nearly half a century as an Emory doctor and faculty member, Paul
Seavey 49C-53M might have found retirement a little
dull. But soon after he stopped working in 1997, he took up a new
interest that blossomed into a hobby, then a passion: boats.
have always loved sailing, Seavey says. My father put
me in a dinghy when I was eight years old. The family lived
in Clearwater, Florida, where Seavey spent a good deal of time on
boats, as well as during their regular summer vacations in Maine.
He also sailed in the Navy on the USS Destroyer.
prevents Seavey from sailing regularly now. Instead, he has taught
himself to build model ships by hand, starting with just the boat
plans and raw materials. His boats are not built from kits, but
from scratch, like making cookies starting with flour and butter
rather than refrigerated dough.
needed to do something with my hands, he says. It was
difficult to learn. I didnt know anything about it.
the past few years Seavey has not only completed four models but
also has devoured stacks of books and information both about model-building
and the history of the famous ships he builds. Ive read
every book I could find on the sailing ships of our country,
he says. I think there is real value in what I have learned
from a historical standpoint.
first model was a Gloucester Fisherman, a sleek, trim, solid-hull
model with a black bottom. Then he built the famous USS Constitution,
a Navy ship built in 1797, after visiting the actual boat in Boston
and taking more than a hundred pictures to make sure he got every
a beautiful ship, he says, and a really pretty model.
Seavey decided to try planking, the time-consuming process
of making and placing each plank of the boats hull and deck,
rather than constructing them out of solid pieces of wood. The planks
have to be soaked or boiled so that they will bend properly. Using
this method, Seavey assembled the America, the first boat
to win the Americas Cup. Then he made a topsail schoonerThe
epitome of a sailing ship, there was no better ever built,
according to Seaveythe Jefferson Davis, built in 1853.
Seavey is nearly finished with a model of the Bowdoin, a
schooner built in 1921 at a Maine boatyard and used by the Arctic
explorer Donald Macmillan for nearly thirty voyages. The real Bowdoin
is part of the Maritime Academy of Maine and is still sailing. Each
of Seaveys models is authentically outfitted down to the last
detail, with every sail rigged just as it would be at sea. He makes
most of the tiny wooden parts himself; some of the metal pieces
he buys from the company in Maine where he gets his plans and materials.
rigging is absolutely perfect, according to the plans, Seavey
says. Ive sailed, so I knew most of this already, but
Ive learned every single part of these ships.
ship required that Seavey make a round cockpit. I broke three
before I got that to work, he says, chuckling. But thats
the fun. I love the little details.
was an Emory professor of medicine and an internist who treated
the last three University presidents in addition to many other prominent
Emory community members and families. He completed his residency
in internal medicine at Duke Medical Center and a fellowship in
cardiology under Emory physicians Bruce Logue and J. Willis Hurst.
After a decade in private practice, he returned to Emory in 1967
as a faculty member in the department of medicine and as a member
of the Emory Clinic. For ten years he served as chief of internal
has prompted several of Seaveys patientsmost prominently
philanthropists John Lupton, Bill Robinson, and several members
of the Rollins familyto make gifts to the School of Medicine
in his honor to establish the Paul W. Seavey Chair in Internal Medicine
and the Paul W. Seavey Medical Endowment. The latter, worth more
than $3 million, funds fellowships and supports the activities of
young faculty in internal medicine at the beginning of their careers.
Seavey was the first in his family to attend Emory, each of his
three daughters graduated from the University, as did all their
husbands. Two of his grandchildren have graduated from Emory as
ships may be Seaveys passion, but medicine is his first love.
Im really a doctor at heart, he says. I
love medicine. Emory was good to me.P.P.P.