Saturday, August 30, 2008


Gustav seems to be right on top of Cuba in these images. Building to force 5 and aiming at the Louisiana coast. News is a bit sketchy at the moment. Click the title for a video from Cuba a few hours ago. Check the NOAA site for more imagery.

Bob is looking for his perfect boat

Bob Wise has a very nice blog called Boat Bits. An interesting fellow, Bob is a boatbuilder, filmmaker and runs a charter business currently out of St. Maarten. He's built a couple of versions of Phil Bolger's advanced sharpie, named Loose Moose (LM1 at the top and LM2 below). Click the charter link to get more of his history. A self described Lug nut, Bob has a passion for the rig. He is currently looking for a design to self build, in the 40' to 50' range. Wants lots of accommodation, shoal draft, and possibly lug rig, though I think the first two criterion are most important. I don't think he wants to go multihull. Oh yeah, it should also look great and he likes to build in ply. Any suggestions?

Contessa 26 for sale @ SailingTexas

Contessa 26 for sale on Sailing Texas. $11k. Proven world cruiser.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Elf is back!

Historic yacht Elf is back in Philadelphia for some rigging work at the Workshop on the Water. Setting up the topsail and rigging it, also finishing the reefing details so all reefing can be done from the deck without crawling the ratlines. Rick said he didn't want to go out there in a blow and I said I didn't either. Crewing with Rick on the drive up from Annapolis was schooner racer Paul Gray out of Doylestown, PA. Paul has an interesting boat. Built in fiberglass, the hull was built to lines taken the Friendship Sloop Dictator. Built by Jarvis Newman of Southwest Harbor, Me., His was the exception, the original owner had her rigged as a schooner. Still is.

So Paul has the distinction, possibly, of owning the only schooner rigged friendship (hull) in the world. He'll be competing in the The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race (again) and Rick Carrion will be among the crew. I was regaled with stories of their past exploits in this race, apparently they've done quite well.
I'll be checking in with Rick this week to see how the work is progressing and give an update. I've been invited to crew with him for the fall campaign, racing and going to shows, so there will be more to come.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Merry Maiden

Seaton Gras has a really interesting story to tell. Embarked on two world cruises before the age of 20 in her, he's currently restoring the family boat Merry Maiden at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle. Stepping the mast this week, hopefully. She was designed by Phil Rhodes in 1948 and built by Palmer Scott in New Bedford, Mass. His father, Ranulf Gras aquired this beauty in 1969 and set about preparing her for an around the world cruise, which lasted 6 years. They did another world cruise, setting out in 1976. Seaton eventually inherited the boat but in very poor condition. He was advised to heave the boat and start from scratch, but showing great determination he decided to go ahead. He has been living aboard for some time now, working on her, and hopes to be underway in the next year. You can get more of his story at his website, just click the title. That's Seaton at the helm 4th picture up and peeking out through the companionway steps in the second.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

There and Back Again

My fellow (expatriates both) Kentuckian Steve Roberts has gone over the rainbow and is back home in Camano Island, Washington. And seeing it as though for the first time. Or better than my words, as T.S. Eliot said:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time~
The Four Quartets

You can catch up with Steve's exploits here.

Wood Pussy c.1948 on eBay

Very nice little wooden daysailer going to auction on eBay. Designed by Phil Rhodes and built by Palmer Scott in New Bedford, Mass. The seller describes this one as having a sloop/cutter rig, but they were originally rigged as cats. Looks to be in decent shape for her age. Somebody ought

Plaisance Traditionelle

Francois Vivier is a French boat designer in Pornichet on the coast of Bretaigne. He designs many of his boats for amateur construction using modern lapstrake ply/epoxy and/or strip plank construction. He has also drawn new plans for many more traditonal or Heritage boats from his area. As an engineer and Naval Architect he worked in the maritime industry for many years and has been associated with merchant, cruise and naval ships, but always interested in smaller yachts and traditional working craft. For the last five years he has relinquished his many responsibilites, including serving as Director of the French Shipbuilding Research Institute, and concentrated his energies on designing smaller craft. I am especially enaormed of these two, the Stir Ven below and the Eliboubane, a traditional sardine fishing boat above. You'll find your own favorites.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Tale of Two Sailmakers

You'll find a small but elegant exhibition at the Maine Memory Network, an online gallery hosted by the Maine Historical Society. It celebrates the work of two Maine sailmakers, Amos Perkins Lord (1868-1957) and Grant Gambell of Gambell and Hunter Sailmakers. Working a lifetime apart out of the same loft in Camden, Grant rented the loft from Jesse, Amos' stepdaughter, who kept things going after Amos' death. After Jesse's death in 1981 Grant purchased the loft and house on Limerock Street in Camden. The exhibition showcases a selection of their tools, some of which are still in use today. I've been reading "The Sailmakers Apprentice" and found these tools especially handsome. For those of us who love Maine, this site is a find. Take a look.

Kathy Amoroso at the Maine Historical Society requests I include this, which I do gladly:

The Maine Memory Network, launched in 2001, is a statewide digital museum that provides access to over 14,000 historical items from over 180 museums, historical societies, libraries, and other organizations from every corner of Maine. The site was developed and is maintained by the Maine Historical Society in Portland. On MMN you can see rare photographs,documents, maps, letters, and artifacts; explore online exhibits; access resources for teaching Maine history; and learn about how you can participate and help preserve Maine history. MMN receives over 19,000 visitors per month and has enabled dozens of small, rural organizations to establish a presence and share their collections. It's a great resource for historians, publishers, genealogists, and has become a critical piece of the state's cultural infrastructure.

And she's right.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Anna Wins Gold/Zach Silvers

(Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images AsiaPac)

American sailor Anna Tunnicliffe took Gold today in Beijing. Ace of the Laser Radial Class. Great job Anna. I found and borrowed this photo from a wikizine site called Zimbio. Interesting concept. and Here's to Anna! During the Olympics she has a separate blog which must conform to Olympic rules about what she can post. Above Anna's photo is Zach Railey who took Silver in the Finn class, (I'm not sure when) second only to the renowned Brit Ben Ainslie. Good on you Zach.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pearson Electra? on Ebay

Can't be sure but this looks like a Pearson Electra, 1962, and both the Electra and the Ensign were in production by then. The ad says 22' but both boats were 22'6", with the major difference being that after the success of the Electra, legendary designer Carl Alberg was asked to redraw her as a racing/daysailor with a lengthened cockpit, a cuddy and reduced accomodations. Apparently customers were clamoring for this. That doesn't look like a cuddy to me, so I'm pretty sure it's the Electra. Either boat is an Alberg classic and were very sturdily built in those days. Last time I looked the only bid was $10. She looks a bit scruffy, but at $10., someone could afford to invest a little in restoration. Someone should.

I cant's seem to link to this boat directly, so go to ebay motors, sailboats, and find her.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In Memorium

This is Zeke, and despite her name, she was a female. In this picture she's talking, probably about her job, which apart from fiercely defending her family, was to catch, in her mouth, the TENNIS BALL, and return it, And do it again, NOW!...She had a great life and loved and was loved intensely. She was my best friend, though for the last few years I've only seen her once a year or so, she moved to Kennebunkport Me. with my former wife and her new family. But whenever I visited she got so excited to see me that she wiggled and shook and pee'd on the floor. She passed away in February of this year and Brenda tried to tell me then, but...anyway I just learned about it this week, but I think I knew intuitively. Few who met her will ever forget her. She had a long, rich life and I am still mourning. Here's to Zekeur.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Elf and the CYRG

I heard about Elf and Rick Carrion and the CYRG through my brother, John Armstrong, who was doing a survey of the collections at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philly. He's working for the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries which has a grant to survey the collections of 22 major cultural institutions in the Philadelphia region. Needless to say the Seaport Museum was one of his most rewarding sites. There he met Rick and learned of Elf and the CYRG. Elf is a racing yacht built in 1888, 30' LWL, and originally she carried a 2100 sq. ft. topsail cutter rig. Built by George Lawley of George F.Lawley and Sons, Boston, Mass. State of the art and successful as a racing yacht in her early years, she's had several lives and alterations, with the 1960's seeing her near demise. Rick rescued her in 1971 while attending college in Maryland, and thus began their journey to a full restoration. In 1982 Rick founded the Classic Yacht Restoration Guild, a non-profit dedicated to preserving historic watercraft. Major project: Elf and its total restoration, which is ongoing but largely achieved. The guild also encourages and provides opportunities to teach and learn restoration skills as well as participate in sailing events and cruises. Its mission statement: "The Classic Yacht Restoration Guild is dedicated to the preservation of traditional watercraft. Yacht restorations are accomplished through a combination of member donated skills and resources. The Guild is fortunate to have talented volunteer leadership and a growing membership.
The mission of the Guild is continuing education of those interested in boat restoration. The flagship, Elf, is used to educate students and community members interested in maritime history, historical restoration techniques, seamanship, and tidewater ecology. Elf's mission embraces an established tradition of giving back to the community that has provided a home and resources needed for her restoration." Rick is currently campaigning the Chesapeake, raising awareness about Elf and the Guild. The Guild also has two smaller projects in hand, a Barnegat Bay sneakbox and a wooden Lightning. If you are near the bay, join the Guild, contribute what you can, and celebrate this beautifully restored piece of our nautical heritage. Rick has invited me to join him for an in person interview and sail, yet to be arranged, so stay tuned.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sailing Texas/Sunfish et al.

David Lukenbach has a website called Sailing Texas. It's one I visit often, at least twice a week, mostly to look at the boats for sale. Don't let the name fool you, it's scope is far wider than Texas. This is a very rich website with lots of resources for sailors anywhere. Indulging a recent interest in Sunfish, Sailfish etcetera (I found an early sailfish lurking in the garage of a friend), I found these pictures,taken by David, of a vintage Sunfish, refinished and varnished to show the woods rich character and obviously meticulously restored, on the Sailing Texas website arhcive of boat photo's, a valuable resource. It's great for researching production boats, the site also has how to's, among other things and the sailboat listings are some of the best around. Visit. Often.

Radoslaw Werszko

Radoslaw Werszko is a Polish boat designer who has published his designs as open source. They are designed for home builders, are stitch and glue construction, and both the boats and plans are elegant. The boats also appear as though they would be quick and plane easily. I first found this designer through resources posted on intheboatshed. Gavin Atkin, thank you. Radoslaw teaches engineering graphics at the University of Technology in Wroclaw, Poland and is especially interested in inland vessels for extremely shoal waters. You can see the fruits of his labors and follow the progress of several of his builds at his website.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Daysailer 1 refit

As mentioned in my profile, I am (slowly) bringing this old boat back to life. This boat has been sitting right where you see it for about 30 years but seems basically sound. The spars were on the ground but overgrown with ivy, and in rather good shape, considering. Most of the boat is there and intact, though unfortunately the floorboards were tossed. Even the sails seem to be ok, except for needing one small repair. I've removed the fittings from the mast and cleaned it up, refinished the cockpit coamings and tiller, the centerboard was not in great shape but I've ground out the worst cracks, emptied it of water and begun to epoxy coat it. I've stripped and sanded the hull below the waterline. Got the first coat of paint on this morning. She'll get four coats of marine alkyd enamel to seal the fiberglass and all hairline & spider cracks, then a coat of copper antifouling. Sanding between each coat. The title link will take you to more photo's and I'll update as progress is made. What's left? New standing and running rigging, sail repair, tap all mast and boom fittings for new screws one size up, clean up rudder, finish the centerboard, and the rudder, and put it all back together. At some point I'll rebuild the floorboards, probably in 3"x1/2" teak as I found a good source. they won't be an exact duplicate of the originals but shouls function just fine. Oh yeah, there is a rumor of a small, period outboard, which I have yet to locate. And I need a trailer. Anyone who'd like to get rid of a trailer for a 17' centerboarder, email me.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

What exactly is she?

I found this nice little hard chine day boat at the yard in North East, at the tip top of the Chesapeake, where my friend keeps his boat. I wandered away from the work to see what I could find. She's a centerboarder with a proportionatly large bowsprit, maybe about 18' give or take, stem to stern, but I didn't measure. Any ideas?