This is an excerpt from a letter I sent to the Vineyard Gazette back in February….
So there we were yesterday, sitting around my studio kitchen table and warming up the dreadfully dreary February day in Pennsylvania with laughter and the good fellowship of our very dear Chilmark friends Della and Capt. Pete Darling…(you can tell Jane Slater that they are out and about visiting family and friends and escaping their winter home in snowbound NH) …and talking of all things Vineyardy.
I have been spending the winter lunch hours reading histories of the Vineyard (am currently enjoying my way through an original edition of A Country Editor) and was picking their up island brains for stories and memories about this and that when our conversation wound its way over to Menemsha and the painting that I am getting ready to start of the Quitsa Strider. We had both read the article in the Gazette last fall about Capt. Mayhew having to sell his swordfishing license and possibly the Strider as well.
This made me sadder than an orphaned gosling. I have spent countless hours over decades of seasons studying, sketching and painting that big boat. Trying to faithfully render the qualities of light and sea that transform her hull and the fine details of metal and rope that defy her solid form on the horizon, marking the passage of time by the new repairs in the giant roll of netting, or the growing blooms of rust on her battle scars, the Strider has been a calling and a muse.
Many of my vineyard painting subjects are historical island relics like the old Quitsa pound, or the last gasp of the weathered shingles in an outdoor shower…indeed the very clock that ticks toward the deadline in your second floor press room, but it makes me heartsick to hear that the big blue leviathan may be falling into the category of relic. That her well worn rubber tire may be bouncing up against some other dock, and that the history and way of life for generations of island fisherman may be gone as well.
As I rambled, Pete noticed the stack of Gazette papers on a chair in the corner and suggested that I write to you for a follow up and to see if anyone up there knows whether the ship has been sold, and if so, where she may be going ?
This morning the sun is trying to peek through the lingering clouds. I slogged through the mud over to the garage and hauled out the largest panel I could find. If this is the last time I get to paint the Strider I want her to go out in style.
and their response in April,
I apologize for the delay in getting back to you.
The Quitsa Strider II still is at the dock in Menemsha.
Its owner sold its federal fishing permits to an off-Island buyer, but still owns the vessel.
The boat still can fish in state waters, but has been inactive.
So she’s still at the dock in Menemsha, for now…
All the best, Jim Kinsella
We’ll be there in less than a week…
give her hull a squeeze for us.