By: H. G. Rogers
When an exceptionally bad storm swept through Martha's Vineyard in the summer of 2010, the worst nightmate of any boat owner occurred. The much beloved, wooden sailboat Valora came to a tragic end. Valora was no ordinary boat, but then, what classic boat is ordinary. They have personalities, qualities, and characters just like a dear friend or family member. Boat owners may even call a boat their "child" and grace their transoms with a very personal name.
Valora like a chersished person, had many friends since the owner shared her with as many people as he could. Weekend sailors raised her sails, held her tiller, and tied her to her mooring after joyful sailing trips.
On the dark day of the storm though, she say helpless and alone, as very rough seas broke into the anchorage. Her mooring lines parted and a scattering of bits and pieces was all that remained of her after she broke up on the beach. Valora's existence may be over, but the ability she had to create bonds and friendships between people came to a new light. Her end has paved the way for a new boat to be build, to carry on her tradition of friendliness.
I became aware of all the endless possibilities we possess as ship in bottle builders. Hopefully, I have helped the owner of Valora settle his mind of the terrible disaster, or maybe I have just given him a unique piece of memorabilia. Either way, I have shared an art form that has graced the hands of the toughest sailors, warmed the hearts of inquisitive children, and tantalized the minds of the craftsmen who carry on this tradition.