GENERATIONS is a Bevins skiff built by Wayne Cummings, his wife, Veronica, and their four kids (all under eight years old). Launched April 3, 2014, in Shelbyville, Kentucky, the boat was built in honor of Charles Carlson, Wayne’s grandfather. Charles lived and worked in North Stonington, Connecticut, and built several wooden rowboats in the later years of his life. He built his last boat when he was 82 years old and named it MARY ANNA after his wife of 69 years. That boat is still in the family.
Growing up, Wayne spent many hours with his grandfather, who always took the time to share his stories and his wisdom. GENERATIONS was built as a symbol of the passing down of skills, precepts, and life lessons from generation to generation using the practical application of wooden boat building.
In July 2012, Wayne visited his grandfather, then 90. Grandpa Charles talked about his boats, and his passion for them was contagious. Wayne was struck with the idea of building a boat, something he had never considered. He did some research and got advice from Charles and from Bill Young, a friend and accomplished boatbuilder. They settled on a Bevins skiff.
The skiff takes its name from a German shepherd belonging to Joe Youcha, one of the designers who developed the skiff for the Alexandria Seaport Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia. Kits, plans, and instructions are available for purchase from the Foundation. Builders who involve kids in the project can get plans and instructions for free through the Building to Teach program. You can also download the plans at WoodenBoat.
Wayne and Veronica involved their kids in the construction of GENERATIONS to pass along a love of wooden boats and valuable skills, principles, and life lessons just as they were passed down from Grandpa Charles. They built GENERATIONS of white oak, spruce, and mahogany marine plywood. Wayne frequently called Charles for advice and every few weeks mailed photographs and handwritten letters to keep him up with progress. Charles’s short-term memory was fading, so he kept the letters and photos in an album he could revisit and refresh his memory. Months before GENERATIONS was completed, Charles passed away.
GENERATIONS was launched in the spring of 2014. The project had taken just over a year with Wayne, Veronica, and the kids working as time allowed. The family now enjoys the boat on the water, and continues to take lessons from it. The next project for the Cummings family is to restore MARY ANNA, Charles’s last boat.