Issue #23, Spring 1997
Anyone reading WoodenBoat magazine lately will be aware of the controversy regarding the preservation of older classic vessels. The issue focuses on the wisdom of cold-molded veneer sheathing as a means of saving and strengthening aging hull structures versus replanking. While it might be an immediate and cost effective solution in rare cases, my response was along the lines of giving thanks that Concordia owners have more sense. Concordia yawls deserve only the best, and sheathing does not come close to being proper.
Most who are owners or seek Concordia ownership have a wealth of boating experience. These people have sought out a unique vessel with high pedigree and a notable history. Often they could afford much more in a yacht. For others it is a real stretch. What we all have in common, however, is the desire to see our boats maintained in the best way they possibly can. Sometimes we have to dig deep to keep on the high path, but we can be gratified to know that in the long run this will assure the continued health of our beloved Concordias.
I am reminded of my first visit aboard Streamer at the 50th Reunion in 1988. Barry Light was her new owner and had a strong sense of mission when he invited guests aboard. The wife of the previous owner fancied herself an interior decorator and had done up Streamer in decadent style. The main salon was finished off in grass cloth wallpaper and overstuffed tasseled pillows while the head was done in floor to ceiling mirrors. "I just wanted to show people how far downhill something could go if they weren't aware of propriety," he said. "It's all coming out next winter."
My congratulations to dedicated Concordia owners, then, for staying on the upward path with the care and preservation of their boats. While some modern techniques and products are appropriate, we should always be on the lookout for cheap short cuts and plastic-like parts and solutions that are detrimental to long term integrity and that compromise our sensibility and aesthetics.
Kersten Prophet, Fiefbergen, Germany
My last letter told of the work completed by Rockport Marine last August just before our arrival from Germany. This included a new horn timber, rudder and much new planking below the waterline. We found Fleetwood swinging in the water at Rockport Harbor. She was surprisingly tight after only one week in the water. All the structural work was done with very good workmanship.
Fleetwood arrived in Bremerhaven without any damage from the ocean passage. We unloaded her off the ship very near the point where she was shipped to the United States 42 years ago. The loading process and equipment is much more modern now. We enjoyed five weeks of afternoon sailing in the Kiel Fjord before we hauled Fleetwood in November. She spent the winter in a plastic shed about 15 minutes from our home. I was able to spend several nights each week working on her plus an entire Saturday. So far I've removed all the hardware from the cabin top and cockpit. I found some of the cracks in the paint on the cabin top running through the canvas, so I removed the canvas. The Oregon pine cabin top was in fine shape and I plan to recover it with epoxy and glassfibre. I also wooded the brightwork along the cabin and cockpit. My plan is to modify the cockpit in a way to get a little more space below the seats for equipment, so I removed the seats. We are also going to install a tie rod system between the mast step and the chain plates. Rockport Marine installed a bronze doubled floor below the mast step with eyes at its ends. Spring launching is scheduled for April 26.
We plan to enter Fleetwood in a classic yacht race on May 24 in the Flensburg Fjord. We hope to be successful when about 100 classic yachts are together for this event.
David Godine, Milton, MA
We had both Concordias in the water last year, Fabrile (the 39) and Kittiwake (the 31). Got to do some real sailing in both boats. Kittiwake had a brand new Graymarine installed with all new electrical circuitry as well as new keel bolts at Bruce Malone's. She is still a very stable, traditional cruiser although someday soon I am going to have to figure out how to handle her galvanized fastenings. Why Waldo ever did this, a decision that probably saved all of a few hundred dollars, is beyond me.
We had an accident on Fabrile at the very end of last season. I was pouring alcohol into our Origo stove and the whole thing exploded. Fortunately, we were in Christmas Cove and after jumping overboard to put out the flames that covered me, I was able to climb back on the boat and get to the extinguisher. We had a lot of help from the folks at Coveside as well, who were on the boat in about five minutes with an industrial strength fire extinguisher. I still have nightmares thinking about what could have happened had the flames reached the gas tank or even the fuel lines, since we've never converted to diesel. I spent two weeks in the hospital, but everyone else was fine, and the boat suffered only minor damages. She's now up at Benjamin River, a wonderful yard with about five Concordias stored there. John will be rebuilding the aft section that was scorched last summer and we'll probably make some modifications at that time.
I learned a lot from this, but two things are really worth mentioning. First, the flash point for alcohol vapor is very low. There was no open flame here, just a very hot stove. People should be very careful not to try fill a stove, even after it has been extinguished, until it is cool to the touch. Second, the charts are what really ignited, and like many cruisers, I keep them stored flat right below the bridge deck. Keeping paper charts next to a stove is probably a very bad idea. But thanks to Jay Paretta, the new owner of Owl, we are converting to a kerosene stove and maybe a happier conclusion to a summer's sail.
Should any Concordians pass along the southern tip of Bremen Long Island in Muscongus Bay this summer, they are welcome to come stay with us. We have an extra mooring and a guest house on the island (but no phone or electricity) and cruisers are always welcome whether we're on the island or not.
Barry Light, New York, NY
We replaced two stem bolts last spring which eliminated the bow leak which had plagued me for several years. We now hope to be able to repair a leak in the rudder stock which is at the front end of the fitting which sits on the horn timber. Due to difficult access under the cockpit sole we are not looking forward to this repair. Most likely the rudder will have to be removed.
We had a wet and cold sailing season last year but still managed to get in a lot of local sailing. For those in the area, Greenport and Easter Long Island, New York, have lovely harbors and good winds. I have been pleased with the work, cosmetic as well as structural, of my yard, Brewers of Greenport and would recommend them to anyone who needs work while in the area.
I sailed to the wooden boat festival in Mystic last summer and renewed my acquaintance with Brodie McGregor. While chatting with him his wife noted that I was wearing a wool Concordia hat - a winter hat! In summertime no less. Having committed this faux pas, I am now the proud owner of a summer hat, and no longer an embarrassment to the fleet.
Skip & Anne Bergmann, Waupun, WI
Paramour was just moved to the paint and carpentry shop at the Palmer Johnson yard last week and is scheduled to be in the water by May 15. Despite all the drying out we experienced a year ago from having the boat in a heated shop for four months, a few months in the water had the topsides back to normal. This spring there is some minor refastening to do and then a fresh coat of primer and two of Z-Spar #99 white. This paint looked excellent after two seasons and was even presentable last summer for its third year when the boat was too open of paint.
This winter I have stripped the teak wheel and forward hatch halves and brought them back with ten coats of Z-Spar Flagship varnish. Although this varnish is a little more difficult to apply than the Captain's, I like the finish better and have used it on the booms, mizzen mast, blocks and other miscellaneous parts. New safety glass will replace Plexiglass previously installed in forward hatch.
Next week I pick up a main and mizzen made by North Sails out of the new SMP fabric, which is said to be stronger, lighter and hold shape better than Dacron. It is not the white-white of Dacron, but an off-white, so the look will be a little different. We're anxious to see how they perform.
Bob Stuart, Hingham, MA
I would like to belatedly tell fellow Concordians of Sisyphus' latest escapades. I (Bob Stuart, Raka) previously told you about our sail off the coast of Newfoundland in the summer of 1994. Well, in the summer of 1995 I joined Jack Towle, the captain of Sisyphus on his long-belated cruise off the coast of Labrador. Jack, myself and Ed Prieu left from Baddeck in the Bras d'Or Lake of Nova Scotia, where the boat has been stored for a few years. Across the Cabot Strait and up the west coast of Newfoundland and through the Strait of Belle Isle brought us to the southern tip of Labrador and our first icebergs. From there we worked our way up the coast, past the last settled town of Nain (famous as the jumping off place for many Arctic explorations) to the deserted town of Hebron. We then sailed back to Mugford Tickle, where a seaplane brought in the replacement crew, Charlie Pickering and Jim McHutchinson, the previous owner of Wizard. The plane ferried Ed and me out to the Inuit village of Kuujjuaq where we caught a commercial plane home.
The coast of Labrador is very desolate and beautiful, a fantastic collection of islands and inlets, cliffs and mountains, mostly treeless. Little villages every 50 miles, but otherwise uninhabited. No VHF, and the nearest Coast Guard station was inland at Goose Bay, 150 miles away. After passing Hawke Island on the southern coast we saw only one other sailboat. But Jack Towle is the ultimate "prudent navigator" and Sisyphus is extremely well equipped, and of course, well built.
By far the most memorable part of the trip was the continual presence of icebergs. They are every bit as varied and beautiful as the photos you've all seen. Whenever we needed ice for our icebox we would simply pick up some bergy-bits which were always floating near the large bergs. The most forgettable part of the trip were the clouds of mosquitoes.
In the summer of 1996 Jack sailed Sisyphus out to Sable Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, but he will have to report on that himself. Raka continues to sail the coast of New England, and now that I'm retired, I plan to get her looking as fine as most other Concordias.
Bill Fitzgerald, St. Anthony, Newfoundland
Tosca continues to be kept at Cape Breton Boat Yard and under the watchful eye of Henry Fuller. She is sharing the shed with two other Concordias, Sisyphus and Houri for the (I think) second season. Baddeck makes an excellent jumping off point for trips to Newfoundland and Labrador or for just gunkholing the Bras d'Or Lakes as we have done over the past two years. This year we hope to sail to Newfoundland to participate in the Cabot 500 celebrations.
A somewhat distasteful but practical topic for the Concordian might be what arrangements various owners have made for accommodating the "gush bucket." Our garbage container is always in the way and constantly being moved. Any bright ideas?
Charles Adams, Shelbourne, MA
Duende has been resting comfortably at Bass Harbor Marine on Mt. Desert Island, ME, for the past two seasons. She has remained in good spirits - we commune often - but would like to be back in the water come spring (my cardiologist willing). She enjoyed the wooden boat activities and racing during the summer of '95 but has been on the hard since then. We are contemplating a refit and hope to be back with you all soon.
Langhorne Smith, Newton Square, PA
Moonfleet remains in beautiful condition, thanks to the efforts and care extended by Rumery's Boat Yard in Biddeford, ME. She winters there with Jim Brown's Sonnet, which was totally reframed by Rumery's.
We picked our trips to Maine poorly last summer so did not rack up many miles. The highlight was hitting nine knots twice on a sail from Criehaven to Allen's Island during a very windy reach. Her speed was verified by Brian Harris, president of Rumery's, who brought her down from Islesboro to Biddeford in October with a helpful northwest wind steady at 25-30 knots. Brian and his crewmate weighed anchor at 2300 hours with a full moon showing the way and covered the 98 NM to Biddeford Pool in just over 12 hours. We received some beautiful photographs of Moonfleet under sail taken by Andrew Sims, a professional sailing photographer out of Camden. These will ease some of the pain caused by limited sailing last summer and none until May of '97.
Bob Grindrod, Barrington, IL
Horizon spent the winter in a shed in Waukegan. We plan to install roller furling this season, but only after considerable discussion with the family. Valerie enjoys the convenience of the club jib, but we both recognize that the light airs of Lake Michigan require larger headsails if we are to make longer passages. In addition, we are replacing the remaining galvanized mast tangs with stainless steel to eliminate the constant rust. At the suggestion of our yard, and rather as an experiment, we refinished Horizon's brightwork and topsides last fall after hauling, then covered the boat for winter storage. We hope this will extend our spring season by a month. With three Concordias now on Lake Michigan, we are working out the details of the first annual Great Lakes rendezvous along with Misty and Paramour.
Over the Christmas holidays I was back in Massachusetts to visit the family and had the opportunity to stop in at Concordia. The yard was busy with several projects. Principia and Snow Bird were in the planner shed for planking work. Brodie told me that Ray Hunt's grandson (also Ray Hunt) has joined the company, and that Concordia will be expanding their efforts in restoration work at the Gulf Road facility. Endangered species list at the moment: Malay #2 and Tempo #4, both for sale and both reported to be in very tired condition.
Walt Schulz, Portsmouth, RI
I purchased Absinthe from Fred and Kali Brooke last August. They had owned the yawl for 35 years, keeping her on a mooring right in Padanaram, so everyone remembers her dark green topsides.
Having been in the boat business for over 30 years, I have had ample opportunity to admire the beautiful Concordia yawls for some time. While I make my living designing and building fiberglass yachts, my hobby and obsession has been restoring wood boats. I know it sounds like a strange hobby, but being in the business provides me with the ultimate hobby shop. My wife, Janet, is convinced that I started Shannon Yachts in 1975 just to create a place to pursue my wood boat restoration hobby. I usually work alone or with a helper after hours and on weekends. Janet has been doing all the varnish work on my projects for 28 years. My two daughters, Erin and Bree, helped me remove the garboard planks on Absinthe. It is definitely a family thing, including sailing the wood boats.
I stumbled over Absinthe by accident when I went to look at another boat. Having just sold a Pete Culler designed Presto type ketch after a three year rebuild, I was looking for another project. I usually work on the boats over the winter and sail them during the summer until I'm finished. I was not looking for a Concordia, being familiar with the construction, but there was Absinthe sitting in boatstands looking for a friend. While the Brooke's had taken good care of the yawl over the years with replanking, refastening, repowering and all the other expensive "re's," time and winters out of the water had taken it's toll on Absinthe. This will be my 12th rebuild, and Absinthe being hull #12 definitely had something to do with my decision to buy her. The fact that the yawl was named after an outlawed alcoholic liqueur was also an inducement.
So, Absinthe presently sits inside at Shannon Yachts in Bristol, RI, with her lead keel, rudder, garboards and most of the interior removed. Fred Brooke stops by now and then to check on my progress and say hello to his old friend Absinthe.
John Bullard, Washington, DC
We have now taken over ownership of the former Haven of Padanaram which has been an integral part of our family since 1965. (According to John Bullard Senior, "Alas, she grows more gracefully than we, and so we are happy to hand her down a generation where her attributes will be the more appreciated.") She is currently at Triad Boatyard in Mattapoisett where Peter Costa is taking good care of her. We may not put her in the water until 1998 due to work constraints, and then we plan to sail the Chesapeake. In the coincidence department, the yard we are looking at in Galesville, MD, is Hartge, which is where my father and Charles Glover kept Memory 40 years ago when they shared her - one year in the Chesapeake, one year in Buzzards Bay. That lasted until my father decided that 1/2 a Concordia wasn't enough!
We picked the name Captiva after a small island on the southwest coast of Florida. It is the winter home of Waldo Howland. Not only does our family go there every year, but we celebrate each New Year's eve there with Waldo.
Robert Bass, Concord, NH
Since the fiftieth celebration Madrigal has been based in Rockport, ME, whence we have in cruised in leisurely fashion generally east to Roque, Grand Manan and St. John, as well as to Nova Scotia: Digby and Mahone Bay. And she has enjoyed what really constitutes a substantial rebuilding in the expert hands of Taylor Allen at Rockport Marine. This includes new bronze deadwood, stern post and floor bolts, new monel keel bolts, a new longer mast step over new bronze-sheathed floor timbers, replacement of the entire deck (two layers of Dynel over 1/4" marine plywood over the original mahogany deck planking), a few new planks, some sistered frames and much brightwork wooded and refinished, including the spars. We also replaced the engine with a Westerbeke 38B Four and replaced the sails.
I must confess I lost heart about half way through these renovations and briefly put the boat on the market. But then a great cruise to Nova Scotia moved me to hastily recoil. Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly clear that sooner rather than later Madrigal must be owned by someone younger and richer than I.
But all this is forgotten on a late fall gents cruise: one of those grand Maine days with a good breeze as we sail through the islands, or ghost through intricate thoroughfares in light air, or experience how well she handles the sharp westerly gale beating back up to Winter Harbor. And then snug below at night, warmed by our big coal stove, as I and friends, equally hooked on the great old boat, raise a glass to toast the wisdom and care of Ray Hunt and Waldo Howland.
Dr. Graham Pope, Westport, ME
Saxon is in fine shape and hauled out for the winter. I'm still sailing at age 87, and miss my 1st mate terribly. (Editor's note: Along with John Ryan of Niam, Saxon and Madrigal are the only Concordias still under their original ownership. Several others have been kept in the same family, such as Abaco, Captiva, Crocodile and Javelin.)
Tom Franklin, Watertown, MA
Westray spent the winter on the hard at Ballentine's in Cataumet. She's in great shape. We had a pleasant cruise to Maine last season, including the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, the first time in years. No long trips or new ports. A little too staid actually!
Barry Williams, Eagle Nest, NM
Memory was previously owned by my brother Dyke and me, but now I'm the proud owner of both. A New Mexico address might seem strange for a Concordia owner (am I the first?), but some people live in the East and fly to their cabin in the mountains. I live in a cabin in the mountains and fly to the boats. They are both still for amazing charters through our Modern Classics Charter Fleet out of Cataumet, MA on Cape Cod, along with a Little Harbor 36. All boats are in superb condition having undergone substantial upgrading, each in their own way, thanks to the work of Tom Wolstenhouse at Rivendale Marine. Tom also oversees the charter operation and provides a first class experience. All former, current and future Concordia owners are invited to contact us for charters. These boats have provided a number of people with an otherwise unavailable experience of soul afloat.
John McShane, Cockeysville, MD
Sumatra spent the winter in Jamestown, RI, and will spend the summer in Maine and probably next winter as well. Then she will come back to the Chesapeake for a while. This winter I had roller furling installed on the jib and a new stainless holding tank installed. I just couldn't bring myself to trust the previous bladder installation.
Jonathan Goldweitz, Stamford, CT
Abaco was launched April 9th for her 29th season of sailing, and I still am amazed by the fact that I have been sailing her every one of those summers! She wintered this year at Cove Landing Marine, on Hamburg Cove off the Connecticut River. We continued to fine-tune our recent upgrades to both infrastructure and on board mechanical and electrical systems. No major rebuilds this year, but we are definitely in need of rebuilding the bridgedeck. Water has delaminated the original plywood forward cockpit bulkhead and is starting to affect the integrity of varnish on the coamings. This will be done next winter, replacing the bridgedeck with teak, and possibly replacing the cockpit seats as well.
The deck brightwork and spars got the usual two coats of Epifanes, the topsides are freshly painted, the original lifelines were replaced and she looks as stunning as she did when my brother Mark and I cast off from South Wharf in early May 1969.
This season's plans include sailing to Buzzards Bay (including Padanaram with the Stamford Yacht Club Cruise in July), joining the Hunt Rendezvous at the Museum of Yachting in Newport and hopefully racing in the Opera House Cup in Nantucket. We definitely will return to Pequot YC in Southport, CT in September to defend their Classic Yacht Regatta trophy that we won last year. We invite all other Long Island Sound Concordias to join us there. We are again looking forward to another season of exciting sailing, peaceful anchorages and wonderful times with our boating friends that we have been so fortunate to enjoy over so many years.
Doug Cole, Bellingham, WA
Despite a rather nasty winter, Irene weathered it without incident afloat under her full cover. As of mid-April we've been out for several weekend cruises and afternoon sails. In fact, the winter covers do such a fine job of preserving the finish that when I made my first visit to the fuel dock the attendant commented, "Hey, nice wax job!"
Winter projects included the installation of a holding tank and the replacement of the original stainless steel muffler with one of monel. This should outlive both skipper and vessel. It appears that next season will require unshipping the rudder for inspection and bearing replacement. Being a do-it-yourselfer, I would be most appreciative to hear from others who have experience with this chore. I am also seeking a spare large keelbolt nut to borrow or purchase as a pattern.
Sailing plans call for the usual wooden boat racing, local cruising and a summer cruise. Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts we will not be able to participate in the CCA 75th Anniversary Cruise to be held in Pacific Northwest waters in September.
Ruth Goetz, Westlake, OH
Tina and I celebrated 30 years together June 1996. This winter I have stripped the cabin trunk and so far have it sanded, stained and a couple coats of sealer on. Now I'm awaiting "varnish weather" days. Tina resides on "her trailer" in "her barn" in the back yard throughout the winter. That makes it handy to work on whenever possible. We're having our 15th Annual Great Lakes Wooden Sailboat Regatta on August 15 and 16 at Sandusky, OH. Phone 216-871-8194 for information.
Brodie MacGregor from Concordia Company
As you may have heard, C. Raymond Hunt II joined Concordia Company last fall. Grandson of the designer of our beloved yawls, Ray brings a range of relevant skills to Concordia and is helping expand our capabilities in a number of areas.
While on the Hunt family, The Museum of Yachting in Newport, RI is planning a Hunt Rendezvous on August 1-3. Most Concordia owners should have received a press release and application. There will be an evening welcoming party on August 1 and a full day of activities including races, parades, exhibits, awards and a lobsterbake dinner on August 2. Depending on how many yawls we can gather and the specific interests of their owners, we are planning either a Concordia Yawl sail-in-company or race (or perhaps both). The Howland Trophy will be awarded to the race winner. So far six Concordias have signed up.
Looking ahead, readers are encouraged to reserve a weekend in August 1998 for the planned 60th Anniversary Concordia Yawl Reunion. You will recall the 50th was a huge success with approximately 60 yawls congregated in Padanaram. We plan to make the 60th even better. Tentative schedule is the weekend before Labor Day - which I think makes it August 29-30, 1998. More details to follow.
As of May first, Malay #77 is in the water and rigged as is Javelin. Principia will be launched next week. We refastened and reseamed the decks on Snow Bird. These are the original laid teak decks which still have a thickness of about 1 1/2".
Finally, we have information on several Concordias for sale. Malay #2 is in Florida and the owner is asking $35,000. Tempo #4 is in St. Michael's, MD and the owners are asking $39,000. I have not seen either boat but understand that Malay's hull is glass covered as is Tempo's deck, so there is no knowing what is going on underneath. In any event I would be pleased to try to help anyone who might be interested. Arapaho's price has been reduced to $82,500 which makes her a very attractive candidate for anyone looking for a continuously well maintained 41. We expect Feather, which was completely rebuilt several years ago, to be back on the market soon.
Leslie Lindeman from the International Yacht Restoration School
Concordia yawl #1 Java awaits restoration at IYRS in Newport, RI as students restore smaller vessels in order to have project boats in the water this summer. By June IYRS will launch a Peapod double-ended rowing shell, 2 hundred year-old Beetle Cats and mid-50's Chris Craft runabout. All these wooden boats plus the Concordia 41 Renaissance will be used to teach sailing and seamanship classes the summer. To become a member of this worthwhile organization or to get more information on their classes write: IYRS, 449 Thames St., Newport, RI 02840. They have a web page at IYRS.COM.
The 15th Annual Boston Antique & Classic Boat Festival will be held on July 12-13 at Marina Bay in Quincy. Boats don't need to be in "show" condition. Rather, the spirit of the Festival is to gather the grand old craft and those who love them. The Festival sponsor, Lowell's Boat Shop, is a non-profit working boat shop and museum which has been in operation since 1793. For information contact Pat Wells at 617-666-8530.
Has anyone seen a copy of the recent book "Abeking & Rasmussen - Evolution in Yachtbuilding?" If so, we would welcome your comments... I believe I have the correct address for nearly all Concordia owners with the exception of Actea #17, a 41 last known to reside in the Fort Lauderdale area. Anyone with information should feel free to contact to the editor.
Along with redecking, repowering and holding tanks, the most requested line of information is regarding the installation of feathering propellers. Due to a limited aperture and major modification required for this, we would welcome owner comments, both in method and manufacturer.
My apologies to some of you for not being able to respond to your requests. A new shipment just arrived! The cost of $35 includes shipping.
The Concordian comes to you for only $5 a year.
To those who recently brought their subscriptions up to date, those that have not yet done so thank you! So do I. The core of our fleet newsletter comes from our constituency, so please keep those stories, letters and reports coming.
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