Toast offers a slice of life on waterfront

New boat launched by Gannon and Benjamin.


Along the shoreline of Vineyard Haven Harbor Saturday, traditional bagpipe music filled the air. As glasses were raised, a voice from the crowd said, “A toast to Toast for the launch of a launch.” Under gray skies, the first new boat of 2017, built by wooden boat builders Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway, was christened Toast and lowered into the Vineyard Haven Harbor for its maiden voyage.

Ross Gannon, one of the three partners of Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway, said, “Toast was a joint effort by two men.” Owners Wayne George of Marblehead and Jeff Boal of Jamestown, R.I., commissioned the project.

“They sailed in here five years ago on a beautiful gaff sloop, and admired our little launch that we call Baguette. They came back the next few summers, and continued to admire her,” said Mr. Gannon. “Finally, we said, ‘Why don’t you take it for a ride if you like it so much?’”

With a bottle of wine, they cruised into the lagoon and disappeared. When they returned, the two men said, “We want one of these. We want a boat just like this.” The result is Toast, staying with the bread theme. The project was started in December 2016. The team worked on her full-time in January and February this year. As spring approached, the workforce bounced between jobs, as other projects were accepted into the shop.

Mr. Gannon said, “Owners Wayne and Jeff were instrumental in making this project happen, all the while their wives were with them the whole time.”

Why the bagpipes at the launch? As with many traditions, Mr. Gannon wasn’t sure how it began, but Mr. Boal wanted to pipe the boat into the water to continue it onward.

“It was an exciting week for us, launching Mah Jong and Toast two days apart,” Mr. Gannon said.