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Custom Pirate Ship Becomes a Pandemic Project for Retired Carpenter

By: Scott Way

Homemade pirate ship
The 'Menacing Manner' on its maiden voyage

Pirates have always been an industrious bunch, but for Bob Winslow of Skiff Lake, New Brunswick, his handiness as a carpenter took him well beyond the typical Captain Jack Sparrow style.

Winslow found himself with some spare time due to the pandemic and began accumulating scraps for a small pirate ship of his own design. Old furniture, discarded cabinets. and laminate flooring were just a few of the pieces he scooped up for just about $100 total.

Given the excellent pirating name of the Menacing Manner, WInslow recently set sail on Skiff Lake, about 45 km south of Woodstock, New Brunswick. Granted, a little 9.9 hp outboard power helped, but the boat is a sight to behold.

"Basically you get bored during COVID, so it all came together," said Winslow in an interview with the CBC.

Inspiration for the project began with the purchase of a 13-inch replica model of the Mayflower for his home to serve as a reminder of his heritage. For those who need a quick history lesson, the Mayflower transported the first English pilgrims to the New World in 1620 to begin colonizing the Americas.

The next step came when Winslow inherited a 13-foot fibreglass boat after the passing of a close friend. With the boat, the scrap components, and the inspiration of the Mayflower, Winslow began piecing together his pirate ship with the help of his son, Luke.

Soon other scrap items added to the decor, including pieces of a waterbed frame and discarded kitchen cabinets from two neighbours. Laminate flooring came from a local school gymnasium.

"Another neighbour gave me sewer pipe … and I took it and I made the cannons out of it.

"So it's a conglomeration of everybody's waste, and I just don't see it as that. I repurpose things."

Winslow completed the project in September, but just recently managed to set sail after the Canadian winter subsided. With the added help of the 9.9 hp outboard and a fresh paint job, the entire boat only cost about $100 to build and makes for a great pleasure cruise around Skiff Lake.

The build wasn't without its challenges, though, and Winslow turned to his son Luke to help with the heavy lifting to overcome some physical challenges when mounting the heavy wood components to the fibreglass hull.

"So any lifting or anything like that, I do it with, you know, jacks and come-alongs and my son, Luke, he comes up every once in a while whenever I need a lift," said Bob.

"Well, I guess he's the brains and I'm the brawn," added Luke with a chuckle.

Luke said despite his father's arthritis he's never been one to stay idle.

"Time and time again, you know, he proves that he's a hard worker, really, even despite his limitations now. It's pretty remarkable."

Bob said the final addition for the boat is to install water guns on the boat so the cannons have some actual firepower.

"We've had water fights with a few families around the lake in the past, and so I drove the boat over … and I said, 'If you want to have a water fight now, you better be ready', and they all laughed and cheered and said 'Yes, we're going for another water fight'."

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