Issue #13, Spring 1992
As the Concordia fleet enters mid-life and fresh new owners take over the watch from former, well seasoned owners, the decision for a major rebuild eventually presents itself. There is the incredibly wonderful quality about the Concordia in that each yacht is intrinsically worth every dollar and every hour that a fortunate owner invests. Perhaps this won't be compensated in total during resale, but along the way, we know that our investment has paybacks far beyond the monetary. That each and every 103 Concordia yawl (and sloop) still exist, and further, that most are in superb condition, or are being brought back to superb condition, is testimony to the integrity of their owners and the quality of the vessel. If, dear skipper, your Concordia is not receiving such attention, then all your fellow Concordians can say is, "Ahem." Last season's stunning example of a major Concordia commitment follows.
Seth Kohn, New Castle, PA
During the winter of 1990-91. CHOSEN was transformed into practically a new yawl. Everyone at Concordia Company gave their all to make our plans to turn CHOSEN into the jewel of the fleet a reality. By last spring she was almost completely rebuilt from the deck up (including new teak decks), her cockpit was totally replaced, along with a new main companionway, hatch and skylight. The interior cabins were stripped and either revarnished or painted. Among the major projects, she received a few special touches. An electronic navigation center was created under the bridgedeck. The problem we faced was a place to sit while studying the charts and instruments. The companionway ladder was the traditional type which stepped onto the engine cover. This was changed into a combination jumpseat. At the ladder mid-section we installed knife hinges so that the ladder, when unhooked, could be swung to rest on the cabin sole. At the hinged joint, we slide into place a semi-flat seat in which to sit. The nice aspect is that not only can this seat be used for the nav center, but it also serves as a fifth seat at the dining table. Topsides, we fitted mid-ship cieats utilizing the old running backstay cars. We cut the vertical tabs off each car and welded on bronze cleats. Between the legs of the cleats we installed thumb screws to make the sliding cleats fast. The nicest part is that they do not clutter the deck.
Early last spring in Padanaram, as Kenda and I were getting CHOSEN ready for a two week cruise in Buzzards Bay, I noticed an elderly couple standing atop South Wharf gazing down upon us. During that moment, one of the boys from the yard passed by and remarked, "That's her." At that statement, a smile almost a mile wide appeared on the gentleman's face and he yelled down to me, "her first name was HALF MINE II." It was then that I realized that he was Guensey Cline, one of the original owners of CHOSEN. After a complete tour and many exchanged stories, it was most gratifying when Guernsey told me CHOSEN was in better shape than when had taken delivery in 1955. CHOSEN has returned home and there she will remain. The love and care that she has received from Brodie, Gerry, Tux, Peter, John and the rest of the crew at Concordia Company has been immeasurable. The support and help available and the quality of their work is without question the best, and we witnessed the special attention that every boat owner craves. As Peter told me before our first extended cruise last summer. "You may own her, but she's our baby. Don't you dare bring her back with even a scratch." Being 12 hours away by car, it is reassuring to us that CHOSEN is watched after so lovingly. Last winter's upgrades included new keel and stem bolts, several floor timbers and new cabin soles. This season we are planning an extended Maine cruise and eventually to the Caribbean for winter cruising.
George Gans, Louisville, KY
We purchased SNOW FALCON, ex-ORIOLE, ex-AFTERGLOW. ex-AEOLUS from Peter Fleishmann on Long Island in January of 1990. We had her trucked to Rockport Marine where they did a marvelous job of replacing the locust rails and cleats, stripping the exterior brightwork, replacing planks and installing a new Furuno radar and Paul Luke brass wood-burning fireplace. We cruised the Maine coast for three weeks that summer just getting to know and love our new yawl. While returning from Monhegan last summer we met Hank Bornhofft of MAGIC #36 in Tennant's Harbor. Hank had just won the Manon to Monhegan Race and volunteered to sail with us in the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta since his crew had not arrived. With his expertise we finished 23rd overall and were the third Concordia to finish. It was great fun. Last winter we replaced the cabin top, teak seats, depth sounder, knotmeter, dodger and purchased a new spinnaker and mizzen stays'l. Some day soon, she may be perfect.
John Lund, Worcester, MA
My last note to The Concordian described the major damage to RENAISSANCE inflicted by Hurricane Gloria in 1986 and Concordia Company's expert restoration. The yard is extremely busy again after Hurricane Bob, but this time RENAISSANCE was hidden away in Buck's Harbor, Maine secured by tree large anchors and a back breaking amount of chain. We escaped without a scratch and enjoyed a candle-lit dinner aboard at the height of the storm.
Elizabeth Meyer, Newport, RI
I have found an excellent replacement corduroy for the Concordias. It is so close to the original A&R fabric as to be truly acceptable! It is made by the Duralee Company and is Pattern B10386. Color: Mist. 100% cotton. Most fabric outlets can obtain this material. I am planning to have ENDEAVOUR on the east coast for the Concordia 55th Anniversary Reunion in 1993. It'll be fun to see how many Concs can raft alongside a J. Tentative plans call for a rendezvous at Mystic in late August, a race to Newport followed by the Classic Yacht Regatta and eventually ending up at Padanaram similar to the 50th Reunion. Details will follow.
Richard Robie (Rear Commodore, Eastern Yacht Club), Marblehead, MA
I have owned CHRISTIE for the past 22 years and although I have raced to Halifax, I have enjoyed using the yacht primarily for cruising off the coast of Maine with my wife Ann and children. In spite of being an "old wooden boat," last summer an the Eastern Yacht Club cruise, I won the McPherson Bowl for the best overall performance with three firsts and three seconds. The boat is currently having a "face lift" at Benjamin River Marine with new Dynel and epoxy decks and cabin top.
Gary Custard, Yucatan, Mexico
In April of '91 I installed a new Yanmar 30 in the old boat, all new rigging, new headsails, all new canvas and awnings, and extra fuel and water tankage. I re-rigged the mitten mast with 114" wire and installed heavy bronze external chain plates to ensure the mizzen is strong enough to carry the weight of a hard dinghy lifted and held up by a spare halyard and secured to the stern rail. For years I went through the hassels of inflatables and the inconvenience of only one dinghy. I now carry a 9' Zodiac and an 8' 70 lb. hard dinghy with a 3.5 hp outboard for each. I cruised the Bahamas last May to November as far south as Georgetown in the Exumas, the east coast of Andras, the Berry Islands and the Abacos. Only one grounding on the entire trip - a great one! Returned to Florida in time for Thanksgiving and to discover my life had gone to hell again, so repacked the boat, bought some guides and charts and beaded to Mexico. A three day crossing from Key West to Isla Mujeres in rough northerly winds, a gybe causing the main boom to break at the gooseneck - with an all night repair job while strapped to the mast, 10 miles off the coast of Cuba in breaking seas - had me thinking twice about sailing alone in the future. At any rate, I've spent the past few months exploring the Yucatan coast from Progresso on the north to Xcalak on the south. Isla Holbox, an island fishing community, is a great place, many fish and lobster, no touristas and friendly people. Also very inexpensive, Scuba diving has been superb. MALAY will be spending the next few months cruising Belize, Guatamala and Honduras, then?
Greg Carroll, Portland, ME
MOONFLEET is not for sale. She will be on the starting line for the Provincetown - Tenants's Harbor 1-2 Race organized by Hank Bornhofrt and his brother in late July, then on to Eggemoggin Reach for what continues to be the preeminant wooden boat race on the East Coast. I was recently at a work-in-progress dinner with John Eide (GOLONDRINA) at his house and workshop. He is doing a masterful job of restoring her.
John Eide, Portland, ME
Ifs 27 degrees outside, windy and too cold to work on the boat even though she's in her own shed next to the house. All the woodworking is done to replace everything made of mahogany that sits on the house top. The spars have the first five of ten coats of varnish and today I'm too lazy to sand 'em down for the next coat. So, it's time to bring everyone up to date on the yawl that has been in the US Virgins for the past 24 years. The Hurricane that swept through the Virgin Islands in November of 1984, damaging hundreds of boats, left GOLONDRINA on the beach with nine cracked frames, seven damaged planks, the rudder chewed off and a bilge full of sand. The biggest problem, however, was that the storm hit the day that she changed owners. The old owner could get more from the insurance company than from the new owner, so his plan was to keep her, tow her out to sea and... But the new owner, Bill Rich, prevailed and she was patched up enough to make it to a yard on the British Virgins where Bill and his partner, Jenny Jerome, moved into a rental apartment (that they turned into a varnishing shed) and worked to restore GOLONDRINA with the help of Tom Bixby, sent down by Concordia, and a few of the local craftsmen. 164 days later, she was re-launched, good as new. On the way back to St. John, Bill sailed her in a single-handed race, which he won, and the next day he and Jenny raced her in a classic boat regatta which they also won.
I start my saga of ownership with this story not because of the near loss of one of the 103, but because it explains the lack of any mention of GOLONDRINAin the 50th Book. The deadline came too near the heavy emotional involvement of saving the boat and Bill just could not write about it so soon. Recounting the tale even seven years later was hard for them, even to one who promised, as I did, to keep her in the manner that she was accustomed. Thanks, Bill and Jenny. I will not relate stories of how well she sails or how much work has to be done, for we all know those stories by heart. As I was looking for a new and larger boat, everything I looked at was compared to a Concordia yawl. "Not as well built." "Not as sweet a sheer." "Not as fast." "Not as good a sea boat." "A lot roomier below, but not as nice of feast for the eyes." So I finally went for my dream boat. I must confess that Ric Quesada (MIRAGE #32) helped in the decision making process by telling me that many owners maintain their yawls themselves (true), and that Alida Camp sails THISTLEOOWN alone (Not true. "I sail with complete idiots, but not alone."). I was concerned at first with owning a wood boat that had been in the tropics, but being in the water for 51 weeks a year helped her to keep her shape and from the toe-rail down she was the best owner maintained yawl I'd seen. When we hauled her for survey not a single plank line or deadwood seam showed and her bottom was smooth as that other material. In spite of a 12 page list of items, I had to have her as I came to realize that the "Concordia Myth" was for real. The sun had done a number on the varnish work and glue joints on the cabin top and everything was rotten from being opened by the sun and then exposed to that daily shower wieting into the joints and shrunken bungs. Water also made its way into some of the interior and lifted many corners of the locust veneer on the doors, hatches, table, etc. Another winter's project. As I'm rebuilding all this stuff, I keep having this conversation with my two imaginary friends, Hans and Ludwig, who built the original hatches and skylights beck in the A&R jointer shop. When I'm taking something apart it usually goes something like, "Why in the world did you guys do it that way? Can't you see what would happen?" But it quickly changes to. "Sorry, guys. Now I see why," as reassembly begins. I'm perpetually in awe of the design, engineering and craftsmanship that went into our vessels. "But then explain to me, Hans and Ludwig, why you got it all together and then gave me the table for LIVE YANKEE #5366, hUh?" I would appreciate hearing about a neat, clean and effective holding tank arrangement for the yawl. Happy varnishing!
Dr. Bill Fiztgerald, St. Anthony, Newfoundland
(Dec. 91): Awoke yesterday to a perfect "Concordia sky," the crescent moon and morning star shimmering in the blue black sky over the snow covered hills to the south of town. TOSCA is safely tucked away for the winter with Henry Fuller at Cape Breton Boatyard in Baddeck. Nova Scotia where we have kept her for the past several years. Unfortunately we did no sailing last summer but she did get launched and my daughter, Gretchen, lived aboard for the summer having landed a job at a local delicatessen in Baddeck. She found the accommodations superb, the price just right and was the envy of all her collegues! We plan a circumnavigation of Newfoundland and a trip to Battle Harbor in Southern Labrador next summer to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary on the Coast of Labrador in 1892. All the best in '92.
Thomas Franklin, Cambridge, MA
We are planning cruises to Bermuda, then the St. Johns River after the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta which will be August 1 this year. Any other Concordias interested in heading north after the ERR race?
David Van Ness, Ridgewood, New Jersey
PRAXILLA is doing quite well. Sue, who is my inspiration, and I have spent all of our time bringing her back to great shape. The short story of the restoration process goes like this. In the year and a half we have owned her we renewed all the floor timbers, stem, deadwood and keel bolts. She got new canvas on her coach roof, all bright work re-done. re-wired, a new Graymarine engine, and about 15 new planks. We even got to go sailing! We both love her and are looking forward to many years of great sailing. I have many tips for anyone tackling structural problems and would be happy to share. Just give me a call at 201 447-1014. [Great news for Graymarine owners. David Van Ness is producing NEW Graymarine 4-112 engines (31 hp) and can supply any parts for them. "They are great engines, smooth, quiet and reliable. The engines are essentially new, meaning the block with all of its internal components and the head. The only parts reused are the transmission housings, and these are simple castings that do not deteriorate and have never seen salt water. All accessories such as the starter, alternator, water pump, distributor are remanufactured to new condition. These engines come equipped with proper valves and valve seats so that unleaded fuel can be used. All engines and parts are guaranteed." Van Ness Engineering, 252 Lincoln Ave, Ridgewood, NJ 07450.]
Dr. Jonathan Goldweitz, Stamford, CT
The ABACO repowering project of 1992 is not quite over but I'll bring you up to date. After 25 years we had decided to replace the original Graymarine 4-112 gas engine. After all the problems with the possible diesel conversion became evident (fuel tank, re-pitching prop, extensive carpentry, etc.). I spoke to David Van Ness about the 4-112 replacements he builds and visited his shop. After discussing the pros and cons, calling several very satisfied customers who now own these engines David built, and mostly realizing we really didn't want to tear apart and rebuild ABACO's engine compartment, we decided to buy an engine David had recently assembled. Other winter projects included refastening the four pairs of frames under the engine bed that were starting to delaminate. This was done by fabricating 2" wide strips of 3/32" thick bronze strap molded to the shape of each frame, removing screws from planks into this part of the frames, and thru-bolting, using the original screw holes from outside through plank, frame and bronze strap. The end result looks very solid, albeit labor intensive. Then cleaned and repainted bilge and engine drip pan. Usual spar and deck brightwork varnish (2 coats Epifanes), topsides, deck, stripe and bottom painting. Other planned upgrades are on hold this year due to engine replacement. Despite being excited to get ABACO commissioned for the 24th season that I will be sailing her (I'm still amazed at how long that is), what we we're really looking forward to is sailing in the Pacific Northwest on IRENE in June.
Douglas Cole, Bellingham, WA
It wasn't until I read Seth Kohn's report on the lavish care Concordia Co. bestows on the yachts in their care (and their owners) that I realized what a contrast we have here in Bellingham. Yards offering that kind of service just do not exist outside the Seattle area, and they have only one or two. This is the land of do-it-yourselfers and the shipyards exist mainly to haul, block and relaunch. We just completed IRENE's every-three-year major haulout in ten days, thanks to a lucky streak of sunny weather. Once the straps are off you're completely on your own. We bring our own scaffolding, ladders, power cords, everything. After dealing mainly with fish boats, the yard crew is always amazed at the process of IRENE getting new "make up" and emerging looking like new: "She looks like 'glass 'cept she don't have them fake plank lines to make 'er look like wood." The only pampered treatment yacht or owner gets is padded straps (owner supplied) and a very gentle drive on the Travellift. Quality control, however, is at owner discretion, and like most Concordias, nothing but the best will do ("You've been sanding and filling for 4 days now. We didn't have that many dings.") so IRENE's topsides and gold leaf are tn pristine condition once again. We plan some British Columbia cruising and racing in the Wooden Boat Magazine series this season and would like to show our transom to ALLURE more often than last.
Douglas Adkins, Seattle, WA
This winter has seen some important changes for CORIOLIS. In the mid-1960's her mast was shortened to provide a maximum hoist of 38' which better suited Gifford Ewing's sailing on Buzzards Bay and in Maine. I have always thought the rig looked stubby but had not wanted to change it when the sails were brand new. This winter, Stewart MacDougal (KODAMA #46) helped me design a taller, two spreader rig using lots of data from other rigs provided by Concordia and Manchester sails. Stewart executed a beautiful scarfed addition to the butt of the mast and added 5' 4" to the band to band height of the mast. The existing spreaders were lowered and new tangs and spreaders were added for the uppers, all with the same tang design. Brion Toss built all the new wire rigging with traditional 1 X 19 splices using the original hardware where possible. The rig looks terrific and better suits the proportions of a "41." Manchester built a new 7.9 oz. main and new furling 140% jib which will be fitted to a Furlex roller furler. All this should make the boat a little stronger in our light summer airs. We have also added a new electric windlass, again to the credit of Stewart MacDougal. It is a Simpson-Lawrence model 1200 with 300' of chain and 50' of nylon backing rode. The installation is dual direction and is fitted to a 35 lb. CQR on a bow roller. The stem head fitting incorporates a box which will allow us to still use the club jib fitting if we choose. The windlass came in chrome over bronze which we stripped to the bare bronze and "patina-ed" to match the rest of the weathered fittings on the boat. It is not too obtrusive and blends in very well. We hope that it will help save my back! The combination of the heavier tall stick, the windlass and 300' of chain have one great advantage. I have always carried lead pigs forward because the bow has been too high at the waterline otherwise. The added weight has put the boat back to resting exactly on its lines. CORIOLIS was delivered with a bronze bowsprit, no stern pulpit and a tall sloop rig. The rigging changes have altered her weight distribution over the years and the new changes have brought her back to alignment. I am very pleased with the way she sits in the water. The winter has also seen new paint on all the overheads, new seams for the teak decks and Barient 27 self-tailing winches. We are still considering different steering arrangements. CORIOLIS had a 17" destroyer type wheel and this seasons we're trying a 22" wheel. Perhaps next year well try to re-install her tiller. The first sail is tomorrow afternoon, so keep your fingers crossed.
Peter Engels, Lexington, MA
My wife and I are not happy with our decision to sell NJORD. We've owned her for 17 years, and voyaged all along the New England Coast and to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. But this has always been a family enterprise. Now the family has moved away or gone in other directions. We do all our own maintenance, which becomes a burden on time and finances when the help disappears. If we don't find a buyer before launching time (usually mid-June) - that's OK too. Well sail some more, and raise the price $5,000. (Sale was pending as of May 12.)
Dr. John Bullard, So. Dartmouth, MA
We hope to celebrate HAVEN's 26th birthday at Concordia sometime in 1992. Our combined ages are approaching 141. We plan to have a rolling Club job installed, much to the dismay of Dan Strohmeier, who went skydiving after his 80th!
Ft. Myers, FL
The story about the Northwest Wooden Boat Racing Series was certainly wonderful for me to read. Having ALLURE and IRENE taking first and second places must give all Concordia owners a real satisfaction and a realization that their boats are, after 53 years, still in there with the best. I see from the photographs that they are beautifully maintained, equipped and sailed.
Newport Beach, CA
As an admirer of Concordias, I can only contemplate owning such a fine boat. Recently I had the luxury of sailing on MAGGIE DUNN #16 on San Francisco Bay. I had made phone contact with her owner, Armand Sutton, and explained my longtime interest in these boats. After explaining the nuances of a Concordia he then invited my wife and me to come for a sail when we were in the Bay area. I could hardly wait for the big day. We motored out the Alameda Estuary toward the Bay on Maggie Dunn's one cylinder diesel and hoisted sail once we approached the Bay Bridge. Knowing that we'd be entering an area of wind in the 14-16 knot range, Armand said, "Well, it's about time you sailed a Concordia." I acted overly cordial and said, "Oh no, go ahead." but couldn't wait to get my hands on the tiller. She took off like a rocket, and her responsiveness was felt right up thru the tiller. Immediately I knew the day wouldn't be long enough. At 1700, back at the slip, we said goodbye to our new friends, Armand and Kerry. I captured a few short minutes on video which I play repeatedly now back in Newport Beach. We have put our boat up for sale and are waiting for the eventual purchase of a Concordia yawl.
Explainer of Rigging Secrets Extraordinaire, Expert Knot Maker (like the "Flying Bowline"), Teller of Nautical Trivia and Occasional Author
When you re-step a mast, some of the most serious physical labor comes when you tighten up the turnbuckles. People usually get only so far by hand, even when the threads are lubricated, and then get out a couple of wrenches and crank away, slowly and awkwardly. When we set up the turnbuckles, we extend the quick hand-take-up range and minimize or eliminate the wrenches through an obvious-once-stated technique: Start with one hand on the turnbuckle barrel, the other on the upper jaw. Turn the barrel to tighten it 1/4 turn or so, and let the jaw turn with it. Then hold the barrel still and turn the jaw back 114 turn or so. Repeat as needed. With this technique you tighten the bottom thread first, then the top; you're only tightening one end at a time, so you can get the turnbuckle twice as tight before you need to resort to wrenches. Incidently, I think I mentioned before that anhydrous lanofin makes an excellent, clean and durable turnbuckle and shackle lubricant. Just a light coat on the threads.
I've enclosed a copy of the Concordia sales brochure, circa mid-1960's. I have a couple of originals but have never seen one in print, not even in the 50th Anniversary book. I thought subscribers might be interested. The cover shot and interiors are SISYPHUS #41 back when whe was first AUDA with Colonel Herrington on the tiller and Captain Hardy giving direction. I remember as a l3-year-old when they first sailed into Quissett Harbor after taking delivery. She's the reason I'm still in love with Concordias and her picture is on my wall. Saw MISTY #66 at Palmer Johnson yard in Sturgeon Bay in October looking like new. One remark overheard: "That must be a fiberglass boat, the sides are so smooth."
Noank Club 1991 Racing Series - 1st Overall: DAME of SARK, 2nd Overall: WILD SWAN...
Donald Tofias (ARAWAK) is organizing the 1992 Padanaram Regatta on August 29, the focal point of which will be the awarding of the Howland Trophy, which is a half-model of a Concordia. Concordias are encouraged to participate ...
Gerry Smith at Concordia Company reports that the new deck on ARAWAK is completed and she is ready to launch and that the new floors on CHOSEN are nearly complete. Concordia Company acquired SUMATRA #76 after she was severely damaged during hurricane Bob last year. She had parted her mooring and was driven ashore in Marion Harbor. Much of the damage visible in the photographs was inflicted during the recovery process. They will repair her over the next several years as time permits. Gerry said they had 17 Concordias in the yard for storage this winter...
Be sure to check out WoodenBoat #1O5 telling about LACERTA #44 and Steve Loutrel's navigation and structural improvements ...
If you have some spare change laying around after spring yard bills, you might consider a gold Concordia Covestripe Brooch ($470) or matching set of Moon and Star earings from A.G.A. Correa, 800 341-0788...
I have a new supply of Concordia Burgees on hand (dacron, not gold), and only $25.
Many thanks for those of you responding to my request for Concordia news. The quality of our publication depends on the information YOU supply, so please, keep those stories coming. The Fall edition will evolve in early October. More and more Concordias are participating in the WoodenBoat Racing Series and I would like to inciude results (and stories - exaggerated or not) of these events. The West Coast Series I can handle, but as you Easties get together (wearing your green slacks, red Bermudas and sockless topsiders), how about delegating someone to report race results to The Concordian? And, for those new and ongoing subscribers, $5 keeps The Concordian coming and going for a year. No paper wasting invoices will be sent.