Patrick Blake is 11 years old and a sixth-generation Blake boatbuilder. His third great-grandfather, Benson Blake, settled near Vicksburg, Mississippi, around 1834 and, while it’s not known what boats he owned, he did own a second home in Pass Christian, close by the yacht club there, the second oldest in the country. He raised his children as sailors, and the familial interest in boats grew with each succeeding generation.

Photos courtesy of the Blake family

Daniel, Nick, Andrew, and Patrick (left to right) gather in the shop where a scow is taking shape. Patrick chose the design for his boat from a book written by Boy Scout founder Daniel Carter Beard Carter in 1882, nearly a half century after the Blakes took to boats and boatbuilding.

Patrick’s grandfather, Daniel Blake, built about two dozen boats, including BOGLE, a 34′ Galway Hooker, JUBILEE, a 50′ steel paddle-wheeler, and MARY SAVAGE, a 31′ boat reminiscent of a 16th-century caravel. Patrick’s father, Nick, has also been drawn to building small wooden boats, among them CURLEW, a stretched New York Whitehall, and a faering with a flat, beachable bottom. Nick and Daniel both started early and small. Nick built a 7′ scow, HAPPY COCKROACH, when he was nine years old. Daniel was about eight when he built a similarly square-ended boat, but much narrower, like an old wooden horse-watering trough.

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