Many visitors to our store ask about the old wooden kayak that hangs on the wall above the stairway on the third floor. I was asked to research its history, and here’s what I found:
It was purchased a number of years ago by Stuart and Marianne Smith, the owners of Maine Sport, at a yard sale at the home of Rockport resident Nick Apollonio. Nick’s grandfather had commissioned its design around 1902 by D. B. Crowninshield, who was at the time a well-known designer of schooners in Marblehead, Massachusetts. It was also built in that state, by a man whose last name was Stevens.
Nick has never seen another boat like it, and is convinced it is a one-of-a-kind craft. It was always referred to by his father simply as a ‘sea canoe’, which he told Nick he had paddled and sailed from West Gouldsboro, Maine to Nahant on the north shore of Massachusetts. Since his grandfather had died by the time Nick was born, most of the boat’s history was passed to him by his father, who told him that the grandfather had paid $500 for the boat originally. Nick doubts the veracity of this ‘fact’, since a house could have been bought for that sum at the turn of the 20th century, and also since his father had been known to stretch the truth in his stories.
Nick also was told that when the boat was in its prime, its finish “was like a grand piano”, which much later turned out to be a problem. As he was trying to restore it, whatever finish the builder had used refused to give up its grip, and Nick gave up in frustration. But the good news is that the boat went from being stored in a barn to being displayed on our wall where it’s admired by thousands of people every year. I’ll bet his grandfather would be pleased.
~ Paul McGurren, Maine Sport Assistant Manager