Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Master Boatbuilder

If you happen into Trinity on a summer's day, you may just be treated to one of Newfoundland and Labrador's most beautiful sights: the schooner Leah Caroline as she slips into view, sails set to catch the wind. This beauty was built by Henry Vokey, a resident of Trinity and a boatbuilder since the 1950s. Henry grew up in the now-resettled community of Little Harbour, Trinity Bay; when he moved to Trinity he established Vokey's Shipyard, which produced over a thousand vessels from rodneys (small punts) to longliners using traditional methods, and at times employed up to forty people. With the shutdown of the shipyard in the 1990s, Henry continued building boats from the shed behind his home. In 1986, the schooner J & B was launched from the shipyard; it was operated as a tour boat for a number of years before being lost in a hurricane in 2007. Recently, Henry decided that it was time to build another schooner. The result is the beautiful and graceful Leah Caroline, launched in July of 2012. The day of the launch was a festive one in Trinity, drawing a large crowd despite the rainy weather. See a video of the launch, posted by Dale Gilbert Jarvis, Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer for the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, here.


  1. Lovely story, and great photo, but why is she flying the B.C. flag?

    1. As you can see, Robert, others have been quicker than me to answer your question. I love the fact that the Canadian flag flies over both the flag of Newfoundland and Labrador and that of British Columbia -- the Vokeys really do have the country covered from coast to coast!

  2. Because one of Mr. Vokey's sons lives in BC and brought the flag with him when he came home for the launch.

  3. Howard, one of Henry's sons, now lives in BC and brought the BC flag with him when he went home for the launch. Henry's 'children' live from coast to coast in this great country, but I think it's safe to say all their hearts are 'back home.'