In the 1990’s boatbuilder and designer David Stimson collaborated with director Ben Swan to create the perfect rowboat to serve the venerable Pine Island rowing program and named it the Pine Island Skiff. Very generous donors funded the construction of four of the skiffs and they were named John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Just a few years ago, PIC acquired another Skiff and named it Stu, after Stuart Sutcliffe, often called “the Fifth Beatle.”
Recently, PIC alumnus and super-volunteer Rob Whitehouse, a retired engineer living in Brunswick, ME, brought it to Ben’s attention that the Skiffs were aging and, in spite of the meticulous care given them each fall during the Sloan Critchfield Memorial Boat Maintenance Weekend, might need to be replaced. Unfortunately, we never had a set of plans made and the pieces needed to construct one of the boats had been lost. Rob undertook the (to most people) mysterious and math-laden process of taking the lines off one of the Skiffs so that we could build another Skiff and make reproducible plans for future builders to use.
Many, many, hours later Rob produced not only plans, but the digital files needed to have a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine cut all the pieces needed to build a Skiff. The next step was for Rob to build a Skiff in his well-appointed shop at his house in Brunswick. Rob’s time (over eight weeks work!) was all volunteered, and the results are really beautiful, a sixth Pine Island Skiff for the boys and staff of Pine Island Camp, and complete plans, including thumb drives from which one could build a Skiff of one’s own. Several very generous alumni responded to an appeal from Ben and covered the considerable cost of materials and CNC cutting for Pete.
So, what to call her? Pete, of course…Pete Best has also been called the Fifth Beatle. He is a drummer who was replaced by Ringo Starr. Rob will launch Pete sometime this spring and the newest Pine Island Skiff will join the fleet this summer. No doubt the gleaming and brand new Pete will be a favorite among the rowers this summer.
Thank you, Rob, and all the generous donors who paid for the project!