Volunteers at the Farley Boat Works are building a replica of a Texas scow schooner
Lydia Ann was just some framing when she was acquired by the museum
The Lydia Ann as she looks today
Daniel Pecore, the lead shipwright on the project says the Lydia Ann should be launched by early next year
A scow schooner in the 1870's loaded with cargo
CORPUS CHRISTI -
This time next year Port Aransas should have its very own tall ship. She's called the "Lydia Ann", and she's what's described as a Texas scow schooner, a type of vessel quite common on the Texas coast back in the 1870's. We recently paid a visit to the Farley Boat Works in Port Aransas where craftsmen are putting the finishing touches on the hull.
Daniel Pecore is the lead shipwright on the project, and he says the way the whole thing came about was because of a hurricane, "This project was started by a non-profit up near Dickinson, Texas probably 15 years ago, it was an offshoot of the Elissa --- the tall ship in Galveston. The Elissa was damaged in Ike and they ran out of funding." So the schooner project was scrapped and that's when Rick Pratt, head of the Port Aransas Museum, started lobbying the guy who ran the non-profit up in Dickinson. Pecore says, "He basically donated the hull and it was just the basic framing and shell of the hull, and we had her trucked down here 3 years ago, they hired me 2 years ago and we started up in earnest."
Since then Pecore and his volunteers have made some significant progress. They have installed the keel and covered the hull with dynel and epoxy. A year ago last November they flipped the hull over with a building cradle. Then starting at the bow, they finished framing her out. They've installed the centerboard case and centerboard, laid down the decks, installed a cabin, and built a Texas-sized rudder.
Pecore says the next major step is to install a 20-hp electric motor that will be used to power the vessel in and out of the harbor. They'll also start making the masts and spars.
150 years ago big ships like the Elissa could haul tons of cargo, but because of their deep draft, they couldn't get across the shallow sandbars at the entrances to the bays along the Texas coast. So shallow draft scow schooners like the Lydia Ann were built to offload the cargo and bring it into port. They were called scows because of their wide, square bows. They weren't elegant like the Elissa, but the design allowed them to carry a lot of weight through shallow water.
If all goes as planned, the Lydia Ann should be launched early next year. She'll be available for day sails and private excursions, and no doubt having a historic tall ship should be a plus for tourism in Port Aransas.