Replica 18th Century Boat To Be Topic of Woods Hole Talk

CCB MEDIA PHOTO The Sultana is a half-scale model of an 18th century schooner.

The Sultana is a half-scale model of an 18th century schooner.

WOODS HOLE – The Woods Hole Historical Museum will hold a talk in its courtyard on August 1 about a unique recent acquisition.

The museum has acquired a partially completed replica of an 18th century schooner. The Sultana is a half-scale model of a Revolutionary-era vessel that was built for speed.

The museum’s boat shop volunteers will work to complete the vessel over the next several years.

The original Sultana was built in 1767 in Boston, and was, at that time, a very modern design. It was about 55’ long, of a style called a Marblehead Schooner, after the town where the style was developed.

She was sailed to England for delivery to the man who had commissioned her, Sir Thomas Asquith of South Hampton. She was almost immediately requisitioned by the British Royal Navy, which used her to enforce the tea taxes and blockade along the American coast in the years just before the Revolution.

The Sultana model, which,  at half-scale, is 27 feet long, is the largest model the museum has ever received. It was started in Chilmark by Fred Littleton, who spent 10 years working on her, completing the hull before his death.

In a roundabout way, the model made its way to the museum, as a gift from Virginia and Bernie Sweeney of Centerville. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, next door neighbor to the museum, allowed the Museum to lease a small piece of property to house the ship while she is completed by the Boat Restoration Program of the museum.

The museum’s “Conversation in the Courtyard” is scheduled for Saturday, August 1, at 4 p.m. at the museum at 579 Woods Hole Road. The event is free and open to the public.

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