Mystic Seaport - June 23-25, 2023
Come one, come all to celebrate Traditional Small Craft in the place where it was born!
Mystic Seaport Museum, WoodenBoat and the John Gardner Chapter of the TSCA are joining forces to sponsor the best ever small boat gathering.
The Seaport Boathouse Livery will be available to all at no extra charge. Go try out working replicas of the original small craft from the Museum’s Small Craft Collection. To celebrate breaking ground on the new Small Craft Hall, we will be honoring replicas of the originals. If you have one at home, bring it and share its story. If yours is in the tradition of the original, say of more modern materials, but honors the essence of the original, that is OK, even encouraged in this age of trailer sailing and garage storage.
Included will be special tours of the Small Craft Collection. Go visit your favorites then come
back and take a replica for a ride. Observing an original or replica is all well and good but there
is only one way to see how it feels. If you can’t find one but really like it, pick up a set of plans from the Collections Research Center and bring back the new boat next year to celebrate the Grand Opening of the new Small Craft Hall.
Activities will be going on all weekend. WoodenBoat is sponsoring a speaker’s series series
which is open to all participants. Shipwrights at the Seaport Shipyard will be demonstrating
skills in real time, making chips fly. Those demonstrations, too, are included. And throughout
the weekend members of the John Gardner Chapter will be offering rides in their dories or, if
permission is asked, in their own private boats.
We use our boats, not just look at them. Morning rows both up the river to the source of the
mighty Mystic River as well as down-river to our favorite sandbar beach kick off the days. Late
afternoons are reserved for sailing. Let’s keep the River busy.
Workshop presentations will include building stories, skills explained (make your own rope
fender?) or how to reef your Catboat sail, scandalize your Spritsail or add some new control
lines to your existing rig. Come to Australia Beach just behind the John Gardner Boat Shop on
campus and check in at the Workshop Tent or, better yet, visit the Seaport’s website and sign
up in advance. Launch off our beach or nearby ramps, some of which are carry-in.
Reach out and let us know what skill you would like to bring, boat you would like to talk about
or which activity interests you. We look forward to seeing you there.
Solstice Row for 2022
JGTSCA members celebrate the arrival of winter with a row on the Mystic River and then warm up with some holiday cheer at the Harp & Hound Irish pub.
Sadly JGTSCA founding member John Symons passed away this year. John was active in the club for many years and is remembered for his friendly manner, boating knowledge, and generous heart. John took great care in restoring his family's Thompson runabout at the boathouse. John and his wife Patricia were active sailors out of Mystic for many years.
At a 2012 monthly JGTSCA meeting, long time members John Symons and Peter Vermilya describe how the group got started at Avery Point, Connecticut.
On a beautiful fall day JGTSCA members and guests enjoyed a scenic outing on the Pawcatuck River in Bradford, RI.
Oar & Sail Outing at Bluff Point
September 14th dawned cloudy and cool with a hint of rain in the air, one of those days it would have been easy to stay at home and do chores, but we escaped to row and sail the beautiful Poquonock River which flows alongside Bluff Point State Park. It also flows along the Groton-New London Airport but the old Seaplane base is long closed and the few private planes joined in the fun with a wing wag or two. The sun came out. A sea breeze sprang up. Life was good; we would have missed all this if we had stayed home.
We used local knowledge (thanks Dan Nelson) and launched at the Calvin Burrows Baseball Field just off South Road before going under the railroad. It is the railroad bridge over the River that makes this place perfect for our type of boating. The sequence was: launch, row under the rail bridge, row on to pass through the old trolley line bridge abutments, beach on the airport side to raise sail and then sail to the barrier beach where the river meets the sea. It also helps that the chart shows depths ranging for 4 ft. to 2 ft. to 0 ft. - it keeps the motorboats at bay.
First, the Participants: Ellie Czarnowski with her Skeery and two sea-going puppy dogs, René Boelig, able crew on our Peapod, Brian Cooper with his fabric-on-frame Whitehall, John Hacunda with his bright yellow kayak made from traditional recycled soda bottles and myself, Bill Rutherford, Chief instigator.
The high point of the day was Ellie becoming comfortable sailing the Skeery. Given confidence by the group, Ellie sailed her home all the way upriver from the beach. That is what going out on the water with our group is all about; you do not have to be a stellar sailor, paddler or row with your oars feathered inches above the water to have a good time and perhaps learn a few new tricks from others. Mark your calendar for the the second Saturday in September, next, as the English say, and plan to join us for this relaxing, fun outing
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