Frame by Frame, A Boat Rises on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven

Frame by Frame, A Boat Rises on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven


With the first break in the weather in a long time, the wind calmed down and the sun came out on Vineyard Haven harbor this weekend. On my way to the harbor I passed by the scow that is being being built in Boch Park on Beach Road.

As I walked by a man working on the boat asked me, "How's your back?" "Fine," I said, a little confused. "Good," he said, "Lift this."

The "this" was a frame for the scow. I stepped in and with another man lifted it into place while he tightened some clamps to hold it in place. His name is Ted Box and he has been building boats for 18 years. Scows, he explained, were the workhorses of the age of sail, used like barges for hauling and other unglamorous jobs.


The keel--what you see is what you get--is complete as scows are made with a flat bottom so they can be pulled up onto the beach and unloaded.

The scow, which is beamy to maximize cargo space and uses a centerboard, will be 70 feet long when it is ready to be moved in 18 months from its makeshift shelter.

Heavy timbers give gravitas to the fledgling vessel.

Box envisions his creation eventually joining the pantheon of iconic boats that fill Vineyard Haven Harbor--Shenandoah, Alabama, Juno, Charlotte, When and If and the rest.

The frames are made of white oak which Box buys from New England Naval Timbers.


Box smiles, yet the majority of his work is still in front of him. My lifting of the frame in place reminds me of the story of the two bricklayers who were asked what they were doing. The first one said, "I'm building a wall." The second one proudly replied, "I'm building a cathedral." At least for a day, I helped build a scow.

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