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Lots of boats come to Oriental, some tie up at the Town Dock for a night or two, others drop anchor in the harbor for a while. If you've spent any time on the water you know that every boat has a story. The Shipping News on TownDock.net brings you the stories of the boats that have visited recently.

Anne of Mystic
130 Year Old On First Trip South
April 8, 2015
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ans of boats travel to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut to see the large wooden boats from earlier centuries. For one weekend in March, visitors to Oriental’s Town Dock got a similar taste in the form of a boat from Mystic. anne
Anne at Oriental’s Town Dock in late March.

Anne, a 130 year old working boat that used to carry tons of oysters on Long Island Sound came to Oriental bearing stories. These were happily shared by her owner, Geoffrey Jones, who like the boat, hails from Mystic and was on his way home after taking Anne as far south as Key West this winter.. He’d pulled Anne in to a slip at the Town Dock one Saturday in late March and within a few hours, had welcomed several dozen people aboard.

Oriental’s harbor as seen from the wheelhouse of Anne.

Anne’s a story he clearly liked to tell. Starting with the fact that her name carries two syllables — it’s pronounced ‘“Annie” and Jones says there are more than two for that. She started life as a gaff-rigged center-board sailing sloop, then a decade later took on an engine, likely powered by coal and steam, then in 1905 it was converted to gas engines and then diesel. A John Deere engine occupies a space under the table in the cabin.

The John Deere engine beneath the table in Anne’s cabin.

Geoffrey Jones says the boat was built to settle a tab. In the 1880’s a grocer in Smithton, Long Island had customers who were in arrears on their grocery bills. With good roads lacking, he also needed a boat to carry goods to his store. Jones says the grocer figured those who owed him could pay off their debt by building him a boat.

Geoff Jones in the cabin of Anne, the boat he and his father restored. Above in the wheelhouse is Reef, his Golden Retriever who’s travelled south to Key West this winter and is now heading north to home, in Mystic Connecticut.

The construction would be done on the sly as they wereusing wood from a forest owned by a wealthy seasonal visitor, on the thinking he’d be out of town during the construction. But with work underway, word came that the landowner was coming from New York City to his country place. which meant the workers had to hide their incomplete hull and wait for his departure. The boat builders covered the partially built boat with foliage in the woods, (Geoff Jones says this had the benefit of the wood not drying out in the sun.) They finished the job in the fall when, with the landowner back in the city, they could once again work in the open. Anne was launched in 1884, and has spanned the sail, steam, gas and diesel eras.

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Flags flying on Anne reflected in the waters of Oriental’s harbor in late March. The flags spell out her name and 1884, the year she was built in Smithtown, NY to settle some grocery tabs.

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Posted Wednesday April 8, 2015 by Melinda Penkava

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