Kersten Prophet, Kiel, Germany
It’s Tuesday morning and my old school friend Armin has to leave Fleetwood with the ferry back to Germany. The day before yesterday we arrived from Kiel after a sailing trip of 170 nautical miles in more or less calm conditions. Twenty four and a half hours engine running and seven hours quiet sailing. Today the wind is completely different; a strong breeze from west brings white toppings on the waves outside the harbor. My plan for today is to sail Fleetwood single hand around the northern part of Bornholm to the quiet east side. My wife, Birte, and our children, Lea and Elisa are scheduled to come in the afternoon by ferry from Germany.
I left Rönne at 0800 for the short trip to the other side of the island. Jib and mizzen are sufficient for 7 knots boat-speed. The wave height is approximately 6 to 8 ft. From Rönne to the north Cape of Bornholm the coast shows its teeth: this area is called the land of granite. Beside the course is Jons Kapel (Jons Chapel), one of the most impressive rock sceneries of the island. In order to descend to the rocks where the Irish Father Jon lived and delivered his sermons from a “pulpit,” according to the old tale, there are 150 stairs down from the shore side above the rocks.
Some miles north we pass Hammershus Castle Ruin, founded in 1260. Hammershus is the largest ruin in the Scandinavian countries. Hammershus has a fantastic history. Hammershus was erected at the behest of King Waldemar Sejr at the time of the danish crusades. It has several times been besieged by foreign troops, perhaps the most unusual occasion being the Lubeckers, who captured the fortress in 1522. Currently the national museum is cooperating with the forest and nature agency in a wide-ranging restoration which aims to conserve the remains of Hammershus.
Only four miles are still left before the Hammer odde Lighthouse marks the northern point of the island. Immediately after passing this point and changing the course to south the sea state changes into very comfortable conditions. Today’s target, Port Allinge, is starboard ahead. Unfortunately the harbor is marked by a big black ball, hanging at a mast at the entry. The meaning is simple: the harbor is occupied, no place left. The famous Allinge Jazz Festival is this week and therefore the harbor is full with Jazz fans who came with their boats.
Nevertheless, another hour to go there is the next harbor: Gudjem! Gudjem is of a kind. For Bornholmers as well as for tourists. And it’s impossible to say Gudjem without saying tourists. In the summer season the little fishing village transforms into a seething metropolis, in which all sorts of shops and eating places lure folk from far and near. The atmosphere on a hot summer day is unmistakably Mediterranean – and happy. And there’s always been something going on in Gudjem, which is thought to be Bornholm’s oldest trading centre. For many hundreds of years, fishing, and especially herring, was the main occupation in Gudjem. At the beginning of the 20th century, Gudjem had twenty-five smokehouses. Today only one, Gudjems Rogeri, sells smoked herring and other fruits of the sea on the harbor. But Gudjem is much more than herring, for example there are daily trips to the island of Chritiansö. Every day, when the ship leaves the harbor at 10:00, the chorus of the stuff of the local shops and restaurants are singing a farewell song.
From here we are four on board and we enjoyed the harbor of this little town very well. We had wonderful walks through the coast and we had a bath in the Baltic two times a day. Because my wife Birte arrived with the car we had the opportunity to drive very easy to the south of the Island where Balka and dueodde Beach are located. Both areas don’t have an attractive or sufficient harbor nearby. Nevertheless a visit is a must. Bus connections are very good, but we have our car in standby. Dueodde is probably denmark’s best beach. The extremely fine quartz sand at Dueodde is so fine it has been used for hourglasses. Huge dunes are formed from the extra fine wind-borne sands which since the ice ages have been blown. At Dueodde you can see very high free shifting sand dunes. The extension is approximately one mile from the sea to the surrounding forests area.
Back in Gudjem plans will be made for the next days. Friends of ours are in Svaneke, only ten miles south. The strong westerly breeze is still blowing, but in lee of the island this will make a safe and quick trip. Svaneke is still chock-full of friendliness, charm, history, interesting shops and even more interesting people. And interesting people are more than usually, caused by the anchoring of a big cruiser outside the harbor taking hundreds of American tourists. The landing officer explained: “usually we anchor in front of Rönne, but with respect to wind and waves we decided to visit Bornholm from the lee side...” A big surprise for the Americans is to see a Concordia Yawl in the harbor. Nice discussions developed during that day, and at least it was a big surprise for me to learn who all have a friend knowing someone owning a Concordia.
But Svaneke has more than that. Svaneke is the home of the island’s only brewery, Svaneke Bryghus, and the operating centre of Pernille Bülow, one of the pioneers of the extensive Bornholm’s glass business and last but not least sweets, liquorices, chocolate, ice-cream toffees and art in all manifestations are produced here.
From Svaneke we visited the big forest, Almindingen, the fifth largest in Denmark. Almindingen is called the most beautiful forest in denmark. The reason is the variety of scenery, with everything, from hills and hollow cliffs, cleft valleys, large erratic blocks from the ice ages, idyllic forest pools and a huge variation in plant and animal life.
Back in the harbor we meet our friends Antonio and Anneke with children, we met them first one year ago. Our plan is to sail together to the islands Christiansö and Frederiksö which are a very special place. The islands’ 100 or so residents in many ways inhabit a living museum. Everything is under conservation orders, even the flowers. Therefore the whole buildings, forming and old fortress are still as they were when they were build.
In 1684, the danish king decided to establish a Baltic base in order to keep an eye on the movements of the Swedish fleet. He chose Frederiksö and Christansö, with the natural harbor making it an ideal location for a fortress. However, by 1855 the islands where obsolete for military purposes and the king abandoned the fortress. A number of soldiers remained on the islands, settling as fishermen.
Today, the island is still under the ownership of the Ministry of defence and the people living here have contracts for their homes with the Ministry. During summertime the islands are visited by over 80.000 tourists, the majority spend three hours, before returning to Bornholm. Only the sailors, like us, and some campers have the opportunity to stay overnight. No cars are here and after the daily tourists are away its time to enjoy the silence of this quiet place. We stayed three days. The third day a strong SSW wind makes the stay very uncomfortable, the waves came more or less direct into the harbor and we decided to sail back to Bornholm. We sailed three hours against the wind before entering Allinge. Allinge is very close to Bornholm’s most northerly point and the natural reserve Hammerknuden. The people from Bornholm say that the route round the Hammer Promontory is one of the most spectacular trails in denmark. We enjoyed the four hours walk through the rocks and the view to Sweden, which is 20nm away.
After three days in Allinge we took a day with easterly wind to change the Islands side. The last harbor is Hasle, still a fishing village, but not that kind of charming as the villages on the east side are. Nevertheless this is a good place to say “see you in Kiel” to my wife Birte and the children. Tuesday morning at 07:00 they have to leave for the ferry to Germany. My friend Klaus arrived the same day for the trip back to Kiel. We had five days and we had plenty of luck with the wind and the weather: two days eastern wind between 15 and 20 knots, three days western wind between 8 and 12 knots.
Kiel, we are coming back!
Another good summer has come to an end here in Maine, but they’re all too short, it seems. However, I’ll trade the shorter summers for getting the privilege of sailing whenever I want in one of the best cruising grounds in the world.
So let’s get the bad news out of the way. The printer ran the unedited copy and I didn’t discover it until after the copies had been mailed. Sorry. Next time I’ll read a copy before I lug them out of the shop.
Second, in the article about deck covering in the last issue, I miss-interpreted what Peter Costa said when he outlined his process of covering the deck. He does lay a 6mm ply over the original deck before epoxying down the biax glass cloth because of the racking strains while sailing. He does not cover the house top with ply, however. This has been corrected in the copy that will be archived on the Concordia site.
The great news is that the banjo has been finished, Margo has started her three finger picking lessons and her family does not run out of the house when she plays. A great trade is when both parties feel they got the better end of the deal and I hope you agree with me that we got the best of the bargain since Margo’s design input sure has made the Concordia nicer. Thanks Margo!
Another bit of good news is that the enclosure I included in the spring issue outlining your subscription history paid off, no pun intended. The newsletter is finally solvent and I’ve paid myself back for the loans I’ve made for the production costs for the last three issues. I will include an enclosure in each spring issue from now on. Thanks for your support.
Again, a plea to you to send me your email address. I would like to get the 40 or so of you whose email address I don’t have in the spreadsheet. Then, I will not have to send you a postcard requesting submissions twice a year. It will certainly save money that can be better put into the production. Mine is: firstname.lastname@example.org
You will notice in this issue a small underwriting blurb from a long time subscriber. I’ve struggled with the question of running ads and have decided that I just do not want ads in our publication. Instead, a small paragraph, not unlike an underwriting blurb at the start of a public radio show, should be acceptable to us. I hope you agree and a huge thanks to our underwriter.
The May Concordian will be the State-of-the-Fleet issue leading up to the 75th Reunion events of next summer. I will finally be presenting the results of the survey I sent you when I first took over this job. There’s still time to fill out the survey if you missed it. Just email me and I’ll send you a copy.
Finally, as I say in each issue, this is your publication, not mine, and it’s only as good as the work you send me.
A postscript. Sandy came ashore just as I was about to take this to the printers. I decided to wait a week or two before mailing this issue so all of us can concentrate on whatever clean-up we each need to undertake. Maine made out fairly well, but certainly other areas, especially New York and New Jersey, did not. I hope all of you came through unscathed.
In the last issue, Joe Mello and Jesse Bontecou both made reference to the numerous changes that occurred in the 1950’s as Ray and Waldo continually modified the rigs to both gain a better rating under the CCA rule and to make them sail faster. For some odd reason, this part of our history fascinates me and I have continued to seek out the answers to when and why these changes occurred.
Not long after the last issue came out, I got an email from Hank Bornhofft who was willing to offer his take on these changes, being both a long time owner and one who seriously and successfully raced his Magic back then. Below is a distillation of our email exchange, along with input from other 41 owners who offered their views.
But first, Hank began by cleared up once and for all the difference between the two Concordia types. here goes:
Hank Bornhofft, Cotuit Harbor, MA
Doug Adkins, Seattle, WA
The 41 sloops are the big macho racing machines while the cute 39s have a mast aft used to mount a radar and as a good place to hold on while taking a pee. This aft mast carries a sail which is a hindrance up wind with any breeze and must be furled leaving a lot of windage. do what you wish with these facts.
As far as I know there were seven non-yawl 41s designed for racing under CCA rules: Actaea, No. 17, 1953; Harrier, No. 30, 1955; Magic, No. 36, 1956; Taliesin, No. 52. 1957 (ex Banda, the second); Sonnet, No. 63, 1958 (ex Baroda); Polaris, No. 71, 1959. It seems like Principia, No. 60, was the same as the cutter/sloops but with a mizzen and Coriolis, No. 82, may fit in the above list.
The first three were rigged as cutters with bowsprits and fractional rigs with booms of 20' (Harrier) to 21' (Magic) and a luff dimensions of 40' (Harrier) to 44.4' (Magic). Actaea is now masthead and may have been born that way but I doubt it. The last three were built as double spreader masthead sloops, taller than the modified rigs described below. Only Polaris had the bowsprit which she retains today. Actaea also, according photos and yes, I know Actaea still has the bow sprit. What I don’t know is if she originally was fractional rigged. Probably not masthead in 1953. But, Tony probably knows for sure. The mast in her is a recent replacement. (See tony’s comments, below.)
These boats were designed during a time of heavy competition between experienced yachtsmen for racing under the CCA rule.
It’s worthy to note that at least some and maybe all of these boats I mentioned came with a modified keel design and undercut fore foot for maneuverability while racing. Some 41s had the cutaway fore foot, some didn’t. Those that did not had 39 like keels beginning ahead of the mast center line and sloping aft to the rudder post. The bottom of the 41 cutaway keel is parallel to the waterline. It’s not like one design was the original, then is changed along the way. Both 41 keel designs were used interchangeably throughout the years of construction. My guess is that if Waldo knew the intention was racing, the boat would get the cutaway. The mast center line of the boats with the cutaway is ahead of the front of the keel. The sloping design is structurally better since the mast bears on the keel.
In the 1980s, after racing Magic a lot, I had the opportunity to drive Raka in the eRR and learned the effect of this cut- away keel when I tacked under Starlight and almost hit her-I was so used to how Magic worked!
Another modification came after the 1955-56 winter meeting of the CCA rules committee. Boats were going off shore with inadequate fresh water to save weight. The solution was a penalty for limited tankage and a credit for more. Magic was under construction at the time and George Nichols Jr., her original owner, requested modifications increasing her tankage to 350 gallons! Tanks were located under the settees, in the bilge, and under the quarter berths. Also, there was valving to move the water to leeward before tacking, which was an early use of movable ballast. I know that at least Sonnet had similar tankage.
Prior to this, cotton but also early Orlon and Dacron did not have the ability to hold shape on big headsails going to weather. It was during this era, about the time of the birth of the racing 41s, that better dacron, especially from Hood, became available which could hold its shape going to weather and could be used for bigger head sails. Also, the rating rule did not penalize much for big genoas and the masthead rig was considered faster. So, Harrier and Magic had their original masts cut down and changed to masthead. The height of Harrier’s original 1955 rig provided for a 40' luff and was reduced to 38' in 1956, still with jumpers and fractional rig, by cutting 2' off the butt. In 1957 there was a further 2' reduction by rebuilding the masthead and conversion to masthead rig but retaining the bowsprit for optional cutter rig. Magic was delivered with the original Harrier style rig but 4' taller, with a 44.4' luff, then cut down to masthead following Harrier and retaining the bowsprit, but I’m not sure which mast height. Taliesin (ex Banda) had her original rig shortened by taking 2' from the butt but I’m not sure that this included the conversion to masthead or if she came that way. Much of this information comes from a drawing I have (seen at right) comparing the different rigs confirming how competitive the owners at the time were.
In February, 1966, George Nichols and Ray Hunt, aided by a bottle of rum, came up with a high aspect tall masthead sloop rig for Magic, returning the mainsail luff to about 44' with a 17.5' foot but with no bowsprit. The #1 genoa had an I dimension of 50' and was 170% of LP. The aluminum rig was built by Little Harbor Boat Yard, one of the first Hood Yacht Systems designs. The masthead is 54' above the water-the tallest in the fleet, and she retains this rig but the mainsail foot is now 18.5' thanks to a boom from a J 40. So, if you see her sailing in a moderate breeze with a reef and smaller jib you know why!
You’ve learned a secret; these boats don’t go well overcanvased. I remember the race during the 65th. Magic finished second to Renaissance. It was a toss up - #2 vs. #1 jib and I choose #2. The wind was up and down and I wasn’t going to keep changing headsails in an around-the-buoys race. But Renaissance had a wonderful new furler and would roll the jib in and out like a window shade to match the conditions. Magic would lose ground in the lighter spots. Renaissance couldn’t have used only a #1 effectively through the whole race.
I asked Hank if the 39s followed the 41 changes.
It’s probably not a good assumption that the 39s were modified to follow the 41s. Often 39s left their mizzens on the dock for racing. Fred Brooke always sailed Absinthe sloop rigged with a masthead conversion and was a consistent winner in Buzzards Bay. It was a given that he would win the Buzzards Bay Regatta Concordia division. But I did in 1981; I got a trophy with Absinthe’s sail plan on it! Waldo writes that the fastest Concordia is a 39 sloop rigged. (I think that Waldo quote is in one of his books where he discusses rigs-I remember it specifically but no longer have either book-they were lent and not returned. Anyone know the source of this Waldo quote?) We know several of the 39s were modified from fractional rig.
The Buzzards Bay Regatta is held annually and hosted alternately by the New Bedford Yacht Club and Beverly Club. There was always a Concordia division and at one point had as many as 17 boats max, as I recall. They no longer have a Concordia fleet which they eliminated some time ago. The race is a three day event and the Concordia division sailed the third day. First time I raced was 1981 with new Hood sails and their crew onboard. We decided to sail in PHRF Friday and Saturday and were second overall in the series going into the third day, but I blew off the series to race with our sisters. The finish for the Howland Cup was: 1, Magic; 2, Absinthe (39 sloop rigged); 3, Otter; 4, harbinger; 5, Saqqara; 6, Abaco; 7, Paramour; 8, can’t remember; 9, Malay, Wd. It would be nice to resurrect this cup for a current race.
I knew Otter well when Ed Sheu (pronounced Shy) raced her. I saw too much of his transom. In one Buzzards Bay Regatta Larry Warner, harbinger, and I protested ed for flying a mizzen staysail in the cruising canvas division as no one else had ever. It took a call that night to Waldo for clarification-he said his deed of gift of the trophy “implied” no staysails and ed lost. Ed was a fierce no holds barred racer. I know he spent about $300K on the boat in the early ‘80s. I thought it was because of normal 41 disease and an encounter with a rock. He did have beautiful sails, lots of instrumentation for the day, fancy winches, and a tall rig.
I first raced Magic with a 170%, and later cut it down to 150. Two years ago I put on a Furlex and sailed with the #2 all season but the #3 (100%) this year. With the big main the #3 is almost always enough and off wind I’ll use an asymmetrical more because getting rid of the jib is so easy. The #1 has been in the barn for some time now.
I owned the 39 Rayanna, No. 7, for a while and she had the pre-1954, original, fractional rig with the diamonds-2' taller than the subsequent standard. I like big mainsails with jiffy reefing and a somewhat bendy rig with the backstays.
I forwarded Hank’s comments to Doug Adkins, Coriolis, and got this:
Well John, you are going to a very interesting place and one that has fascinated me as well. As to Coriolis, she was delivered with her conventional single spreader wooden yawl rig to Padanaram but it was not installed because there awaited an alloy stick with roller furling to rig her as a sloop. She was originally fitted with a bowsprit to widen her foretriangle and she still carries her triangular (not elliptical) rudder designed by Ted Hood, the only one I have ever seen on a Concordia. Her original owner, Cornelius Woods, of the famous family on Cuttyhunk, had intended to race her in the 1960 Bermuda race, the last of the three races won by Finisterre. For reasons I have never learned, she never made the starting line. All dressed up for the dance but no place to go! She was donated with this rig to Middlesex Academy and held for a year or so until she was sold to Gifford Ewing. He rerigged her with her original yawl rig after first adding the mizzen and then adding the wooden mainmast. Over the years he removed her bowsprit, reduced the height of her mainmast as he got older and finally gave her away again to the University of Maine.
I bought her two owners later, took her mainmast from about 37' on the hoist to about 42' with the same single spreader configuration. When she suffered significant damage from the Seattle Yacht Club fire in 2002, I asked Stewart McDougall to build a taller spar because of our light airs here in the Northwest and because I like a taller aspect rig. She is now very tall at 46' on the hoist and the stick is exactly 55'7" tip to tip. This makes for a very narrow angle at the top of the foretriangle and I have even considered returning to the original bowsprit to open it up. I find that the added height makes her go very well but the spar can come out of column in a seaway because it is big and I rig runners, even with this masthead rig, to keep it from inverting. If I were to take on the north Atlantic, I would be very careful with this rig. Possibly the bowsprit would calm things down for everything now is very vertical at low angles of support. I still love the way she looks and she sails like a wing! I could go on and will if you wish but this is my biased response to the question of rigs. Much good detail exists in the Fiftieth book and the sloops harrier, Jesse Bontecou, and Jim Brown’s Sonnet serve as instructive examples.
Back to Hank:
I imagine the roller furling doug refers to is on the boom, like on Magic, as Ted Hood would have specified at the time. Magic had Merriman roller furling on the light headsail at the bowsprit for off wind or light air but I don’t think the technology at the time would work as well as what’s available today, tacked at the stem and for heavier wind beating.
That triangular rudder design was first popular about then on other designs as well, like the owens Cutter and the Hinckley 41, which raced then, for instance. What’s most interest is the detail extent owners would go for just a bit more speed.
The sloops/cutters also had longer booms with an E dimension of 20' to 22' (harrier, as originally drawn, was 20') such that the main sheet would come down to a position where the mizzen would normally step, not on the bridge deck as with yawls. 41 yawls were 19'. With the high aspect rig from Hood in 1966, the E became 17.5' and then 18.25' when I replaced the roller boom with one from a J 40.
This is fun-others may think we’re nuts.
I had that mast pumping problem once on Magic after I had had the rig out. But, by fiddling around with the rake and headstay and forestay it went away for good. If the mast is too far out of column this will happen. I am very careful to restore the rig settings after re-stepping the mast. I’ve wanted to add an inner fore stay and running backs, like Coriolis, for some time-just never got to it. The 41 cutters came with running backs attaching to the mizzen chain plates, which were re-enforced.
Then, I got the following from Tony Harwell, Actaea:
I believe Actaea was originally rigged as she is now, a 7/8 fractional rigged sloop. According to my best analysis of the early photographs and A & R’s shop drawings she had the bowsprit forestay attachment as well as an eye at the bow for a staysail. In the early photos there is no mast tang for the staysail but is in the later photos. It is my guess that the early photos are the sea trials and the others are shortly there after. In the drawing (blue print, next page) you will see that Ray Hunt moved the staysail back a foot or so in the drawing but I have photos of the eye at the bow and the bowsprit being used. As for the mast, it was originally 7/8 fractional rig with a 45' luff and 21' foot boom. I have a photo made later that shows the mast shortened to a masthead. This was done by Charles Meyer who then put an aluminum mast with a 43' luff and 18' foot boom. It was a masthead. I’m a traditionalist so I changed it back to it’s original. I even had blocking put in the mast for a staysail tang.
I also forwarded Hank’s comments to Bruce Flenniken, Principia, and got his response:
My understanding is that Principia was heavily raced. Unfortunately, she was not mentioned in Waldo’s or Elizabeth’s books and I have no info in hand. A previous owner replaced the original wooden main mast with a shorter aluminum one, reducing the weight and height and eliminating the second set of spreaders. A longer main boom seems to have been installed, or a used main sail was purchased, as the sail had a foot dimension about 12 inches short of what the boom would accept. The new 2013 set of sails from Harding Sails in Marion, MA, corrected that discrepancy. When I purchased Principia in 1985, the bowsprit had been removed. I am including an early photo I found online: Principia, ex-Windquest 1959 (photographer unknown).
All the Best, Bruce
Back to Hank:
During the lead-up to the 50th Reunion we had 15 to 20 Concordias racing in the Museum of Yachting Classic Regatta. The first leg was a beat from the harbor entrance to a bell buoy off the south end of Jamestown Island. Pretty quickly harrier, Sonnet, and Magic went ahead of the rest of the fleet. The three sloops were crossing tacks all the way upwind. The boats were close together and the lead changed with each crossing, but never by much more than a boat length, often just a few feet. Magic rounded first but all three were bunched together at the buoy, with Otter close behind. This was the most exciting sailing experience I ever had, like one-design dingy-racing with 11 ton boats!
Off wind, harrier and Otter went ahead- Otter aided by her mizzen staysail (allowed in this cruising canvas race) and Harrier because of Jesse’s local knowledge of currents and wind patterns. Otter crossed the line first but was disqualified for missing a turning mark leaving the win to Harrier.
I had sailed in company or raced with Jim Brown a lot and learned how to anticipate his tacks. Going up wind he would always have the tiller in one hand and the butt of a cigar in the other. Just before tacking and changing sides and tiller hands, he would put the butt between his teeth, without thinking about it. At the 70th reunion I told Jim about this and we both had a good laugh!
Plans are beginning to fall in place for the 75th Anniversary Reunion next summer. As of now, it seems August will be the Month of the Concordia with the first event being a symposium about the class at the Castine Yacht Club the evening before the Castine to Camden Classic race.
We’re hoping for some sort of event at the Camden Yacht Club the following evening. The best race of the summer, at least for me, the Camden to Brooklin Feeder Race will be Friday. And the granddaddy of all Classic races, The Eggemoggin Reach Regatta will complete these three days of fun and food.
The following weekend will start with a talk about the work of Ray Hunt Friday evening in Marblehead followed by two days of classic racing.
Then it’s off to Nantucket for The opera House Cup the weekend after that.
It will all end the fourth weekend of August at the New Bedford Yacht Club in Padanaram with three days of celebration, food, wine, and racing.
Some owners are in the process of creating a trophy to be awarded to the boat that places highest in all the races between Castine and Padanaram. To be eligible, the boat must participate in all the races, seven, so far. The full sailing instructions will be posted in the Spring issue.
Who knows. Entering all the races may mean you win!
Even if you’re not into racing, just showing up and sailing around will be way too much fun. The waters, as you all know, between Penobscot Bay and Buzzards Bay are some of the best in the world and you’ll have a front row seat as you watch the best of East Coast classics sail by.
Since so many owners seem to have resurrected old or constructed new batikas, there will be a batika race in Padanaram. Jeff Makholm will be in charge of this event.
Finally, if any of you have contacts in the marine publishing business, tell them about all these events so we can spread the Month of the Concordia across all the press. And, if one of you would like to act as a press agent for this event, let me know so we can work on this.
A full schedule of events will be posted in the spring issue. Get Ready!
Preliminary Calendar of Events
|Wednesday||July 31||Symposium, Castine Yacht Club|
|Thursday||August 1||Castine to Camden Classic Race|
|Friday||August 2||Camden to Brooklin Feeder Race|
|Saturday||August 3||Eggemoggin Reach Regatta|
|Friday||August, 9||Ray Hunt Seminar, Marblehead|
|Saturday, Sunday||August 10, 11||Classic Races, Marblehead|
|Sunday||August 18||Opera House Cup Regatta, Nantucket|
|Friday through Sunday||August 23, 24, 25||Padanaram 75th Concordia Anniversary Celebration and Reunion|
I’d like to throw down the gauntlet right now to the owners of those “big macho racing machines” that Hank Bornhofft seems so puffed up about. As the owner of one of the “cute 39s” I’ve shown my transom to Jim Brown and his Sonnet at times, and I’ve still got the original fractional rig. I also know that the “cute 39s” have done consistently well at the ERR. So, you owners of the “big macho racing machines” show up for all these races next summer, from Castine to Padanaram, and let’s see how you do against our “cute 39s.” While you brag about the length of your hoist, we just might show you what those mizzens are really good for. (Hint: Mizzen Staysail.) Hank, you said it: “Do what you wish with these facts.” 41s vs. 39s. Best of seven.
Bruce Springsteen, Glory Days
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
A little of the glory of, well time slips away
And leaves you with nothing mister but
Boring stories of glory days
Peter Costa, Shipwright, Triad Boatworks, Mattapoisett, MA
Triad Boatworks in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, is a full service yard with 15 workers. 80% of the boats we care for are glass and 20% are wood. I’d love to have it the other way around, but times being what they are, I’m happy. We service over 200 boats on our 24 acre property. We have forty or so wooden boats and I’d rather have it more wood. We usually have about four Concordias on a regular basis, some winters more. It varies from year to year since some only come very other year. Check out our web site, triadboat.com and we’re also on Facebook.
As a kid I sailed my beetle cat. I grew up on a beetle cat. I grew up in Darmouth, about a half mile from the Concordia Yard. Basically I biked down to the yard to hang around.
My grandfather was a very good carpenter. He did everything from boats to cabinets to homes to repairing looms in the textile industry. He was just very well rounded. He taught me a lot.
For high school I went to vocational school to learn different parts of the trades. They didn’t offer boat building back then. For boat building you had to be taken on by someone. You had to apprentice. I graduated from high school in 1977, then spent a year and half searching for what I wanted to do. After vocational school I tried cabinet shops, I tried house building, I tried a lot of different things, but I still loved the boats.
I ended up talking to Jerry Smith. We were volunteer firemen together. One day Jerry said “You know, I think you’re wasting your time. I think you should come to the boatyard.” I told him I always wanted to be in the boatyard so Jerry gave me a spot at Concordia. It was in 1978 or 1979 when I was there apprenticing. I worked for Bill Pinney, then I worked for Brodie when he bought the place.
It was cool. You had to do a lot of things. They had a lot of neat guys at the boatyard. Arthur Correia was my supervisor and mentor. Arthur was very easy to get along with. A nice man and I guess he saw some potential in me. He taught me a lot. We had five ship’s carpenters at the time, including Arthur, working in the shop so I got to be a gofer in the beginning, a helper, then an equal and then after about ten years I became foreman when Arthur decided to retire. I was with Concordia for 16 years.
I was kind of frustrated and wanted to do something for myself. I would work my daily job, plus I was raising my young family, and I was always at home in the evening building custom furniture or doing carvings for people. I was jobbing at home. I did a lot of ships models, half hulls. I did a lot of carvings for Giffy Full. He would send me drawings and I would do carvings of name boards for boats. I also did a lot of spars.
I moved on from Concordia in 1993 and opened Triad Boatworks. I don't regret a minute of opening Triad. There were some stressful times at the start. Triad stood for the three partners: Seth Kohn, Greg Tuxworth and myself. One partner was Seth Kohn, who was a Concordia owner and a really nice man, but he got sick with cancer.
The other partner was Tux who was fantastic. He was a naval architect and a serious sailor, but he passed away shortly after we started.
You couldn't beat Larry Warner and Tux together. I used to race with them and his brother Doug on Larry’s Harbinger. Jimmy Paine was the only person he had to beat. Tux would just affix himself on Jim Paine every time we were at the ERR. It was “If Jimmy Paine can go over there, so can I.” He’d go along the rocks, along the beaches. But Tux was too smart to be led astray.
When we were up there, Jim Paine was the only target. Everyone else out there, just fine. Larry and Greg had the attitude, “Why bother showing up if you don’t intend to win.” But I was there for fun.
There were some problems with the boats early on. They went from the fractional rig to the masthead rig. The 41s had the steel floors. And their Achilles’ heel was the short mast step and the stem to keel joints. The early boats had broken frames because they were steam bent and because of the sharp turn of the bilge, but that was corrected. I don’t think they were poorly engineered. They’re a pleasure to work on. They’re so well built. The Germans had everything over us as far as craftsmanship on a wooden boat at the time. I think the boats had a few little issues at first, but they worked them out.
The first boats that were built here, the four American boats, were poorly built. Those first boats were built like lobster boats with pocketed keels for the frames that collected water and rotted. I was just never happy with them. I would never own one of them or recommend any of them.
￼Someone told me once that “the Concordias were well designed, well built, but poorly engineered” but I can’t see that. Look at how many Concordias are still left. Why are so many Concordias left? Because they were over engineered and over built, which is a testament to them. If you were to build one like it today, it probably wouldn’t be built as heavy. Now there would be lighter frames, lighter floor timbers, because everyone nowadays is interested in saving weight and then they would then be poorly engineered. It’s a testament to how many years they’ve been around. I don’t think they’re poorly engineered. Look at them.
They had iron floors because they didn’t have stainless steel back then and the Germans didn’t trust the bronze because they thought it was too soft. They had to go with the iron floor. They had no choice.
With the tight turn of bilge, they put in laminated frames and sisters, so that they over compensated which is what has saved these boats.
I replanked Harrier’s deck when I was at Concordia. If you look at Harrier, it was rigged as a cat boat. When I re-did that deck I purposely left the mast partners in. I don’t know of Jesse knew that, but I left it in. This is a big part of her history and I wasn’t going to take it out. I wasn’t going to ask him, I just left it. This was Ray Hunt messing around. I couldn’t believe it at the time that Ray Hunt would rig it as a cat boat.
I’d rather work on a Concordia than any other wooden boat because they’re just a pleasure to work on, such a joy to work on. The joiner work, the way they were fastened, just the shape of them. It’s a pleasure to have sitting in front of you at the workbench. It’s like a love affair. It’s all I want to work on. I don’t want to muck it up too much.
In 35 years nothing has really changed. Some people are getting new decks, some new keels, others fixing broken frames. There’s not too much we haven’t touched with these boats. It’s the same issues. Floor timbers. Horn timbers. It’s just different stuff with different boats all the time. Its a repetition of the same kind of work on all the boats.
We no longer recommend recovering a deck with canvas. Use Dynel or glass cloth and epoxy. There’s a new fiberglass cloth we use that you don’t need to put plywood down on the cabin top. It’s just as strong as the ply. You just put it right on the wood and the wood doesn’t even move. We also use it on the deck but we put down a layer of plywood first because of the added stresses on the hull from the rig.
One nagging issue is the older teak decks with the bungs popping off. They’re worn down and every time you jump up and down on the deck they’ll pop out. We just keep chasing them. When one pops, we pull the screw and drill deeper and rebung. That’ll be going on for a million years until we can totally renew it.
The masts have been fine; they’re holding together. I’m building a mizzen now only because it was exposed to the weather and rotted from outdoor storage. The original masts are fine and we’ve only fixed ones that have broken or cracked from accident, not because of their original construction.
On a plank on frame boat in the United States you would cut a caulking bevel and hammer the caulking in. The Germans had the opportunity of stacking the planks on the boat. They could stack the planks and they had a tool that would crush the grain, and lay in a cotton cord and then white lead and lay that plank on the boat. Then the next one would be placed on top and forced down tight on the first plank. People say there was no caulking, but there was caulking, just not the traditional caulking. If I was to pull a plank off a boat, you would see evidence of the caulking. That’s why they were able to get the hull so tight. We can’t do it that way since we are repairing the planking so we have to put a caulking seam them. The tight seam caused some of the problems because of the tight turn of the bilge. They could have done something different, like conventionally caulk the bottom and tight seam the topsides, but that’s not the way they did it in Germany at that time. It was a production line.
In Germany there might have been two crews of two on each side, which would have made sense in a production system. If we have a big planking job, one fellow is on the bench all the time making the plank and one fellow is putting one plank on and then making the pattern for the next one. That’s the way we used to do to it, here, 25 years ago.
Laying out planking is different for every man doing the job. You don’t want to make the planks too wide, you don’t want to make them too narrow, so you pick an average. Four or five or six inches wide. Start at the bow, work down, dividing. You work from the stern down, dividing. The number is not going to come up the same so the fellow would lay that out and if he had too many planks, then he would put in a stealer plank to make up the difference. You can’t make one plank come out at the top so what you do is make a nice sheer and work your way down. It may take him four tries to divide it up, with rulers, and then they lay out all the planks first and then they start.
A shipwright has to have the job built in his head before he even starts putting on planks. Any woodworking job, you should have it pre-visualized. If I’m building a cabinet in the house and Titia says “What’s it going to look like?”
I say “Don’t worry about it. It’s going to look OK.”
Then she sees it and says “That’s cool. How’d you do that?”
It works because I had it finished in my head before I even started.
And all these guys work the same way. It’s in their head before they even start. It’s a basic carpentry skill. It’s nothing fantastic. You’ll find any tradesman out there has the job built in his head before he starts.
Any trade school will bring you up as a apprentice, teach you that there are certain parameters to follow as you learn. My trade is we’re going to build this boat. We’re going to make it out of this. A quick sketch and you show it to the shipwright and he says “I can do that” and he does it. And all this comes from trade school and from on the job training.
Both my kids have trades. I was big on vocational training. If the whole world falls apart, you have a trade, a skill to fall back on. My daughter is in the medical field and my son is now working here at the yard.
We have a unique hauling program here at Triad. Well, it’s not unique, but we have to drive the boats on to the hydraulic trailers. So the yard foreman takes the boat for a quick spin to make sure all the systems work before it comes out of the water. Once it’s out of the water, it’s too late to make these discoveries. The electronics, the instruments, the bilge pump all get check before it’s hauled. We look at the maintenance, we look for oil in the bilge, dirt in bilge.
It’s basically my check list. We take the boat apart for the winter. All the rigging is inspected by hand. The sails are inspected and sent off to be washed. We look at the varnish. We look at the topsides. Then we clean everything and we power wash the bottom. We take a good look at the hull. We look at everything. The mechanical systems, the water systems, the holding tank systems, all get checked when they’re decommissioned.
We do so much for the owners here. During the decommissioning we look at all the mechanicals to see what’s not working, to see what’s rusty, to determine why it’s leaking. Someone is on the boat doing inspections.
Each worker has a mental of picture of what’s going on. They’re nosey! What can I say? They’re just nosey.
Our mechanics are very thorough and if the engine’s got a rust spot on it they ask. “Why is that rust there?” They figure it out. Does the companionway leak? Is there a loose hose clamp? Stuff like that. We write it down and take photos and send them to the owner. We do a lot of photography and a lot of communicating on line with the owner. The owner is kept abreast of everything we see. We then wait for their work list to see what they want to do. “What do you want to do about this? What do you want to do about that? We found this. We found that.”
We’re not afraid to tell a customer to wait until next year on that because they’re spending a lot of money here on this. It’s just good, wholesome, clear communication. We just communicate. “Do you want to paint it this year? Do you want to wait a year?” We don’t paint a hull every year because of the economy being the way it is, and with the quality of the new paints, we can let it go for two years. A seam might show, but the paint can go every other year. But we varnish every year; two coats. It’s not doing anybody any justice by only putting on one coat. It’s not worth it to do less than two coats.
We use Epifanes which has a great “WOW!” factor. The crew is comfortable with it. We’ve used all of the varnishes. The crew didn’t want to change at first but they had to. We were forced to because the old varnish wasn’t giving us the shine we wanted. Epifanes has a steep learning curve, very steep, but once you’re comfortable with it you never want to use anything else. Steve White (Brooklin Boat Yard) was one of the first to use it and at a boat show he told me it was great. We weren’t getting the results we wanted with anything else. We’ve tried others, but if something works, we stay with it.
The only problems I’ve seen are recently. Someone bought one on impulse but never did the research on maintenance and then freaked out when the bill shows up. But you should not impulse buy a Concordia because the boat yard takes the brunt of the owners ire. Do your research before you buy. If you bought one, you just bought the right to pay the bills. We call them usable art.
Waldo had so many hours to do all the yearly maintenance things, 300 or so each year. It’s about the same today as his estimate, but the hourly wage is not $8 an hour now, so it all adds up. With the price of the boats being what they are now, Waldo’s rule is still true: Every three years you’ve paid for the boat again.
People are not buying them for an investment. They’re not inexpensive to buy. The price has come down on them because of the economy, I believe, which has leveled them a bit, but they’re still holding their value. Concordias are usable art. They’re beautiful and you have to keep the boat up. You paid a lot of money for it, you have good taste because you bought one and you don’t want to loose your investment by letting it go to pot. And the people who own them are..., well..., it’s a good community.
Jeff Makholm, South Dartmouth, MA
End of July. Arapaho is 30 miles off the New Hampshire coast in the late afternoon with the wind in the high 20s and eight to ten foot waves building. She’s at hull speed and at times well over.
What you see behind me is the crest of a ten foot wave that Arapahpo is surfing down at between nine and ten knots. We’re off the wind; hard to steer (look at my grip!). After sunset, some of those waves broke into the cockpit which in a yawl without a bridge deck means a lot of water to drain. At that point my three crew and I had given up the idea of heading into Penobscot Bay in such rough weather in the wee hours so we raced to Portland, arriving there at 1AM.
Queene Foster, Piermont, NY
Misty is my third Concordia yawl, and the sixth wooden boat that I have owned and loved. A few people have asked me why I went and bought a third Concordia and I had to think about it. So far, I have enjoyed fourteen seasons on a Concordia yawl, all of them elegant and adventure-filled.
Right out of college, and with a good friend who seemed game, I bought my first Concordia, the Buckaroo two, No. 78, in 1975. She had been moored in the Chesapeake Bay for 25 years off a magnificent waterfront farm on the eastern Shore. Hayden Brown told us she should be named for an island, like the first Concordias, Java, or Skye, Sumatra or Suva. We named her Matinicus although neither of us had ever been to that isolated and a-social island at that time. I don’t know if Mr. Howland had ever been to the island of Java either. We may have spent more time discussing the best possible name of the new vessel, rather than sufficient time asking about the long-neglected engine maintenance, because the big Mercedes Diesel packed up in the first weeks of our ownership. (Who knew it had two dipsticks? one of which had not been checked in 25 years.) And so the partnership between two old friends didn’t work out. Betsy, as she was known then, bought out my half in a matter of months and I was left ashore, furious.
A year or two went by, and I purchased a house, got a Masters degree, and had no money to buy a nice boat. But I still burned for a Concordia yawl. Suddenly one captured my heart because she was cheap and she was blue; she needed to be saved. Moonfleet had so little varnish on her that I thought she must be made of some other kind of wood. That boat drove me sharply up the learning curve. I learned how to change the water pump under way, strip and varnish section by section, re-cut sails, whip lines, use a sextant and then a Loran. I owned her for ten years and every summer she sailed better than the summer before. My sailing ambitions got grander and I took her to the races just as the classic yacht regattas were getting started.
Looking back at those early races in Newport, it was pretty easy to do well if you just took the trouble to get a good start, set well-fitting sails, and sail the proper course. Fueled by a few good trophies, I took Moonfleet to the races: off Soundings, NBYC Concordia Cup and the 1982 Newport/ Bermuda Race. That was a rough race; we completed the 635 miles at an average speed of 6.5 knots pretty close to theoretical hull speed. I remember every detail of that race, including the tears that came to me lying in my bunk off watch when we lay over in 35 knots headwinds, and I realized we had sailed back into the low-pressure system between us and the finish line off Bermuda. I remember when one of the crew leaped overboard in the Gulf Stream to demonstrate the functionality of his harness. And I remember the box of couscous exploding into the cabin because it got soaked in its locker. That was a wet ride, with plenty of spray flying over the cockpit the whole way across the Stream to Bermuda. I thought she was a little small for the ambitions I now entertained; I don’t know how dan Strohmeier and those guys did the Bermuda Race year after year in their Concordia yawls.... All the more credit and honor to them for sailing the longest hours of the race, through the wettest conditions, soaking even on a sunny day, and with only that tiny bouncy cabin for shelter.
I sold Moonfleet to Greg Carroll who loved the boat and took good care of her. I bought a bigger wooden boat, an Aage Nielsen ketch named Saphaedra, and I owned that boat for 18 years, sailed with a crew of nine to eleven guys, lived aboard with kids in the summer, competed in more Bermuda Races, and sailed trans-Atlantic to race in the Jubilee, but that is another story.
My next step was going to be a phantasmagoria of world sailing, which took me to see a classic wooden yacht, another Aage Nielsen, for sale at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania; I could buy her there and sail a classic Bermuda Race winner home through the Southern ocean....
But as I became older and wiser, I realized that I wanted a boat where I would just feel at home on the water again. I wanted a boat with consistent maintenance history, carefully executed, one that had been “well-owned” and would be easy to sail with intimate crew.
I kept an eye out for a good Concordia yawl.
Before I saw Misty up close I knew she would be a good one, based on her one-family ownership and her consistent history in the fresh water of the Great Lakes. (Thanks McIntosh family!) When I stepped aboard, she looked and smelled as if she had just arrived on the ship from Abeking & Rasmussen in Bremen, Germany. She had clear varnish, crisp edges, pale un-pitted bronze, and the smell of cedar down below. Because I had already owned and loved two Concordia yawls, I already know where the seacocks are, how the rig should rake, and whether I could heft the anchor aboard by myself. Sometimes Misty seems tiny compared to my larger Aage Nielsen ketch; (I have to move two things aside to get to one item I want) but she feels like home. My ambitions are not so grand; just sailing around the islands of Penobscot Bay in fair weather, showing new sailors the joys of setting a staysail and steering with the mizzen. She has been a great source of joy.
Donald Lippoth, SR., South Portland, ME
Next May I will be eighty three years young. Next August Concordia yawls will celebrate their seventy fifth anniversary. Is there any connection? Yes and no.
For as long as I can remember I longed for the ownership of such a sailing beauty. It became an obsession. When I reached age thirty I used every excuse to prowl boatyards and look for a Concordia yawl. Not the biggest boat in the yard but certainly the prettiest boat I had ever seen. Every line, every curve was perfect. I was in and around the Concordia yard so frequently I believe management thought I was an employee.
It was therefore no surprise to anyone who knew me that I was finally able to realize my long held dream and I bought my first Concordia. The boat was the ex-Rusta IV that had been blown over the causeway during a hurricane. It was sister ribbed at the yard and was sitting in the shed, kind of sad looking when I bought her. The boys, I, and anyone else I could corral, took it apart piece by piece, stripped, varnished, and painted to it to its original luster. After ten years I sold the boat and bought my second Concordia yawl, newer, with a diesel motor, which I named Woodwind. While the boys were growing up we worked on and maintained this boat together to the highest standards. When the boys left I found the boat had to go. Too much maintenance for one and a time for heartbreak since I was starting a new business and something had to give. I felt it was like a death in the family.
Fast forward 40 years and my youngest son, Donald Jr., started talking about buying a Concordia. I was willing to help him get a boat bigger than his 30-foot Sabre. My strong suggestion was fiberglass, since he had no “slave” children like I did. His response was very positive:
“No, thank you. I’m going to buy a burnt-out and insurance- totaled Concordia.”
“Are you crazy?” I objected.
“No dad,” he said,“ just in love.”
“What you are in love with, son, is a long-gone memory,” I interjected. “And your wife will not like you having a wooden mistress.”
“It’s a done deal, pop.”
I was incredulous. “oh Lord, what have I done?” My son is following in my footsteps.
I found, one year later, that I couldn’t help getting caught up in the process. The cabin top has been removed and all beams have been repaired and painted. A new cabin side is in and the burnt deck portion has been repaired. Mizzen mast, main boom, mizzen boom are almost complete. The main mast has been spliced. From the head forward it has been all varnished. A new Yanmar 30 hp diesel is ready to be installed. The enthusiasm is palpable in the newly constructed shed where the floor is covered with chipped wood which is kept wet to prevent the hull from opening up. Surprise, Cheryl is not jealous of this mistress and the time and money she demands. She is cleaning and varnishing everything that stands still.
Donald plans to sail Abaco to the birthday bash in Padanaram. I was so convinced that he would not be able I made a foolish bet to make the schedule, I made a foolish bet. Something like kissing him, you know where, in front of a crowd, on the dock, at the reunion. I have been helping him do the light grunt work and I am now convinced that the date will be met. Question; do I help him meet the date, or sabotage the project? When finished, Abaco will be better than her age would indicate and almost as good as brand new.
As Waldo Howland said to me after the three year restoration of my original Concordia “It’s great to see the gold plater back to her old self. Congratulations” as he handed me an autographed picture of the boat when new. I am now convinced Abaco will be welcomed to the proud fleet of Concordia yawls as a gold plater.
P.S. Anyone having a club footed jib they would like to sell, I, Donald Sr., would like to buy it since I’m not into grinding winches anymore.
P.P.S. Anyone needing a solid, rebuilt, “lugger” motor contact email@example.com.
Rob DesMarais, Clinton, AK
Number 9 looked so promising to get back to her former glory! Sorry folks but it looks like she must go because of this divorce. After 16 years of waiting for some care she was moved, covered and patiently dismantled and documented. 15 pairs of frames were made starting aft continuing up to the engine bed. Paul Rollins made a new keel timber, forefoot, deadwood and all aft midline components. I am looking for any reasonable offers to most likely be presented to the judge. It could also go to auction or I could part it out, as a last resort. I did contact IYRS to see about donating it but they weren’t interested in a big project. Feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an interest or if you have ideas.
Chuck Thompson, Columbia, SC
As indicated in the last newsletter, I am the proud owner of Mary Ellen formerly Mary Ann. I decided to name her after my long-suffering wife who is a bit new to this sailing business and perhaps could use the encouragement of having the boat named after her. Since the last newsletter, I have started on the restoration and know more now about what the boat will need. I decided to start with frame and floor repair in the stern and move forward. After that, I will address the backbone work. I have heard Mary ellen saw some rough service over the years and I certainly see evidence of that. She has a lot of broken frames. Most breaks (so far) occur under the bilge stringer or clamp. There have been at least three rounds of extensive sistering in Mary ellen not counting the Concordia recall. Some efforts were better executed than others. I began in March with the transom frame. In general, if I get to a frame that has two cracks or more I am replacing the entire frame. But I extended one sister and replaced another as exceptions to my rule.
I’ve experimented with several ways to repair frames. I have limited space to work in because I am trying not to remove any part of the deck or interior. The bilge stringer, shear clamp and beam shelf are very much in the way. I found it impossible to drive in steam-bent solid oak. Laminating a frame in place is just a mess and I don’t like how the lamination has to “splay” forward to match the curve of the hull. And it is difficult to make a sister that is laminated in place look nice. So my method is to use the sticker approach and then transfer the pattern to bending jigs. Even though I am laminating, I like to steam bend the pieces before glue up. I think this makes the glue-up process easier and I can use thicker pieces. After letting the pieces cool overnight, I glue them up on the same jig setup and cut the bevels on my bandsaw. Then comes fitting and grinding with my Festool grinder. I love the Festool grinder because it allows for dust capture.
Despite oak’s somewhat negative reputation with epoxy, I’ve decided to glue it with GFlex. I feel that enough professionals have had enough positive experience with this combination to justify confidence in it. The only difference in using oak as opposed to other woods is to wipe down the pieces with alcohol and do a quick sand with rough paper to give the GFlex some tooth to hang onto to. In the beginning, I tested a number of pieces and have never gotten a failure along the glue line. Of course, tests over time are a more important indicator of success but others have done that. I’m using oak because it was obtainable as seasoned wood and has great strength and rot resistance. I have already received the seasoned timbers I will need for the deadwood and stern post replacements with extra board feet for floor and frame replacement.
As of this writing, I replaced four frames under the aft deck, three sisters, and four floors. I did have to disassemble the cockpit somewhat to get under the deck. It’s a tight fit under there! Mary ellen’s original Graymarine had to come out to give me access under the cockpit. I had to build a little derrick in the boat shed to get the engine out. I was pleased with how well it worked and made removal a one-man job (an important requirement for me).
A couple of unexpected issues have popped up. The first of these is a rather deep crack in the keel timber that runs from the engine area all the way to the mast step. It runs through three ballast bolts and goes almost 4" deep at the deepest. I think this is indicating a keel timber replacement but I’ve gotten conflicting advice. When I get the garboards off, I will know more. The other issue was initially a mystery. Several clues combined to solve it. Three floors above the sternpost had big gaps between the floor and the top of the sternpost/ cheek pieces. The biggest was almost an inch. The planks in this area has 1⁄4" gaps between their ends and the rabbet in the sternpost and the bottom of the sternpost was pulled away from the deadwood in a wedge-shaped manner. What was going on here? Most likely, the horn timber and stern post developed a banana shape upward because of excessive backstay tension over the years. Sternpost replacement is on the project list so I plan to correct this bend when I get that area of the boat disassembled. Another mystery has to do with the head door but I’ll save that for a future article.
So that’s where I am right now. Up next is to finish frame and floor repair under the cockpit and in the engine and cabin areas. I suspect some cabin interior disassembly is going to be necessary to get to those frames. There is a chance that only the lower portions of the frames in the cabin need attention. I have a particular technique in mind for how to deal with this.
It would be so nice to sail Mary ellen home for the 75th reunion. There is an outside possibility it might happen but I have to admit the odds are against me. I’m well aware that boat work always takes more time than one expects.
Happy Sailing Everyone.
Douglas Adkins, Seattle, WA
This year marks the start of our fourth decade with Coriolis and we had two very pleasant cruises at the front and back of the Summer. Our first was with the Pacific Northwest Station of the CCA where we enjoyed the American San Juan Islands with about 25 other boats, including doug and Margie Cole on Irene. Capt. Cole is a very entertaining fellow to cruise with and we had a great time. The weather in early May was sunny, warm and spectacular but, alas, very little wind emerged...the common plight of sailors in good weather in the Northwest.
In early September we headed to Vancouver and the Inner Harbor to join with the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, the New York Yacht Club and the Seattle Yacht Club in a wonderful cruise-in-company to Desolation Sound. We again found either light air or breeze on our nose but we visited great spots like Prideaux Haven, Dent Island, Hole-in-the Wall and the Octopus Islands. The timing of tides is always interesting. Our only weather challenge was 25 to 35kt southeasterlies as we tried coming home from the SYC outstation on Cortes Island, winds which banged up our headsail a bit but all is now back together.
We will soon bring Coriolis back to Portage Bay for vanish and her winter cover and try to finish up the tie-rod system which I have been working on but 21 is not yet quite completed. More about that in the next newsletter.
As we all know, there is nothing like a Concordia folding berth, that world renowned fixture of all Concordia Yawls (and sloops). It keeps you snug at sea. It folds away fully made-up, ready for the next deployment with an easy swing. It provides, in its non-sleeping pose, the perfect seatback. It has been copied and revered for decades, amazingly still incorporated into designs to this day. Yet, its fond embrace can sometimes be a little too much. For those sleepers who like to toss and turn easily, particularly on a warm night, a Concordia bunk can grip in a way that sometimes makes a flatter and wider platform pretty appealing. Coriolis is equipped with a modification that exists, I believe, on a few of the boats and provides an alternative. The port seat back looks just like every other bunk (Picture 1, top) but it is hinged at the top rather than the bottom (Picture 2) and lifts up to fully expose the seat itself, affording a wider and flatter sleeping surface (Picture 3, middle). Furthermore, the seat itself is designed with a sliding feature that extends into the centerline about 10 inches (Picture 4).
Taken from the outboard edge and fully extended the bunk is a cozy double or a very ample single berth. Coriolis is a 41' but I think there would be little if any difference on a 39'10". Our boat had this configuration installed by Concordia in 1980 just prior to the time when we bought her. In concert with our folding table the extended bunk still allows enough room to pass forward from the galley to the head. (Picture 5, bottom) Also, by lifting up we allow for easy access to the storage behind the bunk. We have not fitted a cloth of corduroy behind the seat back but that could easily be done.
So, “Make mine a double,” as they say. For certain sleepers, alone or together, this might just be the ticket.
Jeff Gonsalves and J. Arvid Klein, Darien, CT
The track and traveler car were made by Harken and the control blocks, end cars, bronze cam cleats, and mainsheet block were all made by JM Reineck in Hull, MA. Jim Reineck has not yet made a bronze cam cleat as big as the one needed for the mainsheet block but it is on the drawing board, so we must wait. I found the action of the bronze blocks to actually exceed that of the standard Harken blocks! We’ve been very happy with the outcome this past year, though it was not without its hurdles getting it all done.
Bruce Flenniken, Newton, MA
Sadly, Principia only saw the water this year in order to swell her new planks for a few weeks. Surprisingly, the only leakage was from the stuffing box being slightly under tightened. Who knew that new planking could be so secure? After her re-launch, she will be beautifully present at the 2013, 75th reunion and possibly at some or all of the reunion cruise. That story will be for the next issue.
Eunice and Jay Panetta, Manchester, MA
We installed a PSS shaft seal several years ago. Among the selling points of these units: they require little maintenance or adjustment, and also do away with the drip of the stuffing box, meaning less water in the bilge. But it turns out that the PSS is by no means failure-proof. We ordinarily have a very dry bilge, but one day in mid-October, I heard the bilge pump run twice while powering back into the harbor. A quick peek revealed that with the boat in gear, a great quantity of water was coming in at the forward end of the PSS bellows. I found that the 3mm set screws on the stainless steel shaft ring (which makes the seal with the rubber bellows) had loosened up. The ring had walked forward, the bellows had kept extending forward, and soon it was maxed out and there was no longer a surface for it to bear on. So water was pouring in when the shaft was turning, and continued to come in (at a lesser rate) even with the engine off. This is something that no boat owner ever wishes to see.
It was a quick job to move the collar back the required 3/4” and retighten the set screws—though the spring in the bellows is quite strong and difficult to compress, and one needs the right tools for this task. Do note also that each threaded hole in the ring contains two set screws, a bottom screw that bears on the shaft and another that threads down on top and is intended as a safety screw.
In sum, it’s now entirely clear that those little 3mm allen screws have full responsibility for keeping the boat from sinking. So at minimum they ought to be checked and re- torqued on a regular schedule. And there is, remarkably, no fail-safe mechanism in this utterly vital system. One might well consider adding (as we have now done) another collar, clamp, zinc, or some such on the shaft, forward of the existing ring and tight to it, to ensure that the ring cannot move forward and lead to a failure of the seal. Every Concordia owner (and in fact, every boat owner) with this setup has the same issue.
Clint Lively, Annapolis, MD
Due to life’s demands, Clint and Martha Lively have reluctantly decided to sell Persephone. Having raised their two sons sailing from Maine to New York from adolescents to adulthood Persephone has passed on a love of offshore sailing and beautiful boats. She recently won “Best Sailboat in Show” at St. Michaels Antique Boat Show.
If you know of someone looking for an impressive Concordia with new Yanmar diesel and structurally sound, please contact Clint Lively 609-275-0618. She is easy to see in Annapolis, Maryland.
James Cosgrove, Liverpool, NY
Summer, 2012, on Lake ontario surpassed our highest sailing expectations, but with just one exception-very low water levels throughout the season. Day after day, fair weather and favorable winds continued to make for some perfect cruising and lazy afternoons “out and about,” all with a cautious eye on the depth gauge.
We were proud to again receive a winning award at the 48th Annual Antique Boat Show & Auction at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, N.Y. in the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River. The judges scored Yankee 95 points out of a perfect 100. We were presented a similar award at the 2007 show. The judging system at the annual Antique Boat Show in Clayton￼is under strict guidelines of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. The system ensures “that the highest degree of authenticity, workmanship and maintenance is maintained on a consistent basis.” A total of 100 points is the highest possible score for each boat entered. We lost three points for a couple of small wrinkles in the canvas covering on her deck and cabin roof, while some flawed varnish on her upper cabin molding cost two points.
In the many boat shows I have entered at Clayton since my first in 1994 (a 1931 jib-topsail sloop I restored) the judges have never failed to impress. Their demeanor is professional and courteous. Each is ACBS trained and certified. They hail from ACBS chapters around the U.S. and Canada.
At this writing, the boat has been hauled out, with her spars now shelved alongside, and resting inside her winter storage shed at Katlynn Marina in Sodus Point, N.Y.
Already, we’re hard at work on the usual maintenance details, aiming to correct, of course, those five points deducted at the Antique Boat Show.
Michael and Gale Gropp of Bellingham, Washington, have purchased Kodma, No. 46, from Steward and denny Mcdougall. Welcome.
John Eide, Portland, ME
In the last issue I mentioned that I was about to install an Air Head composting marine toilet in Golondrina. I did and this is one of the best changes I have made to the boat. The installation and the head’s use could not be simpler, more effective or satisfying. No more smell, no more hassle with hoses and tanks and pumps and chemicals and deodorizers.
The Air Head is a bit bigger than the average marine toilet which means the base needs to be raised about 2.5" so one can get one’s knees in with the door closed. I twisted the unit on the base so it’s facing slightly forward, rather than athwartship.
An initial dilemma was what to do with the sink drain. Some calculations taken from the construction drawings showed me that the sink drain could be piped directly to the original 1.5" seacock without any back siphoning. The sink drains well and there has been no sign of water flowing in.
The Air Head works because, unlike most composting toilets, it separates the solid from the liquid waste. With the two wastes separated, there is no smell. Also, the Air Head has a constantly running fan drawing fresh air into the unit while drawing moisture out. This, apparently, is the secret to the fast composting and no odor. I know. This sounds like an ad for Air Head but I have no vested interest in the company. It just works far beyond any expectations I had.
A friend, a wooden boat, but not a Concordia, owner, also pondered an Air Head installation last winter, so all spring Jim and I were emailing and phoning each other as we worked out the details of our installations. We met at the ERR, checked out each others installation, and came to the conclusion that there is a different atmosphere in the head now. We could not put a concrete definition on what was going on other than there was no smell and the “atmosphere” was different.
The vent has to be piped to the outside and I’ve currently done this by running the hose out through the smoke hood. Golondrina did not come with a cabin heater, another story, so that was a good, but temporary fix. This winter I plan on creating a separate vent, aside and outboard of the smoke hood since I also plan on installing a cabin heater.
The other issue is the drain on the electrical system from the small computer fan. If one uses the boat constantly, the drain is not an issue. I did not use Golondrina for the month of September so when I went aboard, the battery had dropped from 12.6v to 12v. This drain can be dealt with by installing a tiny, about a foot square, solar collector that is plugged into a cigarette lighter socket. Another solution would be to install a larger solar collector that will keep the entire system constantly charged. Or, just use the boat on a regular basis and don’t worry about it. The word is that the Nicro day/night solar vents are not an option since two cloudy days means you’re in trouble. And they’re ugly.
The cost of an Air Head is comparable to a top end conventional marine toilet. When I mentioned this to another friend who is restoring a 55' sloop and will eventually be installing two heads, he balked at the cost. I then added up an entire, from scratch, conventional marine head system with all the through hulls, seacocks, hoses, pumps, Y valves, and holding tank. To replace what was on Golondrina, with a toilet comparable to the original Wilcox, the cost would be about $1,800, or twice the cost of the Air Head.
If you are interested, contact Cym Hughes at Strouts Point Wharf Company, email@example.com, identify yourself as a Concordia owner, and Cym will give you a 10% discount on the purchase of an Air Head.
In the past year I’ve discovered that a few owners of non-yawl Ray Hunt and Bill harris designed boats are subscribers to this newsletter and that at least two yawl owners also own Concordia designed boats. I’ve invited them to submit their stories, if they so desire.
I think most of us at this point are aware of the large Ray Hunt ocean racing schooner designs as well as some of the smaller and extremely beautiful day sailors he produced. One of those designs, Kestrel, is being beautifully restored at Strout’s Point in Maine and you can see some photos below.
One of the unsung figures, I feel, of the pre-war Concordia design office is Wilder B. Harris who is responsible for the rig design of the original yawls. Ray drew the hull, then worked with Bill Harris, Waldo and Llewellyn to work out the final yawl sail plan.
Harris created the series of comfortable cruising sloops starting with the 28 (one built), then the 31 (about a dozen built and a new one in construction) before drawing up the 33 (three built) as the (rejected) replacement for the “old man’s” Escape. I’ve always been fond of this series of boats because before Golondrina I owned Jeanne, the last of this series, a little 25’ LOA sloop that he drew in 1940. She’s a sweet little boat with a huge main sail and is faster than one would imagine. Unfortunately, she is on the hard right now in need of some TLC. See the September 2012 issue of WoodenBoat for her details.
So I’ve invited the owners to submit their stories. In a future issue I will be talking to Jon Wilson, owner of Free Spirit, the first 33, about the life and work of Bill Harris.
Created in 1947 for Dr. Harry Forbes, Kestrel is a Ray Hunt design that was drafted with the help of Concordia’s Miller Nichols and built by Bud McIntosh. She is 31' in length with a beam of 8', draws 4' 6" and has a mast length of 40'. For the past 27 years she has been owned by Guilliaem “Rusty” Aertsen of Massachusetts. For the past three years, Strouts Point has been maintaining Snow Bird, Rusty’s 39' 10" Concordia yawl.
After speaking about the extensive work needed on Kestrel, Rusty and I got together and hatched a plan for an overhaul. Strouts Point began work on Kestrel on June 6th of this year. The project commenced with the removal of all deck and cockpit hardware and trim. While the boat had minimal structural problems below the cockpit sole, we removed the cockpit entirely in order to access the hull interior and to block fresh water from entering the seating area. We reconstructed the top of the stem, cabin sides, cabin front and main bulkhead. After refastening what was left of the existing plywood decks and cabin top, we replaced what was rotted and then re-covered the decks with 3 millimeter plywood and dynel cloth. The engine, plumbing and running gear have all been removed for an update, which will include a new electrical system, exhaust, seacocks, shaft and fuel tank.
Kestrel will sail out of South Freeport this coming summer. Until then, we will keep you informed as her restoration progresses.
More about Kestrel can be found in Waldo’s book, A Life in Boats: The Concorida Years, pages 268ff.
I’m retired and getting old and I daysailed a few times this summer. I have owned this nice boat since 1974. Star Dust, the first Concordia 31, is kept in Stonington, CT, and is well looked after at dodson Boatyard. I wish I could still do lots of cruising!
More about Star Dust can be found in A Life in Boats: The Concorida Years, pages 235ff.
Many of us who have owned or been involved with Concordias for any length of time had contact with Jerry Smith. Sadly, Jerry passed away September 19, 2012, at age 69, following an 81⁄2-year battle with cancer. The following was taken from his obituary.
“Born in Biddeford, Maine in 1943, a descendant of yacht captains and builders, Jerry’s own passion for boats began while cruising with his family on the Maine coast in their Friendship-style sloop Volunteer. The family moved to Hingham, Massachusetts in 1951 and cruised from there in Volunteer and later in their Hinckley yawl Tern. The family purchased Jerry’s iconic Peapod sailing and rowing dinghy in 1952, and until failing health made it impossible, Jerry avoided motorized harbor transport in favor of rowing himself.
“As a young man Jerry worked as a professional yacht skipper, and in so doing met the love of his life, Sarah-Anne “Sammy” (Morton) Smith of Westport, whose brother Jimmy was also a skipper. From Hingham Jerry’s family moved to Padanaram in 1961. Jerry and Sammy married in 1964 and settled in the Village to raise their family.
“Jerry was a graduate of Hingham High School and Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute, now UMASS Dartmouth, where he received his bachelor’s degree in business in 1968. He managed the New Bedford Yacht Club and in 1976 went on to serve as general manager of Concordia Company for two decades. His time at Concordia was the most rewarding of his professional life, allowing him to support his family while engaged in his life’s passion: “messing around in boats.” Whatever it took to get the job done Jerry did it all, with his signature puff on a pipe and nary a sign of dismay aside from an occasional, single raised eyebrow.
“In his retirement years Jerry kept a small number of private yacht service clients. Puttering around the yard at Marshall Marine, smoking his pipe and sharing a lifetime of yachting wisdom, he was a beloved fixture to staff and sailors alike.”
Tom Kiley, Rockport, ME
We now have eight Concordias in the sheds with the addition of eagle, a 41' yawl. I remember the day she was delivered, named Geisha Girl, to a friend of my dad's in Osterville, MA, in 1962.
The only “big” job so far is Off Call which is getting a new dynel deck. This work means taking off all the deck furniture including the toe rails. The house top is getting the same treatment. All varnish is being wooded and coamings are being replaced. Above and beyond that, the spars have been wooded and all the steel hardware is off for re-galvinizing. The wood shell blocks with steel internal parts will be replaced with bronze. Last year she had her topsides splined and a diesel engine installed. I guess one can say she will be better than new in the spring.
Don Lippoth passed on a great trick two summers ago. He gave me a few feet of EPDM Seam Tape - a roll material used in the roofing industry to join seams in rubber roofing. It’s a six inch wide roll that is self-adhering, sticks well to the mast but will remove easily without leaving a trace or pulling up varnish.
I cut two pieces, stretching one from back to front, pulling it firmly to conform to the shape of the mast, wedges and bronze ring. The second piece is stretched from front to back, overlapping the first. The canvas boot then covers this black seam tape so nothing is visible.
This is NOT what roofers call “bitch-a-thane,” a tape that is used at the eaves. That appropriately named stuff will never come off without pulling up layers of varnish with it.
EPDM Seam Tape should be available at a roofing supply place or just stop at a roofing job site and ask for a few feet of scrap.
In the last issue I relayed the story of Jesse Bontecou getting the neck of Harrier’s christening bottle of wine. Since then, I’ve received the complete story
Carl J. Verderber
Recently, and having no idea what a Concordia Class Keel boat was, nor who C. Raymond Hunt had been, I was involved in a puzzling story which turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to return an artifact from the christening of the harrier to its rightful place.
The journey started when a forgotten object came into my possession from a small cache of interesting old bottles I had collected. I lost all recollection of acquiring it. As a broken champagne bottle neck goes, this one was not that exceptional but for a rolled up piece of paper stuffed inside. Unfolding the curled page from a desk memo pad revealed the documentation of an historic event. Even I, who had no involvement in sailing, understood the importance of this artifact.
If it were not for the easy access to the Internet, this story would have had a very different outcome. I searched for harrier and found the story of the boat’s building, the builder’s name and the present owner, Jesse Bontecou. Luckily Jesse lives in an adjacent town just 20 miles away. A quick look-up of his farm phone number and a message was left to contact me. While waiting, I used the days to do more research on this broken bottle, harrier and the Hunt family.
Once Jesse called me he was able to provide the information I needed to make some connection with the Hunt family and just how I became keeper of this artifact. Jesse told me Kate Hunt was 15 years old when the family christened harrier on July 14, 1955, in Germany. He also told me he purchased the boat one year later from C. Raymond Hunt, the boat’s designer. Still asking Jesse and myself “Why do I have something that belongs with harrier?” He said he didn’t know and that he’s “never seen the bottle before.” Then something was said about Kate Hunt, that she and her husband dave were in the Red Hook area at one time working for a small religious college, a seminary. Suddenly the question was answered. I work at a small religious college in Red Hook, New York and knew a Kate and a david who had quickly left the college years ago to become missionaries in an African country.
Yes, it seems the Kate I know is the same fifteen year old Kate Hunt who christened harrier and had, through all those years, kept this piece of history close to her but somehow lost track of the item while moving. Her father, C. Raymond Hunt, would have been pleased to know she kept it safe. I remembered that I was charged with emptying Kate’s family storage of unneeded articles. Somehow I came across this piece of history and didn’t discard it. Why? Maybe the quiet voice of a fifteen year old whispered to me from 50 years away ... “keep this for me - save this bottle!”
Eventually the artifact was handed off to Jesse who promised that the christening bottle will never leave harrier’s protection. And as for Kate, I was told she and her husband are making a good life in Australia and enjoying themselves.
It took ten years to understand how 15 year old Kate Hunt, C. Raymond Hunt, Jesse, harrier and the bottle connected together and now I know.
When I got the above, I asked Ray’s son to comment.
I have nothing really to add other than the family, except for Papa, really did not know how to sail very well at the time so what a true credit to the design and to CRH. A true feat indeed. I was fortunate to be the only family member that sailed with him on a very consistent basis over the years-certainly maybe over 80% of the time. The incredible’s were the 1960 olympics, the World’s in 1963 and two America’s Cup attempts in Easterner in 1958 and 1962, and all the others.