Thanks to Little Money, the members of Ship 8 Sea Scouts of Warren County can experience a new Path of Life.
Boy Scout officials at Camp Olmsted were cleaning up around the camp when they came across a 20-foot wooden sailboat with a diesel engine.
They couldn't find a buyer, so the boat was a few minutes from the torch.
Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry
A new Path of Life
Chemin de Vie, French for ‘path of life,’ sits at Camp Olmsted waiting for restoration and years of sailing at the hands of the Sea Scouts of Ship 8, who have taken the boat’s name for their own. The 20-foot boat built in 1949 was donated to the Boy Scouts in 1998.
Mark Woody had an idea that flames would not be a fitting end.
After saving the boat and doing some research, Woody found that the ship had been built in 1949.
The digging revealed that the name of the vessel was Poco Dinero - Spanish for 'little money.'
The designer created a full set of plans that, if followed accurately, would yield a sea-worthy, but economical vessel.
"It was designed so that anybody could build these in their backyards," Woody said.
The builder of this particular boat crafted it out of cypress.
"Cypress is indestructible," Woody said. "He had a deal with the lumber yard. He would unload the lumber train if he could get his pick."
Lori Costley Diehl made the ship "her baby," according to Woody. "She bought it in 1972 and had it for five years."
'Little Money' wasn't her idea of a suitable name for a boat. She had a phrase in mind, but it didn't sound right in Italian. She went with her second language choice, French.
The boat became Chemin de Vie - 'path of life.'
When Costley Diehl moved to California, she had to leave Chemin de Vie.
Subsequent owners Edith and Jerome Laurence donated Chemin de Vie to the Chief Cornplanter Council of the Boy Scouts in 1998.
The Boy Scouts have the mast and the wood from the interior of the cabin. Woody said whoever worked on the boat made sure to make it easy to reassemble. "They removed, kept, and numbered the interior mahogany," he said.
When Woody finally made some progress in his research, the owner of a marina in Buffalo said, "You found Chemin" and gave him Costley Diehl's name.
She told him the hairs on her arms stood up when he told her they had decided to name the troop Chemin de Vie.
"That fits what we're doing in Sea Scouts," Woody explained. "Sailing is a way of life."
It's not the cypress or the engine or the design that needed saving. It was the whole package.
"It's the history," Woody said. "This is traditional sailing."
There are other boats available for the Sea Scouts. Camp Olmsted is home to several, including one that is slightly bigger than Chemin de Vie's 20 feet - 24 including the bowsprit.
However, the loss of the boat would be a signal of a greater loss, he said.
"You gotta start with the basics," he said. "If we don't teach the kids how to do this, they won't be able to teach anybody else and it'll be a lost art."
The boat is not ready for the water. The years haven't been especially hard, the little money idea is working, but the rules have changed. The vessel will need a light at the top of the mast, lights at the stern, starboard and port, resurfacing, painting, cleaning, some engine work, new sails, and general cleaning.
Woody has found a company that will make a sail if the Sea Scouts provide the material.
The members of the Sea Scouts Ship 8 - Ethan Beardsley, Derek Brown, Travis Cunningham, Josh Davidson, Jon Durnell, Hunter Proctor, Wade Suppa, Mike Trisket, Jim Zorich, and Tad Whitmire - will be involved in the project from start to finish. "The kids will be working on every aspect of it," Woody said. "They have to learn what it takes. You gotta start at the basics."
The renovations will begin in earnest when Chemin de Vie is under a roof.
Chris Cheronis of GRO-Warren is working to find a place to store the boat, Woody said.
"We're going to move the ship down to the City of Warren," he said. "Restoration will take place there."
Until that move, and probably well after, the Sea Scouts are working to raise funds for the restoration.
A benefit concert will be held from 8 to 11 p.m. April 10 at Warren Area High School, featuring Tom Watt and the Fruitcakes -a Jimmy Buffet tribute act.
Other participants in the renovations include students in the marine mechanics division of power equipment technology courses at Warren County Career Center and artist Kim Slocum, who will recreate the dolphin figurehead painting on the bowsprit.
Although Greg Trisket is Ship 8's skipper and Woody is ship's mate, the titles are only that. The members of the Sea Scouts, boys and girls ages 14 to 20, will crew the boat on the Allegheny Reservoir, Chautauqua Lake, and Lake Erie, when the vessel is seaworthy.