The Man-O-War heritage Museum recently welcomed a new addition to its collection. The sailboat, “The Man-O-War” was saved from ruin and moved to its new home in front of the Museum. Despite initial doubts, the entire sailboat was rescued and thanks to a community effort this piece of Man-O-War’s history was salvaged and will be on show for future generations.
Originally the thought was to completely dismantle the boat and save only the most historic pieces of the vessel. Fortunately this fate was avoided. Using a specially built and designed cradle, engineered by Doug Foust and Billy Albury, the boat was able to be moved while protecting the hull’s integrity. Without the cradle the “Man-O-War” would have been too weak to move.
Donations of materials and labour by many in the community allowed the move to be successful. Walter Sweeting from Man-O-War Hardware and Bill Albury donated lumber. Nicholas Sands helped clear the Museum property and took on the perilous task of moving the boat up hills and through the town. William Weatherford and Captain Tommy from Abacays were also instrumental in moving and positioning the old wooden vessel. The forklift needed for the job was donated by Fred Sweeting.
Many other members of the community were indispensable. Between providing refreshments, coordinating the logistical nightmare and helping with all the work necessary for the project, the community on the cay pulled together to save a piece of their heritage. One of the most important parts of the project was the removal of the nearly 4,000 pound keel which allowed the boat to be transported.
On Saturday, June 30 the streets of Man-O-War were cleared. After lifting the boat into its cradle and trailer, the treacherous journey up-hill began. Finally resting on the newly cleared property, the “Man-O-War” survives as a proud reminder to the community of its past and its willingness to work together.
The next decision regarding the old sailboat is whether to maintain her antique look or to refurbish her much like what was done to the Museum building.