Long Island Oyster Sloop
1903 Long Island Sound Oyster Sloop:
Built: 1903 Hart Shipbuilding Yard
Length over all: 62' 6"
Length on deck: 38' 8"
Length on waterline: 34'
Beam: 13' 8"
Draft, current: 4' with false keel
Draft, original: 3' 8" centerboard up, 6'
6" board down
Rig height: 55' approx.
Tonnage: 10 ton gross (8 ton net)
Rig, current: Gaff Yawl
Rig, original: Gaff Sloop
Good news! She has been SAVED and
will undergo a full restoration at a yard yet to be chosen some where in New
England!! Her new owner will restore her hand in hand with a
shipwright and then Nellie H. will be leaving her home waters to become and
ambassador to the UK. Her new home waters will be the Thames Estuary
England! Her shallow draft and uniqueness will certainly suite those
waters. We will be keeping a restoration log, of course, and more than
likely write some articles for different publications---keep an eye out!
What follows bellow is old text, please
remember she is no longer available:
Nellie H. is very original and represents an important era in New England's
fisheries and pleasure yachting. Nellie H. is (as far as we can tell) the
only surviving Long Island Oyster Sloop that was never converted to engine.
Nellie H. was to be WBRF's Restoration
Project, however the money needed to move her has been too difficult for us to
gather. She is listed here for two reasons:
One, in hopes someone will feel strongly
enough about her to donate the costs of moving her from MD to WBRF in CT, and
perhaps sponsor her full restoration as the WBRF class project. The approximate
cost for transport is $7250.00. If she can be moved here then she will
become our class project. The approximate cost for a total restoration is
$100,000 - $190,000.
Two to allow someone else to take her on for a
full restoration either on their own or through WBRF. This boat is beyond
fantastic and deserves to be back in the water.
Nellie. H. was built in 1901-1903 by Erastus
Hart of Northport Long Island. She was built for his brother-in-law as a
working Oyster Sloop.
She was christened Nellie H. after the owner's
daughter. Her original rig was as a gaff sloop. During her time she
dredged for Oysters on Long Island Sound and transported them to be sold
in New York City. She would then return with cargo loads of timber and
merchandise to sell at various ports on her trip back up the Long Island Sound.
The Oyster Sloop Boats of the turn of the
century we mostly built on Long Island. These sloops followed a basic of
very shallow draft (to fish above the beds in shallow water), very wide beam (to
hold larger loads of Oysters), and a long counter stern ()to allow room for work
surface and dredging to stern. Sandbaggers, and catboats were also used as
Oyster Tongers or Dredgers at the time. Two major types of Oyster Sloop Boats
were know to fish the Long Island Sound oyster beds, one from the south shore of
Long Island and the other from the north shore. Those of the
south were mostly built in and around the Great South Bay. South shore
boats tended to be more lightly built and of lower freeboard than their north
shore counterparts. North shore boats had a tougher build, more freeboard
and greater draft, i.e. a bit more sea going and capable of carrying more sail
in higher winds. The north shore boats we therefore often faster on the
Long Island Sound in most conditions outside of the light breezes of summer
Oyster Sloop in Cos Cob
1902 Greenwich, CT
In 1905-1910, the sharp decline in the Oyster fisheries and a
sharp demand for oysters instigation a de-regulation of the Oyster sailing
fleet. The result: engine equipped boats were allowed to fish the Long
Island sound and surrounding Oyster Beds.
The vast majority of Oyster
Sloops were forced either to be converted to engine power, or replaced with
newer designs. A few lucky ones were bought by yachtsmen and converted to
racing and cruising boats of leisure. Nellie H., due to her speed and
better construction was one of these. Her lines are more refined than
most other Oyster Sloops. She is slightly less beamy and has more hollow forward.
Her hull has elements of the
South Bay Cat Boats and many aspects of the
common to yachtsman of the period. As with most work boats bound to
markets, she was built not only to work well and comfortable on the oyster beds,
but also to be fast to market. The first boats to market get the best
price for the catch. Nellie. H. was purchased in 1907 and converted to a
yacht, in addition
by 1918 was converted to a yawl rig.
still retained a very large sail area, but as a yawl she was easier to handle
cabin was enlarged and below decks she was modified for leisure: 8 bunks, a
galley with stove, table, head and small gasoline engine. Most impressive was the addition
of a very large cockpit similar to the larger Crosby Catboat of that era. Nellie H. has remained in the
same family (many photos still exist and
one oil on canvas painting) to date.
She was sailed on the Long Island Sound area up until 1982 when she was hauled for a total
restoration. Her restoration came to a halt due to personal issues. Today she is well covered and on the hard in Maryland.
Her tender from the 1930s still exists (shown in the 1938 hurricane picture) and a beautiful reproduction
of this tender was built by
her current owner in the 1990s.
constructed of cedar planks on oak sawn frames with iron boat nails and later
refastening with bronze boat nails. Her deck was replaced in 1907 with
Douglas fir laid sprung. In the 30s her centerboard case was removed and a small
false keel was installed. Due to this, the centerboard slot was filled
with pitch resulting in keel rot over the years. She needs a new keel,
centerboard, and centerboard case.
Ansel of Mystic Seaport has replaced the centerboard case of their Oyster Sloop
Nellie; he has the design on paper and is willing to consult with us at WBRF or
with a different owner on its construction.
Nellie H. shape is very good
due to her large sawn frames, careful upkeep, and good materials. Her
frames need some replacement amidships towards the keel. Approximately 1/3
of her frames will need replacing. Her planking has been renewed over the
years and is in good shape for her age. An estimated 1/4 of her planking
will need to be replaced. She will need a new deck and 1/6 new deck beams.
Her transom and beautiful counter stern need work and rebuilding. Much of
her cabin was rebuilt by the current owner in the 90s and was done very well.
Her spars are all in very good shape and need no work, although her bowsprit was
shortened slightly in the 40s; which may mean a new bowsprit is in order.
She has no sails. An auxiliary engine was installed in the 20's -
30's and is now no longer salvageable. She will need a new diesel and
shaft. Her interior is all intact either still in the boat or dismantled
and stored. Even her old Shipmate wood/coal stove survives (in need of
restoration), as well as her 1910s head, fixtures, sink, etc.
Estimated Restoration cost:
Estimated has been gathered from two qualified
institutions/shipwrights. Each independently quoted a minimum of $150,000. One
estimate was from The
in Maine and the other from a top shipwright on Deer Isle Maine.
If she became the WBRF class project
restoration costs not including storage and
all extra equipment such as engine, tanks, sails, electrics, etc. could result in a
$70,000 - $140,000 total restoration costs (with keeping as much of the original
boat as possible and to a workboat finish) over a 3-5 year period.
ALL the pictures---It may take a
long time to down load for non-broadband, sorry.
Long Island Maritime Museum is restoring the
Mystic Seaport restored their Oyster Sloop,
The Water Front Center has a great website
on their restoration of
Oysters Dutchman and the Bay.
Oystering from New York to Boston, by
John Kochiss ---
Golden Light, by James B. Kirk
The Restoration of the Emma C. Berry,
by Willits D. Ansel ---
Working Thin Waters, by Stephan Jones
Sailing Alone around the World, by
American Sailing Craft, by Howard
Mystic Seaport Water Craft, by Maynard
Nellie H. was adopted by a fellow from the UK
who saw here in the Classic Boat
Magazine article on WBRF. He has moved her from Maryland to Deer Isle Maine
to be restored 100% by Peter Buxton in Burnt Cove Deer Isle Maine. Read more...Photos
and Restoration Log
Old Sketch of Working Oyster Sloop Boat
Oyster Sloop Boat Petrel in 1896