History of the Name
On the menu of the waffle restaurant was this story about the orgin of the name of the town. They repeated the story below and than said:
"Actually the name of Newport News originated 100 years earlier on the original voyage of Christopher Columbus. During his journey to the New World, his navigator was a Greek sailor whose name was also Chris. In order not to confuse the two Chris's, the navigator was referred to as Chris Two.
"Besides navigator, Chris Two was also the ship's cook. It seems that Chris Two was a much better cook than navigator and before long, Columbus's ships were lost.
"Running low on food and water, Columbus went to his navigator and ordered him to find a port where they could replenish their supplies. Chris Two told Columbus that there were no ports in the New World so Columbus told Chris Two to find a "New Port".
"The next day after sighting land, Columbus asked Chris Two if that was the new port, upon which Chris Two replied, "Sir if that's a new port, it's news to me!"" According to the library, the origin of the name Newport News has been a puzzle. Nobody really knows how the city got its name.
"One popular explanation holds that when the first Jamestown colonists left to return to England after the Starving Time of 1610, they encountered Captain Christopher Newport's ship in the James River off Mulberry Island, and learned that reinforcements of men and supplies had arrived, and that the colonists need not abandon Jamestown. Thus the City was named for Newport's good news. That the name was formerly written as Newport's News is verified by numerous early documents and maps, and by local tradition. The change to Newport News apparently was brought about by usage, for by 1851 the Post Office Department sanctioned New Port News as the name of the first post office, and in 1866 it approved the name as Newport News."
International Small Craft Center
This boat is outside the exhibit building which has small boats from around the world. These boats used to be in an open shed, but they now in a climate controlled building. I have not seen any exhibit like this in any other maritime museum.
"#2 Beetle Boat Building Company, Massachusetts"
Inside the building, there are some 35 boats numbered and explained on informational signs. This sign lists the specifics for
#1 A 1929 Double Hole Kayak from Alaska
#2 1933 Whaleboat from Massachusetts
#3 Outrigger Canoe c. 1932 from French Polynesia
I think the boat in the background is #2. The sign says that the whaleboat was a highly developed hunting tool, but did not offer much comfort or shelter to the crew of six.
Dangers included the "Nantucket sleigh ride" when the whale dove and swam at high speed dragging the whaleboat after it. The whales' tail flukes were also a danger.
This whaleboat was build specifically for the Mariner's Museum, and has never been used to chase whales.
"#4 Shanghi, People's Republic of China"
The Shanghi harbor is crowded with small sampans which serve two important purposes. It is a place where a family lives (sleeps and eats) and it is a source of income as a water taxi.
The covered area provides shelter from rain and sun. This is where the cooking is done and where the passengers sit. The driver stands at the back and propels the Sampan (Hung-t'ou) with a long oar (yuloh)
"#5 McKenzie River Drift Boat, Oregon"
The McKenzie River runs west from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific. Salmon, and cutthroat, rainbow, and steelhead trout are abundant in the river, so the river is popular with sports fishermen.
The fast turbulent river requires a light maneuverable boat. The fisherman stands facing upriver and the guide steers the high ended boat.
"#6 Soerwer (Hawk), Tjotter - Sneek Friesland"
Tjotters have a distinctive bluff bow and a full, graceful shape. The large leeboards on each side are lowered to aid in steering.
They were originally workboats used to transport cargo through canals and across the shallow inland sea (Ijsselmeer). As the Netherlands became increasingly industrial, work boats began to reflect a more modern design. Many of the tjotters have been converted to pleasure yachts.
"#12 Fartaleza area, Federative Republic of Brazil"
This is not much more than a raft of logs with a sail, and when I saw it, I thought it was a Kon-Tiki raft. But according to the sign, it is relatively stable and maneuverable on the open ocean and can pass over coastal reefs with ease, which makes it an excellent fishing craft. The disadvantages are that the deck is constantly awash with seawater, and there's no shelter from the sun or tropical storms for voyages that often last more than a day. The logs also become waterlogged which means that a Jangada must be replaced at least every other year.
"#34 Sailing Hydrofoil - Experimental Section"
This boat by J. G. Baker Manufacturing of Evansville Wisconsin is a sailing hydrofoil. It was designed to have the least amount of surface to be slowed down by contact the the water. The metal ladders on both sides and at the rear function like airplane wings, lifting the boat out of the water as the wind increases pressure on the sails. At 800 pounds, the Monitor can only rise out of the water with winds over 13 mph.
Monitor has been clocked at more than 35 mph - fast for any sailboat.
"#43 Moth Class Sailboat - Racing Section"
I found out about the Moth sailboats when I saw the Moth park in Elizabeth City. But I'd never actually seen one of the boats.
This one was sailed to the Moth World Championship Antonia Trophy in 1938 by Emery Cox of Norfolk, Virginia.
The Moths are inexpensive, and unlike most racing classes, the only restriction on their design, construction, sail shape and materials is that they have to stay within 11 feet in length.
The Moth class debuted in Australia in 1929, and in the US in 1930.