By LAURENNE RAMSDELL
DURHAM— Although he hadn't seen boat number 23 since he crafted it with his own two hands more than five decades ago, the sight of the old plywood sailboat coming back together piece by piece put a smile on Dover resident Ned "Mac" McIntosh's face.
McIntosh, 96, was recently contacted by a group of boating enthusiasts who began a monthlong project to restore a 13.5-foot sailboat known as a Merry Mac. Eventually, the restored vessel will be donated to the Woodman Institute Museum to be a focal point in an upcoming nautical exhibit.
For their entire adult lives, Dover-native McIntosh and his brother, David "Bud" McIntosh, built small sailboats known as Merry Macs that for many years have given residents of the Seacoast region a way to travel the many local rivers.
McIntosh told Foster's he and his brother were not interested in assuming responsibilities related to the family's farm as they entered into adulthood, nor were they interested in becoming businessmen. Instead, the two McIntosh men had their hearts set on crafting sailboats.
After speaking with Capt. Edward Adams, a gundalow operator in the Seacoast, the brothers built their first two sailboats in 1953. McIntosh said his family members enjoyed sailing their vessels down the rivers in Durham and Dover. Soon, the Merry Mac boats started catching the eyes of residents as well as those returning from war zones.
"When people came back from the war, they were so thirsty to sail," said McIntosh.