62nd annual Windjammer Days

Jim Jones, Shipbuilder

Tue, 04/02/2024 - 8:30am

    The 62nd annual Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days will take place on Sunday, June 23 through Saturday, June 29. This year we will celebrate our local boatbuilders and shipwrights. Please visit boothbayharborwindjammerdays.org for the full schedule of events.

    My “journey “ has had high and low points, but mostly high and at times quite humbling, and most times it has provided a chance for a positive learning experience. My father, J. Ervin Jones, was a wooden boat builder and worked alone so when I was old enough to be of some help I would be in his shop helping. He always would have me stay home from school on the day he would be steam bending frames and as he bent the frames out to the ribbands and I would clamp them off. After two years at CMVTI, in 1974 I went to work for P. E. Luke Boatbuilders, working in the machine shop for two years. After that I started working for my father full time so I guess that’s fifty years.

    My father, of course, had the most significant impact on me and I’ve always felt cheated that he died before I could fully appreciate what he was teaching me, but I’ve been lucky to have worked with many talented people like Tony Finocchiaro, David Stimson and the many shipwrights I worked with at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard (Sample’s Shipyard). Also for working the last ten years with Tim Hodgdon and the super talented woodworkers he’s employed over the years. Building the 60-foot cold-moulded Moonrise was a highlight and totally new experience for me.

    There are other people I didn’t work with but wish I had. My uncle Neil Jones and George ‘Sonny’ Hodgdon, both gone now. As well as Royal Dodge (retired) and Chip Haggett, who I worked with a little bit but wish I could of spent more time with him before he retired. These people were so talented and could have provided me with many learning opportunities. Just knowing the quality of work they demanded has given me the incentive to always try and do my best. Of course, working for Tim Hodgdon you know he wants things done to these same very high standards. My advice when working with people you consider mentors is to keep your eyes open and watch carefully because there is always something to learn.

    Although I don’t really think of any one most significant project, I would say just the overall building of a wooden boat, from the lofting on the shop floor to the building of the hull and all the steps of taking a pile of lumber and fitting each piece into the final outcome of a beautiful wooden boat. Currently I’m doing some of the woodworking projects that come up on storage boats at Hodgdon Yacht Services and some interior joinery being subcontracted to us by Hinckley Boats.

    My plans for the future call for at least semi retirement. I do have an old Everett Barlow designed 30-foot lobster boat that I’m going to rebuild in order to keep my hand in wooden boats and hopefully to take my grandchildren out for boat rides.

    I would like to thank all of those who have employed me and have allowed me to work on your boat and also to have put up with working with me. If I have enlightened anyone then I have come full circle.