November 21, 2017
Community
39° Scattered Clouds
  • Paul Spadaro has spent the last two years restoring the hull of a boat built in 1929 and celebrated the last plank put in the hull with a Whiskey toast on Friday, August 18, accompanied by friends and employees of Cypress Marina. He has owned the boat, a 30-foot Richardson Cruisabout, since 1978.
    Paul Spadaro has spent the last two years restoring the hull of a boat built in 1929 and celebrated the last plank put in the hull with a Whiskey toast on Friday, August 18, accompanied by friends and employees of Cypress Marina. He has owned the boat, a 30-foot Richardson Cruisabout, since 1978.
  • Paul Spadaro has spent the last two years restoring the hull of a boat built in 1929 and celebrated the last plank put in the hull with a Whiskey toast on Friday, August 18, accompanied by friends and employees of Cypress Marina. He has owned the boat, a 30-foot Richardson Cruisabout, since 1978.
    Paul Spadaro has spent the last two years restoring the hull of a boat built in 1929 and celebrated the last plank put in the hull with a Whiskey toast on Friday, August 18, accompanied by friends and employees of Cypress Marina. He has owned the boat, a 30-foot Richardson Cruisabout, since 1978.
  • At the whiskey plank ceremony at Cypress Creek Marina, Paul Spadaro had an album of old photos of his boat, Patches.
    At the whiskey plank ceremony at Cypress Creek Marina, Paul Spadaro had an album of old photos of his boat, Patches.
  • An original advertisement for a 30-foot Richardson Cruisabout boat, the same kind of boat as the one Paul Spadaro restored. The boats were built in North Tonawanda, New York.
    An original advertisement for a 30-foot Richardson Cruisabout boat, the same kind of boat as the one Paul Spadaro restored. The boats were built in North Tonawanda, New York.

Paul Spadaro Restores Antique Boat

Gracie Fairfax
Gracie Fairfax's picture
View Bio
September 7, 2017

Magothy River Association president and Severna Park resident Paul Spadaro recently celebrated the installation of “the whiskey plank” – essentially the last plank – on his 1929 30-foot Richardson Cruisabout boat. The boat was originally constructed with oak frames and cedar planks, and as the planks began to deteriorate, the only way to save the boat was to do something structurally to keep the planks from falling off.

Spadaro adopted the cold molding process with the help of staff at Cypress Creek Marina, including marina engineer and shipwright Drew Kauffman, who has extensive experience with wooden boats including work on the USS Constellation. In the cold molding process, an outer shell is built around the original hull, like an exoskeleton of a bug, to give it strength, according to Spadaro. Two layers of quarter-inch plywood were then cut into 8-foot strips and glued and screwed around the hull. Over the winter, Spadaro and the marina staff will sand it down and put a fiberglass coating over it to make it waterproof. Spadaro will also do some cosmetic work on the inside of the boat.

Spadaro bought the boat in 1978 when he was a graduate student at Syracuse University. As an outdoors person living in a dark, dingy apartment who was unable to afford a waterside cottage, he took to a marina to see if he could find a boat to live on. Initially, the owner of the marina said he didn’t have anything in Spadaro’s price range, but one of the workers at the marina suggested an old boat in the back of the shed.

“I said, ‘Well let me look at it.’ When I looked at it, I couldn’t even see it because it was so packed with other boats around it that all I could see was the interior with the wood – the very nice mahogany wheel and everything else,” Spadaro said.

Initially, the owner of the marina wanted $1,000 for the boat, but the father of Spadaro’s girlfriend at the time owned a marina and said the boat was worth $200. As a graduate student, Spadaro didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend and he and the owner settled on $450.

The son of a contractor, Spadaro knew the basics of woodworking and building, so he patched a hole in the front of the boat within a week of buying it; this led to the name it still holds today, Patches. But the original name of the boat also holds special meaning unknown to Spadaro at the time; it was named Sandy 3, the name of his wife, whom he didn’t meet until a few years after he purchased the boat.

Spadaro began working on the boat almost every day and the marina owner asked him when he was going to launch the vessel. He had been planning to live on it only on land, but the marina owner said to him “What are you worried about? Wood floats.”

His brothers and father were mechanically minded and helped him restore the engine on the boat. When they first placed it in the water, water shot from every corner, and the marina owner said the wood would soak up; he gave Spadaro a hose twice the size of a fire hose to help with the water and Spadaro spent the night on the boat. The marina owner turned out to be right – the water soaked up and the boat stayed afloat.

Following graduate school, Spadaro taught environmental science at a community college and then got a job working for the government in Washington, D.C. He loaded up his boat in 1980 and brought it to Maryland, where it has remained on Cattail Creek ever since.

In the future, Spadaro hopes to turn the Richardson Cruisabout into an advocacy boat that will likely be the oldest wooden boat running on the river.

“It will be like the Magothy River’s Pride of Baltimore where people would be able to identify ‘that’s the Magothy River boat,’ and it would go to the Annapolis boat shows or go to St. Michael’s Museum or go to one of these little river towns and have a bit of a program,” Spadaro said. “It wouldn’t be anything I haven’t been doing already, but it would be more identifiable.”


Sidebar Ad

Faces of the Voice

  • Brian Lancione
    V.P., Operations
  • Zach Sparks
    Assistant Editor
    @Sparks907
    @Sparks907
    @Sparks907
  • Larry Sells
    Vice President, Sales and Development
    @LarrySells1
    @LarrySells1
    @LarrySells1
  • Dianna Lancione
    Publisher
    parkiewoman
  • William Nauman
    Creative Director
  • Dylan Roche
    Editor
    @dylroche
    @dylroche
    @dylroche
  • Colin Murphy
    Sports Editor
    @ArVoiceSports / @ColinAJMurphy
    @SPVoiceSports / @ColinAJMurphy
    @PVoiceSports / @ColinAJMurphy
  • Lonnie Lancione
    Publisher

Latest Tweets

  • SPVoice

    Slapstick comedy was on the weekend menu @SevernSchool as students presented "One Man, Two Guvnors." PHOTOS: bit.ly/2zk6Vi7
  • SPVoice

    RT @SPVoiceSports: It’s a wrap. Broadneck girls win the 4A state championship over Urbana, 2-1. McKenna Dean with both goals for the Bruins…
  • SPVoice

    RT @SPVoiceSports: Broadneck girls soccer, 2017 Maryland 4A state champions. @Bruins_Soccer https://t.co/6EurQypfLB

Events Calendar

Request an Advertising Quote

Please do not add dashes. (ex: 4106479400)
Do not enter anything here.
Search Articles
Search Authors
Search Blog