff ketch, WB No. 173, has just been donated to the Apalachicola Maritime Museum in Apalachicola, Florida. They are excited to have her, as she was designed for their kind of shallow water. They plan to make the replanking she needs an educational project. When her restoration is finished they will incorporate her into their sailing program.


Founded in 1974, WoodenBoat is targeted to boatbuilders, designers, and wooden boat owners. It has a circulation of 100,000 readers.


If you missed last month's newsletter, you can get more details on the Golden Ball project here.  To get involved, email us.




Events Calendar

Locals and Members Go FREE!

Saturday, September 1 

Museum members and Franklin County residents can enjoy free trips and free museum admission on this special appreciation day.  


Choose from the three excursions below.  Pre-registration is required by calling (850) 653-2500.  Pack a picnic, and please arrive 20-30 minutes before departure time.  See you Saturday!



~ St. Vincent Island:  8:00 a.m. through noon

~ Educational Estuary Cruise: 1:00 through 4:00 p.m

~ Kayak rentals from the docks, all day



The Turpentine and Naval Stores Industry in North Florida  

Saturday, September 1 at 7 p.m.  
Barbara Hines, Outreach Coordinator for the Florida Public Archaeology Network, will be presenting on the turpentine and naval stores  industry in North Florida, including Apalachicola's importance to this industry. Hines is a Registered Professional Archaeologist who specializes in historic archaeology, 19th and early 20th century. Her interests include the turpentine and lumber industry, specifically focusing on the social aspects of "camp life." Join us for a low country boil on the docks after the lecture.  Free.

The wreck of Queen Anne's Revenge, flagship of Blackbeard the Pirate  Saturday, September 22 at 7 p.m. 

Franklin Price, of the Bureau of Archaeological Research, will talk about his work on the wreck of Blackbeard the Pirate's vessel on the North Carolina coast.  His experience in underwater archaeology includes both maritime and inundated prehistoric projects. He coordinates public outreach, dive operations, and manages the State's Underwater Archaeological Preserve program.  Join us for a social event on the docks after the lecture. Suggested donation $5.



Our fall lecture series continues with an exciting lineup of speakers.  Details will be posted on our website and in upcoming newsletters.


Sea Fever: Wooden Boat Building, by Dan Houston  

October 6, 2012


International Conflict at Prospect Bluff: The History of Fort Gadsden, by Rhonda Kimbrough

October 13, 2012

The Civilian Genesis of the American Torpedo Boat, by Dr. Edward Wiser

November 10, 2012  


Apalachicola Aweigh! Maritime Aspects of Apalachicola's Cotton Trade, by Dr. Lynn Willoughby

November 17, 2012


Adventures in Apalachicola Valley Archaeology, by Dr. Nancy White

December 8, 2012


The Corner of Our Country, by Homer Hirt

January 12, 2013


The Dog Island Shipwreck Survey, by Dr. Chuck Meide 

February 9, 2013  


Apalachicola in the Civil War, by Ken Johnston, Executive Director of the Civil War Naval Museum

 May 17, 2013



ViewFromTheBowView from the Bow
by George Kirvin Floyd

As we look over the horizon and into the future, we are holding a steady helm and continuing course on our Wooden Boat School, Paddlewheel boat, 1850's home restoration and expanding lecture series.  While it has been a very wet and rainy month, preventing many outings, at least the winds of progress have been at our back and we are making good headway.  We have been blessed with a near miss from Issac.  Apalachicola was at first predicted to be the center of landfall.  We were all very concerned about a possible direct hit from a category 2 hurricane, so we hauled out our flagship Heritage and the Starfish Enterprise just before the scheduled arrival.  We pray for our coastal friends to the west for whom Isaac has brought damage, flooding, and injury, while we also hope that the inland drought is broken.  We hope there is a silver lining in these clouds.


Wooden Boat School Updates

Apalachicola Maritime Museum Wooden Boat Building School Paddle Board - Customizable SUP Build Kit

The Wooden Boat School has a new captain at the helm, Ron Dierolf, who has come on board with a clear vision of the future.  He and volunteer Mike Vroegop are building a 14-foot long wooden Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), the Kaholo, from okoume plywood. Click the link to the right to view a video of the day one project.  Once completed, the Kaholo will be added to the fleet of small vessels at the AMM for use by members and guests.  Progress is going well, and we expect to have the Kaholo completed soon, and then move on to building a wooden kayak, the Wood Duck, also 14 feet.  We will keep the light craft boat building project going forward to complete our fourth craft, the Gunter Sloop Rigged Passagemaker.  During the fall boatbuilding program focused on these three additions to the Maritime Museum fleet, we welcome all volunteers who would like to get involved with our wooden boat school.  To get involved, contact Ron at 850-653-2500 or via email at  We have a maritime skills job training grant program that will begin in the near future whereby students in the program can enroll into the boatbuilding program and receive compensation upon completing the course.  This program will be documented in more detail in our September newsletter. 


Robin Vroegop is documenting the construction process via her YouTube videos on her Half Shell YouTube site.  Following are the videos from the start of the program:  


Part 1, Ron and Mike introduce the program for the Kaholo

Part 2, "Begins with a childhood experience"

Part 3, "You can never have too many clamps"

Part 4, Developing a model of Health Sustainability

Part 5, Mixing the two part epoxy




Ron is also documenting the progress with an annotated photo journal maintained at AMM Woodenboat School Kaholo.  After these first three projects are completed, we plan to begin offering a formalized program of one to two week courses to assist family and friends groups to come to Apalachicola and participate in building one of these wooden boats that the students can take home at the end of the class.  


This program will be similar to the wooden boat programs being offered at the Wooden Boat School in Brooklyn, Maine.




Golden Ball status report

Since arriving last month, the Golden Ball has been the subject of much curiosity in Apalachicola.  The commencement of the renovation efforts are the subject of a brief update in the current September/October issue of WoodenBoat magazine. It is part of a great article about the classic wooden boats and we are proud to have the Golden Ball to launch our wooden boat restoration program.  We have been surveying planks to as we prepare our order of Longleaf Pine which will be milled in south Georgia to our specifications.  We hope to get the order placed in early September, and upon delivery later this fall, we will begin the process of replacement and renewal. 


The renovation efforts will get underway with a presentation by wooden boat builder Dan Houston in our fall lecture series scheduled for Saturday, October 6th.  Dan will be presenting a lecture covering the lofting lines and table of offsets from the original L. Francis Herreshoff designs as described in chapter 6 of his book, Sensible Cruising Designs.  Also covered in the lecture will be the use of a steam box for bending of the planks that will also include a live demonstration and cover many of the elements of design and construction.  Anyone that would like to become a volunteer in the renovation efforts or is just curious about how wooden boats of this magnitude are built should plan to attend this lecture.  This is a premier opportunity to be part of saving the vanishing traditions of wooden boat construction.  If you are interested please send us an email.  


We are working through the processes with local planning and zoning to erect a structure to keep her out of the weather during the renovation.  Our goal is to keep the look and feel of the existing Museum building next door which was built by William popham in the 1920s.  We expect approval will be forthcoming and the structure to be in place by the end of September.  Check out the progress on the photo journal and videos on our Woodenboat School web page.


Paddlewheel boat Jean Mary

We are in the final planning stages of preparing for refurbishing the steel structures for  this magnificent vessel.  Bronson Lamb, owner and operator of St. Johns Boat Yard, continues his very generous support for this challenging project by coordinating our efforts and providing advice, boatyard crew and use of equipment at no charge.  He has said that the boat talks to him, and he often  takes strolls on deck to open her up for airing.  Bronson's leadership in this effort is remarkable and we are humbled by his generosity.  


We have worked with Bronson to develop a detailed work plan for the renovation effort which is organized under the following phases:


Phase I - Refurbish external structures above waterline and paddlewheel


Phase II - Sandblasting internal spaces, clean, dry out and paint                   

Phase III - Completion of all welding and fabrication metal work

Phase IV - Final paint, fill and plumbing/fuel/HVAC/etc system prep                            

Phase V - Systems installation


The Phase I work is set to begin on September 5th with a contingent of the AMM crew heading over to the boat yard to start work.  While this project seems to grow each time we look at it, the overall prognosis is for a launch in the February / March time frame. 


To get involved with the renovation efforts, send an email to  

For more information on the vessel, click the links below:


Design drawings from the Hargrave Company


View a YouTube video of her underway in St. Augustine


Other AMM project briefs

  • The work on the 1850's era home in downtown Apalachicola continues with vigor.  For those that have driven by the property, you may have noticed the siding replacement, porch reconstruction and general buzz of activity there.  More updates on this in our September newsletter. 
  • Popham building project.  The work on the big tin building is on hold pending a review by the Franklin County building inspector.  We are currently using this to store rigging and parts for the Golden Ball restoration project.  Our plan is to expand the wooden boat school operations into this area.
  • Chattahoochee Landing.  As it has been a very busy summer in Apalachicola, our activities in Chattahoochee have been on the back burner.  In August we began working with Charles and Anne Thrash, Chattahoochee leaders in the trails and environmental education programs to begin planning for a Florida Dept. of Environmental Education, Office of Greenway and Trails to apply for the 2012-B- Mini-Cycle Grant for a new trail joining the Chattahoochee Trails System beginning at the Chattahoochee Landing property line and following the existing roadbed next to the Apalachicola River all the way to the paddling trail facility including a boardwalk across to the Muscogee boardwalk, and possibly with help from the Apalachicola Maritime Museum, a suspension bridge across Mosquito Creek. We are working with Charles and Ann along with Alex Weiss with the Office of Greenway and Trails to implement an easement for the land used as a new trail across the property. Alex provided information on the location of a suspension bridge for us to see on the Black Water Trail system, which also won a national award.  Charles and Ann received national attention for the award given to the Chattahoochee Trails system which was presented to them in Washington, D.C. this past June 5th.  We share a common vision of connecting the trails to the 20-acre island below the railroad tracks and then onward to Torreya Park, and boosting environmental, historical and heritage education as furtherance of the goals of the Apalachicola Maritime Museum.



View from the Stern: The 1899 Hurricane


Residents had no warning that the worst hurricane on record for Franklin County would make landfall in the pre-dawn hours of August 1, 1899. The storm raged until nightfall. With 12-foot storm surge and estimated 100 mph winds, this second storm of the season wreaked havoc, especially for the ships anchored in the bay, and the many wooden structures populating the coastal communities.  The photo to the right shows the schooner Warren Adams blown ashore on St. George Island.


The New York Times described the aftermath in this article dated August 5th:



Three Towns Completely Annihilated by the Cyclone Wednesday


Unidentified Dead Bodies Are Found in the Debris-Losses Over a Million Dollars



River Junction, Fla. Aug. 4. - The most disastrous cyclone that ever visited this section of Florida completely annihilated Carrabelle, McIntyre, and Lanark Inn, south of here Wednesday. At Carrabelle only nine houses remain of a once beautiful and prosperous town. Communications from the Mayor state that 200 families are without homes or shelter, and many are completely destitute.


Of McIntyre only two mill boilers mark the site of the town. Lanark Inn, the famous Summer resort, was blown into the Gulf. The Carrabelle, Tallahassee and Georgia Railroad is washed away for a distance of thirty miles. A passenger train was blown from the track more than 100 yards. Many passengers were injured, but their names are unobtainable.


Mary Williams, colored, was killed at Carrabelle. Numerous other people had legs and arms broken. Daniel Neel of Apalachicola had his back broken, and is not expected to recover. No fatalities are reported from McIntyre and Lanark.


Fifteen ships lying at anchor in Dog Island Cove and Upper Anchorage are complete wrecks, high and dry on St. George's and Dog Islands. Twelve were loaded with lumber and ready for sea. When the Italian bark Cortesia struck she split half in two from stem to stern.


The names of the ships blown on the islands and which are total wrecks are as follows:

Norwegian barks Ranavola, Edwardson, master; Vale, Andersen, master; Jafnar, Tygensen, master; Hindoo, Madsen, master; Elisbeth, Pedersen, master; Russian bark Latara, Krantman, master; American schooners Benjamin C. Cromwell, McClean, master; Mary E. Morse, Densmore, master; Grace Andrews, Brown, master; Warren Adams, Gibbons, master; James A. Garfield, Cottingham, master; bark Vidette, Waldren, master; Italian bark Cortesia, fishing smack Albert Haley.


Three pilot boats and the steamers Iola and Capitola, and forty boats under twenty tons, were lost. Six lumber lighters, loaded, are gone. Not one of the entire fleet can be saved. Five unidentified bodies were recovered to-day, supposed to be sailors.


Tugboats have gone from here to the scene of the wreckage. Fifty destitute sailors were brought here to-day and are being cared for. A mass meeting of citizens is being held here to-night, and all possible aid will be given the destitute at Carrabelle. One million dollars will not cover the loss. The insurance is small.


Various disabled ships run aground on Dog Island, 1899.



Unidentified foreign bark wrecked off the coast of Dog Island.



Franklin County dodged a bullet when Tropical Storm Isaac's track headed to our west, with minimal flooding and damage.  Although we were not in the eye of the storm, following are some photos of how Isaac impacted us:


Flooding on Water Street in front of the museum, taken from the courthouse parking lot.


Our neighbors' docks submerged from view.


Standing water in the gift shop.


Tidal surge as seen from our docks.




Volunteer Spotlight: Ron Deirholf


Ron Dierolf, the new Director of our Wooden Boat School, is no stranger to adventure.  His interest in boating originated at an early age.  He lived in St. Louis from 1960 through 1967 and spent summers power boating, sailing and water skiing on the Missouri River and numerous lakes.  While in high school, he and his father built wood hydroplane in his bedroom, and he spent summers roaring up and down the river.  However, he was always fascinated by sailboats.  When the family moved to Paducah, Kentucky, they took sailing lessons on Kentucky Lake, and he was hooked.  The family kept a sailboat on the lake for many years, and often took it sailing in the Florida Keys.


Ron built his first wooden boat, a kayak, from a kit because he had no interest in owning a mass-produced plastic boat.  He and his wife have kayaked in a variety of locations, from Lake Superior to the Florida Keys.  After building several other kits, he began researching traditional kayaks and turned to building skin-on-frame kayaks from scratch.    


Ron has a degree in Chemical Engineering and spent 40 years as an engineer and supervisor in the nuclear fuels industry. He was also a mountain climber and backpacker for decades and has treks under his belt from the Appalachian Trail to Wyoming.  At the age of 47, he took up technical rock climbing and became certified as a top-rope climbing guide in 2002.  He combined his love of climbing with his love of teaching by becoming the rock climbing instructor at Murray State University in Kentucky.  Ron has also served as an Outward Bound instructor in Colorado and North Carolina.


Several years ago, Ron and his wife began looking for a place on the southeast coast for eventual retirement.  They toured the entire state of Florida, as well as the South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama coasts.  On one trip about 7 years ago they drove to Mobile and then to Apalachicola along the coast - getting stuck in traffic in Destin for three hours and Panama City Beach for two hours on the way.   Arriving in Apalachicola at 2 a.m., they had decided that, based on what they saw of Destin, Panama City Beach and other developed areas, this part of the coast was not for them.  However, they drove around Apalachicola the next morning, and after lunch they were talking to a realtor.  This area attracted them with its wonderful history, the varied environment, the tremendous opportunities for recreation and, above all, the fact that there is only one traffic light in the entire county. They bought a home here in 2009, but Ron has not had an idle retirement.  He teaches mathematics at Gulf Coast State College and captains a local dive boat.

Getting started on the Kaholo paddleboard.


For years he had dreamed of building small wooden boats and sailing them on the coast.  And that's wherethe Maritime Museum comes in.  As Director of our Wooden Boat School, Ron will build vessels to add to our fleet, assist with the Golden Ball restoration project, and provide instruction for those who want to build a boat of their own.  He will also bring his 40 years of sailing experience to bear on Heritage sail trips.


His first project is building a stand-up paddleboard.  This is being constructed from a kit from Chesapeake Light Craft.  The advantage to students in using a kit is that the work of cutting the marine plywood is already done, eliminating the need for most power tools, and making the project achievable within a week. You can read more about this project and find links to videos and a photo album in the View from the Bow section.


Ron brings enthusiasm, commitment, and a meticulous attention to detail to his work.  We are fortunate to have him on board as part of our crew.


To get involved as a volunteer in the AMM wooden boat school, please send us an email.



The hull takes shape.


A Kaholo stand-up paddleboard in action.


An example of a customized board using fabric epoxied in place. 
Using this technique, you can make yours truly unique.

At the Helm: Captain Wes Hagler 

Captain Wes is a graduate of Florida State University and is also a Certified Green Guide with extensive knowledge of the panhandle's ecosystems and wildlife.  He captains most of our excursions on the Starfish Enterprise  


Wes has been instrumental in expanding our trip offerings this year to include popular cruises to the St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge and Little St. George Island State Reserve.  


A new feature of our St. Vincent trip is a "volun-tourism" component, in which a volunteer from the cruise documents any Indian artifacts encountered with a camera and GPS.  The data will then be turned over to an archaeologist who has been studying the island for many years.  In addition to documenting important archaeological information, Wes sees it as a hands-on lesson in protecting the island's cultural resources.  Through this data collection program, Wes is able to educate people about the importance of laws which protect artifacts from removal on state and federal lands.  

This potshard was photographed on a recent trip.  It was classified as Fort Walton Incised type, and was thus made between about A.D. 1000-1500.    


Wes is also producing our new trip guides, which contain charts of our routes with highlights of the flora, fauna, and history.  These are available on the boat to enhance the educational experience.


Notable experiences he reports from this summer's tours include encountering manatees in Murphy's Creek, large tarpon sightings at the Pin Hook, Sambar deer tracks on St. Vincent Island, and watching osprey chicks grow and fledge.


To book an excursion with Wes, give us a call at 850-653-2500 or book online.