Saving the Sailboat Eleanor

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Published in the Register Star, January 27, 2016, p.A11

100_1108William Burrows, four year member and volunteer, stands beside the new deadwood for Eleanor.  The construction of the deadwood, designed after the 1903 deadwood, was engineered by Burrows and took several months to make.  The new deadwood is constructed of four slabs of White Oak.  The original cuts were done with a chain saw, roughly shaped, laminated together and then carefully cut and finally shaped by sanding to have the same lines as the original.  Deadwood is the part of the boat that fits between the original 2000 lb. lead keel and the new keelson which was also engineered and made by volunteers with Burrows being the lead volunteer.  In 2015 the volunteers at the side dedicated 514 and one-half hours to the project.

January 2016 celebrates the fifth year since the Hudson River Historic Boat Restoration & Sailing Society Inc. was organized on January 6th, 2011 by people in Columbia and Greene Counties who wanted to save Eleanor, the last remaining gaff rigged sailboat of her design to sail without a motor in the waters off of Catskill, Hudson, Athens and the Hudson River between Albany and New York.

When she sets sail again, she will be powered by the wind and an electric motor keeping her the environmental vessel she has always been. Because of Eleanor’s low freeboard, ability to come about in her own length and sail against the tides and light and variable winds characteristic of the Hudson River, she has spent her entire sailing life only on that river.

The saving of Eleanor is being done by patient and skilled volunteers at the restoration site at 99 South Front Street, Hudson. The Hudson Riverfront Industrial Park building, inside door 19 is where the real Eleanor, not a replica is being repaired. To the casual visitor it may not appear that progress is being made, but to the members volunteers who gather on Thursday nights to share camaraderie, skills, thoughts and experience, a great deal of work has been accomplished. The Eleanor project is the only project of this nature to take place anywhere along the Hudson River (Clearwater and Woodie Guthrie are replicas) It is only happening in the City of Hudson. While work is going on at the site, there is another group of volunteers who are working to raise money, hold events and man education tents to inform residents and visitors about her one-hundred and thirteen year history and the restoration progress.

Aside from Eleanor’s pedigree and history, the original members of the board decided that the restored Eleanor would be for the public’s enjoyment and education. They believed that sailing on Eleanor would bring a new interest in the history of the Hudson River as experienced from the river in an intimate classroom; Eleanor’s cockpit where everyone on board can participate and develop a keen awareness of nature’s unstoppable forces and the river’s environment. And, of course a love for sailing.

To meet the volunteers and to celebrate the onset of the sixth year of this remarkable restoration project please join others on January 28 at 6 p.m. for an evening of pleasure and business at the Hudson Power Boat Club, at the north end of the Hudson Riverfront Park, Hudson. Bring a covered dish with your favorite entrée, dessert, or pre-dinner treat prepared or purchased. If you would like to receive more information, please email eleanorrestorationproject@gmail.com or call 828 7884 for more information. Volunteers are always welcome on Thursday nights or to help plan events, educate, build membership, or record progress with photography, writing or videos.

 

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