Annie under Sail Arden Scott
Someone left this photograph of Annie under sail at the boatyard to give to Arden Scott

Ms. Scott soon won a Guggenheim grant, which allowed her to build a studio in Greenport with a large enough door that she could roll the boat in and out as she continued to work on it, with her four children and, it sometimes seemed, the whole community as crew.

Arden Scott and Keith McCamy
Arden Scott and Keith McCamy reminisced about Annie at the East End Seaport Museum July 16.

When the ribs of the boat were in place, it began to take on the definitive shape of one of Ms. Scott’s gestural etherial nautical sculptures. But now it needed planking.

“I almost said it was a shame that we had to plank it, because it looks so sculptural,” she said.

By this point in the work, many of the passersby who’d initially laughed to hear she was building a boat stopped laughing. Lumber mills that had initially dismissed her began to call with news of a new lot of fine wood.

But there were rumors down in the IGA to stay away from the vicious woman up by the school who was building a boat. The legend of Annie had begun to pervade Greenport.

Mr. McCamy said he knew that Annie would be finished, even though the construction took up eight years of their lives.

“We’ve been married a long time, so I was aware that she can do anything if she sets her mind to do it,” he said. “Forty percent of our lives were involved with that boat.”

When Annie was finally launched in 1988, Ms. Scott and Mr. McCamy brought with them some Hope beer to christen her. She was never a champagne boat. Families were barbecuing alongside the beach in celebration. Mayor David Kapell brought some striped bass to grill at the dock.

Annie Barstow was there. She was ill with cancer and she was cranky because she’d heard that Ms. Scott’s boat was to be named for her. She had a few drinks. People suggested she not drink more.

“She grumbled, ‘you never had a boat named after you,'” said Ms. Scott.

Annie in her winter berth in Sterling Harbor, Greenport
Annie in her winter berth just after this past winter’s blizzard in Sterling Harbor, Greenport

They were nervous, wondering if Annie would float or fill with water and sink to the bottom. She floated, and for the next 27 years took Arden Scott and her family on trips up and down the New England Seaboard, to Newport and Martha’s Vineyard and the Gloucester Schooner Festival.

But this winter, not long after Ms. Scott retired from working part-time as a rigger in Brewers Yacht Yard,  it was time to say goodbye.

“We’re on fixed incomes, and it can get expensive to maintain her properly,” said Ms. Scott. “I’ve retired from rigging, so I have nowhere to rig her anymore. Wooden boats are like us. They need constant feeding and maintenance.”

The full schedule for the East End Seaport Museum’s summer nautical lecture series, which continues this Thursday with a talk by Pat Mundus, is online here.

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Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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