Launch of the Charlotte in Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard Is a Community Event

Launch of the Charlotte in Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard Is a Community Event

Charlotte ready

Charlotte stands ready to begin her journey.

Nat Benjamin of the Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway in Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha's Vineyard specializes in the design of beautiful wooden boats. Up until last fall all his designs were for someone else.

Incradle

Charlotte, at 50 feet, is an imposing vessel.

That changed with the launching of the fifty-foot schooner Charlotte on Sept. 15, 2007. Under construction for 3 1/2 years and under his hat as a beautiful vision for more than 10, Benjamin's dream boat was launched on a chilly September afternoon before 300+ friends, neighbors and supporters who brought food, drink and applause to celebrate the event.

Bow side view

The launching was more that just a short ride down a railroad track into the Vineyard Haven Harbor waters. It was a communal festival in which everyone who attended realized they were witnessing, and a part of, something special.

Crowdingaround

The island's historian tells of the Vineyard's long maritime traditions.

Island resident Kate Taylor sang songs, the island's poet laureate recited verses written just for the ocassion, a historian put the launch in perspective with the island's maritime history, flowers and water were tossed at the bow and Nat's family happily climbed aboard for the ride down the track and into the harbor.

Flag raising

Nat places the flag.

Tv crew

The launch begins with TV crews recording.

Into the water

Into the water!

Juno

Charlotte joined Benjamin's other masterpiece, Juno, which floated nearby.

At the conclusion of the day, Benjamin wondered aloud, "Yes, she's beautiful, but is she fast?" That was answered the following July when Charlotte, piloted by Benjamin and friends, won the 2008 Vineyard Cup.

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