The sloop Clearwater’s first sail of 2012 is still about a month away, but fans of the 108-foot-long tall ship – a replica of the sloops that transported passengers and freight up and down the Hudson River in the 19th century – and the nonprofit environmental organization that it represents can find out what she has been up to over the winter at the Clearwater Family Open Boat Days. The event will be held on March 24 at Lynch’s Marina, located at 2 Ferry Street Clearwater in Saugerties.
Up to ten volunteers and apprentices have been working collectively seven days a week with mate Josh Mayo on various maintenance tasks, from upgrading all the paint and varnish to getting the galley shipshape to bringing the deck boards below. Bigger jobs, such as replacing the water tanks and fixing the engine, also must be done; this year they included fashioning a new bulwark on the starboard side, replacing some of the deck planking and making a new bowsprit from a 1,100-pound piece of wood, according to Mayo.
Mayo, who is in his second year as maintenance coordinator, noted that what distinguishes the Clearwater from many of the other historic tall ships on which he has worked is its ties to the community. “The Clearwater was built with the purpose of reconnecting people with the river,” he said. “It has a very specific mission, and people who are part of the organization love that mission and what they do. Every time we go into port, everyone knows the Clearwater. Anybody who has volunteered for a week loves it and feels part of the program.”
At the Open Boat Days event, held from 5 to 9 p.m., the public can hobnob with the winter crew and tour the shop, where the bowsprit is being made. Good food, storytelling and live music – either by the Power of Song kids, who hail from Beacon and learned to play from Pete and Peggy Seeger, or the local band Pocatella; the programming hadn’t been firmed up as of presstime – will enliven the premises. Visitors are encouraged to bring a contribution to the potluck and/or their instruments. Admission is free, although a $10 donation is suggested.
Mayo said that the first sail of the year will be April 20, with the Clearwater departing from the lower Esopus Creek a couple of days beforehand for the initial trip to Yonkers. For more information call (845) 265-8080, extension 7105.