The Charlie Merrill is a 17 foot sailing and rowing Swampscott Dory. It was commissioned by the Richardson Bay Maritime Association to commemorate one of their founding members, the late Charlie Merrill.
Plans for this Fred Dion style Swampscott dory were taken out of John Gardener’s “Dory Book”. The boat is traditionally built with solid lumber. The sawn pepperwood frames are half lapped and riveted to the pepperwood floors. The planking is 9/16 inch thick Alaskan Yellow Cedar, dory-lapped and copper riveted. The oak transom and black locust stem add to the careful selection of local woods.
The fir bottom is inside the garboards, which are nailed and riveted to it. A false Fir bottom is applied for wear as well as to supply additional weight down low to help her sailing qualities.
Once outfitted, the dory will have a centerboard, rudder, and spritsail, as well as two rowing stations. A launching and party will be scheduled after completion in early spring. The Charlie Merrill will be available for the public to rent and take out to experience Richardson Bay.
Several hundred people crowded the dock of the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center to launch the dory Charlie Merrill and remember the man Charlie Merrill.
Local businesses and the Richardson Bay Association supplied food and drink. After speeches by Charlie's daughter, the Mayor of Sausalito, and many others, a favorite poem of Charlie's, Sea Fever, was recited by everyone present.
You could imagine an earlier time when wooden boats were being built in many shops and "vacent lots" along the Sausalito waterfront; when the residents of Sausalito were even more diverse and crazy than they are now.
Then the giant old crane was started and the dory was lifted above the crowd.
Anton Hottner, the builder, steadies the dory as it enters the water as many onlookers make sure the launch goes well.
The dory has a complete sailing rig, although it wasn't used in the launch.
I must go down to the seas again, to the loney sea and sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.
Sea-fever by John Masefield (1878-1967)
Post Script: Anton, under the sail, and friend at tiller, wait for a breeze to fill the sail of Charlie Merrill.