From top to bottom: Argos, Buzzards Bay 30s, Mad Max Circe, Lindsay D, Katrinka
By Jennifer Wilson McIntosh
Our annual roundup of boatbuilding projects from Maine and beyond features all the usual suspects—sailboats, powerboats, rowboats and paddle craft, runabouts, luxury cruisers, reproductions built to exacting historical standards, and modern designs that incorporate solar panels and electric auxiliary power.
There is a continuity of craft that travels with the boats featured in the following pages. It goes beyond styling and sheerlines to pride in work well done, an honoring of past designs, and a blending of form and function. There is also evidence of a forward momentum that unites the practices of the past with modern innovations, such as the push for fuel efficiency and environmentally aware building practices.
The replica of a wooden colonial trading vessel reminds us of the pivotal role that boats have always played in journeys, beginnings, survival, and trade. Downeast lobsterboat hulls speak to the nourishment and livelihoods derived from the sea, and the value of a time-tested design. Sailboats, from a knockabout to a pilothouse sloop, affirm that the wind continues to fill sails just as it always has.
Then there is the underlying principle that moves beyond practicality, or transportation, to the simple joy of being under way, of water, of heading out from the familiar and the static to the possibilities held by the wind and tide, and the gift of a little time.
So sit back, soak in this collective snapshot of design and craftsmanship, and dream about the warm summer winds that will be here before we know it. Plan to wander the docks of the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show, August 7-9, 2009, to step aboard fine vessels from these very builders and to see the latest designs. In the meantime browse through each of the featured boats listed below or click on the magazine image (which will open a new window) to see the entire article as it appeared in Issue #103 of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine.
Frolic, Artisan Boatworks
by John SnyderSea Toy, Billings Diesel
by Brian RobbinsKatrinka, Brooklin Boat Yard
by Art PaineArgos, Ellis Boat Company
by John SnyderBuzzards Bay 30s, French and Webb
by Art PaineMad Max, Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding
by Charles J. DoaneCirce, Morris Yachts/Goetz Custom Sailboats
by John SnyderLindsay D, Pendleton Yacht Yard
by Nakomis NelsonOcean Planet, Robinhood Marine
by John K. Hanson, Jr.Adventure, Rockport Marine
by Art PaineMagnolia, Paul Rollins
by Peter BassTrumpa, John Williams Boat Company
by Alessandro VitelliZuke Boats, Six River Marine & Redfern Boat
by Peter Bass
Next page, Frolic
Artisan Boatworks by John Snyder
Designed by B.B. Crowninshield in the early 20th century, Dark Harbor 171⁄2s—and their knockabout cousins in Bar Harbor and on North Haven Island—are making a comeback.
For generations of New England sailors, classic 17½-foot knockabouts are often regarded as esteemed members of the family: they are the stuff of which memories are made and a tie that binds generations together. It is no surprise to learn that a hand on the tiller brings back the memory of sultry summer days, a first sail, or a smoky sou’wester on the bay.
Designed by B.B. Crowninshield in 1908 and built for the Manchester (Massachusetts) Yacht Club, these gaff-headed sloops established themselves as an important one-design class that quickly spread to North Haven, Dark Harbor, and Bar Harbor, Maine. They were first built by Rice Brothers in East Boothbay (on the present site of Washburn & Doughty Shipyard) followed by other yards, including the C.F. Brown Yard of Pulpit Harbor and George Lawley & Sons of Boston. They became the boat of choice for club racing, as they were competitive, easily handled, and reasonably priced. They were also built to a variety of specifications and accommodation plans to suit the needs and budgets of individual owners.
Unfortunately, most knockabouts were not built to last more than 15 to 20 years, according to Alec Brainerd, wooden boat builder and owner of Artisan Boatworks in Rockport, Maine. Many fell into disrepair and were beyond restoration. Brainerd is not new to knockabouts. He has sailed Dark Harbor 12½s, little sisters to Crowninshield’s 17½-footers, as well as many other classic daysailers. After working with Taylor Allen at nearby Rockport Marine, he established Artisan Boatworks in 2002 and now specializes in building and maintaining wooden daysailers for customers up and down the east coast.
Artisan Boatworks draws on the extensive archives of Herreshoff, Crowninshield, Fife, Starling Burgess, John Alden, Sparkman & Stephens, Joel White, and others in an effort to remain true to a classic’s design, whether it be new construction or a rebuild. Brainerd also works closely with yacht clubs and class associations to ensure that Artisan’s reproductions and rebuilds are accepted and competitive on the race course. Current projects include a reproduction of a Herreshoff Watch Hill 15, a 1922 variation of an 1898 E-boat, more commonly known as a Buzzards Bay 15.
In 2006 Brainerd built a brand-new 17½-foot Dark Harbor named Phoenix for Bill Saltonstall, whose family has owned at least five Crowninshield knockabouts over the years. It was the yard’s biggest project to date. (See MBH&H #93, March 2007, for more about Phoenix.)
With the Phoenix experience under his belt, it was not a huge surprise to Brainerd when Polly Saltonstall, a cousin of Bill’s and the great-grandniece of B.B. Crowninshield, approached him about a refit of Frolic, a 1936 Dark Harbor 17½ from Bucks Harbor that she had bought from her cousin Leverett Byrd. Saltonstall told Brainerd that the boat had been sailed until the day that she bought it and that it had been restored in the 1970s. Like so many boats of this vintage, Frolic was due for another overhaul.
Frolic’s refit was extensive. Saltonstall said that she could have done less and still kept the boat sailing but felt that Frolic deserved the work. Brainerd replaced the backbone, deck frames, floor timbers, cockpit, and transom. The original keel casting was saved. The deck, which was originally pine or spruce, was replaced with marine plywood, covered with canvas, and painted. Brainerd re-lofted the sheer and built a new hollow Sitka spruce mast, but saved the original boom and gaff. He was also able to save the house, the ballast keel, the tiller, and the rudder.
Because Saltonstall wanted to race the boat competitively, she had the traditional hardware replaced with modern Harken gear. The sails were cut by East Boothbay sailmaker Nat Wilson using modern sail cloth dyed to resemble traditional Egyptian cotton for a classic look.
Brainerd said that like many of the Saltonstall boats, Frolic is painted red. He also noted that red is one of the most difficult and expensive hull colors to maintain. To ensure a glass-like finish the hull seams were filled with epoxy, splined, and faired, with the result being a hull that is not only easier to maintain but also stiffer.
Brainerd said that he has seen a renewed interest in many of these elegant designs. In fact, he recently rescued another 17½-foot knockabout, Winnona, which he found listed for sale in the Uncle Henry’s Swap or Sell It Guide. The boat now sits in Rockport awaiting a new family and a refit.
Specifications | Frolic
Displ. 3,420 lbs.
Sail Area 311 sq. ft.
Designer: 1908, B.B. Crowninshield
Rebuilder: 2008, Artisan Boatworks, 410 Main Street, Rockport, ME 04856. 207-236-4231;
Next page, Sea Toy
Sea Toy, Billings Diesel
by Brian Robbins
The design requirements for Sea Toy were good visibility, the ability to run smoothly and an interior with all the modern amenities while retaining a classic look. Photo by Kelly Saunders.
From the beginning, the word was “special.” When customer Jay Rhodes of Vero Beach, Florida, first sat down with the folks from Billings Diesel & Marine Service in Stonington, he made it clear that he was looking for a boat that was just that—“special”—not a typical production cruiser. By all accounts, his new 38-footer, Sea Toy, fits the bill.
Billings Diesel had some insight into what Rhodes’s likes and dislikes were as a result of his 30-year relationship with the yard.
“Jay has had a variety of boats over the time we’ve worked with him,” said Billings Diesel service manager Greg Sanborn. “His favorite was a 46-foot Newman that Mac Pettegrow stretched to a 50-footer years ago—that was the original Sea Toy. After talking with Jay, we realized he was looking for another one of those—only smaller.”
Carpentry foreman Jim Foley was the project manager for the new 38. Initially, he spent a couple of weeks just talking with Jay and gathering ideas. “He wanted to be in the 36' to 38' range,” said Foley. “We had a ‘look’ that he was after—based on his old 50-footer—and we knew what he wanted as far as systems and accommodations went.”
Foley’s choice of hull for the Sea Toy project was the Wesmac 38, built in Surry, Maine. It is a hard-chined Geoff Dickes design that he felt would carry the estimated weight. “Once we’d decided on the Wesmac,” Foley said, “I started basing my sketches on that—trying to make everything fit.”
With the customer’s four major requirements as their mantra—the boat had to have good visibility, be easy to handle, be extremely quiet, and be extremely smooth running—the Billings team went to work. Foley’s input began with the layup of the hull and top (the deck and house unit). He specified different cores for various areas based on their strengths and impact/fatigue resistance, along with sound, vibration, and thermal insulating characteristics.
Once Sea Toy’s hull and top arrived in Stonington, the challenge of building the comforts of a 50-footer into a 38 began. Foley stressed that one of the keys to the yard’s success was good communication among the department heads, specifically paint shop foreman Doug Siebert, Greg Sanborn, and Foley himself. This was put to the test during the building of Sea Toy when Foley was literally flattened at one point by a continuing problem with his back, which required him to be airlifted from the boatyard by a Lifeflight helicopter.
“Thank God for laptops, smart phones, and fax machines,” said Foley. “Through all those months of the doctors figuring out what they were going to do, the surgery itself, and then a long period of rehabilitation, I could stay in touch with Greg and Doug. They just rose to the occasion and made things happen.”
To ensure that the boat would be quiet during operation, the Billings crew worked closely with the Soundown Corporation of Salem, Massachusetts. “We decided on the soundproofing systems we were going to use and built the boat from there,” said Foley. Isolating bulkheads and fuel tanks, installing double-gasketed hatches and a floating floor, along with making the previously mentioned core choices, created an extremely quiet boat in the end, but also contributed to the already existing space issues during construction.
“When you isolate anything,” Foley said, “it usually takes up more room. Building a boat like this is a game of inches to begin with. And besides trying to give the boat owner as much living room as possible, we have no interest in building one of these things if you can’t service it easily.”
Service shouldn’t be a problem. The casual observer would never suspect that a 12' x 4' section of the saloon floor can be lifted out if need be. (There are regular engine room hatches as well.) “We can take out the main engine, genset, fuel tanks—everything—without tearing the boat apart,” said Foley.
When it comes to living space, Sea Toy’s interior gives the impression of a much larger boat, with a spacious layout and good visibility. “We wanted to avoid feeling like we had a bunch of built-in furniture with boat cushions,” said Foley. “There’s a custom-built swivel rocker that feels like it’s hugging you and a couch that folds out into a double bed. It’s an open, comfortable space.”
With a nod to the classic styling of Rhodes’s old 50-footer, Billings raised Sea Toy’s sheer and extended the housetop aft. “It really has the look of his old Newman—in a smaller package,” said Sanborn.
A slow-turning QSL-9 Cummins (405 horsepower at 2,100 rpm) proved to be a nice match for the hefty 38. “We had a target cruise of 14 to 15 knots,” said Sanborn, “and we can easily run 15 at 1,900 rpm—that’s easy duty on this engine.”
Sea Toy was launched in time to be shown off at the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show in Rockland last August, and the boat definitely made an impression. “One man came aboard,” Sanborn said, “looked things over, and would’ve bought her right then and there—but Jay said he wasn’t interested in selling.”
No doubt. Jay Rhodes was too busy enjoying his very special boat.
Specifications | Sea Toy
Displ. 25,500 lbs.
Top Basic top built by Wesmac; modified by Billings
Power 405-hp Cummins QSL9
Speed 15 knots @ 1,900 rpm (cruise)
Prop 28"x31"x5 Hall & Stavert Hy-Torq
Shaft 2" AQ-22
Windows/Doors American Marine/custom main door by Billings
Metal Fabrication Nautilus Marine
Fuel Capacity 280 gallons
Water Capacity 128 gallons
Hull/molded top Wesmac, Surry
Hull Designer: Geoff Dickes
Builder: Billings Diesel and Marine, Inc., P.O. Box 67, Moose Island Road, Stonington, ME 04681. 207-367-2328; www.billingsmarine.com
Next page, Katrinka
Katrinka, Brooklin Boat Yard
by Art Paine
Katrinka’s extensive refit included a reversion to its original yawl rig after years as a sloop. Photo by Art Paine.
Until the past summer, it was probably safe to say that the average Joe Plumber didn’t associate Brooklin Boat Yard with anything but wooden boats. The yard services, stores, and brokers boats built of all materials, but their fame until now has been hewn and vacuum-bagged from wood. Well, stop the presses!
With the re-launching of the completely refurbished Bill Tripp, Jr., cruiser Katrinka, anyone contemplating a state-of-the-art refit (or even new construction) in “composites,” had better add Brooklin to their checklist.
Experts in professional boatbuilding couldn’t find a better test case for “secondary-bonding” techniques—even though the test wasn’t intentional—than that represented by Katrinka’s makeover. That’s because this hull and deck, having been built during the infancy (or at least the childhood) of fiberglass, were hyper-cured. Designed in 1969 and laminated into being in 1970, the hull consisted of a single, resin-rich skin of woven and chopped strands in a hand-saturated polyester goo.
Designer Tripp knew from experience that his trademark short-waterline, beamy center-boarders got much of their stability from weight, so it didn’t matter that the topsides were 5/8" thick and got progressively thicker down near the bilge. (There are places low in Katrinka that are nearly two inches thick.) It’s safe to guess that when a new owner decided to restore and improve this very classic cruising yacht, he didn’t fret too much over structural integrity. Both the hull and the deck were given a new “cored” structure, not for strength, but for sweat prevention, sound insulation, and appearance, and also to help offset the weight of a new 800-pound teak deck.
I am at pains to emphasize that not only the hands-on work but also all the head-scratching took place entirely on the Brooklin Boat Yard premises. Instead of hiring a remote yacht designer or surveyor/consultant, the owner felt completely comfortable with the boatyard’s resident design wizards, Bob Stevens and Paul Waring. He found comfort in the presence of famed surveyor Giffy Full as Full wandered the premises in his BBY hat and shirt, the commanding presence of project leader Havilah Hawkins, and the too-softly-sung hero Dave Fresh, the “Guru of Goo.”
Fresh—part scientist, part technician—and people like him define the vast dichotomy between “glass work” and “composites technology.” Dave began his trade in the Seattle area. That’s where, because of the influence of Boeing, such technologies as carbon fiber, Nomex honeycomb core and S (structural) glass, chilled pre-impregnated fabrics, and autoclaves were first introduced to boatbuilding. Fresh went on to whet his skills at Morris Yachts and Boston Boatworks, and has become a vital hand in the Brooklin Boat Yard crew.
Composite work, however, requires many hands, and as a result Mr. Fresh utilized a good many workers who had to switch gears. Fortunately, a good part of the technique was familiar, because the yard has been building boats using epoxy resin and vacuum-bagging since 1981.
I’ll speculate that, while there are many examples of plank-on-frame refits in Maine where nearly all the parts of the boat are replaced, Katrinka is probably the most complete restoration ever done in the state on a fiberglass sailboat. First, decisions about work to be done were broadly outlined, such as the reversion from the current sloop rig back to the original yawl configuration, installation of carbon fiber spars and modern wire rigging, elimination of the wooden interior “ceiling,” completely upgrading all electronic and mechanical systems, making minor changes to the accommodations, and adding that teak deck. To accomplish all that, a gang of men gutted the interior right down to the bare hull.
At this point, surveying was done that revealed cracks in the hull’s longitudinal stringers, which were replaced. The boat also had a significant number of fiberglass “frames” that were broken or delaminating from the hull. This was the point at which coring the hull began to enter the discussion, the logic being that it would be easier and better to strengthen the skin with core, rather than add lots of framing that would make installing the interior more difficult. The added benefits of sound and heat insulation were a bonus. The deck was carefully removed and flipped over, supported so it would keep its shape, and the existing balsa core and thick inner skin were scrapped.
Further improvement ideas came from all quarters, including rank and file yard workers. Fewer, cleaner, and better-draining cowl ventilators were drawn up, and some clever changes were conceived for the interior. The latter included reversing the aft-facing navigation station in the after cabin and concocting ingenious sliding and double-duty doors for the forward stateroom and head.
Katrinka’s restoration was a democratic effort in which the only goal was to “make good-enough better.” A boat that once would have been called “classic” has become “classy.” To choose only a couple of the many improvements, the newly white-painted surfaces of virtually the whole interior now present an inviting, clean, dry look—the antithesis of the clammy, moldy wood environments I have queased within on innumerable sickening slogs to Bermuda. And now that the nav station in the after stateroom faces forward, it is possible to speak directly with the cockpit crew through a perfectly located porthole.
There will be some youngsters who will wonder why the owner would lavish such attention on a boat such as this. Why favor an old-fashioned yawl? Why restore a hull whose waterline makes seven knots an achievement?
I would answer by citing the 1952 MGTD. Not a fast car, really, and perhaps incapable of starting in the rain. The pre-McPherson suspension and steering is not much more sophisticated than that of a cattle cart. But cruise that car down the boulevard today, and even the most cyber-jaded blogger-dude will see it for what it is—class—though he might have difficulty defining the word.
People of my generation see the likes of Katrinka as the ultimate example of a Bill Tripp, SORC-dominating, Cruising Club of America rule-beater. Like the infamous Touché, Katrinka’s predecessor and sister ship, but built of wood, the boat looks terrific in grey.
To me, though, it cries out for a cove-stripe. But I’m just a reviewer…. What do YOU think?”
Specifications | Katrinka
LOA 48'11⁄4 "
Beam 13'61⁄4 "
Displ. 30,000 lbs.
Designer: William Tripp, Jr.
Redesign/build: 2008, Brooklin Boat Yard, P.O. Box 143, Center Harbor Road, Brooklin, ME 04616. 207-359-2236
Next page, Argos
Argos, Ellis Boat Company
by John Snyder
A retro-sportsfisherman: a 21st-century downeast hull with a mid-20th-century upperworks. Photo by Billy Black.
Argos is the newest addition to singer/songwriter Billy Joel’s fleet of modern classics. The boat is a bit of Hemingway, a bit of Huckins, and a bit of Carolina boat and Rybovitch, all with a solid downeast pedigree.
The Bronx-born musician is hardly new to boating. Joel has owned a variety of custom and semi-custom powerboats over the years. His keen eye for design and understanding of what goes into the engineering of a good boat led him back to Maine and the Ellis Boat Company in Southwest Harbor, where, 10 years ago, he took delivery of a 28-foot Ellis lobsterboat.
With confidence in the company and their legendary boats, Joel and his captain, Gene Pelland, approached Don Ellis and the yard’s designer Brian Walls with a new project. They wanted to combine the best of Ellis’s hull design elements with an art-deco look from the 1940s and 1950s to create a solid offshore hull that worked for fishing yet would be at home stylistically in South Florida. The result, Argos, named for an ancient Greek ship, is a dramatic departure from the Ellis lobsteryacht look.
Joel values semi-displacement lobsterboat hull designs for their seakeeping ability offshore, but he also wanted the look of a retro sportfisherman. He specified a center-console helm—a move toward a more southern style—in lieu of a bulkhead-mounted wheel. The center console was a radical departure for Ellis; it is fitted with electric lifts, and tilts up for unencumbered access to the engine compartment below.
Having a center console solved the seating problem common to bulkhead-mounted helms. Guests won’t be clustered behind the helmsman, talking to the back of his head, nor will they be blocking the companionway. The seats aboard Argos are arranged fore and aft, an arrangement that improves access below and out to the deck.
Joel, Ellis, and Walls worked hard to get all of the yacht’s distinctive curves just right, grabbing a bit here and a bit there from the classics. From the cabin trunk to the hard top to the windows there are no hard corners anywhere. There is a five-foot-long bow pulpit, and Joel is having a modest-sized tuna tower built. To round out the look, the aft deck is fitted out with twin Scopinich fighting chairs from the 1950s that Joel had refurbished. All surfaces are painted; there is no varnished wood.
Argos’s semi-displacement composite hull is vacuum-bagged Core-Cell construction using biaxial E-glass. A solid fiberglass skeg protects the shaft, propeller, and rudder. All composite bulkheads are gelcoat finished.
Below decks, accommodations are Spartan and functional. There is a small V-berth forward. The deckhouse settees can double as berths should the need for additional sleeping space arise. To port, a small galley is equipped with an electric cook top, microwave, sink, and AC/DC refrigerator. To starboard there is a full head and shower. Cabin trunk port lights and an opening hatch provide ventilation.
For power Joel chose an 11-liter, 670-hp Cummins marine diesel. The choice of engine combined with the hull shape gives the boat the full range of cruising speeds typical of an Ellis semi-displacement boat and a top speed of about 30 knots. Argos is extremely quiet thanks to the Ellis’s “Silent Service” sound-reduction floor and a suspended-component exhaust system. There are Imtra SP55 bow thrusters for dockside maneuvering.
Argos was a departure for a yard that has been building traditional downeast yachts for more than 60 years, but driven by the boat’s success, Ellis has added the design to its standard lineup of lobsteryachts. Dubbed the Ellis Patriot, it is offered in both 36' and 40' versions.
Don Ellis’s collaboration with Billy Joel has proven to be a hit for both the iconic boatbuilder and the Piano Man. With head-turning classic looks, speed, and maneuverability the Ellis Patriot is sure to be a winner, from Monhegan to Miami.
Specifications | Argos
Head Room 6'
Displ. 18,000 lbs.
Fuel 2 x 142 gal.
Water 50.5 gal.
Waste 37 gal.
Engine 670-hp Cummins
Cruising Speed 12-25 knots
Maximum Speed 30 knots
Designer/Builder: Ellis Boat Company, Inc., 265 Seawall Road, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679. 207-244-9221
Next page, Buzzards Bay 30s
Buzzards Bay 30s, French and Webb
by Art Paine
Two of three restored Buzzards Bay 30s race neck and neck. Photo by Benjamin Mendlowitz.
Almost the same skills are required to restore a traditionally built wooden sailboat as to build a brand-new one. A thorough knowledge of the properties and handling characteristics of familiar boatbuilding woods is essential. Instinctive judgment counts for a lot. Mechanical and architectural sense is critical, too. And yet, informing and guiding all these qualities, nobody should undertake the rebirth of a classic yacht without a heartfelt reverence for history.
It is commonly known along this coast that if you were to bundle all these technical and attitudinal abilities into the soul of a single individual, you’d be describing Maynard Bray. This story of the rebirth of three exquisite antique Herreshoff gaff sloops in Belfast properly begins at his doorstep, in Brooklin.
Then again, maybe it begins in Finland. A wealthy client residing there whose interests run to old and beautiful objects had long been fascinated by Herreshoff sailboats. During his quest for a particularly distinctive one, he contacted Maynard Bray. Bray steered his fellow enthusiast toward a smaller boat than he was originally seeking. As discussion progressed, the idea quickly gelled for said client to purchase and restore not one but two derelict Buzzards Bay 30s.
Though French & Webb of Belfast are best known as custom builders using modern boatbuilding methods, Bray knew by instinct that they had the capability and attitude to undertake this rather monumental task. Armed with this testament of faith, it wasn’t long before French & Webb got a phone call out of the blue from Finland.
Although other boatyards in Maine were considered, F&W had an infectious “can-do” attitude and quickly expanded their facilities to provide rebuilding space for the two Buzzards Bay 30s, which were “basket-cases.” Soon a third boat was purchased, and, when an owner from California signed on, the yard owners decided to try and restore all three boats at once for a simultaneous launching.
All three boats had suffered some change in shape over the approximately 100 years of their lives, and it was obvious that referral to original design sources would be crucial. Bray, who stayed on throughout the project as a consultant, approached Kurt Hasselbalch, curator of the Hart Nautical Collection at MIT for offsets.
Early Herreshoff boats didn’t use lines plans, since their shape was expanded numerically off carved pine or basswood half models, so yacht designer Doug Hylan was recruited to fair up a lines plan from the Herreshoff lofting notations preserved at the museum. Historic photographs were consulted to ensure accuracy in deck and rigging details.
There is a boundary where explicit accuracy in historic restoration crosses good sense and sound judgment. So although these boats are 9944⁄100 percent pure, a few modern concessions were allowed. The decks were rebuilt using plywood and modern coatings. Although the standing rigging is multi-strand flexible wire very similar to the original, eventually Norseman-type terminal fittings were substituted for solder-imbedded forks and eyes at the ends. The sails, produced by Nat Wilson, use a cloth that looks identical to Egyptian cotton but is actually a modern synthetic. Naturally, to keep all this exquisiteness off the bricks, modern navigational electronics and diesel auxiliary power entered the picture.
Nearly every piece of wood was replaced, though the actual types of wood were the same as in the originals. As in the olden days, shellac was applied between the layers of double planking.
The Herreshoff yard had used their own special bolts and lag-screws for specific purposes. As these couldn’t be improved, new versions of some of these, and other metalwork, were made under subcontract by Bill Lowe, of Owl’s Head. A great deal more ornamental bronze and porcelain—fixtures and hardware, including ornate, custom fold-down Pullman sinks and heads—came from Historical Arts & Casting, of Michigan. Other Maine-based subcontractors included Northeast Boat for paint and varnish work, Nautical Colors for paint and coatings; Winsor Consulting for electronics; Gemini Canvas for cushions and canvas; Ocean Pursuits for electric panels; Stonington Boatworks for spruce booms and gaffs; and J.M. Reineck & Son for additional cast-bronze hardware. The lead keels were cast by Mars Metals of Canada, and the tenders were built by Taylor & Snedicker of Connecticut.
Kathy Bray, Maynard’s daughter, guided some of the decorative aspects of the reconstruction, including the custom mixing of the topside and bottom colors, and painted the rigged profile illustration. French and Webb hired local marine artist Eric Green to decorate the cotton-duck pipe-berth cot, using it as a canvas for his artwork. Each of the yachts thus has a pretty painting in its otherwise Spartan forepeak.
With these three gaffers, French & Webb has established itself among the go-to yards that specialize in refurbishing classically styled wooden sailboats.
The Hart Nautical Collections at the MIT Museum are open to researchers by appointment only, daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday (closed major holidays). Building N51, 265 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139.
Specifications | Buzzards Bay 30s
Draft 5'4"-9' (board down)
Sail Area 1,400 sq. ft.
Displ. Approx 20,000 lbs.
Designer: Nathanael G. Herreshoff Builder: 1902, Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., Bristol, Rhode Island
Rebuilt: 2008, French & Webb, 21 Front Street, Belfast, ME 04915.
Next page, Mad Max
Mad Max, Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding
by Charles J. Doane
Traditional good looks meet the latest in composite construction. The result? A fast, comfortable boat. Photo by Billy Black.
Mad Max is a floating home designed for long-distance cruising.
A spiral staircase leads to the flybridge.
It was only a matter of time before Doug Zurn, a talented young designer based in Marblehead, Massachusetts, got together with the likes of Lyman-Morse in Thomaston, Maine. Zurn has been involved in a number of intriguing projects of late, including designing custom, one-off boats for singer Billy Joel, and new production boats for Bob Johnstone, co-founder of the renowned J-Boats line of performance sailboats, who more recently founded the MJM line of powerboats. Zurn’s MJM designs, featuring modern composite construction techniques and traditional styling, have set new standards for blending speed with fuel efficiency.
The catalyst for this project, as is so often the case, was an experienced boating couple with a dream boat in mind. Californians Sandy and Helen Jones were looking to retire; after years of cruising aboard a 35-foot sailboat, they wanted a large, comfortable powerboat. They visited Lyman-Morse’s yard in 2005 to discuss possibilities, and the folks there, after hearing the Joneses out, at once gave Zurn a ring. The result is the custom 62-foot flybridge cruiser, Mad Max, launched in Thomaston in June 2008.
As with Zurn’s MJM boats Mad Max mixes understated traditional good looks with modern composite construction. The resin-infused hull consists of a vinylester laminate vacuum-bagged over a Core-Cell foam core; much of the interior joinery is also a lightweight cored composite, skinned with lavish wood veneers. The hull is relatively narrow, with a deadrise of 18 degrees, and has an efficient and seakindly motion. The conventional inboard prop shafts, set in shallow pockets, are turned by a pair of 1,000-hp Catepillar diesel engines. An active stabilization system, by Island Engineering, features fully automatic trim tabs, both to reduce drag and to maximize ride comfort.
The Joneses plan to cruise the entire east coast in their new floating home before transiting the Panama Canal and heading north up the west coast and settling in the Pacific Northwest. The boat’s layout consequently was designed to accommodate an active liveaboard cruising couple that likes to entertain guests and family frequently. The master stateroom with a full king-sized berth is amidships, with an ensuite head and shower. Up forward there’s a lavish guest stateroom with an island double berth and private access to another head and shower. There are also three convertible berths—a collapsible dinette table in the saloon, and two nifty kid-sized trundle beds—that can sleep four more.
The social spaces, in particular, were very carefully thought out. In addition to the open, airy bridge deck and raised saloon area, there is also a “great room” with a wet bar and both lounge and counter seating down at galley level between the two staterooms. While outdoors, guests can comfortably gather both on the flybridge, accessed via an elegant handcrafted spiral stairway at the after end of the saloon, or in the aft cockpit, which is split level. The lower level all the way aft is large enough to stow a good-sized water-jet-powered inflatable tender; it can also be used as a lounging deck when the tender is deployed while the yacht is at anchor. The upper level features a large outdoor dining table, lots of seating, and a handy grill.
In terms of amenities Mad Max is hardly lacking. The galley features a Sub-Zero fridge and freezer, a four-burner electric induction stove, an electric oven, a microwave oven, a dishwasher, a trash compactor, a garbage disposal, and a wine cooler. Auxiliary fridges are found in both the saloon and on the flybridge, plus there’s an ice maker in the great room wet bar. There is also an attractive laundry area up forward with a washer and dryer, a dedicated ironing board, and a very useful workbench.
As to performance, Doug Zurn reported that during the initial sea trials Mad Max jumped up on a plane quite readily, exhibited excellent handling characteristics, and surpassed the projected top speed of 31 knots. Add to that a useful range in excess of 600 miles when traveling at a cruising speed of 21 knots, and you have one very versatile vessel.
Specifications | Mad Max
Displ. 83,550 lbs.
Power 2 x 1,000-hp Catepillar C-18 diesels
Fuel 1,500 gal.
Water 425 gal.
Waste 355 gal.
Maximum Speed 31 knots
Cruising Speed 21 knots
Cruising range 615 nm
Designer: Zurn Yacht Design, 89 Front Street, Marblehead, MA 01945. 781-639-0678; www.zurnyachts.com
Builder: Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding, Inc., 82 Water St., Thomaston, ME 04861. 207-354-6904; www.lymanmorse.com
Next page, Circe
Circe, Morris Yachts/Goetz Custom Sailboats
by John Snyder
Circe’s shell was built in Rhode Island. All the rest—joinery, systems, rigging, etc.—was done in Maine.
The latest custom project from Morris Yachts in Bass Harbor is the 57-foot offshore pilothouse sloop, Circe. The concept and construction of this boat were the result of a group effort by the yacht’s owner, designer, and builder. The Fontaine Design Group of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, drew the plans for the elegant Circe, which is vaguely reminiscent of an earlier Fontaine design, Amelia3. State-of-the-art fabricator and boatbuilder Goetz Custom Boats of Bristol, Rhode Island, built the hull, house, deck, and structural bulkheads, then Morris’s world-class craftsmen and engineers completed all joinery, systems installations, paint, finish work, and rigging.
Circe is geared toward single-handed and short-handed sailing, and as such the rig is manageable with a mast height of 79'10" above the waterline. All sheets and control lines lead back to the cockpit and include a manual in-boom furling system and roller furling on the headstay.
An experienced sailor, the principal owner has plans for long-distance voyaging. As he prefers not being relegated to Spartan accommodations, the boat has been equipped with air conditioning and a fully appointed walk-through galley with sizable counters. The comfortable main saloon has a concealable flat-screen television, a bar, and a U-shaped settee that converts to a double berth. The galley is fitted with a three-burner propane stove, custom stainless-steel stove hood, custom stainless-steel reefer/freezer, and a microwave oven. A water maker supplements the fresh water tanks on extended passages. Cabin heat is provided by a diesel-fired hot-air heater with vents in the cabin and saloon as well as under the hard dodger.
As with all Morris Yachts, the interior joinery, featuring satin-varnished teak, is flawless and graceful. Fiddles, handholds, window valances, and other details are finished glossy. The hull sheathing is creamy white; it is offset by a teak and maple sole sealed with durable polyurethane.
Circe’s accommodations include three cabins: two forward plus a large owner’s cabin aft. The forward cabin has a double V-berth. A port-side cabin is fitted with over-and-under crew bunks. Both cabins share a full head and shower. The owner’s cabin has a king-size centerline berth flanked by two settees, a desk/vanity with space for a laptop computer, and an ensuite head with shower. The boat’s locker doors are woven cane for aesthetics as well as ventilation.
A pilothouse ensures comfort and safety during offshore and foul weather passages. It has a retractable sunroof but is also heated for chilly nights and provides excellent visibility. The helm was designed with comfort and practicality in mind—the hard dodger should keep the watch crew dry and smiling.
Performance was equally as important to the owners as comfort. They wanted to keep the yacht as small as possible while maintaining its functionality. The hull represents the latest evolution of designer Ted Fontaine’s shallow-draft/centerboard Delta Form hull. Fontaine’s six-foot draft design emphasizes form stability via its substantial beam and minimizes wetted surface by creating a steep deadrise. The high-lift hull form combines low wetted surface with a high interior volume. Boat speed is maximized while shoal draft broadens the owner’s cruising options.
Circe’s centerboard is raised and lowered via a fluted stainless-steel box and pipe mounted to the centerboard trunk. The lifting pennant is led through the pipe to a deck block aft of the mast collar, then through a sheet stopper to a dedicated electric winch located on the starboard side of the coach top.
The yacht’s watertight engine room is accessible via two watertight doors: one at the aft end of the galley and another in the aft shower; the latter door has a flush-mounted handle. A soft patch in the cockpit sole allows overhead engine-room access for the removal of the main engine should the need arise.
Circe’s auxiliary power comes from a 124-hp marine diesel. DC power is supplied by two primary battery banks that are charged by the engine alternator and a battery charger. For maneuverability there is a bow thruster.
The heart of Circe’s integrated electronics system is an Ethernet-based network that includes graphic displays that are easy to read, weather-tight, and capable of providing up to 18 pages of information. The network includes radar, GPS/WAAS chart plotter, and weather fax. A 12-inch LCD computer display is mounted on the starboard side of the nav area in the hard dodger. A tablet computer handles navigation at the helm.
The new yacht is testimony to the owners’ vision in bringing together talented collaborators. The skill and experience of Circe’s designer and builders are evident throughout, proof of what is possible when the best in the business join forces.
Specifications | Circe
Beam (@sheer) 16'1"
Draft (board up/down) 5'11"/13'2"
Displ. 52,082 lbs.
Sail Area 1,447 sq. ft.
Designer: Fontaine Design Group, 92 Maritime Drive, Portsmouth, RI 02871. 401-682-9101; www.fontainedesigngroup.com
Morris Yachts, 53 Granville Road, Bass Harbor, ME 04653. 207-244-5509; www.morrisyachts.com
Eric Goetz Custom Sailboats, 115 Broad Common Road, Bristol, RI 02809. 401-253-2670; www.goetzboats.com
Next page, Lindsay D
Lindsay D, Pendleton Yacht Yard
by Nakomis Nelson
From working boat to pleasure craft: This old-school Jonesport-type lobsterboat has been given a new lease on life. Photo by Nakomis Nelson.
Few boats have had a life as lucky as has the Lindsay D. Born of a pedigree generations old, the Gower-built beauty represents the pinnacle of wooden lobsterboat construction. A working boat, its lines were never analyzed by marketing directors or agonized over by naval architects. Its intrinsic beauty is the result of common sense: it’s easier to lift a lobster trap onto the deck of a boat with a low freeboard, the great sweep of the sheer makes for a high and seaworthy bow, a narrow beam and long, open, after deck provide an easily driven hull with plenty of room for gear.
The advent of fiberglass coupled with the introduction of lighter weight but powerful diesel engines began to change the look of lobsterboats over time. As lobster fishermen were able to move farther offshore, the need to carry more gear increased. Hydraulic pot haulers and wire traps became the norm, and a new generation of wider, flatter boats was born.
The final decline in wooden lobsterboats started in the early 1980s, as they were largely iron fastened. Iron rusts, and as it does, it causes the surrounding wood to rot. This is especially true of iron in oak, which is acidic, and was the primary wood for boat frames in New England.
Many wooden boats were literally fished until they sank. Others had a less noble end: they were cut up or burned. Some went to novice “fixer-uppers,” whose chainsaw-and-glue carpentry or application of fiberglass sheathing did little to prolong their life. The lucky few were given knowledgeable care and are still in service today. Luck is fickle, however. The Lindsay D’s fortune surpasses luck.
In the spring of 2002, the half-century-old Lindsay D (then named the Annie M) was not yet on its last legs, but it was certainly limping. It was bought by a nine-year-old girl named—what else?—Lindsay Durkee, who lived on the island of Islesboro in Penobscot Bay.
With help from her father, Lindsay cleaned up her new boat. A week of scrubbing followed by fresh paint had it looking remarkably respectable. Lindsay then fished the boat with her father for three years, until such time that the battle with deterioration became a losing one; the boat was almost literally held together by a thick coat of paint, threaded rod, and turnbuckles.
Late in the fall of 2004, Lindsay’s beloved wooden Gower lobsterboat was put away for the last time. Recognizing that the boat was one of the last of its kind, Lindsay’s father actively sought an owner who would preserve the boat and give it a new life. Mark Clayton, service manager at Pendleton Yacht Yard on Islesboro, stepped up to the plate. He purchased the boat, but as he had no immediate plans for restoration, it was laid up in the back of the boatyard.
Salvation came when a wealthy Islesboro summer resident began poking around Pendleton Yacht Yard and discovered the Lindsay D. He bought the boat and asked PYY, no strangers to wooden boat restorations and rebuilding projects, to plan a total rebuild. An interesting request by the new owner was that the yard would allow his seven-year-old son to help with the rebuild during the summer.
When the Lindsay D finally got to the shop floor it was stunning how bad its condition was. The hull was twisted and out of shape, and the transom drooped like a wilting rose petal on a hot day. The keel was mostly sound but the iron fastenings had already had their way with the planks and frames. It was obvious that a total rebuild would be necessary—decks, house, planks, and frames—everything.
The first step was to block, jack, and drop sections of the hull until it had its original shape. This being done, the decks were removed and the boat was given a solid cleaning. Instead of cutting down to the keel and building what would essentially be a new boat, wood was removed and replaced piece by piece.
At no time during the two-year restoration did the Lindsay D ever not look like a boat. Wood that could be salvaged was reused; wood that was too far gone was replaced in a fashion true to the original. At some point every plank, frame, and stick of wood was removed and replaced.
Now completed and awaiting another summer of use, this shiny “new” Jonesport-style lobsterboat gracefully tugs at its mooring line. A utilitarian boat lacking a yacht’s varnish and teak, it is fitted out as it should be with a simple bronze steering wheel on the forward bulkhead and a pot hauler by the rail. And that is how it should be, as the new owner plans to fish with his son (using a recreational license), who is now about the age that young Lindsay was when she first began hauling traps with her father.
Specifications | Lindsay D
Power 220-hp MerCruiser, 6-cylinder, gasoline
Maximum Speed 20 knots
Cruising Speed 14 knots
Builder: 1953, Harold Gower, Beals Island
Rebuilder: 2008, Pendleton Yacht Yard, 525 Pendleton Point Road,
Islesboro, ME 04848. 207-734-6728; www.pendletonyachtyard.com
Next page, Ocean Planet
Ocean Planet, Robinhood Marine
by John K. Hanson, Jr.
Following an ocean-racing career, Ocean Planet is ready for a new life in the racing and charter trade.
When most people think of the boats built by Robinhood Marine Center, they think of wholesome, traditionally handsome cruisers. The company offers two classic semi-custom sailboat models and the Robinhood 33 poweryacht. These are boats that will get you there and back without much fuss, boats of ample displacement built for folks who know the beauty of moderation.
It stands to reason that the builders of such boats also embrace this philosophy. Once you get to know the Robinhood crew, however, especially owner Andy Vavolotis, you learn that just under the placid surface is a raging need for speed. The shop’s recent refit of Ocean Planet is an example of Robinhood’s racier side.
Ocean Planetis an Open 60 racing machine, custom built in 2001 for skipper Bruce Schwab. Schwab, sailing Ocean Planet, was the first American to complete the Vendée Globe single-handed ocean race (See MBH&H #86, Autumn, 2005). Schwab has made Maine his land base for a number of years, and many in the boating community have helped him further his racing goals. Robinhood Marine Center was part of this team, so when Ocean Planet needed a shore-side refit, Schwab brought the boat there. Open 60s are fast and rugged for their type, but like any thoroughbred, they need periodic refits to keep them going. With Ocean Planet, the key need was repair to the blade keel, 3.5 ton bulb, and trunk that had been damaged in a fall 2006 grounding.
Besides the structural work, the crew stripped, faired, and repainted the bottom and topsides. They used Epaint’s high-performance antifouling coating on the bottom; topsides were coated with Imron’s sharp-looking new color, “Luminous Yellow.” A major challenge was moving the massive boat around in a facility that’s used to much smaller, albeit heavier, boats. Raising the boat far enough into the air to reseat the keel was also exciting.
After the refit, Ocean Planet sailed to the Caribbean for the winter, where it is available for charter (www.bruceschwab.com). Robinhood Marine went back to work on sensible boats for sensible people, but just one look in Andy Vavolotis’s eyes told me that another “need for speed” project couldn’t be too far away.
Specifications | Ocean Planet
Displ. 8.6 tons
Sail Area 2,196-5,005 sq. ft.
Refit: Robinhood Marine Center, 340 Robinhood Road, Georgetown, ME 04548. 207-371-2343; www.robinhoodmarinecenter.com
Next page, Adventure
Adventure, Rockport Marine
by Art Paine
Rockport Marine has become a specialist in the construction of Colonial-era reproductions. Photo by Alison Langley
For those who study maritime history, especially the history of shipbuilding in Colonial America, it seems that people did the impossible. Colonial shipbuilding took place outdoors, often in virtual wilderness, with varieties of wood that were chosen primarily because they were available. It’s remarkable how quickly a vast fishing and merchant fleet was created. Even the biggest ships were normally completed, from keel laying to launching, in far less than a year.
Our original colonies were engaged in a vital, sail-driven coastal trade. They were also involved in deep-sea commerce (as opposed to “coasting”) with the West Indies, the primary commodities being salt, molasses, and rum.
The first permanent settlement in the Carolinas was at Charleston, South Carolina. Today the state’s Division of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism operates Charles Towne Landing, an historical interpretive site on the Ashley River opposite the city. A centerpiece exhibit there is Adventure, a near-replica of a typical trading vessel of the time of Charleston’s founding.
The durability of the original Colonial vessels varied a lot. No matter how robust or well cared for they may have been, many succumbed to storms, groundings, and collisions. Among those that escaped such fates, the fishing boats in the northern colonies fared the best, outlasting seagoing “common carriers” because of the combined preservative effect of salt and fish-oils. Southern-built, non-fishing vessels were attacked by worms and marine growth, and succumbed to rot due to year-round warmth.
Charles Towne Landing originally featured a 70-foot “colonial ketch” designed by Bill Baker in 1970 and built by Jim Richardson for the colony’s tercentennial celebration. Unfortunately, it was entirely authentic in terms of durability (or lack thereof). Because of limited state funds for maintenance and a few unlucky bits of wear-and-tear associated with being a “prop” in the movie Roanoke, the vessel came to the end of its short service life last summer. A replacement was ordered from Rockport Marine. As is common with such contracts, the yard committed to a completion date, after which certain “penalty” rebates would begin to accrue.
The new Adventure was to be built to Wm. Baker’s original lines plan. It didn’t escape notice by Rockport Marine’s two yacht designers—Brendan Riordan and Sam Chamberlin—that, as is often the case with drawings of historical vessels, a designed waterline was not shown on even one of the sheets of plans. Not to worry, Rockport Marine’s new Adventure was to be an almost identical replacement of the Landing’s previous Adventure. What could possibly go wrong?
A few minor changes were made. The second Adventure has an auxiliary engine, while the original did not. A few small alterations were made to the rig. For example, because of a pesky modern bridge that the ship needed to pass under, the main topmast was set up so it could be easily lowered. Carriage bolts were substituted for locust trunnels in a few places. Roofing tar was used for bedding some parts, where pitch and oakum might have served in the past.
The boat proceeded right on schedule. It was planked with 1¾ inch cedar, the several wales and protective rub-strakes of seasoned white oak. Because of the requirement for very quick construction, several parts were subcontracted out. Most of the Douglas fir spars were made by Jim Elk of Bar Harbor. Instead of a forged iron anchor, a welded one was manufactured by Rockport Marine, then sent to Erie, Pennsylvania, for galvanizing by American Tinning and Galvanizing Co. A majority of the rigging details were worked out by consultant Tom Ward, who had worked with Rockport Marine in the past on Godspeed, (see MBH&H #93, March 2007). Ward’s improvements included adding topmast shrouds and working out the details of how the topsail yard would be lowered to the deck.
By June, Adventure was progressing nicely. Then, when the in-house designers were working out the installation of the engine and propulsion shaft, the required weight calculations drew attention to the overall trim and displacement.
Meanwhile, project manager Marty Allwine had a conversation with Rockport Marine’s yacht designer Sam Chamberlin. It might have been about where to scribe the waterline in order to paint the bottom. Photos of the first Adventure didn’t match the designer’s instinctive calculation of the vessel’s immersed volume. (Remember the lack of a designed waterline on the plans?) Allwine phoned Patrick Cook at Charles Towne Landing to authenticate that the designed-ballast assumption of 23,000 pounds was correct. Cook had personally sweated through the removal of the internal lead out of the bilges of the rotten original. He said something like, “I could be wrong, but I think it was 23 tons.” Back to the drawing board.
By midsummer, Rockport Marine’s designers had added sailing stability to the vessel. They drew up a four-piece external lead “shoe-keel,” which was expeditiously cast by I. Broomfield Co., in Providence, Rhode Island. Once bolted into place, this keel, while not authentic—lead ballast was unheard of in Ye Olde Colonial Tymes—made a significant improvement in Adventure’s performance and safety.
That glitch and its solution may have eaten up a couple of weeks, but Adventure was launched, sailed down the east coast, and came to the dock at Charles Towne Landing in Old Towne Creek on Saturday, October 25, 2008, nearly a month ahead of the contract deadline.
Specifications | Adventure
Sail Area (sq. ft.) 576 fore & aft, 1,140 square sails
Displ. Approx. 110,000 lbs.
Designers: Wm. Baker, original lines; Brendan Riordan and Sam Chamberlin, redesign
Builder Rockport Marine, 1 Main St., P.O. Box 203, Rockport, ME 04856. 207-236-9651;
Next page, Magnolia
Magnolia, Paul Rollins
by Peter Bass
The owner and Paul Rollins collaborated on the creation of a solid, beautiful cruising home for the family’s travels. Photo courtesy of Paul Rollins
One of the great visual treats of the Maine coast is the number of schooners that ply the waters, from historic vessels in the windjammer fleet to the occasional new builds whose launches are still the community affairs that most launchings once were. There was a celebration reminiscent of the old days when Paul Rollins’s latest big build, the schooner Magnolia, rolled down the road to the launch site in York at the end of 2007.
Magnolia continued to receive finishing touches after launch. Deck hardware was installed and rigging was adjusted into March 2008, when the boat left for warmer climes. The crew sailed the schooner southbound via Bermuda to the Virgin Islands, then worked south to Grenada to sit out the hurricane season.
Built for veteran circumnavigator Sid Imes and his family, Magnolia is what Maine shipbuilding is all about. Massively built of white oak frames, Douglas fir planking, some pretty amazing pieces of teak, and a stunning American cherry interior, the boat holds the promise of great adventures to come.
Paul Rollins is one of but a handful of builders for whom a vessel like Magnolia is possible. A protégé of Bud McIntosh, Rollins started boatbuilding in 1974 by constructing a boat for himself; he has since gained a steady trade in wooden boatbuilding. Rollins and Imes collaborated on all aspects of the design, perhaps helped along by the ghosts of Bud McIntosh and John Alden. The result is a solid and beautiful cruising home, which is soon to take the Imes family through the Panama Canal and west into the Pacific Ocean.
Paul Rollins’s son, Paul, Jr., worked throughout the build of Magnolia and the delivery south, and has since managed the yacht as captain.
At the time of this writing, late 2008, Paul, Sr. was set to head south to oversee Magnolia’s first haulout and then send the schooner on its way west.
Auxiliary power is a 120-hp Westerbeke engine. A modest 5-kw generator will supply power under way and in port, and indicates that Imes intends Magnolia to spend its time as a sailing vessel in the classic sense of the word. Fuel capacity is 180 gallons, with water tankage of 200 gallons supplemented by a water maker.
In design, execution and equipment, this vessel is a refreshing change from the overloaded, over-electrified, and over-equipped passagemakers characteristic of today’s custom builds.
While the rest of us porch-bound voyagers will miss having another Maine schooner in our home waters, Magnolia will follow the trades as have many before.
We can only envy the Imes family as they see the world from the deck of a Maine-built schooner, a most rare opportunity in the twenty-first century.
Specifications | Magnolia
Displ. 58,000 lbs.
Sail Area 1,600 sq. ft.
Sailmaker David Bierig, Erie, Pennsylvania
Designer: Paul Rollins, et al.
Builder Paul Rollins Boat Shop, 2 Scotland Bridge Road, York, ME 03909. 207-363-6237
Next page, Trumpa
Trumpa, John Williams Boat Company
by Alessandro Vitelli
The Williams 28 is an open-cockpit runabout based on the lobsterboat-styled Stanley 28. Photo by Alison Langley
Some time around 1959 Dr. Laurence LePage, known in aviation circles as a pioneer in the early development of the helicopter, approached Raymond Bunker, the renowned designer and builder of a long-lived series of traditional lobsteryachts. What Dr. LePage wanted was not a lobsteryacht at all; rather, a sporty runabout. Bunker hesitated at first, then relented and built Rainbow, a 26-foot craft that was as graceful and sporty as his larger yachts were lovely and seakindly. Bunker, however, decided he preferred building larger boats. Rainbow was an only child. Dr. LePage eventually sold it. The concept faded away, but not from my visual memory.
Last summer I visited the John Williams Boat Company yard, a picturesque operation located in a former granite quarry at the appropriately named village of Hall Quarry, halfway up Somes Sound, on Mt. Desert Island. They had just that morning launched Trumpa, the first in a series of Williams 28 bass boats, and Jock Williams himself proposed that we take it for a ride.
I’m quite sure that neither yard owner Jock Williams nor the boat’s designer, the late Lyford Stanley, would mind having the 28 compared to those beauties that Raymond Bunker and Ralph Ellis built back then. So I feel comfortable when I say that when I walked down the gangplank to board the new boat I had one of those déjà-vu moments. There it was, the modern reincarnation of Rainbow, bow flare, sweeping sheerline, varnished windshield, and all.
Actually, the Williams 28 was born as the Stanley 28, a popular, small, lobsterboat-styled day boat. Clients from Buzzards Bay wanted an open-cockpit runabout, smaller than their current Stanley 36 but with the same seakeeping virtues. Remove the cabin trunk and the deck house, install a windshield, and there you have it: the Williams 28 Bass Boat. Nothing could be simpler, although of course there is always more than meets the eye.
Lyford Stanley designed boats the traditional way, by building a half-model and working away at it “until she looked just right,” then taking off the lines. When it came to structural integrity, though, tradition easily gave way to modern techniques—Stanley was all for those.
The resulting 28’s hull is exceptionally stiff, both longitudinally and athwartships; a bulkhead located nine feet aft of the stem contributes to the rigidity, which is further enhanced by longitudinal stringers and by the builder’s method of installing the cockpit sole: A 3/8-inch thick, 5-inch wide flange is incorporated into the hull at the appropriate level, with the deck bonded and fastened to the flange. A second, similar flange is molded in at the sheer line to support the side decks and tie the whole assembly into a single structure. Spray rails and quarter guards add yet more stiffness to the hull.
The sea was calm when I went along for the sea trials, but obliging lobstermen provided us with enough wakes to take at full speed. I can bear witness to Trumpa’s behavior in short, steep waves. The boat managed the task with that perfect combination of cutting through them enough to run smoothly, yet riding over them to stay dry. I’d love to see Lyford Stanley’s half model; I’m sure there’s a lot to be learned from it.
Another area where the construction excels is acoustical insulation. The initial phase of our sea trial was conducted with the engine box open to allow the Yanmar mechanic who came along to electronically tune the 240-horsepower diesel. We were nonetheless able to maintain a conversation over the noise as we sped along Somes Sound. I was startled to find myself suddenly shouting; then I realized that the mechanic had simply closed the hatch and we were moving quietly along.
The engine is soft mounted, which certainly contributes to the quiet and the vibration-free ride. Another, less obvious feature is that the cockpit sole, which rests on two 2-inch fiberglass I-beams for additional support, floats on a layer of Sylomer, an “elastic interlayer,” as the manufacturer describes it. The boat gets the best of both worlds: hull rigidity and vibration absorption.
The Williams 28 is truly a modern take on going-back-to-basics: simple where no extra bits are needed (a head and holding tank are tucked away under the foredeck), subtly engineered where necessary (hand-holds cut out in the windshield frame contribute to the overall appeal).
Better ideas might not always be appreciated at first—after all, Raymond Bunker went back to building his lobsteryachts after his one experiment with an open-cockpit runabout—but 50 years later Williams has picked up where Bunker left off. While he, too, is known today for his elegant lobsteryachts, he is nevertheless also happily building bass boats using current technology. Like any good chowder, sometimes a better idea needs to simmer for a while, and get even better when reheated.
Specifications | Trumpa
Engine 260-hp Yanmar diesel
Maximun Speed 4 knots
Cruise Speed 18 knots
Fuel 150 gal.
Designer: Lyford Stanley
Builder: John Williams Boat
Company, 17 Shipwright Lane, P.O. Box 80, Mount Desert, ME 04660. 207-244 7854; www.stanleyboats.com
Next page, Zuke Boats
Zuke Boats, Six River Marine & Redfern Boat
by Peter Bass
You have to push the envelope to gain entry to the Great Pen Bay Zucchini Boat Regatta. These folks did. Photo by Jeff Scher
One of the catch-phrases of our time is “pushing the envelope.” In boatbuilding, Maine is widely respected for technical innovation, but what few boating writers realize is that the boundaries of boatbuilding are truly pushed only when one gets outside the envelope. Way outside. Think toboggans. It’s no secret that Maine’s finest boatbuilders advanced their craft on the ancient chutes of Camden, where toboggans they built have competed at the highest level of the U.S. National Toboggan Championships, once sponsored by this magazine, each February.
After pushing our best minds as far outside the envelope as we could, MBH&H created the ideal vehicle to stretch the boundaries of our obsession, the zucchini. As Joan Miró, Catalan sculptor and painter pointed out, to truly soar one must start with one’s feet planted firmly on, or, in this case, in, the ground. So we looked to the earth for the essential natural metaphor for the next wave in naval architecture, the squash that launched 1,000 ships.
The First Annual Great Pen Bay Zucchini Boat Regatta and Design Competition was held at the 2008 Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show in August. In addition to a handful of rogue entrants, desperate for something to do with the overabundance of zukes their gardens had produced, the competition attracted entries from Six River Marine of North Yarmouth, and Redfern Boat of Lamoine. Redfern Boat, led by Carlton Johnson, took the Fastest Zuke prize, while Six River took home the innovation award for their Zucchini Catamaran, piloted by Crazed Gnome.
The planet’s two fastest Zucchini boats shared important engineering features: water-jet propulsion and multi-zuke hull forms. Specially modified bilge pumps souped-up by 18-volt power packs drove both the Redfern and Six River Marine entrants, the nod finally going to Redfern thanks to greater directional stability.
Mr. Johnson, who provided seed money for the Redfern project, plans to spare no expense or energy in defending the title. “We are currently testing prototypes for 2009, although as fall moved along, our raw materials dried up. We currently have scouts in Central America attempting to secure appropriate hull material for continued tank testing. Of course, our final entry will again utilize a Webber’s Certified Organic Zucchini from Lamoine. Testing has shown them to have a very smooth exterior. We have already commissioned hothouse seedlings to ensure a steady supply of yacht-grade zucchinis for next season.”
Mr. Johnson assured MBH&H that the imported test zucchinis were from certified, conflict-free zones, and would be used only for test purposes. He also said that no marine mammals have been threatened by Redfern’s large-scale ocean testing.
The Redfern team was led by Katherine Walsh (Design) and Jeremy Hazeltine (Engineering). Mr. Johnson credited Mr. Hazeltine’s work on laminar flow interface issues with much of their success. “Happiness is a smooth zucchini,” noted Mr. Johnson. He was less than forthcoming about other details, however. He did say that water-jet propulsion was “yesterday’s news” and compressed air would bring “a new category of speed” to the 2009 event. “Our biggest concern in 2009 is spectator safety, not the outcome of the race,” concluded Mr. Johnson, who readily admits that a career as a boatbuilder has become just a stepping-stone to success in MBH&H competitions, such as the World Championship Boatyard Dog® Trials (which Johnson won in 2003), and now the Zucchini Cup.
Meanwhile, tucked away in their lab in North Yarmouth, the Six River Team is still deciding which of their many concepts for 2009 warrants being carried to prototype stage. Their approach, which some might describe as unfocused or in a persistent vegetative state, is to utilize contributions from their large talent pool and slowly tease out the ripest ideas.
James Carter, Phil Jaspers, Mike Gedert, Kenwood Kimball, and Mike Start are veterans of Six River’s 2008 campaign; each brings particular strengths to the team. Mr. Kimball has located a source of yacht-quality zucchini in East Minot, and Mr. Carter brings an unusually unfettered imagination. Mr. Start’s portfolio consists principally of clever rejoinders in the design stages. It’s hoped that new team member Tom Whitehead will add sorely needed organizational skills. Naval architect Al Spalding said that he is available for consultations but is concerned about his reputation.
Current technologies under consideration include hydrofoils, SWATHs (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hulls), surface-piercing propellers, steam and compressed gases, paddlewheels, and elastomer energy storage (also known as rubber bands). Nuclear power has not been ruled out. Hull design parameters are similarly unbounded and may utilize shaped cultivation (remember the square watermelon?). You will recall that these are the people who built the Double Dipper 44 (see MBH&H #94).
While the Six River team anticipates construction to be largely accomplished on the day before the race, with testing done in the largest pothole in North Yarmouth, they are so confident of victory that menu planning has begun for the celebratory dinner, including, of course, zucchini bread. (At the conclusion of the final 2008 match, Six River attempted to curry favor with the staff of MBH&H by sending in zucchini bread made from their entry. Mr. Johnson of Redfern referred to this ploy as a “sophomoric attempt at bribery,” a characterization which the Six River group found to be strikingly accurate.)
But these are not the only teams; who knows what brilliance might lurk in the wings to steal the trophy from these two smug competitors? While each is busy buying intelligence on the other from the traveling marine-supplier network, some genius slaving away in secrecy may be readying the World’s Fastest Zuke. As Bob Dylan sang, “The slow one now Will later be fast.”
The 2009 Great Pen Bay Zucchini Boat Regatta will be held during the annual Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show, August 7-9, 2009 in Rockland, Maine. For more photos of the 2008 competition, visit maineboats.com.