A recent graduate of the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, R.I., has taken it upon himself to spearhead a project to restore to historically accurate condition a full size replica of a double ender on the state’s Block Island.
"The Block Island Double Ender is a type of small open sailboat which was designed and used on Block Island from the early 1700s through the late 1800s. Its design allowed the early settlers of the island to fish offshore and run cargo to and from the mainland without the benefit of a harbor,” says John Puckett, a member of the 2013 graduating class of IYRS’ wooden boatbuilding and restoration.
“The boats were light and strong so they could be pulled up on the beach, but they were also extremely seaworthy. The unique rig of the double-enders allowed the sailors a wide variety of options for sail area in heavy weather. They were well known for their ability to go to windward in the strongest of gales.” Puckett explains.
The design is considered to be one of the most seaworthy open boats ever built, he adds, noting that over 150 years of use there were only two recorded as lost.
The hurdle he is trying to overcome: there are no surviving originals left and there are only a handful of replicas scattered around the country.