The landmark vessel Laurel will travel port-to-port serving oysters and drinks; your purchases will help fund her restoration.
About the Laurel Oyster Bar:
Built in 1891, Laurel is the oldest and most historic oyster boat in America. We want to ensure her legacy continues as a culinary ambassador and "floating oyster bar" that will make stops around Long Island Sound, New York City, The Hamptons and beyond.
By bringing her from port-to-port, people can come aboard and hear about her legacy...and have some really great oysters and cold drinks at the same time.
Laurel is a mobile platform so guest chefs can also serve their creations on her deck. And since Laurel can still catch shellfish, don't be surprised if the oysters you eat in the evening were harvested by her that morning!
As rewards for our backers, we have planned some very unique, one-of-a-kind items to show our thanks. These include bookmarks, picture frames and an oyster knife, all made from mahogany deck planks removed during the restoration. And of course oysters and other great food vouchers.
Perhaps the most unique reward, however, is to become a plank owner of the Laurel. Limited to 250 backers, you can have your name inscribed in a new deck plank, plus a bunch of other cool stuff (see rewards sidebar for more info).
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The biggest risk for this project is non-action. Although we could create an oyster bar on Laurel without replacing her deck, the amount of water leaking through is causing an irreversible amount of damage.
With your help, we can replace the deck, stop the leaks and keep her sailing for everyone to enjoy.
Logistically, we have the know-how, from marine carpentry to oyster farming to shucking oysters for crowds, so there is little doubt we can complete the project in a timely manner. We also have a dock to work at, all the necessary tools, a source for the lumber and plenty of support.
We feel this is a very low risk project...but we need your help.
Great question. Here is where we hope we can pull into this year. When we get confirmation from each, we will post updates on our http://Facebook.com/Laurel1891 page. And of course, many other spots will be added too. Please feel free to suggest a location.
UPDATE: NYC Spots in Consideration: Brooklyn Navy Yard, IKEA Red Hook, and Pier 17 in Manhattan.
June 28-30: The Wooden Boat Show, Mystic, CT
July 12-14: Sailfest, New London, CT
August: Brooklyn, New Haven
Sept. 6-8: Norwalk Oyster Festival
Sept. 21-23: Greenport, Long Island, NY Maritime Festival
Another great question. The plan is to have several varieties from local oysterman available at every stop. Remember, Laurel is a platform for exploring the hard work and talents of many, many people.
Our house oyster will be the traditionally harvest Connecticut Bluepoints grown by Norm Bloom and Sons of East Norwalk, CT. We will also have oysters from independent growers like Brendan Smith of the Thimble Island Oyster Company, oysters from the Noank Oyster Cooperative, and our friend Howard Pickerell of Sag Harbor, Long Island. Steve Fleetwood of Port Norris, NJ will be sending up his East Point Delaware Bay oysters. And to add variety, we'll throw in some West Coast oysters too.
Several people have asked about Laurel's condition. I'm happy to say that yes, she floats and can go anywhere she pleases (within reason, England might be a stretch).
The hull of Laurel is made from 2-inch thick white oak. There is an additional 2-inch layer of white oak on the inside of the hull. These boards are tight and keep her afloat. And although the engine is "older," it's a very dependable diesel.
The focus on this campaign is to replace Laurel's deck planks and deck beams. To explain this further, most deck beams are at least 16 feet long. Because water has been seeping through the deck for years, the ends of the deck beams have deteriorated. Lots of nails hold everything together so structurally the boat is safe, but we have reached a tipping point where this holds true.
The "secret" to keeping wooden boats going is to make sure repair work is done before things get really bad. If the deck isn't replaced this year, the beam shelf which holds the deck beams will start to decay. At that point, the repair costs would triple and realistically exceed the value of the boat.