All winter long, and all summer long, I've tried to get Blanche to go out with me to take a look at the old fishing boat being restored behind the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum. The boat was begun by Mr. Tom Neal more than 80 years ago for a neighbor, Mr. Warren Scarborough. Before the boat was finished, when she was just a keel and ribs, Mr. Warren decided to sell her. Blanche’s daddy, Stacy Howard, traded one of his boats, the Lela, plus some money for the boat…and had the unfinished boat hauled over to his yard by truck. It was about 1929.
My grandfather, Homer Howard, with help from Stacy, added planking, gunwales, decking, and a cabin. When the boat was finished Stacy named her the Blanche. She was launched about 1934. Stacy used her for long hauling, sink-netting, and to take out fishing parties.
According to Blanche, “papa loved that boat.”
Finally, last Saturday I convinced Blanche that the weather was just perfect for making a visit to her namesake. She was delighted to see the boat . She said how happy her papa would be to know the Blanche was protected and in the process of being restored.
You can read more about the Blanche here: http://islandfreepress.org/2011Archives/08.03.2011-RestoringTheBlancheATraditionalOcracokeFishingBoat.html.
Philip & Blanche by the side of the Blanche:
On your next visit to the OPS Museum be sure to walk around back and take a look at the Blanche, an important part of Ocracoke's maritime heritage.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of slavery on Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092111.htm.