March 29, 1999
Chilmark movie maker
Dan Adams has temporarily halted construction on the 60 foot schooner
The vessel is being built
for Mr. Adams by Gannon and Benjamin at their Mugwump shed behind Tisbury
Marketplace in Vineyard Haven. Construction of the would-be charter
boat began in January of last year. The hull was completed in September,
and the deck has been framed out. Work on the interior had just begun
this winter when the crew of five shipwrights was laid off over a month
Dan Adams explained that
he needed to spend some time reorganizing the project. "I needed
a little time to recharge," he says.
"The cash flow stops,
the work stops," says Nat Benjamin who designed the schooner and
had been overseeing its construction. He has kept busy working at the
Gannon and Benjamin Boatyard on Beach Road where two smaller boats of
his design are under construction and another is undergoing an extensive
refit. Of the delay in the Rebecca project, he says, "On
the one hand, there's plenty of work to do at the boatyard. On the other
hand, it's hard when you get momentum going and people get excited,
and then you have to stop."
Some of the workers who
were laid off have families to support or boat payments to make. They
are working at the Gannon and Benjamin Boatyard or have found work elsewhere.
Others have used the opportunity to take a vacation.
Ted Okie has been working
on the Rebecca project for about a year. He says he doesn't
have a family to support, "only a van," adding that he has
recently bought a boat. "I'm theoretically the owner now, but I'm
still in the process of paying for it." While the Rebecca
project is on hold, Ted is working at the Gannon and Benjamin yard,
and he has taken some time off to vacation with family.
Nat Benjamin says that David
Stimson, foreman on the Rebecca project, is building a small
boat for a customer from Maine, and builder Cassin Kennedy has joined
Pat Cassidy at Cassidy and Walton at Five Corners where they are commissioning
boats for the spring and doing some small boat repairs. Todd McGee is
surfing in El Salvador.
Those involved with the
project say there is no set date for work to resume on the schooner,
and estimates about when the crew would be back to work range from two
weeks to two months.
Rebecca was slated
to be launched this fall, but Mr. Benjamin says he can't speculate now
on when the boat might splash down. "A launching date is planned.
We just don't know when it is yet."
December 13, 1999
Gannon and Benjamin
Restart Work on Schooner
After a ten-month hiatus, work has begun again on the construction of
the 60-foot schooner Rebecca at Gannon and Benjamin's Mugwump
shed behind Tisbury Marketplace in Vineyard Haven. The vessel is being
built for movie-maker Dan Adams of Chilmark.
The lead keel for the schooner
was poured in January '98, and the hull, deck frame and a large portion
of the interior was completed when work was halted in February of this
year amid troubled financing. A crew of five shipwrights was laid off,
and the project was put on hold while Mr. Adams addressed personal financial
"We had to regroup
financially," Mr. Adams said this week, "But now we're back
Further delays were caused
by disputes over the financial details of the project itself. Work was
briefly begun anew last month, but stopped again while additional questions
"We've managed to come
to a working arrangement with all the parties involved," Ross Gannon
said, though he added that he was not at liberty to discuss the details
of the agreement.
Nat Benjamin says he feels
confident that the new arrangement will see the project through to completion.
"We just had to resolve some issues. They're resolved, and we are
back to work and looking forward to a June launching," Mr. Benjamin
drew the lines for the schooner and has been overseeing construction.
A crew of three, including
Mr. Benjamin, has begun to work on the interior of the schooner, and
bids from sub-contractors are being solicited for plumbing and electrical
wiring, as well as construction of the spars, including masts, booms,
gaffs and bowsprit. The masts are to be hollow, glued spruce or fir.
The mainmast will be 70 feet long, and the foremast will be 60 feet.
Tanks for fuel, water and waste are ordered from a New Jersey fabricator,
and the galley sink and ice box are being made in Wareham.
"There are a lot of
balls in the air here," says Mr. Benjamin. In addition, he says,
he is currently looking for an experienced shipwright to join the crew
for the schooner project.
Mr. Adams says he plans
to use Rebecca as a charter vessel and hopes to have her sailing
by the end of June.
"I'd like to charter
her in New England, and winter in the Caribbean, or wherever the business
is," says Mr. Adams. "I'll maybe use her a little myself."
The vessel will carry six passengers, and will be operated by a hired
captain and a mate. Mr. Adams says he plans to offer weekly charters
and event charters primarily from Newport, Rhode Island, and Rockport,
About the renewed progress
on the project, Mr. Benjamin says, "We're very happy to be back
at work and looking forward to wrapping this thing up and getting in
the water this summer."
Mr. Adams seems less sanguine.
"It feels okay," he says, "I'm just trying to make sure
everything goes okay."
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