An old wooden powerboat from Chilmark named Souvenir is being rebuilt this winter at Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway. Souvenir is a 32-foot wooden Brownell powerboat with a diesel engine that was built in Mattapoissett in 1962. She is getting a whole new bottom: a new keel, below the waterline planks and ribs and a fuel tank. She is powered by a five-year-old 225-horsepower Cummins diesel.
The boat has been in the Robert M. Morgenthau family since 1967. Mr. Morgenthau, 93, said she is an essential part of the family summer experience. Mr. Morgenthau is the former district attorney for New York city and though he is still a working attorney, in the summer he is more deeply involved with tides, fishing charts and docking than legal briefs and court dockets.
Through the years Mr. Morgenthau said he has taken Souvenir on many trips, even up through the New York state canals, along the Erie Canal and all the way up to Canada. Closer to home, the Morgenthau family has motored the boat frequently to Cuttyhunk and around the Elizabeth islands.
Bob Morgenthau, Mr. Morgenthau’s 55-year-old son, said he treasures his memories of taking the family boat to the waters off Noman’s Land and catching bluefish. “It is a family treasure,” he said. “The kids love that boat.”
Brad Abbott of the boatyard said: “They are sentimentally attached to the boat and want to keep in the family. It is a great passage to see the boat passed from father to son. Forty years from now she will still be on the water.”
Just before Christmas, Bob Morgenthau said he saw the boat. “She looked like a skeleton,” he said. So much of the hull and parts were removed. A great deal has taken place since.
She now has a brand new AngÃ©lique keel and skeg. AngÃ©lique is a tough tropical wood.
In the last few weeks the vessel has moved much farther along. Planking has begun on the hull. She is double-planked — the first is cedar and the second is another tropical wood called wana.
“This has been a fun project,” Mr. Abbott said. “She is a local boat, a solid old boat that needed a rebuild.”