James M. Cosgrove, Liverpool, NY
Yankee and hearties enjoy a Lake Ontario romp.
An exceptionally mild northern New York winter has allowed more than the usual time to dedicate our hours to primping Yankee for the approaching sailing season.
As temperatures climbed, multiple fresh coats of Flagship Varnish were lavished on her brightwork. Her deck received a maintenance coat of Sundown Buff, all bringing out the best as she returns into her element - and her 56th year. Since Yankee is now looking more Bristol than ever, we’ve already entered the internationally known 48th Annual Antique Boat Show & Auction, Friday August 3 through Sunday August 5, 2012, at the Antique Boat Museum, Clayton, N.Y. in the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River. Back in 2007, Yankee was awarded “Best in Sail” at that event and we’re hoping to garner a repeat trophy in 2012.
This season will mark our 13th year owning this magnificent yacht. As I have confessed so very often to friends and Yankee’s admirers, “She owns me” and has become a way of life! I am merely Yankee’s steward and caretaker.
Happy sailing to all her sisters alike!
John Eide, Portland, ME
Racing at the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta
You’ve already noticed a new look, yet again. When I was in college, I made a number of banjos. Then adult life took over so the parts for two unfinished ones were put in a drawer where they’ve remained for over 40 years. About a month ago a colleague of mine, the head of the graphic design department at the college where I taught until I retired a few years ago, mentioned that she’s like to learn how to play the banjo.
“Hey! I’ll assemble and give you one of these banjos if you help me tweak the design of the newsletter” I blurted out faster than I can tack Golondrina up the Swan’s Island shore on an incoming tide during the ERR.
“It’s a deal!” was her immediate response.
I expected her to spend a few minutes showing me the ins and outs of the vast hidden resources in InDesign. I would have been happy with that. Instead we spent a number of hours discussing the design of the boats, the philosophy of you, the owners, the golden era wooden boats and much more, all while I learned how easy InDesign really can make this process. I hope you like it. I hope her husband and kids like listening to her learn Scruggs Style on her new banjo.
Inside are the usual stories of restorations, cruising tales, and introductory notes from three new owners. We welcome them to the fleet.
As I mentioned in the last issue, I wanted to do an article in this issue on racing Concordias. As I gathered the information, I wondered what it was like to race our boats in the major offshore races of the ‘50s and ‘60s when the Concordias first made their mark in the record books. So I contacted Jesse Bonticou, owner of Ray Hunt’s personal 41, harrier, and chatted with him at length to mine his vast collection of stories about the 13 Bermuda races and who can count how many other races he has done.
Tied in with the racing article is an interview I did with Joe Mello, who has been rigging our boats since the late ‘70s. This chat with Joe is the first of a series of interviews I want to do with the craftsmen and women who keep our boats working and looking like the functional works of art that they are. In the next issue I will talk with the shipwright Peter Costa followed by a painter and/or varnisher, a sailmaker, and perhaps a systems expert.
Bruce Flenniken, Principia, has been a positive critic of the Concordian since I took over, pushing me to move into new territory, for which I thank him. one of his suggestions is that we create an index of the content of all the archived Concordians on the Concordia Company web site. This will allow a new owner, or any one of us, to enter the index to discover how someone did a restoration or how one navigated to Bermuda or whatever. Bruce felt that if a number of owners each took three or four issues, the job could be spread out and less burdensome. If you’re interested, contact me and I’ll pass your willingness on to Bruce.
Finally, the 75th Anniversary is only one year away. Check out the series of events that are being created around this celebration, add your suggestions and volunteer your time and energy so we can make this an unforgettable landmark event.
I contacted a few of the owners to get pointers on what it takes to successfully race in the Classic Series, or any race, for that matter.
Larry Warner has been sailing and racing harbinger, quite successfully, since 1978. He offers the following:
“Read the sailing instructions and honor the marks.
“Have good sails and get a good crew - people who know that they’re doing. You drive the boat and the crew calls sail trim and calls wind shifts. The boats are too big for one person to do it all, so you need an experienced crew to help call the shots. All the skipper has to think about is focusing on keeping the boat moving. A heavy old sled like a Concordia needs to be kept moving because it will not sail itself well.
“There’s nothing special about tuning the rig on a Concordia for racing. They’re skinny boats and lightly built so you don’t want to put extra load on the lowers or do anything to induce a pre-bend. Keep the mast straight and in column. We will tighten the backstay with a large lever screw, but that’s the only thing we do. They’re simple to race. Clean all excess weight out of the bilge.”
Ben and Anne Niles are perennial competitors in the Classic Races on their boat, Allure. Ben grew up sailing small boats, including the Ray Hunt designed 110, and still competes in an occasional dinghy race at the Harriseeket Yacht Club.
“My suggestions are mostly along the lines of not overlooking the basics, the same as on any boat. Make sure the gear you have is working and that the crew knows how to use it before the start. A little practice on maneuvers like spinnaker sets, jibes and take-downs is a good thing.
“Know where the starting line is and how much time it will take you to get there on time. Sail where the wind is, or to where you think it is going to be. Try to stay focused, calm and polite. You don’t need to do a lot of race-specific set-up to get out there on the line and have some fun.”
Bruce Schwab, the first American to finish the Vendee Globe non-stop solo around the world race in his open 60 Ocean Planet has raced at the ERR a few times on Golondrina. He told me:
“One thing I like about sailing a classic boat is that you don’t have to hike so hard. You have more time to think tactically and it’s just more relaxing to sail. On a fast boat, the speed gained from sail trim is much greater so you have to be on top of it. You can also wear more hats on a classic boat and be more involved with more things since you are sailing a bit slower. On a high performance boat, each crew member has to be specialized and focus on the specific task.”
When I asked him what he brought to Golondrina, he said “A guitar! It fit right in but it wouldn’t on a high performance boat.”
“I’ve raced a lot of different boats, bigger and smaller, so racing a classic is not that much different. There are a lot of modern racer-cruisers out there that aren’t that much different that a Concordia 39 considering all the time that’s past since they were designed. There’s a bigger difference between a modern ultralight racer and a modern racer-cruiser than there is between a Concordia 39 and a modern racer-cruiser. The design issues were the same for the modern designer as they were back then for Ray Hunt. But he could make a nice interior. The contemporary materials have made a difference, but compared to a lot of modern boat, a Concordia measures up pretty good.”
In gathering information for these articles on racing your Concordia, I had a chat with Chris Wick who is responsible for determine each boat’s handicap rating. The system in use for all the classic boat races on the east coast is the Classic Rating Formula. The CRF takes each boat’s Length over All (LOA) and waterline length (LWL) which are averaged to create one Length (L) dimension. The L figure is then adjusted for the boat’s Beam and Draft. These four measurements are a good indication of a boat’s hull shape as well as its potential speed. Displacement is requested in order to help categorize boats.
The basic assumption is that most of our boat were created during the period when the CCA rules were the standard. The CCA rules encouraged boat with modest overhangs combined with drafts and beams that were not extreme. In other words, the CCA rule encouraged good, solid, sea kindly offshore cruising boats, like ours. Ray Hunt had an eye on the CCA rule when he designed the Concordia 39 hull, but he did not take advantage of the rule. The 41, however, was a hull form that he tweaked to rate better under the mid 1950s CCA rule.
Once the hull form has been entered into the equation, the sail area and the rig type are factored in with the understanding that certain rig types are more efficient than others. Next, adjustments are made depending on whether the boat is a racer/cruiser, like our Concordias, which gets a 3% credit, or a traditional, heavy cruising boat which is given a 7% credit, or a work boat, like a Friendship Sloop, which gets a 15% credit. Boats designed as racing boats, such as a NY 30 or a Q or R boat get no credit. Spirit of tradition boats are given a penalty due to their underwater hull form and lighter, on average, displacement.
Mizzen staysails (our secret weapon!) are not penalized but staysails flown ahead of the main mast are and may not be set unless a spinnaker is also set. A fractional rig may fly a masthead ‘chute but the increase in sail area will be factored in to the overall rating.
The first classic boat race was the Opera House Cup in 1972 and Chick Walsh created a rating system that paralleled the CCA rule. The Museum of Yachting started their classic regatta which had its own handicap system. In the early 1990s Chris Wick codified the various systems into the CRF which has become the standard for all the classic races on the east coast. Go to any of the classic regatta sites and you will find the link to the CRF measurement sheet.
Jesse Bontecou, Jamestown, RI
We summered in Mantunuck, RI, and at age 10 my father bought a 12 foot sailboat which I sailed in the tidal pond behind the shore. I sailed that until I was 14 or 15. Then my dad rented a 35 foot sloop which we sailed with friends until I went to the New York State Maritime Academy. I shipped out for a few months, then I thought I should go to college so I entered Yale, but I left after two months and returned to the family farm where I had grown up. I’ve been sailing ever since. I’ve raised my kids on harrier and on charter boats and I also did a lot of sailing with Tom Watson on his Palawansincluding to Labrador and Churchill. I also helped him move his boats from the Caribbean to Maine and did a passage from Portugal to Cape Horn. I did at least four Atlantic crossing on an 82’ schooner.
Ray Hunt was my first wife’s uncle. I did my first Bermuda race on Ray’s 53 foot ketch ZARA with him in the early 1950s before I got harrier. I also sailed with him on a chartered schooner. I joined him and his family at Cowes for the race week when Harrier won six firsts. We broke a bronze Merriman turnbuckle that was a bad casting in the Fastnet race and had to drop out. I bought harrier from Ray the next year.
Ray Hunt raced with us on harrier two or three times to Bermuda. Ray had a sense for weather. We were in one Bermuda race, sailing in 25 knots of wind with a #2 genoa and a reef in the main when the wind died. Ray was below, came on deck and told us to scavenge the sails immediately. Scavenge was a peculiar Ray Hunt term meaning to simply drop the sails. Within five minutes the wind shift 180 degrees and hit at 40 knots. I asked him how he knew and he mentioned that he was watching the clouds out the hatch and knew that something was coming because they were moving in the opposite direction. Another time we were in the gulf Stream returning from Bermuda. We had the storm jib and trisail up with 70 knot winds at 2400, and Ray said to get out of the Stream. We did and by 0800 we had the full main and genny up and were sailing in great weather.
In an Off Sounding race, we were drifting toward a buoy. No wind. Ray asked us to put the spinnaker up, but to do it without any of the other boats seeing us do it and to get the pole ready. We drifted around the buoy and within 30 seconds we got it up and set and the wind came up and we won by 15 minutes. I asked him how he knew the wind was going to fill in and from where and he said he had looked over at the beach and saw a flag flowing so he knew the wind was coming.
Ray Hunt’s first and foremost concern when racing was safety. Then it was sail trim. Sometimes it was only an inch but that trim made the boat go faster. He was a great observer of what a sail was doing and its trim. once he said to trim the genny so some one cranked it in. “No! I said trim it, not strap it in!” He also had an ability to read the clouds.
After we got harrier, Ray was still playing around with the rig so we shortened the mast a few feet, shortened the boom and the bowsprit, cut off the boomkin and we were still within the rules but she got a better rating and was still winning. one summer Ray had the idea to try a cat rig to beat the rules. We put in a 55 foot stick with double runners. Ray was competing with Luders at the time and Luders did a boat that was mostly jib, with the mast moved way back and a tiny main. The cat rig was great off the wind but did not go to windward well. But it sure saved money on beer since we used a smaller crew. I think that our mast ended up as the flag pole in front of the Marshall Cat Boat shop in Padanaram.
We installed an aluminum mast after we broke the wooden one. It was the fastest way to get a new mast before the next race, but we got rid of it and put a wood mast back in.
We kept the boat simple. Pretty basic. We had no electronics. Before one Bermuda race, Charlie Wharton, an old duffer who ran the Wharton Shipyard in CT where we kept harrier, said “Bontecou, you’ve got the only one dial boat in the entire fleet.” All we had was the Kenyon knot meter. We never converted over to Loran. We stayed with the sextant and we got a credit for staying with the sextant. old timers and old wooden boats are hard to change. Ray Hunt would never have a wind gauge. “It’s a bunch of crap. You don’t need it. Just look around you.”
When getting a crew for offshore races, I looked for experienced people who I knew and who were strong. We were all friends who grew up together, sailing together since we were little kids doing dinghy racing. We had two who never wanted to come back after getting into some heavy weather. They did oK, but they weeded themselves out. I had a basic crew and they stayed together for 50 years and are still with me, but I always have one young one to do the muscle work.
We had three on deck, four below. We did watches of four on, four off. We did short watches in the afternoon to rotate the times. For one Marion to Bermuda race we had four so it was three hours on, three off with one from the old crew staying with the new crew. Ray Hunt insisted on the crew getting rest, getting in the bunk. A rested crew is a good crew. It’s the crew that lets the boat down, not the other way around. When the spinnaker was up, all three would be on deck, otherwise two on deck.
We had a dedicated cook who did not stand watches, but was standing by, if needed. We have a charcoal stove that we used to cook on and we had that going all the way to Bermuda. It kept the cabin dry and it’s also wonderful in Maine.We also had a dedicated navigator. John Quinn was our navigator. In the old days, the only thing we had for determining the location of the gulf Stream was the Navy guys who would fly over and they would spot the stream and tell us were it was. We had two Navy destroyers that accompanied the fleet, and they would tell the fleet where the stream was. otherwise, it was just pot luck. We knew where the edge was, but not the meanders.
We enjoyed all the Bermuda races. We did four Marion to Bermuda and nine Newport to Bermuda races. We never had any breakdowns. once we were 90 miles out of Bermuda and we were hit six times with black squalls. We had one knock down, with the chute up. We could not get the chute down or release the sheet since it was below water, but harrier came back up. We could see other boats and another Concordia. other boats had ripped sails, one broke a boom, but we made it by scavenging the sails. one Annapolis to Newport race we set the chute and kept it up for the whole race, other than when we caught a 2x12 across the stem. We couldn’t shake it, so we had to take the chute down, do a 360, then reset. Races are hard work, but when you win ‘em, they’re all easy and we won that one. We’ve enjoyed all the racing we’ve done on harrier.
The Concordias were starting to get good press when we bought harrier from Ray in 1956. People thought they were beautiful boats. They were admired by others. They are amazing sea boats. They are tiny things, but amazing sea boats. We seldom get a giant sea in the cockpit. If we did, it was usually our fault. I think the Concordias have lasted so long and been so well taken care of by so many owners because they are simple and dry. Maybe the 41s are a bit drier than the 39s because of the higher freeboard. They are a nice boat for someone who is not looking for speed or round the world sailing but wants a good sea boat. They are pretty and they are easy to sail alone and every owner is a bit crazy. Many owners do their own work. They love doing the woodworking and the varnishing.
We were coming out of Portland Harbor once and there was a big ship in our path. I radioed the ship and the pilot answered. I asked him what he would like us to do, and he responded to hold our course. Then he said he’d like to join us since we had the prettiest boat on the water.
I never thought about the “life expectancy” of a wooden boat in the mid ‘50s. Harrier is 57 and I’ve had her for 56 years. We’ve replaced six planks, all the fastenings, all the stem fastenings, and reinforced the stem with a bronze plate. All the ribs have been sistered with laminated frames. We lengthened the mast step and we added the truss rod. Never had a problem after that. She came home by truck from Newfoundland one summer after she developed a severe leak on one tack when beating and it’s upwind all the way from Newfoundland to Rhode Island. We thought it must be a structural problem where the stem was scarfed to the forefoot and that she would not make it home in one piece. We put her on a truck, which is the best way of going 600 miles to windward.
Sham Hunt, Ray’s son, has sailed with us from the start and his kids have sailed with us as have his grandchildren. We have had four generations of Hunts sailing on Harrier. Sham recently said that harrier looks like she was just launched.
We did nothing different in tuning the rig when we prepared Harrier for an offshore race. But we did check every cotter key and fitting and every part of the rig. We like to check everything. We were always particular with all the sheets and blocks. harrier has all the original blocks. Basically we made sure that everything is there and working. We want to make sure that everything works and works well.
When we started to race harrier, we had cotton sails. We’d get a new main every two years. Then, when Dacron came along, we’d get a new main every six years. The main I have now is 14 years old. Cotton sails were a lot of work. We’d spend a whole day in Bermuda drying all the sails, then take them home and dry them again and roll them up. And then the mice might get into them so we had to start all over.
We had on board one old main, that we highly questioned, and a new main. We had three chutes, a storm spinnaker, a one, two and three genny and a jib topsail. The jib topsail was a little bitty thing but it would steady the boat. The jib was tacked on the inner stay and the jib topsail was clewed on the stem. We had too many sails.
I’ve been a very happy Concordia owner for 56 years. I could care less it its a record breaker or if it goes fast. I’ve made great friends, had great times, wonderful times. I have complete trust with the crew on deck. That’s important when you’re sailing. The friendships I’ve made with the crew is remarkable.
Jesse Bontecou told me the following story about Katie Hunt, Ray’s daughter.
“She lived for a while in New York. Then she got married and moved to South Africa. She left much of her stuff in New York. Recently, the owner of the property was looking through her stuff and he found the neck of a wine bottle, just the neck, with a note from Katie folded inside: ‘Concordia harrierlaunched today, Lemwerder, germany, June 15, 1955.’ He traced me down and sent it to me.”
Rigging Solutions is basically a one man show with my wife doing all the business end of the show. Susan holds it together quite well. I service boats anywhere in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including the Islands.
The Concordia yard was at the bottom of my street, Harbor Street, which was right in front of the Packet. I’d walk down to the yard. I went only to high school so it was a job after high school. I didn’t want to do my father’s restaurant any more so I went in for a carpentry job but I didn’t have enough tools so I settled in to the rigging thing. You can call it apprenticeship or working or whatever it was; that’s where I started.
George Montigny was still there working part time when I came in. He was the guy who did most of the initial rigging on the Concordias and there was a guy named Dave Burnett. I started in 1968 or 1970 and I learned the skills from those two. I left in the mid ‘70s, went to Mystic Seaport and then came back. I was back by 1980. We stayed there in the ‘80s as sub contractors. We were separate from the Concordia Company.
The biggest changes in the rig were for racing rules changes. That’s when the fractional rig went out, which was before I started. They were still making changes to the rig when I started but most of it had been done by the time I started.
Waldo and Ray Hunt designed the original rig. All I know is Ray Hunt had a lot more to do with it than most people associated with it. He was part of the Concordia Design group who designed it initially. I don’t think he was the type of guy who would not put his nose in to a lot of things. I know his sons. They were involved with the rigs and were involved when they did harrier as a cat boat. The Hunt’s were very involved with that. Sham, Ray’s oldest son, raced harrier over there in Cowes. Jesse Bonticou has had harrier for years, not originally, but from a year after. I saw him a few years ago. He changed harrier and he took the aluminum mast out and put in wood and double spreader to single spreader.
The old boats, especially the first four built in this country, had the diamond stays. They were very fine, very thin at the top and they were a lot taller. I never took a tape measure to any of them. The easier way of describing it was they were fractional and they were taller and they had the diamond to extend it. Those were ones that had the most cut off when they went to the mast head rig. or they were brought down to the same height as the A&R boats because they were higher to begin with. I don’t know if they took a mast head and shortened it down one more time because of the rule but you would see they were cut off from two to six feet.
So what the variations where, I don’t know. I don’t think there was any standard. It was whatever the rule was at particular year. They tossed all the cut off tops under one bench and the ends ranged from two feet to six feet. They kept all the cut off tops.
At first, especially with the 41s, I think they all came standard with double spreader. The 41s had the double chain plate holes. So the 39s evolved after they started cutting them down. They never made the fractional rig any more.
The boom length on the mizzen was one of the big difference and so was the boom height from the deck. What was amazing to me was there were some boats where the boom would almost not clear the stern rail to some that were almost chest high. And I only have one picture of it, but Javadidn’t even have spreaders on the mizzen when it was first built. The lower shrouds were so high they just didn’t use the spreaders. They wanted to lower the shrouds. Now the lowers are below the spreaders. So there were no standards.
I think all the Concordias had all galvanized iron tangs on the mast. Some of the galvanizing is still perfect. You can’t match the galvanizing, you couldn’t even in the ‘60s, with what came on the Concordias. everything on the mast was galvanized except for the track and the sheaves were bronze. Most of the brass and bronze came from the battlefields after the war and the Germans didn’t trust the quality of their bronze for the structure. If someone was sanded the mast and sanded the galvanizing off, they would rust a lot worse.
In my opinion, spliced stays are the best termination for wire because it absorbs the harmonics better than any of the other mechanical fitting. The mechanical swedge fittings, either machine or hand installed terminal fitting, come down to a hard spot. With a splice, you’ve got it tapered in so the harmonics on it are absorbed better than stopping at a hard spot. An owner from Connecticut is dropping his rig off this weekend and it’s never been changed. Show me that in a swedged fitting and I’ll be amazed. A lot of the boats have had retrofits where someone has spiced new ones. I know Brian Toss did a bunch of rigs one year. Tapering in any spice means more strength. I think swedge fitting are fine, but you’re going to have to change them out more often.
If you have to replace the standing rigging on your Concordia, I have to ask “How much money do you have?” because that’s what it comes down to. Back then labor wasn’t expensive. Labor is expensive now. You can probably do a swedge rig for half a spliced rig and that’s reusing the thimbles. I you have to buy new thimbles, a swedged rig will be a third to a half of spliced. So you can almost get two swedge rigs for the price of one spliced rig, but you get more piece of mind with the spliced rig.
There are 40 year old swedge fitting, but the insurance company will stop you. owners have told me that their insurance company insists that after ten year they have to replace their swedge fittings. But they would tell you that on a splice too, probably, but this is insurance talk. In my opinion, the hand spliced rigging will last longer. on the other hand, you have yearly maintenance because the servings have to be taken care of.
If they initially get the coatings on the splice correctly and as long as you don’t have lines bearing on and chafing the serving and as long as you varnish the servings every time you varnish the mast, it’ll be fine, I’ve seen spliced and served rigging that’s 30 years old. You have to varnish both the upper and lower ends.
Varnish yearly, cut it apart every ten years. Some people have never had it inspected, some want piece of mind so do it more often. If you do a proper maintenance, taking that serving off is a bear. It becomes a synthetic, solid mass, after it’s been varnished so much.
To hand splice a terminal, you start with a straight 1x19 wire, you figure out much room the thimble needs, then you serve that with a solid seizing wire for the length that goes around the thimble. That keeps the wire from changing lay as it goes around the tight bend of the thimble. When you try to bend the 1x19, the strands want to distort so you seize it so it’s almost like bending a rod. Then you start your splice.
Once it’s spliced, you cover it with a material, I use friction tape, that seals the spice, sort of like parcelling, but now it has something for the marlin to stick to. Then you serve it with marline, not a synthetic marline, and then you have to seal it because the vanish will not dry over the tarred marline. I use Val oil to seal the tarred marline. Then you can varnish it. There’s over an hour’s work with each splice.
I’m not an advocate of using synthetic serving material because I believe that it can go bad quickly. I have to make my own marline sometimes. If you can get the marline on and sealed, so you can varnish while the tar is still lively in it, then varnish it every time the mast gets varnished, I’ve seen it last as long as the original boat. Marline, if it’s cared for can last as long as the splice.
It’s not good for the boat to leave the mast up over the winter because the harmonics are almost like the boat is still rigged. You should de-tune it if you do. But you can’t loosen the rigging too much. But you have to varnish the mast once a season anyway so think of the labor of taking the mast out verses sending someone up in a bosun’s chair (three times) to varnish the mast.
The turnbuckles are open barrel so take the treads apart. There’s always some movement. If that movement, with the screw half way in, can touch the side wall of the barrel, it’s time to change it. But, I’ve seen brand new turnbuckles come close where you can touch the side wall. It’s a hard thing to judge cause if you let a lot of crud build up, then you get a false reading. You must clean the turnbuckle. But with an open barrel turnbuckle, if the screw touches the side wall when screwed halfway in, I wouldn’t trust it.
The original Merriam turnbuckles, and all their fittings, were good quality. All the original turnbuckles were Merriam’s, not German. If you’ve got a good one, it will last; if you’ve got a bad one, it’s going to go quick.
Every now and then every clevis pin should be taken out to look for wear and fatigue. The wood shell blocks are just basic stuff. You should take the iron work out now and then, especially the galvanized ones, and varnish the shells. You can put that cold galvanizing coating paint on them. You can’t re-galvanize since the galvanizing is different now and not as good.
316 stainless steel 1x19 is the only way to go these days. 304 is technically stronger, but in the making of the wire the 316 changes enough so that the breaking strength comes out just as strong as the 304. At first we upsized when going to 316, but now we stay with the same size. Korean wire seems to be the best, but it doesn’t actually matter as long as it’s from a good quality company. I haven’t seen any difference.
There are a lot of variables to tuning the rig. I don’t believe in a loose rig. I think the boat goes through more trauma with a loose rig than with a tight rig. But an over tight rig is another scenario. First you have to see if it’s a well kept boat. Is there a truss rod system in the boat? If there is a truss rod, then you can tighten it up real tight. If it’s a soft boat and every time you tighten the head stay the head door moves, then you don’t tighten it too much. There are a lot of boats that we tune by the head door.
The mast rake should be set. You should never touch the head stay turnbuckle. on the Concordia, the rake is determined between the deck and the heel fitting with the wedges. Once that was set, you never had to fiddle with it. Rake and bend are two different things. Bending the mast is to make the mainsail happy. But never touch the head stay. Furlers have made it a lot easier since no one ever goes inside the furler to change the turnbuckles.
Once you’ve got the proper rake, tighten the uppers until the mast is centered. Get the mast straight, then set the forward lowers, but there are a lot of ways of doing it. I don’t adjust my aft lowers until I’ve set the back stay. First do the uppers, then the forward lowers, then the backstay and then the aft lowers and then check the bend. If tightening the aft lowers takes too much bend out, then you go back to the fore lowers and tighten them.
On the Concordias, and any mast that’s stepped through the deck, you want two to four inches of bend from gooseneck to masthead. You don’t want it straight because when you’re sailing, then it’s going to invert. This is dry tuning. I never have the honor of going for a sail.
I don’t use a rigging gauge. With a 3/8" turnbuckle, I use a six inch lever. With a 7/16" turnbuckle, I use an eight inch lever. I use a ten inch lever for a 1/2" and a 12" lever for a 9/16" turnbuckle. You stop tightening with a with a good sized grunt. You’ve got to take into consideration how clean the turnbuckle is to begin with. With a clean, well oiled turnbuckle, then give it a good HHuuuuuhh.... You’re not going to hurt anything that way. You’re not going to hurt the rig with the turnbuckle. You’re only going to hurt the turnbuckle if you try to put too big of a lever on it. You use the lever and the grunt and it’s relevant from one side to the other. That’s all I use.
I like hydraulic backstay adjusters on a wooden boat because you can release it; you can take the tension off. But you only do that with the back stay. I’d rather have a boat where you can over tighten it when sailing and then loosen it when you’re off the boat and you’re only going to loosen it if it’s hydraulics because its only got a thumb screw on it. You’re not going to go back and unscrew the backstay turnbuckle unless your a fanatical person. If you tighten the backstay, then every time you stop sailing you have to go back and loosen the turnbuckle. But, I would rather have something that you can get real tight when you’re sailing than moderately tight 24 hours a day for the whole season.
Technically, if you’re talking about those Merriam back stay adjuster turnbuckles with the handle, if you’re using my terminology, you’re not getting the backstay tight enough, ‘cause the handles are only about six inches long.
I’m only going to set the mast to what I think it should be. The mainsail’s going to tell you what you need for fore and aft bend. Side to side you want it straight at the dock. When sailing, the top will always fall off. on Winnie of Bourne, Jack Parkinson would sail with the uppers tight and the lowers much looser than I would like, but he felt with the mast head falling off, he wanted to lowers loose so the mast would be straight. The tip is always going to fall off and you want a nice little bend when sailing.
I know if the headstay has a lot of sag and the sail is cut for it, you going to go up wind as good as if with a straight headstay. If the sail is cut for a straight head stay and the stay is sagging, you’re loosing something. If the sail is cut for a sagging head stay and the stay is straight, you’re also loosing something.
The Concordias were considered moderately rigged; not over rigged, not light. on a 43 footer I work on, it’s got a 1/2" head stay and upper stays. That I consider over rigged. Head stay sag is not bad if the sail is cut for it. The sailmaker should take that in account. Now you’re getting in to the word “sailmaker” and I’ve got a lot of friends who are sail makers and that’s why you should go to a local sailmaker. They’re going to go on to your boat and are going to measure your boat. I wouldn’t go to a big loft because they’re not going to go on your boat to measure it. They’re just going to say this is what we did on another one.
You should have a good relationship with both your sail maker and your rigger. The sail maker should have a good relationship with the rigger. I’m not going to tell you how tight your head stay is without sailing it, and no one is going to spend the money to have me go sailing with them. An aluminum stick is a lot different than a wood stick and the sail maker should know the difference. You’re going to get a lot more bend in an aluminum stick than you’re going to want to put in wooden mast, especially an older wooden mast.
Running back stays should always be used on a fractional rig. I believe in tight head stays. Most of the runners on the fractional rig were only snubbing runners because they were on those tracks and you can’t get them tight. If you’re lucky and you get the boat on the right drop on a wave at the right time and you get it tight, then you’re oK. Most of the boats, like elizabeth on Matinicus, stopped using that and went to a block and a winch.
There’s some discussion on the new no stretch running rigging. everything has changed. You used to have stretchy sails, and now you have no stretch sails. They used to have wire to rope halyards; there’s no stretch there. The halyard loads are so minimal that you’re not changing anything. You’re only trying to set the halyard load to get the mainsail to do what you want. You want a no stretch halyard. High tech lines have the same stretch characteristics as the 1x19. There are different characteristics of 7x19 compared 1x19 compared to rod. Now they’re making no stretch line that have the same characteristics as 1x19 rod. The basic store bought high tech line is the same as 7x19 which was on the boat when they were initially sold.
I wouldn’t tune the rig different for racing, but the sailmaker would go on and change everything. The sailmakers have changed the rules. The sailmaker will tell the rigger what to do. Before the guy would go on the boat and see what the boat would do. Now the boat has to be made to make the sailmaker happy which frustrates the crap out of me. Because you get it all the time and he’ll changes the world on you. So you gotta make the sailmaker happy. The biggest changes I can see is that now the sailmaker has total control which I don’t agree with. The guys should measure the boat once you go sailing or at least go to the boat and see how much mast bend you can develop. Half times when the owner says he wants to tune the boat to go racing, I’ll ask how much the sailmaker wants the mast to bend. I can’t tell you how much bend to put in the boat to make the mainsail happy especially with multiple spreader boats and check stays. What I do doesn’t matter because you can change it all with the running rigging.
I’ve seen headsails of over 170%. We live in Buzzards Bay and its going to blow. To me the boat is the happiest with a genoa that is a 130 or a 135. The 150 you might as well call a reacher/drifter. If you’re dealing with furling systems, which we are over 90% of the time, I won’t suggest over a 135 now because a 135 will reef to a 100 and still have a decent heavy weather sail that you can use going up wind. With a 150 reefed you’re only down to a 120 and it’s over powered when it’s blowing 20knots.
I’ve got a lot of guys who are real happy ‘cause they’ve only got a 100. They go up wind like the dickens but as soon as they crack off they go right to the A sail which is more popular now. But only if you’ve got the people who can set it.
The big problem with the club jib is that as soon as you crack off you’ve got no power. You’re wasting the horsepower especially if the boom is over the lifelines ‘cause now its skying when it blows. Now every time a gust comes, instead of you going, you’re skying and you can’t vang the club.
With a genny, even a 120, you have all that extra horsepower. How long can you go up wind? That makes the bigger factor. You talk to some guys and they can’t live without having that extra overlapping sail off the wind.
You could spend a half hour talking about what size cotter pin to use. Dan Strohmeier was convinced, and I agree with it, that on one part of your turnbuckle’s cotter pins, you should only bend one leg no more than 15 degrees ‘cause if you ever lost the rig, you could pull it out easily, but that’s only if the turnbuckle clevis cotter pin is only a certain distance longer than the clevis pin. Both ends are the same length and rounded off. Just bend one ear 15 degrees and it’s not going to come out. If you have the ears rounded over you don’t have to tape it. You can get into this stuff and go for days, but its stupid.
The best part of the Concordia rig is that it’s basic. Any single spreader rig is basic. It’s a good, simple, basic rig and you’ve got a tree for a mast. And it’s not going to be sitting at the mooring pumping away which happens on deck stepped boats. You’ve got people who say they want to go cruising and they want 3 or 4 spreaders. You just took the basic out of everything. The worst part of the rig is getting the varnished mast through the hole without scratching it.
I used to like the beauty of the fractional rig. It doesn’t make sense in all cases ‘cause you can’t tighten the headstay without the runners and the boat’s too small to play around with runners. You just dropped the word simple out of it if you have to use runners. You don’t have to use the runners, the masts not going to fall out, but you’re not getting the headstay tension without the runners. I like the fractional rig but you’ve got to be one who likes to play with the strings. You’re not going to just turn the tiller and go. I like jib clubs, too, but you’ve got to fill the forward triangle up and you’ve got to have a sail that is easy to open when you’re off the wind.
If I had a boat, I would have a club jib and a bowsprit so you could get a reacher/drifter on it. That’s what I like on these new rigs with the Solent stay. The inner stay you use for everything up wind and the outer stay you use a big sail off the wind to reach with. Then you’ve got a big sail that you can reach with. It goes back to the old thing of keep it simple stupid.
It’s a well designed rig for the boat. It’s a narrow boat so it’s tender. It’s so basic that it can be under rigged. The only part of the boat that I see that was poorly engineered was that there wasn’t enough structural strength in the bulkheads. The boats need the truss rods. The boats are older. When they were brand new, they probably didn’t need it, but they’re now old and everything moves, especially in a wooden boat.
The main thing is there is nothing that’s “right.” everybody does everything differently and because it wasn’t done the Concordia way doesn’t mean it’s wrong or right. The biggest thing is that a lot of people on wooden boats thought the rigs had to be loose but for me a loose rig is worse than a tight rig. When you’re falling off a wave, the shock load is worse on a boat with a loose rig than a tight rig. The word “tight” has a wide range. When you’ve got water coming into the bilge, you’ve got it too tight.
Or you tighten the boat when it first hits the water, that’s not the thing to do. It depends on the boat but you should wait about two weeks before tuning the rig. (Peter Costa added: “I try to launch all the wood boats early, without the masts, and leave them on the mooring. Then we put the rig in and let it sit, not tighten up; then we tighten it up later. You’ll see a lot of boats on my mooring just sitting there.
I’ve never seen a problem with the tang at the base of the backstay. I don’t know of any one that let go. We put a lot of cast bronze fittings between the backstay and the horn timber. A&R didn’t bring the tang to the horn timber because the back of the boat was so tight that they probably figured they didn’t need it. And that wasn’t as needed in the fractional rigs. It wasn’t until the masthead rig came when then they needed it ‘cause you’re cranking it down more. The counter is only three feet wide, goes into a curve with a sheer and deck clamp below. The transom was too tight with not much flex in that area so they didn’t need it.
Events for the Year of the Concordia are beginning to take shape. As of press time August is becoming the Month of the Concordia with events starting on Wednesday, July 31st, at the Castine Yacht Club and ending at the New Bedford Yacht Club on the weekend of August 24 in Padanaram.
As you know, the Castine YC holds a symposium dedicated to one aspect of yachting history on the evening before the Castine to Camden Feeder race. In 2013 that symposium will be devoted to the Concordia Yawls. Tentative plans include a raft-up of Concodias along the Castine waterfront, the speakers, a roving hors d’œuvre cocktail party, all possibly ending with a lobster dinner for the Concordia sailors.
We then will have three days of racing, first to Camden, then on to Brooklin, culminating in the epic Eggemoggin Reach Regatta on Saturday.
But, it’s not going to end with the WoodenBoat BBQ Saturday night because I recently got the following message:
Her Royal highness, Lady of the Merkin and Goddess of the J’s, is emerging from retirement to foment chaos again. Let us plan a Concordia anniversary cruise in Maine after the ERR regatta series in 2013, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Concordias. her Royal Goddessness will accompany the cruise with her power yacht, Bystander, which is capable of carrying at least fifty cases of Veuve Cliquot. What say you?
Then it’s off to Marblehead for the annual Marblehead Maritime Festival which coincides with the Marblehead Classic Yacht Regatta, the weekend between ERR and opera House race on Nantucket. Plans are in the works for the 2013 Marblehead Maritime Festival to honor the work of C. Raymond Hunt and the Concordia Yawls.
From there the fleet can head south to the Opera House Race or cruise in company through the canal, hopefully making many stops in Buzzards Bay picking up more boats before arriving in Padanaram for the big event the weekend of August 23rd, 24th and 25th. Scheduled for that weekend are a Friday cocktail party, Saturday racing followed by a dinner on the lawn of the New Bedford Yacht club and ending with a parade Sunday morning.
Word is that there will be a boat or two available for charter, so plan early. If you are coming from afar and would like to hitch a ride on an east coast boat, I’m willing to be a broker. Contact me.
Finally, Pam Parker, Portunus, has suggested we meet for a gam this summer, possibly coinciding with the ERR, to work out some details for 75th Reunion. Check out her posting, below, and contact her [email protected] for further plans.
Get your boat spiffed up and clear your calendar so we can made this a memorable summer.
Dan Smith, Islesboro, ME
Eagle at the Madfish Grille, Gloucester.
Inside a fortune cookie, my youngest son and his girlfriend read the following: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why ships are built.” I’ve suggested they frame it.
Last season ended with a challenging sail from Islesboro, Me to South Dartmouth, MA. Five days of headwinds made the going slow. The highlight of the trip was entering Gloucester Harbor on Labor Day weekend and tying up at the Madfish Grille in Rocky Neck and then enjoying the parade of boats as they circled the inner harbor seen from the dining hall followed by a harbor fireworks display.
Gloucester is a special place for me, having stumbled into the town (and the Crow’s Nest Bar) from Missouri in 1975, and seeing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. My best friend and I spent the summer as waiters at the Madfish Grille then known then as the Rocky Neck Steak and Lobster House. It was there I first leaned out of the restaurant windows and dreamed of someday sailing my own boat into the harbor and up to the dock of that very restaurant, a sight that is particularly stunning at low tide, when all one sees from the dining hall are the masts gliding silently by. Thirty five years later, in 2010, that goal was accomplished when my two sons and I arrived aboard eagle, finally part of the scenery and not as spectators, and dined at the restaurant, so the trip last fall was my second. The owner of the restaurant has been gracious to allow my to tie up for the night both times. I plan to arrive this year June 11th, weather permitting, as we continue our trip back to Maine.
We had no major upgrades this season, but only to try to maintain her in the best shape possible to celebrate her 50th birthday this summer.Plans are being made to again participate in the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, and probably both feeder races if my crew can find the time.I can hardly wait to get back on the waater again. Let me know if your plans include Islesboro.
Chuck Thompson, Columbia, SC
I’m delighted to introduce myself to the Concordia community as the new owner of Mary Ann. She is currently resting in a boatshed on my farm near Columbia, South Carolina, patiently waiting on me to get other projects done so I can start her restoration.
I always knew that one day I would own a sailing cruiser. I just didn’t know when or under what circumstances. The path to the Mary Ann began with my desire for a family ski boat. I had fallen in love with the Chris Craft Continental in on golden Pond, so that is what I sought out and found. After enjoying her for a while, we decided something larger would be more to our taste. Hence, my sale of the Continental and purchase and restoration of the Emma Kate - a 30’ Chris Craft Cruiser. Emma Kate was a very big project and she required a complete bottom replacement which took me two years.
Sailing has always, however, been my first love. I was an avid dinghy sailor in my youth and captained a 39’ cutter for a sailing camp during my college summers. A sailing cruiser, therefore, was always in my mind and I occasionally perused the various classifieds for project boats. It was in early 2011 when I began to realize something: wonderful wooden cruisers were accumulating on the market and prices were dropping.
In the Spring of 2011, I decided I would keep my eyes open for a bargain. I even began to go look at some to get a feel for what I might want someday. Several months ago we combined a vacation trip to Maine with stops to look at several boats. It was then I saw my first Concordia: Sea hawk. I confess I had not even heard of Concordias but this boat really spoke to me. The lines of the boat are so graceful. You just want to run your fingers down the pictures of them, tracing the curves. And they just smack of simplicity and practicality. Then I read more about them and talked to owners, brokers, and yardmen. The boats are held in such high regard. Margo geer loaned me her copy of elizabeth Meyer’s the Concordia Yawls: the First Fifty Years - truly a work of art. I was sold on the boat then if not before.
So I focused on the Concordias for sale on the lower end of the price range. It was a great time to be shopping. There were 20 for sale right when I was looking. Despite this, the Concordias seemed to demand a premium that other vessels did not. I could have bought an S&S or an Alden in better shape for less but I was too far in love with these boats to go that way. Because my budget was limited, it came down to just a few boats at the bottom of the price list. Mary Ann, I knew, was a donated boat. I was hoping that, because of this, the organization would be more willing to negotiate than most individual owners. Also, like many wooden sailboats, she had been on the market for quite a while. Finally, she needed work that was going to take a lot of hours. Full and Associates had already done a survey on her and the news was not good: seven broken frames, several broken floor timbers, tired sternpost, poor deadwood, in need of a rudder rebuild, time for refastening, and time to drop and rework the ballast and possibly a new forefoot. on the positive side, she has had ballast bolts replaced, some new planking, some new frames, a new and longer mast step, rewiring, and new cabin top canvas. The owners obviously took great care of all other maintenance over the years. Cosmetically, she looks very nice and sports a nice electronics package, propane stove, lots of sails, a refurbished Graymarine, and other goodies. She is also a fairly original Concordia - no poorly conceived repairs or alterations.
Although Mary Ann needed a lot of work, I don’t want to leave the impression she had been neglected. Far from it. Mr. Jones obviously cared very much for the boat. The repairs under his ownership were thoughtful and well done. She came to me complete, down to emergency repair kits, pots and pans, tool boxes and spare parts aplenty. every piece of equipment had a manual preserved in a plastic bag. everything was organized, provided for, and exactly where one would expect it to be. I’m sure Mr. Jones would have gotten to the major work that needed to be done had his health permitted. unfortunately, I learned that he passed away just a couple of months after Mary Ann was delivered to me. The yard owner where Mary Ann was kept said that, in the last few years of Mr. Jones’s life, they dutifully prepared her in the Spring, with Mr. Jones hoping he would recover enough to take her out. unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
It came down to her and one other Concordia. The other Concordia needed no structural work and could be sailed away. She needed a lot of work too but most of that was cosmetic or not immediate. The other boat was priced very favorably and, using that price as my guide, I made my offer on Mary Ann significantly less than what I thought the other boat would go for. But I did not think my offer unfair given the work that needed to be done and the market. Nevertheless, I half-expected my offer to be declined but they countered very close and I accepted.
The folks at Journey’s end moved Mary Ann for me from Maine to Columbia, S.C. She arrived no worse from the journey. I have recently completed building Mary Ann’sshed. She sits in there now, the hull enclosed in plastic to help control the humidity, waiting on me to finish some other projects to begin work on her. Duke Besozzi at New england Naval Timbers is putting together a load of the black locust I will need for the repairs and, as I have time, I am ordering other materials, tools, and making plans.
So there’s the beginning of the story. Well, the beginning of a new chapter for Mary Ann - her chapter with the Thompsons.
If anyone wants to tolerate an inexperieinced crewman on their Concordia at the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, please drop me a line!
John Eide, Portland, ME
In early Spring I made a visit to the g.W. Blunt White Library at Mystic Seaport. My goals were to look at the file on Golondrina in my continuing exploration of her history, to look for information on the various mast and rig changes that occurred on both the 39s and 41s during the 1950s and to just see what was in their collection. As you may know, the Concordia Company sent all their historic files over to the Seaport years ago and they have been well archived and recorded by this point.
I first looked at the Golondrina file and discovered what I had always suspected; that she was built as one of the extra or spec boats in 1958. Waldo always added one or two to each year’s orders, just in case. The first prospective owner wanted many changes, both in the interior and to the rig, from the standard 39 fractional rig, which is what Golondrina is. Waldo’s letters kindly explained why the prospective buyer really didn’t need or want these changes and when the client insisted, Waldo in so many nice words, said he would not authorize the changes. No sale.
The second prospective owner also wanted a number of changes but gave in to all of Waldo’s persuasive arguments and happily took what he was given. other than that, nothing of excitement jumped out.
I then searched harrier’s file, plus some related files, about the mast and rig but could not find the answers I was looking for. In particular, I wondered what the specific thinking was when Ray and Waldo and the various owners made changes to the mast length and changed from the fractional rig to the masthead rig. Again, nothing earth shattering so I can only assume that Ray and Waldo simply chatted about the changes, got out a saw and hacked a few feet off a mast or two.
I then asked to see a few drawing, but I guess I asked for too many, so instead of bringing them to me, the curator brought me into the inner sanctum and allowed me access to the entire drawing collection. To open a file and see and touch an original Wilder B. Harris or H. Miller Nichols drawing on silk from the late ‘30s was awe inspiring. Remember, these draftsmen were drawing on a silk fabric with a ruling pen and India ink. one mistake and you had to start over. The drawings are beautiful!
In another folder I came across a few original Fenwick Williams drawings from the mid 1950s, this time on paper but again perfectly delineated in ink. I’ve been told that Ray Hunt was not a great draftsman nor was he a detail person and I did not see one drawing with his initials in the corner. There was a lines drawing for Design 14 that might have been by him, but no initials.
In these two huge folders, one for the 39 and one for the 41, are drawings of just about every detail of our boats from cockpit configuration to galley details to the smoke hood and mast head sheave details to keel bolts. In the 41 folder are eight completely different cabin configuration drawings. I only saw one drawing of the cabin arrangement in the 39 file so Waldo was willing to make changes on the 41s, the racing boat, but not on the 39, the stock boat.
If you want to research your boat, or any aspect of the fleet, contact the staff at the Research Center. They are extremely helpful and very friendly. They do appreciate an email ahead letting them know when you are coming as well as what information you are looking for. They will have the files waiting for you. go to the Mystic Seaport web site, follow the links to the collection and enter Records of Concordia Company (Coll. 350). Then you can scroll down to see what’s in each box and folder. For example, Box 13, Folder 2 holds the 64 items about La Reve, now Golondrina.
The only change to Golondrina this year will be to rip out the marine toilet along with the dreaded holding tank and install an Air Head composting marine toilet. Two friends have installed them in their boats and are extremely happy with the installation. In addition to no longer having to deal with the smelly holding tank, dozens of feet of (un)sanitary hose, Y valves, poop pumps and enough hose clamps to keep the Titanic afloat, I can eliminate two thru hulls although I may have to keep one for the head sink drain. Not sure, yet. A full report will be in the Fall Concordian.
Gola J. Hernandez 3rd, Rockport, ME
I have the responsiblity for restoring Otter for owner Bob Keefer of Camden, Maine. Bob asked if I would submit something for the newsletter. Bob is not into computers, does not own one, so I will be representing anything Otter! Otter won 3rd place in Classic A at this year’s Camden Classic Regatta and in the Eggomggin Reach Regatta she was first to finish in Classic B but was then handicapped to 4th. Oh well.
We have been restoring Otter since the fall of 2006 and have posted a few picture in the Concordia website. Those pictures are a little dated for me because I know of every enhancement I have made to Otter.
Let’s start with the winches. She has four large ones in the cockpit. The original winch blocks beneath the original cockpit winches are grafted onto. Those cockpit winches are cleaned and greased every year. They showed signs of wear in chrome plating up on the top, but we decided to keep them “bright” with a clear coat that seems to last from one to three years depending on the bronze alloy of the particular part. Any part that starts spotting is quickly stripped and repolished, which is very easy, and then re-clear coated. This is easier than having the skipper or crew constantly polishing so you get the look without the work. That clear coat, which is not a lacquer or acrylic, comes from a place called Storm Copper and is uV resistant. What you see on the exterior bright brass and on the interior is now on its fourth year without any stripping! on the deck house aft is a small original A&R winch which we do not use but left because it was not in the way. There is also a small one at the base of the mast step used for the spinnaker, I was told. We will be changing this one in the spring as it locks up often. There are a pair of winches on the aluminum main mast.
When Ed and Molly Scheu purchased Otter from george Wisell, they had the boat refastened and the cockpit completely rebuilt to improving storage by accessing the space between the cockpit floor down to the hull. The seats were raised slightly also. A wheel and pedestal, an aluminum traveler across the bridge deck along with a extra pair of large winches were also added. The tiller and gear are all intact for the purist in the future; a rather quick re-conversion back.
The replacement aluminum mast was a result of losing the wood one in a “lumpy sou’wester” and is four and a half feet longer than original, giving Otter 7% more sail area. This is why Otter is handicapped in all races. We had this mast Awlgripped at Rockport Marine to look similar in color, a bleached spruce color, to the original wood mizzen mast. It works, as you can see in the pictures.
The new mast required that the mast step be replaced with a much larger one with the chain plates somehow tying in to this. Otter no longer uses the jib club but all hardware is intact. When the Scheus owned Otter, she was completely painted white and grey, with very minimum bright work. Needless to say, that’s all been changed and she is now looks like a sparking gem!
Jay Panetta, Manchester, MA
Jay soloing Owl to Maine, off Biddeford. He was clipped in.
This winter we completed our re-sistering project by tackling the starboard side. Just as we’d already done to port, we replaced 18 delaminated oak sister ribs (installed in the 1950s) with new ones laminated from locust. The old sisters were being held together largely by the planking screws, as the 55-year-old glue (pre-epoxy, of course) had given up almost entirely; once the screws were removed, the sisters came apart like decks of cards. To gain access, many interior components had to be removed, including the galley stove and the midships hanging locker. once again, I undertook the considerable job of refinishing dozens of ceiling pieces and all the other cabinetry that had been taken out. After sanding these parts, it proved helpful to pull the color together with a quick wash coat of stain. Minwax Colonial Maple was a good match for the lighter-colored woods in the cabin (locust, pine, etc.), and mahogany parts like ceiling re-colored nicely with Minwax Red Mahogany. Varnish followed, namely epifanes Rubbed effect. everything came out quite well, and I’m delighted that I won’t have to think about any of it again for a long while.
In order to gain access to the heads of the screws that pass through the hull planking into the sister frames, we had to strip a large panel of paint from the topsides. For bung removal, a Rotacut bit in a cordless drill makes a very clean hole and does not damage the screw head or slot; though these self-centering cutters are made for sheet metal work, they have various applications in woodworking as well. The paint removal made necessary a good bit of filling and fairing once the frame repair was done, but all looks fine once again. While we had access amidships, we made the decision to withdraw and examine one of the chainplate bolts. Since the heads of these lie beneath the topside planks, it was necessary to bore a carefully located hole into one plank in order to tap out the bolt. To our relief, it proved to be in excellent condition. Replacement of all chainplate bolts would be a considerable task, since neither the heads nor the inboard nuts and washers are easily accessible.
In recent seasons we have been achieving extraordinarily good results with standard epifanes gloss on the exterior brightwork. once properly thinned (with just a bit of proprietary thinner and/or the epifanes easy-Flow additive), it flows and levels readily, and the gloss retention and overall durability are outstanding. In years past, using other brands, nearly all varnish on horizontal surfaces looked dull by the end of the season, but this is the case no longer. We have also had success in protecting our two-blade Maxprop from fouling by coating it before launch with Lanocote. For easy application, it’s best to warm the rather thick product with a heat gun, then spread it with a foam brush.
Don and Cheryl Lippoth, South Portland, ME
Abaco is finally home in South Portland from Great Island Boatyard where her sheer clamp and hull were repaired. Her main mast has been repaired with new wood scarfed in the fire damaged areas. Thanks to Steve Rowe and Steve Chase who worked diligently to turn out a beautiful project within the tight constraints I gave them. great, great job GIBY!
She is snug in her new home, a 40' x 16' Shelter Logic vinyl building, complete with staging and electrical power. The hardest part was to design a method in which everything, which includes the staging, electrical and shed, can be set up, taken down and stored with ease as well as being in compliance with the temporary building status of this town.
90% of her burnt material has been removed as well as all her electrical wiring. I encountered a few minor setbacks when I discovered three rotten frames which will have to be repaired. I am saving the large cabin side veneer until we have stable temperatures.
Her deck from two feet forward of the bridge deck to all the way aft has been removed, exposing black soot everywhere. Luckily, and after a lot of different tests, we found 80% of it can be removed with soap, water and a lot of elbow grease. Cheryl is busy cleaning the interior and preparing to revarnish and paint the entire forepeak and forward cabin. We will separate it from the rest of the interior with dust cloths when finished. Hopefully this will ensure that we won’t have to go back there again. Her head requires a coat of paint (not Cheryl’s, Abaco’s!) The entire cabin top is in the process of being replaced.
A good friend, John Eide, has rebuilt her main, butterfly and forward hatch as good as, if not better, than Hans and Ludvik’s original work! Beautiful job, John. Abaco can’t wait to have them back!
Her mizzen mast, main boom and mizzen boom have been contracted out and waiting to be started. The closest wood match thus far has been red spruce. If anyone else has a suggestion, please let me know. I was able to purchase enough mahogany from one log to book match her cockpit and starboard cabin side.
Due to the fire, much of her locust veneer in the galley has been damaged beyond repair. I have been able to locate some black locust and the supplier, Jaspers Veneer, can cut it to 1/8" thick which is close to her original thickness. However I need to order 1,800 square feet! So if anyone has this veneer or knows of another source of locust, please contact me.
The largest and most daunting part of this project will be the acres of varnish required, from her interior which has to be re-varnished (at least 2 coats) to all her exterior wood which is either new or wooded.
She has been in the water for one day since this whole ordeal started and now she is stored in the shed with a dirt floor covered in spruce wood chips which we keep wet. So far I am pleased to note that she has closed up a little. I have promised Abaco at least three hours a day of work towards her restoration.Contrary to all bets in Maine, we will see you at the 75th Reunion in August 2013!
Rev. Matthew Thomson, Dartmouth, England
Ggood to know there is an owners Club and Newsletter. Live Yankee is currently in Bristol Classic Boatyard on hardstanding as we effect various repairs to her. She needs quite a few planks, a new stem piece, renewed canvas to the coachroof and then general painting and varnishing. She also will need a new engine as she won’t otherwise meet eu regulations for fuel emissions - crazy!
Still, hopefully I will get her on the water in May and then sail her ‘round Lands end to Dartmouth, where she will be berthed within two or three hundred yards of where Waldo Howland was based, at the Dartmouth Naval College, during the Second World War, according to the opening chapter of his book.
Wendell Frost, Tacoma, WA
Please let me introduce myself. I am the new ‘caretaker’ of Concordia Standard 39 Lotus. Chris and Kathy grace (reluctantly, I think) turned her over to me in early February so they can concentrate on their other boating interests.I have a long if not direct association with these yawls. I grew up in the New Bedford area and spent (some would call it misspent) quite a bit of my high school and college summers prowling the Mattapoisett, Marion and occasionally Padanaram waterfronts admiring these boats. unfortunately I never was able to get invited for a sail. Now my dream has been realized; but the challenge is to maintain Lotus to the current standard than has been established by Chris and Kathy while enjoying her to the fullest.
My past also has had an indirect association with the principals of the Concordia Co. Although my grandfather’s surname was Howland he was not directly related to Llewellyn or Waldo. However Waldo Howland sat on my eagle Scout Board of review in 1962 or 1963 while Leo Telesmanick (of Beetle Cat fame) also was involved in the New Bedford Boy Scouts.
Lotus is still in Port Townsend but will be relocated to Tacoma, WA sometime this summer for more convenient access. I have already met Scott Dethloff who has Sumatra moored next to Lotus in Port Townsend. He’s ready to race!
Pam Parker, Damariscotta, ME
Well nothing is as constant as change. For the past 12 years Portunus has been maintained to a very high standard by John Dunbar and the rest of the crew at Benjamin River Marine in Brooklin, Maine. Sadly, John has decided to complete the downsizing he started a few years ago and is letting go all of his larger boats. This precipitates a move that I have been contemplating since my family sold our house in Brooksville (right next to Brooklin) but was dreading. As most of us know more than others I think, the relationship between an older wooden boat’s owner and their boatyard can be intense and when it is good, is full of trust and mutual respect. When not so good . . . well let’s not go there. So the search for a yard where I (and Portunus) will feel comfortable is daunting.I am blessed to be in an area with a high concentration of experienced and capable yards, but my stomach is still in knots. Anyone with suggestions/experience with Maine yards between Rockland and Portland please e-mail me privately. Thankfully Portunus is at then end of her mid-life refit with the last of her keel bolts being replaced this year. So, she “only” needs maintenance at this time.
All that angst aside, I am hoping to get more time on the water this summer and would like to try to arrange a couple of informal meet ups in mid-coast Maine. I expect to be going back and forth between Boothbay Harbor and South Freeport a bit and would love to get together to talk about the 2013 shebang or just hang out. Drop me an e-mail mailto:[email protected] with dates and ideas and we’ll go from there.
Whether you come to race or follow along or just hang out, Brooklin, Maine, the first weekend in August is the destination for the best classic boat watching you could ever imagine. It’s the place to be this summer for a Concordia raft-up to make plans for the 2013 75th Anniversary reunion celebration. Contact Pam Parker, see her message, above, and join us
Kersten Prophet, Kiel, Germany
Now some highlights from winter work on Fleetwood. I had lots of work to do before launching Fleetwood on March 31. The big job was renewing the deck cover behind the cockpit. After removing the old canvas, I found that I had to replace the deck planking below the mizzen. When I had the old planks out, I found that was time to strip the inside of the hull planking. It’s easy to do this work while the plank below the mizzen was away.
Fleetwood’s new planking and deck covering
I did all this evenings and at the weekends during the last three weeks of March. As you know, there was other work connected with the project, but finally it was done.
Fleetwood went into the water March 31. We stepped the masts April 1. Thanks to all my friends who sail and work with me!
After that we had a one week family vacation, far away from the boat, with view on the river Rhine. A good time to relax.
Yesterday, April 22, I put the sails on the boat. Next weekend we will have the first sail of this year.
We plan to sail to Bornholm Island in the summer. I promise to write a story about the summer trip for the Fall Newsletter!
All the best
FROM KERSTEN PROPHET
The next issue of Yacht Classic magazine, a German monthly, will have as the lead article the story of the Concordias: “Made in Germany, Build at A&R, loved and well maintained in the USA for 70 years - on the trail of an trans atlantic succes story.”
Terry Fisher, Lincoln, MA
In the fall of 2010, when putting the boat away for the season, we discovered a crack in the main mast. An investigation revealed a more serious problem than what was apparent on the surface. We considered various radical options, including purchasing an entirely new mast. But in the end the experts at Dodson Boatyard were able to do a beautiful repair job. By the spring, the rig was back together again.
In the early part of last summer, we did day sail near my family’s cottage in groton Long Point, Connecticut. Then, at the end of July, my wife Diane and Nica, our dog, and I set off on our annual cruise. This time we went further than we ever had before. We spent two and a half weeks winding our way from Connecticut to Roque Island, Maine - then even longer coming back.
One of the highlights of the trip was racing with my mother and our good friend Christina Wilgren in the Castine, Camden, and eggemoggin Reach race series. The races themselves were varied and exciting and the array of wooden boats was spectacular. This was the second time we’d participated; we hope to return often.
Memorable moments during the trip included: passing through a squall line entering Penobscot Bay (one gust hit 68 knots); a lobster dinner in Tenants Harbor with new friends Andy Hazell and Maria zervas (who had sailed their wooden cutter across the Atlantic, and who then joined us for several legs of the trip); Nica leaning over the rail, fascinated by the porpoises; Diane executing a perfect spinnaker gybe in the Camden-to-Brooklin race; meeting Jay and eunice Panetta (owners of the immaculate Owl) in Bucks Harbor; a glorious hike up Cadillac Mountain; three days of fog “down east” (dodging wooden lobster boats that didn’t show up on our radar); two days alone in Roque Island (one day of drizzle, when we burned driftwood in the cabin stove to stay warm, the other day sparkling sun); confident seals lounging on rocks on (poorly named) Mistake Island; approaching Race Point at dawn, greeted by right whales; hunkering down in Scituate (a remarkably hospitable harbor) during Hurricane Irene (which proved to be not as formidable as forecast); a breezy race in Newport with my brother and his family; and many peaceful beach walks, lobster dinners in the cockpit, and quiet evenings at anchor.
Michael Hoch, Rockport, ME
It was just about two years ago that we were thinking of taking Djakarta on a more adventurous journey, offshore to Bermuda. In anticipation of this, Djakarta was surveyed to discover any unforeseen issues. good thing we did this. A small separation was discovered between her ballast keel and the keel. When the ballast keel was dropped, it become apparent that the separation was due less to the old iron keel bolts and more to the keel deteriorating from the bottom.
It was decided that the summer season of 2010 would be scrapped and Djakarta was sent into the shop for a major structural overhaul. The keel was replaced with a beautiful piece of iroko. All original floor timbers in contact with the keel were replaced as were all floor to keel bolts. The mast step was replace and lengthened including two integral bronze plates. The engine was pulled and rebuilt and while the engine was out, the engine beds were replaced. Floor timbers under the engine and forward of the keel were replaced and soft frame ends were replaced with both laminated and sawn white oak. The ballast keel was sand blasted, then epoxy coated and re-installed with stainless steel bolts.
While the boat was opened up, it made sense to do some systems work as well. Water lines and hoses were replaced. A new holding tank from Concordia Company was installed and all thru-hull fittings were serviced.With systems and structure all in good order, we focused on aesthetics over this past winter. Top sides were stripped, faired and repainted (many thanks to the owner of Misty for allowing us to copy her topsides color). Interior was given a fresh painting and bright work was given a fresh coat of varnish.
Although it took two years to get Djakarta to her condition, the wait was worth it. The team at Rockport Marine that handled the project did a great job. Djakarta will be based in South Freeport this summer and we can’t wait to get on the water. We will just be doing some coastal sailing between Rockport and Freeport this summer.
Benjamin Mendlowitz, Brooklin, ME
Regarding news for Starlight - She had a quick fix to her dead wood for some rot on the lowest lift and also to renew the bearing for the rudder heel fitting which had become worn. This was accomplished at D.H. Hylan in Brooklin, Maine with minimum fuss by removing the two lowest and aft most planks on the Port side to give access to the through bolts under the engine. The bolts were renewed as well as those two planks which had the typical mahogany problem of the wood fibers losing some adhesion to each other.
Other than the big center-line rebuild which she should get eventually along with some refreshed bottom planking, (Perhaps done by a future owner who wants her like new?) she remains sound and leaks little even when sailed hard. We do not plan any open ocean voyages, being content to cruise our home waters between Penobscot and Blue Hill Bays.
Stuart MacGregor, South Dartmouth, MA
Concordia Company is once again busy with Spring commissioning for our Concordia Yawl owners and the rest of our customers alike. As of the deadline for this article (tax day), Snowy Owl, Arapaho & Winnie of Bourne are in the water. Summer Wind will be launched in a couple of days. We’ll continue launching a Yawl about every week to ten days until June.
Concordia owned Javelin will be launched in late Spring or early Summer for some pre-paint swelling. The horn timber, floors and frames are finished and the rudder reinstalled, the interior painted and the wiring renewed. The transom has been installed and the toe-rails are going on now.
Reflecting on two of our winter Concordia projects, we’re excited to rig Matinicus this year. Concordia has converted her fractional rig to masthead to set her up for ease of singlehanding. We’ll also be interested to tune the rig on Luna which is now equipped with a Concordia designed and installed truss rod system.
We plan to show Concordias at the WoodenBoat Show in Mystic June 29th through July 1st, and at the Newport Brokers Show, being held at the Newport Shipyard, the same weekend as the Newport Boat Show. Hope to see some of you there, if not on the water!
Concordia is looking into making a boat available for charter. Contact us if someone you know may be qualified & interested.
With the heavy demand for information from Yawl owners afar, we are starting to offer a restoration rate for phone consultation. For a larger project, and if the situation calls for it, we will make ourselves available for a visit.
Please remember if you want licensed gear you can find the link to Team 1 on our home page. And please continue to update your Concordia page on our website with pictures.
Hope everyone is saving the date for the Concordia 75th! August 23rd through the 25th, 2013.
When I first got Golondrina in 1991, it was obvious that the canvas deck and house coverings would have to be replaced. The previous owners had dribbled epoxy and extra paint over the cracked canvas in the way of the working decking seams. Fortunately, no leaking showed below but that didn’t mean that there were not latent problems hidden under the old canvas.
Having come of age sitting on canvas covered decks on the wooden scows I learned to sail on, I was ready to re-canvas the house and deck. But, when I arrived in Padanaram, fresh from her voyage up from the Virgin Islands, Waldo, Brodie and Peter Costa all looked at the boat and they convinced me that canvas was not the way to go. It was either Waldo or Brodie who mentioned that they were finding that the canvas on the new Beetle Cat decks was rotting out after only a few years. Contacting the canvas supplier, the same supplier Concordia has been using for decades, they were told that the EPA would no longer allow them to soak the canvas in the poisons that previously kept rot at bay. So I knew that canvas was out.
Before I tackled the job, I scoured the pages of WoodenBoat Magazine, contacted a number of fellow owners as well as boatyard owners here in Maine to see what the best replacement would be. The consensus in 1991 was to lay plywood over the original decking, sheath that with Dynel and paint with Awlgrip. Today there are more options.
Below are some of the various re-decking methods. Stuart Macgregor, who contributed the list of pros and cons, says Concordia is prepared to re-deck using any of those methods depending on the owner’s wishes. They will discuss these options with the owner but let the owner decide.
Following that, is a method that Peter Costa at Triad Boatworks in Mattapoisett has been using with positive results for close to ten years.
What each of us must decide when we renew our house or deck covering is what is the best method for our own boat and our own purpose. There is no right or wrong method. What really matters is the care and attention to detail brought to the job by the shipwrights doing the work.
New canvas on the deck or house.
All deck and house furniture must be removed as well as toerails and trim. Today there are other materials for bedding and painting the canvas that might afford greater longevity.
Offers a more traditional look. It doesn’t add stress to other areas. The materials are initially less expensive. The canvas has a non-skid texture built in. It will be easier to take up later.
The covering is less durable. Moisture may pass into brightwork and it will leak more quickly. It is harder to clean. Additional coats of paint will make the non-skid texture fill.
Dynel over marine plywood on the deck or house.
Again, all trim, toerails, deck and house furniture must be removed. Some yards rout a groove at the base of the house to inset the ply and Dynel which gives a stronger joint. one yard does not replace the quarter round at the base of the house, rather lays a bead of 3M 5200. They feel the added height compromises the proportions. They have also left the toerail in place and routed a groove in it, like the house side on one boat.
Your editor feels removing the toerail is a must in our 50 to 75 year old boats since under the toerail is the covering board to sheer plank joint, one of the most complex joints on our boats, filled with fasteners of various lengths and sizes. Without removing the toerail you can not inspect those fasteners nor easily re-bed that joint. Furthermore, with the already short toerail, by not raising it to the new deck height, you make it even shorter and less functional for your crew.
Some yards will bring the ply and Dynel out to the edge of the deck and seal the ply with epoxy filler. Most will stop the ply/Dynel about 7/8” short of the edge, then fill the last bit with a solid mahogany strip glued down, making the added deck height invisible.
Whether the Dynel is “starved” to give it a canvas like texture or the weave is filled and non-skid applied, a smooth waterway is best left around the deck and house where it abuts any varnished wood. Masking tape will seal properly for a clean varnish edge and the deck will be easier to keep clean.
Less moisture intrusion and deck leaks not as likely. The brightwork is easier to maintain. Can paint with multi year two-part paint so won’t get paint sick. It is more durable and easier to clean.
It’s so stiff that it can highlight other weaknesses in the structure. It won’t easily come off. It’s tough to get plywood to curve over the forward house end on the 39. You lose the tongue & groove look.
Traditional laid teak deck.
Very traditional look.
Has a higher initial cost and needs careful maintenance. It will leak sooner than the Teakdecking System, below.
Teakdecking System over plywood.
A traditional look.
High initial cost. Some prefer the look of a laid teak deck.
Biaxial fiberglass cloth laid on the deck or house.
Starting eight years ago, Peter Costa at Triad has been covering the house tops with eight ounce biaxial fiberglass cloth laid directly over the original, well prepped, decking. on the house top, all furniture is removed. The planking to house beam fastenings are renewed where needed.
When renewing the deck covering, Peter first glues down a 1/4" ply overlay to compensate for the wracking strains from the rigging while sailing. Then, Peter’s crew epoxies down one layer of 17 ounce biax on the deck. The weave is filled, smoothed, waterways masked and non-skid applied. The deck and house is then Awlgripped.
As with all the methods listed, the toe rail and half round cabin mouldings are removed along with all other fittings on the deck. Special attention it made to the covering board/sheer plank joint. That is a complex and highly stressed joint so this is a good opportunity to make sure that joint is set to last another 50 years or more.
The secret is in using a biaxial cloth which stabilizes the underlying wood, unlike a conventional cloth. This eliminates the need for a plywood overlay on the house top, cutting the initial cost. The proportions remain the same, so aesthetics are not compromised and the Awlgrip gives a deck finish that will not need attention for five to ten years.
Thanks to Peter Costa and Stuart Macgregor for their input.
Doug Cole, Bellingham, WA
After 27 years of ownership, the last major project on Irenewas to recover the cabin top. I redid the decks in 1986, pulling up the bad canvas, putting down a layer of Bruynzeel plywood, then two layers of Dynel cloth in epoxy. These have worn extremely well, are water tight and low maintenance. Due to minor moisture ingress along the upper trunk moldings, the row of iron fastenings were beginning to bulge as rust pockets formed. I had done local surgery over the years, but at the end of last season I knew the project was long overdue.
In many ways, this project was more involved than replacing the deck. Irene usually spends the winter afloat, rigged and under a full winter cover. A vacant boathouse was located and in late September the disassembly process began. Working mostly solo, the “lid” was made bare, prepped and ready for cloth by mid-october. The old canvas came up in strips with thousands of copper tacks coming up easily. I inspected each iron nail and using a small stainless wire brush on a Dremel tool, cleaned them and applied several coats of ospho before sealing them in epoxy. Little fairing was required on the wood, though I was careful to get it as smooth as possible using Quick Fair, a System 3 product.
Just ahead of the cooling temperatures and with a team of three trusty friends to help, we wetted the surface with rolled on System 3 epoxy about four feet at a time, carefully taping all holes from below to avoid drips and taping drop cloths on cabin sides and deck. The Dynel was purchased at e Boat Inc. (772-770-1225) and required 7 yards of 68” wide (just wide enough!) 4 oz. material. Cost was $76. This included the main hatch, which was being recovered as well. In about two hours we had the top and hatch laid down and coated.
The first epoxy coat makes a fairly rough surface. The next two days I rolled on additional coats of epoxy and finally let it sit for a week while I returned to work. upon returning, I scraped and sanded smooth the ridges, then applied several more coats of Quick Fair. As the temperatures were dropping, I knew this part of the project was coming to an end. By the end of october there were several coats of easypoxy primer on.
Working in the heated shop at home, I began stripping, repairing and revarnishing all the removed pieces from the cabin top, the major items being hatches, skylight, grab rails and anchor chocks. I located a wide assortment of bronze fastenings in various quantities from BoltDepot.com, which I wanted to have on hand when the spring rush approached. Not much was done onboard during the colder months, but I did try to attend to various, and seemingly endless, projects that were associated with the “lid” project.
In mid-March I got an early call one morning telling me there was a major boathouse fire at the harbor and it was hard to tell which row or rows were in flames. Nothing to do but wait for a few hours. We were very fortunate. An entire row just next to us with 13 boats had been destroyed with two fatalities. We’ve had enough Concordia fires for now, thank you! When I was finally able to return to the boathouse, access having been denied for several weeks during the investigation and cleanup, I found a number of plastic parts containers melted from the nearby flames.
Hatches were reinstalled and moldings were made and fitted. The final pieces will be reinstalled after painting next week. until the painting is done it’s hard to tell just how fair the job turned out - or how much flatting solution will be required in the 2nd coat of gloss - but I’m glad to have this project wrapped up. Were this to be performed by a professional crew I’d estimate at least 400 hours of labor, but this might not include all the other projects and seasonal brightwork.
Edgar Crocker died of a stroke on February 2 at the age of 81. Edgar was intimately tied up with Crocodile, the 39 that his parents purchased in 1959. In addition to extensively cruising the east coast from his home base in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Edgar raced Crocodile in a number of Marblehead to Halifax races with his brother, Robert, their sons and other members of the Crocker clan. The highlight of his racing career was bring home five trophies, including first to finish on corrected time, from the 1997 race.
After his retirement from the Cambridge Trust Co. Edgar undertook the restoration of the Picton Castle, a 179 foot three masted square rigged barque that sailed the world both training youthful sailors and bringing educational materials to island outpost in the distant Pacific Ocean.“I wanted to give something back,’’ Mr. Crocker told the Boston Business Journal in 2000. “I build entrepreneurs, and I happen to believe in young people, so I bought the Picton Castle.’’As Captain Dan Moreland of the Picton Castle once said, “If he believed in something, he was going to see it through or fall off the mountain trying.’’ Dan and Edgar worked and sailed together for over 20 years to bring the Picton Castle to to reality.
Edgar was passionate about his family, the importance of education, sailing, and how the sea could bring all together. He had a great sense of humor and was a wonderful teller of tall tales.
Stewart McDougall, Seattle, WA
I would like to let everyone know of our decision to list Kodama for sale. As I’m sure all of you can appreciate that this is a most difficult decision. We have owned her since 1981 but now is the time for a new owner to take her sailing. Kodama is one of the few Concordias that has always been on the West Coast. She has been well cared for and is in great condition. We are asking $115,000. Anyone interested can contact me by email at
Whangarei, New Zealand
You may remember that in the last issue that I put out a plea to find Mark Webby, the fellow from New Zealand, who is building hull 104. I have yet to get in direct contact with him, but I have discovered a bit about him and his quest to build a sistership. I also discovered the depth of knowledge and the breadth of contacts that exists within the fleet. Dick zimmerman, Safari, suggested I contact Toby Pett who stopped by on his way through Portland one cold January day to tell his story and drop off images of Mark’s work.
The story started, according to Toby, when Mark apprenticed first to Gordon Swift and then with Bud McIntosh in the late 1980s in Dover New Hampshire. one weekend, while taking a break from working with Bud, Mark went to Boothbay Harbor and while sitting in a restaurant overlooking the inner harbor, he saw a beautiful boat being single handed through the mooring field. Onboard, an elderly gentleman went forward to drop the jib, then under main and mizzen sailed up to a mooring. As he luffed up to the mooring, he strapped in the mizzen, dropped the main as he went forward, just as the boat stopped directly at the mooring ball and he picked up the pennant. All without any fuss or commotion. (But that’s a Concordia, no?)
The next day Mark told Bud about this and said he had to build one of these boats. He remembered the star on the bow and the crescent moon on the stern so Bud knew exactly what boat it was. It was Bud who pleaded Mark’s case with Waldo and convinced Waldo to release a set of plans to Mark.
Mark returned to New zealand and began the project by going into the old growth forest in the far north of New zealand where he felled and milled all the timbers he needed. The wood was transported back to his parent’s property on the edge of Whangarei where Mark set up a shop and commenced work. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s Mark submitted a few entries about his project for the Concordian, but we have heard nothing for the past 20 years.
While Toby Pett was in New zealand on business in the early 90’s, he took a side trip to meet Mark and see his work. Toby made a few photos which he has shown me. The craftsmanship seems superb.
I sent a letter to the address Toby gave me, but no response. I put out a plea for information about Mark and his Concordia both in the WoodenBoat and in The Classic Yacht Association of New zealand forums. The New zealand forum elicited a few responses of people who knew him or had seen the boat or knew someone who knew about the project. But, of course, it got no closer to Mark. The most concrete responses were:
“I spoke to Mark’s brother Kim who says that the boat is still unfinished, but Mark is apparently building masts for it. I have a cell phone number for him but it does not get answered” and “Yes, we have meet Mark Webby, about three years ago in Whangarei, and yes we did see his Concordia yawl. Amazing boat, all the workmanship and detail that Mark has put into her. She’s amazing.”
That’s it, so far. I do not feel comfortable relaying more of Toby’s stories nor do I feel good about posting any of the photos without getting in direct contact with Mark.
Three people associated with the fleet have recently combined their talents to publish Dorade: The History of an Ocean Racing Yacht. Written by Douglas Adkins, owner of Coriolis, with a forward by Llewellyn Howland III, nephew of Waldo Howland, Dorade is published by David R Godine, owner of Fabrile. This beautiful book recounts the history of the iconic Olin Stephens designed yawl that changed offshore ocean racing. Olin, along with his brother Rod, took a new and different approach to designing an ocean racer and beat the cream of the fleet in the 1930s.