Indeavour recreation started in Winterton

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Boat part of Cupids 400 exhibit

As the crowd of 150 to 200 people in the shed sang "Down, boys, down," 14 people - representing English explorer John Guy and his Indeavour crew - set down the 350-pound bare ship's keel.

The piece is the centre of what will be a life-sized reconstruction of the frame of the Indeavour at the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador.

As the crowd of 150 to 200 people in the shed sang "Down, boys, down," 14 people - representing English explorer John Guy and his Indeavour crew - set down the 350-pound bare ship's keel.

The piece is the centre of what will be a life-sized reconstruction of the frame of the Indeavour at the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The reconstruction is connected to an Indeavour exhibit at the museum, part of this year's Cupids 400 celebrations highlighting the anniversary of the English settlement in the New World.

"Originally we had thought that we would actually have the voyage of the Indeavour, with all the sailboats and everything from Conception Bay coming here, coming around the bay," said Gerald Smith, board member Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corp.

"Then about two years ago, we decided we would bring this to the Winterton Boatbuilding Museum and of course they took it and took off with it.

"We're pretty proud with what they did, no doubt about it. I think it's going to cause a big influx of tourists and everything here.

"There's no joke about that at all. I think it's going to help Cupids; I think it's going to help Winterton. It's going to help the whole Baccalieu Trail," he said.

Known as the Winterton Boatbuilding Museum before 2008, the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador now represents the boatbuilding tradition provincewide. Museum board member Beverley King said the location had about 2,800 visitors last year.

"That's only a beginning," board chairman Bruce Whitelaw said, echoing Smith's assessment of the potential draw of the Indeavour.

Visitors to the museum's Indeavour exhibit will be able to see storyboards of the initial explorations of the ships crew, as well as a model of the ship, from Robert Halliday.

Then there is the reconstruction of the vessel's frame, a project visitors will be able to add to themselves throughout the summer.

"People, if they're interested in building the Indeavour, they can come out with me and we'll be using the old way of building - axes and chisels," said boatbuilder for the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador, Jerome Canning.

What can visitors expect to take away?

"I would say a much improved sense of what happened as a result of the Cupids colony, the importance of it, the fact that the Indeavour was built there as the first ship, that it was really a voyage of exploration in every sense of the word.

"Because they didn't know what was in Trinity Bay, so they built the Indeavour in Cupids to explore the region," said Roy Dawe, chairman of the board for Cupids 400.

Dawe was one of the 14 to help lay the keel, the main vein of the ship reconstruction. Other keel-layers were: John Guy (a.k.a. Clarence Barnes); director for Avalon Region, Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development Jim Anstey; MHA Charlene Johnson; MP Scott Andrews; program manager ACOA, Bill Grandy; Winterton Mayor Jim Harnum; chairman of the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador board, Bruce Whitelaw; chairman of the Winterton Heritage Advisory Board, Melvin Green; Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corp. member Dick With; Indeavour Exhibit designer Hilary Cass and executive director for the Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Ken Flynn.

The final two keel layers were the most popular with the crowd. The first was master of ceremonies Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea.

Doyle told The Telegram he was there to draw attention to the event.

"I've been given the opportunity to be part of these cool events and cool happenings in Newfoundland and in other places.

"It's just fun. It's a fun thing to do and if my presence helps get the word out about special places and little secrets in Newfoundland and Labrador, I'm only too glad to do it," Doyle said following the keel laying.

Yet one person, the last of the keel layers, was more popular than the Great Big Sea musician - master boatbuilder Henry Vokey.

At 80 years old, with fingers curled by arthritis, Vokey is still building boats himself. He currently has the beginnings of a 40-foot schooner in his yard in Trinity.

"Someone said, 'Henry, how many boats have you done?' She said, 'like 20? 50?' I said 'closer to 1,000,'" he said with a laugh when asked about his work, before another man approached with a "Mr. Vokey" and a handshake.

When the crowd moved across the street to the SUF Lodge for a reception following the Indeavour exhibit opening, Johnson, on behalf of minister of tourism and culture, Terry French, announced the province is providing $10,000 for the travel of the 10 storyboards from the Indeavour exhibit to other areas of the province - spreading the word on John Guy's explorations and encouraging new boat builders.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador, Winterton Boatbuilding Museum, Baccalieu Trail Heritage Great Big Sea Winterton Heritage Advisory Board

Geographic location: Winterton, Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador Trinity Bay Avalon Region Baccalieu

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Recent comments

  • crackie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I hope the officials who travelled over the Carbonear/Heart's Content barrens for this event (the MHA included) noted what bad shape it's in & do something about it. Can't get tourists over bad roads too many times.

  • don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    As I have said before, history records that John Guy did not set sail for Trinity Bay from Cupids. If there is a letter from John Guy in which Guy actually mentions Cupids I would like to see it! Some try to say that the name of Cuper's Cove was changed to Cupids. Nothing could be further from the truth, Cupids was NEVER known as Cuper's Cove. Any claim that Cupids is Cuper's Cove is historically incorrect and unsupportable by the facts. Why didn't the Government check the historical facts before spending millions of taxpayer dollars in Cupids?

  • crackie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    I hope the officials who travelled over the Carbonear/Heart's Content barrens for this event (the MHA included) noted what bad shape it's in & do something about it. Can't get tourists over bad roads too many times.

  • don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    As I have said before, history records that John Guy did not set sail for Trinity Bay from Cupids. If there is a letter from John Guy in which Guy actually mentions Cupids I would like to see it! Some try to say that the name of Cuper's Cove was changed to Cupids. Nothing could be further from the truth, Cupids was NEVER known as Cuper's Cove. Any claim that Cupids is Cuper's Cove is historically incorrect and unsupportable by the facts. Why didn't the Government check the historical facts before spending millions of taxpayer dollars in Cupids?