HOWB 062 – Interview: Captain Robert d’Arcy of the Schooner Martha; 4th Generation Shipwright and Wooden Boat Master

by admin on November 22, 2012


Today’s interview is with Captain Robert d’Arcy.  d’Arcy grew up in Rhode Island, the son of a shipwright.  In fact he is a 4th generation shipwright – his great grandfather learned the trade in Scotland and the skills were passed down thru the generations.  Robert worked in his dad’s boat shop as a kid starting with sweeping, cleaning, stacking, then moving on to building and restoring.  After high school he worked beside his dad to restore a 1914 Nova Scotian schooner that was 46′ on deck.   Next was a 5 year stint at the Mystic Seaport Museum (CT), doing restoration work on vessels such as the 1841 Wooden Whaling Ship Charles W. Morgan, and the 123′ fishing schooner L.A. Dunton.

Robert had friends who owned a 1910 Victorian B&B that needed work, so he switched gears and began using his woodworking skills to repair and renovate Victorian and Colonial homes.  In 1995 he moved to the Puget Sound area and met mariners from the Schooner Zodiac and the Northwest Schooner Society.  The Society was to become the recipient of a 1907 BB Crowninshield designed 84′ Schooner – Martha.  They asked Captain d’Arcy if he would be willing to set up a sail training foundation, spearhead the restoration of Martha, and become her Captain.

The boat needed significant restoration work so Robert did his homework on her pedigree and history.  She was a worthy steed with a rich and documented history, so he took on the project and established the Foundation.   Martha has been fully restored under d’Arcy’s care over a period of several years and she is being used for sail training on the waters of Puget Sound.

Click on green player button above to listen to the interview and find out other fun facts including the history of Martha’s elegant green color.

Here’s some pics to enjoy (click to enlarge):

Captain d’Arcy working on Martha’s ballast keel replacement project.  Photo courtesy of Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op.


Martha has gorgeous sweeping lines!  Photo by Wooden Boat Dan.


Martha during recent Round the County race in San Juan Islands, WA.  Photo courtesy of the Schooner Martha Foundation.


Martha’s recent restoration work.  She was originally launched in 1907 in San Francisco, CA.  Photo courtesy of the Schooner Martha Foundation.

Thanks Robert for taking time for the interview.  Best to you and Martha!

HOWB Produces First Video Interview I have produced the first ever HOWB video interview.  The interview is with Lloyd Shugart of Seattle, WA and he owns and is restoring a Ed Monk Sr. designed bridgedeck beauty.  Check out  the video here:

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