Long-time residents of Wickford, especially those who appreciate wooden boats, would have little trouble recognizing the 2 men in question, as George, 60, and his son Dominic, 39, have lived aboard vintage sailing vessels in the harbor for the last 28 years. In summer they keep the boats on moorings; in winter they have slips in the shipyard.
Despite my somewhat prickly introduction, the Zachornes proved themselves friendly and talkative hosts. I wound up spending a few hours with them, during which they showed me some of their work, including the 40’ Lyle-Hess designed cutter they had built for a Wickford resident and which is currently docked behind the shop. As for the boat inside—a 32’ Alden cutter built in 1941—she’s just one of many projects the Zachornes have cooking at any given time.An adjacent storage building houses several other vintage vessels in various stages of repair or reconstruction, including a Herreshoff Fishers Island 28 and a 20’ outboard skiff. I was amazed that the mostly 2-man operation could take on so much work, but Dominic assured me that most, if not all, of the boats in their care would be ready to launch on schedule.
How about hiring some more workers? “We’ve tried that,” says Dominic. “But a lot of them find out that the work is not as fun as the photos in Wooden Boat magazine make it out to be, especially when they have to wrap duct tape around their fingers because the skin is peeling off from all the sanding and reefing.”