Board members of the East End Seaport Museum in Greenport were full of announcements when they held their season opening Saturday afternoon.
Pat Mundus, a ship captain who helped bring classic boats back to the museum’s September Maritime Festival, was named grand marshal of this year’s Maritime Festival Parade. The museum is starting a remote-controlled yacht club. Bug Light now has its own room at the museum devoted to its history. And the Tall Ships, which sail into town over the July 4 weekend, will commence with a reception honoring their captains July 3 at Brecknock Hall.
Museum volunteers have also put together a fascinating exhibit on the history of L’Hermione, the French frigate on which Marquis de Lafayette sailed to the colonies to help fight the American Revolution.
A replica of the frigate, built in France, has just arrived in the United States and will be in Greenport on July 7 during the Tall Ships Challenge celebration.
Museum board member Lynn Summers, who grew up in Philadelphia, grew up hearing stories of how Lafayette regaled the Continental Congress with parties aboard L’Hermione during the American Revolution. She’s been in touch with the French crew that built the replica and is sailing it here.
“Lafayette was a very charismatic and enthusiastic person,” she said. “He gave up much wealth to help fight the American Revolution. I think Greenport should adopt his family motto ‘cur non.’ It means ‘why not?’ It’s almost like the Nike motto.”
Former Greenport Mayor David Nyce, who helped bring the Tall Ships to Greenport, said that Brecknock Hall has just agreed to host the ship captains on July 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. The reception is open to the public for a $30 fee.
“We’ll regale the ship captains there,” he said.
Ms. Mundus, a Montauk native who recently made Greenport her home, captained oil tankers for 17 years. She’s also the daughter of legendary Montauk shark fisherman Frank Mundus, and she now runs East End Charters, a sailing charter company now based in Greenport.
“She comes to us with an extraordinary background,” said Seaport Museum Vice Chairwoman Arlene Klein as she announced Ms. Mundus would be the grand marshal of the parade. “She’s just a warm, giving person. She brought the “maritime” back to the maritime festival… We’re very proud to have her leading the parade.”
“I think Greenport is the coolest maritime town on the planet,” said Ms. Mundus.
As part of the Tall Ships celebration, the museum has also brought its “small ships” out of storage at Brecknock Hall.
The ship models, 14 in all, were built by a Detroit automotive engineer named Dick Tracy, whose widow, Shirley Tracy of Loudon, Tenn., donated them to the museum upon his death.
“He loved to build ship models, but he’d never been to sea,” said museum board member Ted Webb. “They were built by hand over many, many years. Some actually light up.”
New board member Ed Chimney, who always wanted to be a naval architect, is starting a Model Yacht Club at the museum. The club plans to sail CR-914 radio controlled model yachts. He said the boat sails well in conditions ranging from no wind to a 20 knot breeze.
The boats can be purchased, rented or chartered by the year or sponsored by model yacht club members. For more information, email Mr. Chimney at EastEndModelYachts@gmail.com.
The museum also kicks off its summer lecture series this Thursday, June 11 at 7 p.m. with a talk by Otto Schoenstein.
Mr. Schoenstein, a raconteur, gifted craftsman, Greenport’s Renaissance man and 2014 Maritime Festival Grand Marshal, will speak about the rebuilding of the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, a.k.a. Bug Light. He single-handedly planned, designed and executed the rebuilding of the lantern room atop the Victorian lighthouse which was destroyed by fire in 1963.
The full schedule for this year’s lecture series is online here.