After over 16,000 volunteer hours of hard work, planning, execution, and a whole lot of love, the historic Pat II made a brief appearance recently at The Finger Lakes Boating Museum, as it finally left the Restoration Shop which it has occupied for quite some time and was safely delivered to its winter home.
Residents and tourists alike had to detour for a few hours during the morning, as crews worked to bring the large wooden boat outside; a feat that required two massive cranes working in tandem.
A true labor of love, volunteers at The Finger Lakes Boating Museum have spent the past several years restoring the Pat II (an authentic vintage wooden boat which was used in the Thousand Islands from 1924 to 1955, and on Skaneateles Lake from 1956 to 1991 as a mailboat). In addition to bringing the beautiful boat back to life, one intention the museum has for this project is the hope of eventually launching the Pat II on Keuka Lake for tours and, in a way, making history a real-time experience.
If you ever saw the boat when it was first salvaged and brought to the museum after decades spent as a forgotten relic rotting away outdoors, you might be shocked to see its latest incarnation. First thing you’ll notice is that it wasn’t merely cobbled together. This is the work of skilled craftsmen and women, who passionately devoted their time, imaginations, and energy to the project. If you’re a boat lover, upon close inspection, you might even see a work of art.
The Finger Lakes Boating Museum is located just outside Hammondsport on the expansive grounds of the former historic Taylor Wine Company which was founded in 1878 and, after surviving prohibition, grew and grew until they were the largest producer of still wines on the East Coast and the largest producer of Champagne in the entire country.
While working on the Pat II restoration and reconstruction, volunteers were able to bring together two elements that help define the Finger Lakes region—water and wine. Or, more specifically, the local lake culture of boating and the region’s significant wine heritage by using wood left behind from Taylor’s winery days on the boat. You can see the beautiful dark wood shine after being hewn and shaped and polished beautifully.
Since 2014, the Pat II has undergone one of the most complete reconstructions to be done to an historic boat of its size. For more complete details on the extensive restoration project, visit https://www.flbm.org/pat-ii.
While the museum’s plans to launch the historic boat in 2020 were delayed due to the pandemic, the tireless and quite substantial efforts of the volunteer’s were briefly on display Monday November 23rd at 10:30am as the boat was move from the Restoration Shop and prepped for Winter storage. At the moment, the museum hopes her water debut will be in the Spring of 2021 so keep watch.
Here’s a video when the boat was relocated from the small restoration shop to the larger one: https://www.facebook.com/fingerlakesboatingmuseum/videos/399882110742781/