David Raboy was born in1941 in New York City. When the war ended his parents moved about 70 miles north into a house his father designed and built. His father, Mac Raboy, was an artist and a very fine wood craftsman. When David was eight, he made him a kayak from plans published in Popular Mechanics. “I helped”. Thus began his love affair with boats and woodworking.
In 1959, David graduated from high school and left for college, eventually earning a BA from the University of Toledo and an MA from Clark University. Both degrees were in the social and behavioral sciences. In 1965 he began teaching at Rhode Island College. It was during this period that he purchased a cottage colony in Provincetown, MA. He found a job as crew on the Dolphin II, a charter fishing boat in Cape Cod Bay owned by Captain Albert J. Avellar who began the first commercial whale watching excursions on the Eastern seaboard. Soon thereafter, David became first mate and went on to get a U S Coast Guard Ocean Pilot’s License for passenger carrying vessels.
During the summer months, Raboy piloted sightseeing vessels such as the CEE-JAY, the Y&C, and the Schooner Yacht HINDU. In the off season, when the boats were out of the water in the boatyard, David would spend time getting them ready for the high season. It was during these months that he learned boat building techniques, including the skill of steam bending oak frames and planks. From these skills, he decided to build models from scratch rather than from kits. About this same time, Wooden Boat Magazine had a beautiful feature, with photos and several scale drawings, including the body plan, of a traditional Friendship Sloop. It was the perfect model to build and it launched his career as a model builder.
On average, David builds about one model a year, and he isn’t sure how many he has built in all. Many of them have been on display or in exhibitions, including the DOLPHIN V in the Dolphin Whale Watch headquarters at the head of Macmillan Wharf and the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, NY has a 19th century Canal bulk carrier. Two models won red ribbons at art exhibitions sponsored by Onondaga County New York and the model RANGER was in the 2016 International Art Exhibition at the Maritime Gallery at the Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, CT.