If you can pronounce the name Padanaram, you’re either from the area or you know all about Concordia Yawls. This isn’t to say there are not other reasons to know about this famously fabulous yacht yard near Buzzards Bay, MA. Since 1926 beautiful yachts of many shapes and sizes have emerged from this yard, from Beetle Cats to frostbiters to the most famous of all, the coveted Concordia Yawl. Penned by the father of the deep-V hull, C. Raymond Hunt designed the Yawl and was partial owner of the yard for decades before moving onto more power driven pursuits in the wake of his revolutionary powerboat design, the deep-V hull.
The company changed hands many times, and is most currently held by Stuart MacGregor whose father Brodie owned the yard from 1981 – 2012 when he sold it to Stuart. A former employee of the company, Stuart knew the company well as he had served as General Manager for years before deciding to buy his dad out and carry on the Concordia legacy. But his dad didn’t get too far and he remains a fixture at the yard as part of the brokerage team. Often this requires time spent aboard customers boats, and he delights in keeping watch over the company Yawl, (#57 Javelin) and a 1979 Surf Hunter 25.
It’s a big responsibility to carry the torch of the much adored and revered Concordia Yawl. From 1938-1966, one hundred and three Concordia Yawls were built – all on the same lines drawn by CR Hunt. Most of the yawls were built in a co-op agreement between Abeking & Rasmussen in Germany who would do most of the build and then send them across the Atlantic to Concordia for finishing.
The Concordia Yawls came to represent the amazing handiwork and attention to detail coming from the sheds in Padanaram. A&R moved on to build super yachts and commercial vessels and Concordia Yachts dug into the legacy they had created, offering top quality yacht and yard work, much of which revolves around upkeep and restoration of many of their Yawls.
We featured Snowy Owl, Concordia Yawl #91, in the Jamestown Distributors Summer 2015 Catalog as she was in the midst of some plank replacement when we visited and it was amazing to see her so beautifully refit and repaired. If a wooden boat didn’t give away her facelifts and replanking until the wood had fully swollen tight to neighboring planks, you would never know Snowy Owl had been touched. The planks that were replaced were perfectly assimilated into the hull and she is ready for another season on Buzzards Bay and off her home port of Wianno, MA.
When asked, Stuart MacGregor proudly explains that to him, his family, and his dedicated staff in Padanaram, Concordia represents the most enduring class of yachts as well as quality and simplicity of boats from previous generations. He has embraced the traditional, tried & true methods that have made the Concordia Yawl the prettiest boat on the harbor and on the hard.
This is such a nice look into the shed and home of a passionate wooden boat lover. Seems like a nice way to start the week. Sometimes we get some consumed by projects like a boat that we forget that time is on our side and that the best things in life are often those we fashion and shape with our hands and our hearts.
John Kidder gets it. We reached out to John to see where he stands with his project. Here is his update. And for what it’s worth, John – we think you’re right on schedule. With your heart, at least.
JK: I haven’t worked on it much this winter but will start back up when it warms up.
The boat was designed by JB Kearney and built in Malahide Ireland in 1951 by builders (Tim Leonard was one) who originated from west cork (Baltimore). In 2011 I was on sabbatical in Cork and volunteered on a project at Hegarty’s boatyard (see http://www.bigboatbuild.com) and I ended up meeting and working with Mr Leonard’s nephew, Fachtna O’Sullivan! He’s the head shipwright at Hegartys. I also spoke on the phone with an older gentleman who remembered watching the boat being built.
It was sailed over in the mid 80’s by an Irishman and his american wife (who I’ve chatted with) and sold a couple of times. I bought it off a guy and his wife in Stuart FL and had it trucked up to Vermont. I don’t have any pictures of it sailing but I do have pics of it crossing the border into VT.
Once it’s finished (don’t ask when that will be ….I’ve given up guessing) I’ll take it down to Buzzards Bay…my family has a house on Cuttyhunk Island. A few years ago I met an Irishman on the beach at Cuttyhunk who was from Malahide…..Small world!
Thanks, John. We love Cuttyhunk, too and we will be on the lookout for your fine yacht…soon! BEST OF LUCK!
Captain Rob Holmes sent us a photo of his work done on the cockpit in his recently purchased 1968 motorboat. As you can see above, his construction looks great! What we also found quite interesting was his process during the restoration: Rob tells us he preplanned and built the whole project in a three-dimensional computer program! He wanted to be able to play “what-if”, and test his ideas before he cut the wood. He’s actually a 3D animator, so this planning was right up his alley. What’s funny, he says, is that the project turned out “exactly” like the 3D designs, which is quite rare. He told us:
“When I bought my 1968 boat a few years ago it had a terrible mess inside the cockpit bulkhead. Some rough fiberglass work had been done to cover up holes left when instruments were taken out. I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to create some much needed organizational space, as well as a navigation station; which I did not have. I designed a cabinet to cover the space; made so the whole unit could fold down and provide a spot for my laptop. I also devised a system for raising and lowering the unit to make it into a laptop shelf and for making it adjustable.”
He’s told us this is only part of his refitting for this boat, but from what we can see, it looks fabulous!
“One of my first refit projects on KARL was to get my front cabin nice and cozy so I have a place where I can feel at home whilst the rest of the boat is still a big construction site…See the change and find out why it is not so easy to do refits on boats in Shelter Bay.”
Part 5 of “Untie the Lines”, a weekly sailing documentary