Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00
Members of the Coram arm of the US Coast Guard, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, paid a preliminary visit to the Ida May Project at the Western Waterfront Building J in early January. Coast Guard approval of the design is a requirement for registration and for being able to carry teachers and passengers aboard the vessel. These folks helped answer questions for the Project’s initial submission. Plans, calculations, bills of materials are currently being reviewed by the Coast Guard offices in Washington, D.C.
Due a faster than expected pace of construction combined with a significant lag in obtaining grant monies, Ida May project is on a slowdown in order to extend funding. Funding was always a problem in the original restoration of Oyster Sloop Christeen, and this is no different, although the economy now 10 years later is probably a bit tougher. However, the Project is pleased that master shipwright David Short is staying on to assist, guide and educate until the original pace can be resumed.Eighty-plus year-old President Clint Smith, a former Oyster Bay High School graduate, Town Harbormaster and East Norwich volunteer Fire Chief, is regularly seen moving logs with the tractor, wielding chainsaws and working the sawmill. He constantly cheerleads board members reminding them that he is not getting any younger and he darn well intends to see this completed. He cajoles volunteers in the field and on the board telling them that it is up to them to make that happen.
So far he and much of the original cadre have spent more than four years getting to this point. As this is viewed as a community effort, with the boat building process being as important as the end product, the Ida May Project is making the most of all volunteers.
Further, the Project wishes to reiterate an open invitation to anyone who would like to take advantage of a rare but continuing opportunity to learn woodworking and hands-on ship-building and be a part of a vessel that will continue on in Oyster Bay after she is completed.
How do you actually build a modern marine education craft yourself yet still keep faithful to an historic 1925 Oyster Dredge built by a pioneering family of oystermen in Bayville? How do you get from trees growing on Long Island to a finished United States Coast Guard certified vessel in 2013? What kind of trees would you use? How is lofting a wooden boat similar to lofting a supersonic aircraft?
School classes, grades 2-12, Scout troops, college and BOCES are welcome to find out by contacting the Ida May Project for tours (this means troop leaders, teachers and students in Oyster Bay, Bayville, Locust Valley, at Saint Dominic’s, Chaminade, at Lutheran High, and schools in Glen Cove, Syosset, Hicksville and elsewhere). Hopefully, when she is later operating in the harbor and around Long Island Sound as a marine education vessel, members of these same groups will someday get to say, “I went to see the Ida May when they were building her in Oyster Bay and I remember...” Also, perhaps some of the older student visitors will take an interest and sign on as volunteers. Have an idea for an Eagle Project? Please submit it. Are you a teacher who might like to work something into a curriculum? Please contact us. Movie Set Scout looking for a story are incorporating construction of a classic Oyster Dredge? Let’s talk.
For those of you with Verizon fiberoptic access, look for the project to be featured on a coming episode of pushpause TV on FIOS1.