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Book Review, NRJ 60.4

November 15, 2015 12:00 PM | David Eddy (Administrator)

The Vinyard Shipbuilding Company: Delaware’s Only Surviving Historic Shipyard

Joan W. Lofland

The Vinyard Shipbuilding Company is a remarkable survivor. The restored yard still contains the original boat shed, machine shop, woodworking building, sail loft, and railways from the 1920s, and its present owners have preserved and restored three motor yachts built there, including both the first of the type (Augusta, built in 1927) and the last (Vignette, built in 1951).

There is a considerable body of academic work relating the story of the yard.

This book, by one of its current owners, is primarily a photographic story of the yard, illustrating its history from 1896 to the present. The sheer quantity of images she has managed to assemble is astonishing, and we also can be grateful that the quality of reproduction is commensurate.

During the yards earlier years, its products were what one might expect for a small operation: ferries, tugboats, small traders, and military light craft (submarine chasers and Coast Guard patrol boats). From the late 1920s the business’s primary products were recreational watercraft (and more sub chasers during World War II). All receive due attention, though there is a notable preponderance of yacht images, probably because such craft attracted more contemporary attention.

For detailed examination of the yard’s history, readers should turn to the various more academic studies. Anyone interested in the beautiful motor yachts of the 1920-1950 era will find this book a delight.

  • Milford, Delaware: The Author, 2015
  • 12-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, ix + 198 pages
  • Photographs, maps, sources. $45.00

Reviewed by David McCann, Dover, Delaware

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