62nd annual Windjammer Days

Chip Haggett, Boatbuilder and Half Model Builder

Tue, 06/04/2024 - 8:45am

The 62nd annual Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days will take place on Sunday, June 23 through Saturday, June 29. This year we will celebrate our local boatbuilders and shipwrights. Please visit boothbayharborwindjammerdays.org for the full schedule of events.

I believe it all started when I was about 5 or 6 watching my Dad, Ed Haggett, working wood and I was actually playing in the shavings. The look, sound, smell and feel of the wood all mesmerized me. I thought seeing the things he would was magical and in a short time Dad had supplied me with some basic tools and I loved it! I always loved the boats he built. I knew that magic was about to happen when the shop floor was painted a light gray and the lofting
process would start and from these lines a new vessel would evolve, while talked about as a person, she would take shape and be beautiful!

I had the absolute privilege to go to work for the Hodgdons on the motor yacht Yorel. It has been a continual chain of exquisite vessels ever since, Antonisa, Liberty, Scheherazade, Windcrest, Dixie, Rooster, Moonrise and on; each one a challenge and absolute pleasure to be a part of. The talent/skill that came through those doors over the years was absolutely remarkable and the people I was able to learn from and work with is a story in itself. Sonny Hodgdon was a gold mine of knowledge as well as Neil Jones and Tim Hodgdon. Tim`s mom Margaret baked for the whole crew – pies, cakes and lemon squares to die for!

I learned the process of building half models from Sonny, the master himself! The first half model I built was in high school and a model of a boat I helped sail. It was an H-28, carved and cast in bronze for the owner. The carving of a half model and then the building of the actual vessel can reveal some interesting aspects of a hull not readily apparent from the plans! I found that boatbuilding was a continual challenge, not a day went by when you didn't learn
something. I was always excited to get to work and thoroughly enjoyed every day! I thank my Dad, the Hodgdons and so many more skilled craftsmen for this wonderful experience.

In the future I hope to create more half models and other carvings. I asked Neil Jones a question one day about a complex project I was working on and his answer was right on the mark. He said "The wood will tell you,” and yes it did. Thank you Neil! Some things you never forget!