About 40 years ago, island resident, diver, and businessman Philip Osley got a call about a fishing boat stranded off of Great Point. He went out to investigate and found only a small white dinghy. Osley brought it in and was never able to ascertain who owned it. Since no one claimed it, Olsey decided to have a bit of fun with it. He painted it red and added names that he changes every few years: so far it’s been Sunken Ship (after Osley’s store), 007, and Yellow Dog. “It’s gonna stay there forever,” commented one of Phil Osley’s sons.
Still bobbing in the harbor at Easy Street, this red boat is an iconic symbol of Nantucket to many (and, no, this is not the dory that carries the lighted Christmas tree every December).
Nantucket artist G.S. Hill loves capturing this red boat in his paintings of the harbor. This season he’s done a Red Boat Series, and it’s amazing how different this simple peaceful scene can look depending on time of day and weather conditions. “It’s one of the best known boats on Nantucket,” commented Greg Hill, “I love to paint it on a foggy day…and [when it’s sunny] in the late afternoon when the sun is behind the boat, the shadows are beautiful.”
Stop by the G.S. Hill Gallery at 40 Straight Wharf to see Greg’s Red Boat Series and take home a Nantucket memory. There are a dozen or so variations—different angles, different moods, different frames, and different sizes (even 3×3 minis).