SOUTH POINT —
Lepi, like almost everyone who encounters the Snyder, immediately fell in love with the boat. “I took my lunch up to the pilot house and ate it there,” he said one recent afternoon.
Once he is finished, McGinnis will haul the boat into dry dock and cut off the hull plates, said company president Rick Griffith. Some of the frames are corroded or distorted and will have to be removed and replaced.
The original frames and plates were riveted but that would be too expensive for the replacement, Griffith said. Instead, they’ll use modern welding techniques.
The Snyder won’t be the first historic boat McGinnis has worked on. They did a similar job on the Mike Fink, a paddlewheeled floating restaurant based in Covington.
The entire job is expected to take about eight months. Once finished, the hull will be seaworthy but the historical society will have to raise more money to repair and refurbish the rest of the boat.
There isn’t much there that doesn’t need work. The decks, the paddlewheel, the electrical system and the superstructure all are showing their 90 years. Those jobs will have to wait until the society can get funding, Smith said.
Having the boat under, his care is a treat, said McGinnis dock supervisor Tom Schollenberger. “The more you crawl around her, the more you realize she’s built like a brick,” he said.