After a bit of head scratching I was told to go to another building about a mile away where that the little boat in question was sure to be found. Trouble was, that building was not open until the next day. The next day I drove over with great anticipation. I went inside and asked the volunteer on duty if I could see the Moth Boat. He said "the what boat?" and then directed me to various small boats on display. One was a dug out canoe, another turned out to be a fiberglass Sunfish, but no Moth. He started to give me the impression that I was either crazy or misinformed or both (I get that a lot). I indicated that I indeed was of sound mind and asked him if I could see his iPad for a moment. He did so just to humor me and I quickly showed him the Historical Society's page concerning the Moth:
|As seen on the internet. "The Lewes Moth Sails Home."|
With the existence of some sort of Moth Boat now established, my stock went up a couple of points and the volunteer started to call various Historical Society members. I was told to return to the shop building where I'd meet one of the society directors. And so I did. The director took me on a hike through several other storage buildings. We admired several interesting and no doubt historical boats, but no Moth Boat. I could tell that the director was getting a little embarrassed that he had no clue as to the whereabouts of this boat which had been, ten years earlier, donated to the Society, but he told me that I had piqued his curiosity and that he would find the boat in question and give me a call. We left things at that. New Year's eve came and went.
|Lewis is an interesting old town with other things to do and see besides suss out a misplaced Moth Boat.|
I did make it. The boat was "hiding in plain sight" behind a bunch of lumber and tools, tipped up on one side, leaning against a wall. A day earlier we had walked right by it!
|Can you see the Moth?|
|Here's a better look after pulling some stuff out of the way.|
|She is plank on frame and has a pivoting centerboard, which are marks of an early Moth.|
|The strips of filament tape are to keep the centerboard from sliding out of the trunk while in storage.|
|A view of the rudder.|
|Note the clinched nails holding the pintles in place rather than rivets or nuts and screws.|
|The next three photos were taken by Bill Boyle several years ago when he visited Lewes and the boat was more accessible.|
|The splash boards look like a recent addition and seem too modern for the rest of the boat.|
After viewing the boat, I told the director one way to raise money, if the society wanted to fully restore the boat would be to start a crowd funding site on the internet. He liked the idea, and I said if that happens I'd help spread the word.
This little story of a local Historical Society and a Moth Boat brings several points to mind:
- Most museums and historical societies are artifact rich but cash poor. Ideally, they want donations which can immediately be placed on display with no or minimal work/expense involved. Basically it's easier to donate than it is to receive, house, and maintain something. Indeed many donations occur because the donor can no longer store or provide upkeep for the item in question.
- A donation requiring that money, skill and energy be invested before being displayable must be very significant to the locale which the museum or society is attempting to promote.
- Donations requiring inputs of time, skill and money tend to be "stored", and if not compelling to the museum's mission, can sometimes be "lost" in storage until someone (like your old diarist) makes a concerted effort to see them.
Bottom line: if you plan to donate a boat, she should (a) go to an appropriate museum, (b) be restored before being donated and (c) if possible, an endowment of funds earmarked for the boat's upkeep should be part of the donation.
I will follow up on this particular Moth in the hopes that she eventually does go on display and that more info about the correct build date, who the builder was and so on can be explored.