Starting July 1, a new “lady” will deliver the mail on Skaneateles Lake.
The Barbara S. Wiles, which has served as Mid-Lakes Navigation’s mailboat for 34 years, delivering mail under contract with the U.S. Postal Service, has been retired. She will be replaced by Spray, a 49-foot single-decked catamaran that, like its predecessor, will also be available for sightseeing cruises and special functions.
Spray, named for the first mailboat that operated on the lake, in the 1940s, is being built by Sightseer Marine in Hudson, Fla.
Powered by two fuel-efficient, low-emission Tier 3 inboard diesel engines, Spray will have a seating capacity of 48 (as compared to 36 on the Barbara).
The boat’s main cabin features 40-inch-high side walls, and open upper sides with clear vinyl side curtains similar to those on the upper deck of the Judge Ben Wiles, Mid-Lakes Navigation’s flagship. Spray will be handicapped accessible and will be equipped with a six-speaker sound system.
“We know the Barbara will be missed by those in our community who have come to know her as a familiar and integral part of their summer landscape. We will miss her too,” says Sarah Wiles, co-owner and director of marketing for Mid-Lakes Navigation. “She has been a productive asset to the business and truly a beloved member of the family.
“We recognize, however, the importance of keeping our fleet ahead of the increasingly rigid standards required by the industry and the marketplace.”
Later this spring, the 80-year-old Barbara will travel from her winter cradle in Borodino to the Mid-Lakes Marina in Macedon, where she can be viewed by potential buyers.
“We hope the community joins us in welcoming our Spray to the village to continue the traditions begun by the first vessel of that name,” Wiles says.
Spray will be delivered in mid-June. Welcoming activities will be announced in the near future.
Mailboat cruises on the Spray begin July 1; cruises run Monday through Saturday (except holidays), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., through Sept. 3.