Shallop to commemorate Jamestown settlement

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JAN. 25 — A volunteer group is building a replica of the 30-foot boat that Colonial American pioneer John Smith sailed while exploring Chesapeake Bay.

The volunteers, from the Reedville (Virginia) Fisherman’s Museum , hope to finish the shallop in three months and launch the boat next year to help commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Va., a news report says. The group is using white oak from trees felled during 2003’s Hurricane Isabel to build the boat.

“The skill level of the people … is just unbelievable,” museum director Chuck Backus says in the report.

John Smith, who helped settle Jamestown — England’s first permanent settlement in America — explored Chesapeake Bay and a number of its tributary rivers by boat twice during the summer of 1608, according to the report. As a result of those explorations Smith produced a map of the estuary and of the American Indian settlements there.

The replica boat will be 28 feet LOA and will have a 7-foot beam, the report says. The group reportedly plans to sail and row the boat on short excursions.

“That’s part of the joy” of building it, Backus says.

—Jason Fell