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Fairhaven, Massachusetts, 1893

The Spray was a 36 foot vessel in name if not in practical use. She had for seven years lay in a field, 50 yards from water, having already given a century of service as an oyster sloop.

Captain Joshua Slocum had spent his life learning to read the seas – waves, birds, and fish indicating what lies below and beyond. Building the Liberdade from the shipwrecked Aquidneck, and sailing the Sampan canoe from Brazil to Washington, D.C., may not have been far from the Captain’s mind as he stepped into that Fairhaven field. The Spray and its rotting timbers had, like Joshua, been too long ashore. 


She would need to be remade. Thirteen months of labor felling nearby white oak and pine for timber, then sawing, steaming and bending these timbers to replace each plank one by one. He called this process so gradual that he proclaimed it difficult to say at what point “the old died and the new took birth.” The Spray was restored of both timber body and Neptunian spirit, her design was called “the most perfect for her purposes, ever conceived.” Slocum was re-made as well.