Maritime Museum Reconstructs Skiff From 1940’s

Cubby Lebel Skiff Has Special History in Bayfield

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To many, tourism defines Bayfield.

But, years ago commercial fishing is what kept the community going and it’s a part of history Bayfield is proud to be rebuilding. 

From building boats to catching fish, Bayfield has many generations of fishermen and craftsmen. 

To celebrate the history that once defined the town, the Bayfield Maritime Museum is constructing a replica of a historic skiff from the 1940’s. 

“Commercial fishing is what started Bayfield,” said President of the Maritime Museum, Don Albrecht.

The Cubby Lebel Skiff has a special spot in Bayfield’s history.

“It’s a small boat that you can beach on the shore, take it out and fill it up with fish and bring it back to shore,” said Albrecht.

Built in the 40s, this was boat was primarily used for fishing trade.

“It wasn’t built to be pretty or be fast.  It was built to be useful for the herring trade.”

The boat is now being rebuilt to be on display at the Maritime Museum. 

“The replica becomes a really fine object for the stories that we are trying to tell her.  We can see something where you can actually put your hands to it,” said Albrecht. 

After hours of measurements from the old skiff, the boat building team assembled and carefully started their work. 

“It’s a lot less mysterious than one might assume given there’s no straight lines and it’s not a square box,” said Boat Builder, John Swan.

Including a lot of hand tools and wood shavings to make sure the authentic look stays intact. 

“The rules and geometry of it are very logical.  It’s a real fun process and it’s not intimidating,” said Swan. 

It’s clear the lake and wooden boats brought the Bayfield community.

The original boat will go back to Rocky Island once construction is complete. 

Builders say they expect to be finished by September.

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