BUILDING THE NEW FERRY
by Alex Loeb
Hurricane Agnes sank and severely damaged the Sycamore Island ferry. The old ferry in use at the time leaked so badly after the storm that it had to be pumped out at least twice a day to keep it afloat. I was the summer caretaker for Frank Davis then and pumping out the bilge was one of my least favorite jobs. On a whim while talking to the club captain I offered to build a new ferry. To my surprise the club took me up on my offer.
I wanted to avoid ever having to pump out the ferry again and so proposed an open-bottomed vessel supported by floats. The basic design was that styrofoam logs would support a wooden frame open at the bottom and topped by a plywood deck.
My brother Dan and a few friends helped to build and paint the new ferry. The whole project took about a month to complete. When it was done a crew of Islanders helped to launch the new ferry in time for the fall workfest. If I remember correctly, the whole project was completed under the budgeted $500. And that ferry pulled us through at least ten years before retirement.
AND A POSTSCRIPT
by Marcia Loeb
Alex, who I think was 16 years old at the time of the ferry building, neglects to tell about the anxiety of drawing up the plans, the joy and triumph of having them approved and endorsed (with some minor modifications) by a committee of august club members (Brisebois was one, I think John Thomson another, there were more) and the sense of awesome responsibility when he was given the authority to spend the enormous sum allotted.
He also forgot to mention how bored he got drilling hundreds of holes and implanting them with hundreds of screws, so he coerced his friends and brother to come down to Sycamore to help him out, tempted them with cookouts and canoe rides.
He went along with the club and painted the deck a sedate Navy grey, but he took great pleasure in painting the rails a fluorescent orange (to the disapproval of Mr. Davis). Unfortunately, the orange faded soon, although the grey lasted a good many seasons.