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Work Resumes On The Ida May

After more than a one-year pause, work is again underway on construction of the historic Oyster Dredge Ida May replica. 


Clint Smith, president of the Christeen Oyster Sloop Preservation Corporation (COSPC), explained, “We stopped because our fundraising slowed down and wasn’t sufficient to cover our expenses under the original plan. We had to find a way to lower the project cost.”  One of the volunteers on the project proposed a different approach that utilizes more volunteer labor under the direction of a part-time shipwright.  “This plan will extend the time required for the project but reduces the overall cost significantly,” Smith said.


The key to the new approach was finding the right shipwright. Distance made it impractical for Dave Short, the shipwright from Maine who brought the project to its current stage, to continue under the new plan. So Josh Herman was approached by the COSPC board and agreed to lead the effort.  The contract with Herman was signed on Nov. 4.  


Jack Hoyt, COSPC vice president commented “We were sorry Dave couldn’t continue, but are very pleased to have Josh on board.  Josh did the keel replacement on the Christeen three years ago and is also great with the volunteers.”


Work is now underway under the guidance of Josh and volunteer project manager Hank Tiska, who is a retired project manager from Grumman Aerospace.  The next phase to be tackled is installing the bilge stringers, sheer strakes, sheer and beam clamps, floor timbers and engine bed.  The phase is expected to take six months.  


All this means is that more volunteers are needed as well as donations.  Work takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Building J on West End Avenue at the Oyster Bay Western Waterfront.  Saturday work may also be scheduled depending on the response of volunteers.  “We are very happy to be back in action” Smith said “and we invite the public to drop in and experience what it is like to build a wooden boat using traditional methods.”


The Ida May is a project by the Christeen Oyster Sloop Preservation Corp, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of wooden boat building heritage in Oyster Bay. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Jack Hoyt at 516-922-4098 or email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .