History of the Woody Guthrie
In 1969, Pete and Toshi Seeger and the Hudson River Sloop Restoration instituted the second great "Age of Sail" on the Hudson River with the launching of Clearwater, a wooden, gaff-rigged, topsail sloop, based on traditional designs developed over a 100 year period during the heyday of commercial sailing on the Hudson River.
During the next 10 years, mindful of the huge cost of maintaining and operating a full-sized replica of a Hudson River Sloop, Pete again contacted the naval architect that designed Clearwater, Cyrus Hamlin, of Kennebunkport Me, and asked him to design a smaller version of the same boat, one that might be maintained and operated by a community of neighbors with a much smaller budget.
Built entirely of native wood and with the same overall lines, rigging, and sail plan of the Clearwater, but scaled down to 32 feet on deck and 47 feet overall, and, due to her size, termed a Hudson River Ferry Sloop, the Woody Guthrie was fitted out as an open cockpit daysailer to perform her duties of providing free public access to the waters of the Hudson River. She was constructed by the Bearsville Woodworking Collective, in Bearsville, NY, trucked by flatbed to Kingston NY, then gently lifted by crane and splashed down into the waters of the Rondout Creek, in 1978.
Since that time, an all-volunteer crew of Beacon Sloop Club members, all dedicated sailors and environmentalists, have enjoyed a labor of love while carrying out the Woody Guthrie's proud mission.
Through the years the Woody Guthrie has provided tens of thousands of folks from the local community and distant points around the globe with the opportunity to experience the Hudson River in all it's glory. Experiences, ranging from a few hours respite from the hubbub of the modern world to the full-on involvement of joining the crew and gaining expertise in the art of sailing, seamanship, and environmental stewardship, provide everyone who sails on this beautiful vessel a better understanding of our natural world, and a sense of wonder and pride in the magnificent waterway that is our Hudson River.