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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.

NINA - Scow Schooner

January 11, 2005

t the Town Dock one Saturday morning in January, a fog set in, looking like the mists of time that the old looking boat had slipped through. The long boat with the short name is “Nina” a scow-schooner, 45 feet on deck and, in part because of her long bowsprit, seventy feet overall.

“Nina” is less than two decades old but her design is that of the cargo ships that would ply the waters of San Francisco, the Gulf, Maine and the Chesapeake in the 1800’s.

Dayton Trubee, who owns “Nina”, says that in their day, there would be hundreds of schooners like “Nina” carrying cargo along the California coast. “Nina” crew member Ingrid Code says that in a sense, the scow schooners were the “predecessors of the barges of today…except they’re much more beautiful.”

The boat is 15 feet at its widest and draws three feet. The two masts are made of pine.

Down below, the forward and aft areas are accessed via companionways and are connected by a walk-through area that requires crouching down as you pass the engine. Aft, there’s a cabin with a desk, bunk and a head with a bathtub, a luxury not often seen on vessels at the Town Dock.

The forward area has a dining area and galley with a Lunenberg pig iron stove. Forward of that Ingrid showed her cabin just aft of the anchor locker. All this area, she said, would have been for cargo on the original scow schooners. In its present set up, the cabin doesn’t allow for much in the way or cargo. Or headroom.

Behind Ingrid’s berth rests the nameplate, “Vintage” . That was its name when the boat was completed at the Brooklyn Boat Yard in Maine in the mid-80’s. The first owner had the boat for a few years, then sold it to a couple who chartered it in the Caribbean.

Ingrid says that Dayton Trubee had been keeping track of the boat off and on since it was first commissioned. In the mid-90’s he was running a boat restoration business near Annapolis, when, Ingrid says, “Someone called him one day and said, ’You won’t believe this but that boat you’ve been following is in Spa Creek and theres a big ‘For Sale’ sign on it!’”

Dayton Trubee bought the boat which was a bit weary after its years of chartering in the tropics . He spent a while restoring it and about 8 years ago he moved aboard. He renamed the boat “Nina”.

Ingrid got on board several years later. She’d been attending school in Baltimore. A native of Australia’s SE coast, she was missing the water and would take, she says, water taxi rides on the Baltimore harbor just to get out on it. However, she had never been sailing before Dayton invited her to crew on board “Nina” for a trip to NYC.

She describes being overwhelmed by the experience. “You have to picture this. Let me get it right… “ she says as she starts to describe sailing under the Verrazano Bridge and in to New York Harbor. “It was September. Early fall. A beautiful breeze. Blue skies. Nina is under full sail and I’m at the end of the bowsprit. We sailed to the Statue of Liberty. Ellis Island.”

And in taking in that view of New York for the first time, Ingrid says, she realized that, “this is how so many people, immigrants, came to Ellis Island. It wasn’t lost on me at all…..

The crew of “Nina” spent a couple a couple of weeks in NY and West Point. For Ingrid, the NY trip was a turning point. “I just loved it so much.” She spent a short time deciding between what she calls, “Reality and This.” In the end, “This” won out.

The world of living aboard a boat was a new one to her. Initially Ingrid says, she thought that only “rich persons” could afford it, that it would be “out of reach” to most. She’s found though, that there’s a full range of people cruising, “the wealthy and those on a shoe string. You can do a lot with very litttle.”

Over the past four years she’s sailed as far north as Maine — the fjord near Mt. Desert Island and Matinicus, among other places — and as far south as Key West. Three years ago, she and Dayton stopped in Oriental (they found a photo of their boat, under snow, on the wall at The Bean on this trip) Dayton recalled that on the visit, they were shoveling snow off the deck as they crossed the Neuse.

They are dawdling south, late again this year too. Perhaps, they’re emboldened by that kerosene-fired Lunenburg stove in the galley, which heats the boat. “Without this,” Ingrid says, “we couldn’t be traveling this late”.

Still, the crew of “Nina” is heading to warmer climes. Ingrid says they don’t really have a destination in mind and while there’s no set plan, she does have a few places she hasn’t visited that she’d like to explore.. including the Dry Tortugas west of Key West and Florida’s west coast.

Posted Tuesday January 11, 2005 by Melinda Penkava

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