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Object Name Skiff, St. Lawrence River
Date 1885-1895
Artist Moses Sauve & Son
Maker Moses Sauve & Son
Material Wood
Description Smooth-skinned St. Lawrence Skiff

L: 18' 5 3/4"B: 42"Wt: 144 lbs
Built by Moses Sauve and Son, Brockville, Ontario ca. 1890

By the late 1880s the skiffs on the St. Lawrence River had evolved into several distinct types. Many of the builders in the Clayton and Alexandria Bay areas kept producing skiffs for professional fishing guides even though their business in skiffs for pleasure use increased. These boats were generally equipped with spritsails, but no rudders. While sailing the boat is made to change direction by shifting the weight of the crew.

On the other side of the river, the builders of Brockville became famous for their racing skiffs. Moses Sauve was the best known of these Brockville builders. Most of his skiffs were of smooth skin construction, and he equipped them with ordinary spoon-bladed feathering oars, rudders, and sails of any description. Skiff sailors who wished to race could pick from a great variety of sails being developed by sailing canoeists, sails with names like the Mohican rig, or the Modified Bailey.* Guideboat scholar Kenneth Durant felt that Sauve had adopted smooth-skinned construction from guideboat builders across the river and to the south; it is perhaps more likely that the feather-edged lap was adopted from the practices of contemporary competitive canoeists. They, in turn, may have learned from guideboat builders.

This skiff has a smooth skin, but unlike a guideboat it is nailed only from the outside in, not from the inside out as well. It was used in the Adirondacks near North Creek.

Notes 18' 5.75" x 34.75", 144 lbs.
Dimensions W-2.896 L-18.479 feet
Collection BBB350
Catalog Number 1963.122.0001
Other number AM 2561, cat. 134
Imagefile 055\1963.122.0001.JPG
Species Skiff, St. Lawrence River