Next Saturday’s JD Tent Sale is always a big hit with the local and sort-of local customers. Why not road trip on a spring Saturday to come check out the deals and offers and to take in some of our special seaside town, here in Bristol, RI. The Tent Sale IS a great excuse to visit the JD and TotalBoat HQ, and this year even moreso because we will have Louis Sauzedde from the TotalBoat Work Skiff video series here. Everyone seems to want to meet Louis, but we suspect they want to check out his amazing skiff and with that in mind, we got to thinking that there are other customers doing amazing boat building. And most likely, customers like you want to see those projects, too. Continue reading →
Story & Photos by Ellen Massey-Leonard | Article courtesy of Classic Boat Magazine
Upon my return from sailing around the world, the first thing I did was to take out my family’s Herreshoff 12½. My cruising yacht is evidently better for ocean crossings, but there’s something about the 12½ that hooks you, no matter how many sea miles you have travelled, no matter how many boats you have handled.
In a sunny but cool ’smoky sou’wester’ on Eggemoggin Reach in Downeast Maine, the 12½ flew along, water gurgling under her forefoot and a bubbly wake streaming behind her. With only a finger or two on the delicate tiller, I could feel her respond to every puff and lull. Moving only my arm I could tack, and gybing was almost as effortless, hauling in and letting out the mainsheet the only added task. As she glided back to the harbor in a dying zephyr, I thought how wonderful it was that she’s been doing this for almost 80 years.
I’m not the only one to love the simplicity and sailing qualities of the Herreshoff 12½. Two-thirds of the original 364 boats survive today, 101 years after the first was launched, although unfortunately that first (Robin, Hull No 744) is not among them. A thriving H-Class Association actively races these boats and their replicas, with about 80 racing on any given summer weekend. The class is still mostly American, ranging from Maine to the Chesapeake Bay, but a few boats are also to be found in England, France and Norway. It’s possible that there are more 12½’s sailing today than ever before.The Herreshoff 12½ has more than stood the test of time. Steady and seaworthy, she points well, can stand up to a stiff breeze and scoots along in light air. With her ballast and roomy cockpit, she feels like a little ship, and yet is as responsive as a dinghy. This responsiveness – coupled with a way of forgiving mistakes – makes her a perfect boat in which to learn to sail and to sail solo into your 90s, as one of my family’s friends did. Finally, she’s elegant: her quiet beauty has inspired many people to take good care of these boats over generations.Captain Nathanael Greene Herreshoff designed what was then called the Buzzards Bay Boy’s Boat in 1914. The ’Wizard of Bristol’ was at the peak of his eminently successful career. In 1893 he had designed and skippered the victorious America’s Cup defender Vigilant. Two years later his Defender again kept the cup in New York, and in the 1899 and 1901 America’s Cups, Herreshoff’s Columbia was the successful defender. Here two stories about the origins of the 12½ diverge slightly, as is apt to happen with anything of legendary status. Continue reading →
StanCraft Boats in Northern Idaho have been building gorgeous wooden powerboats for over 80 years. The boatbuilder was very busy building wooden runabouts up until WW2, when you couldn’t buy lumber, much less employ anyone to build boats. In the years following the war’s conclusion, StanCraft got busy building again and has been cranking out amazing wooden boats ever since.
A family business, the boats are made exclusively from African Mahogany and the boat’s designs are not old designs – but rather StanCraft has infused new technology and needs into their newer designs. Like the boat below that has to be THE COOLEST looking ski/ surf boat I have ever seen. The idea of modernizing these classic looking wooden powerboats is brilliant. What wooden boat aficionado wouldn’t want modern technology and systems aboard a very classic and beautiful wooden boat? (Yes – these people exist. You can yell at me in the comments below…)
So check out the video and their beautiful website and keep your eyes peeled along the coastal US for these boats. Not sure how many have made it to the coastal communities – but I am betting there are lakes in the US that are jam packed with these beauties.
If you’ve cracked the cover of the latest JD catalog – Summer 2015 – which should have just arrived in your mailbox, then maybe you’ve seen the lovely opening spread of the Concordia Yawl, Snowy Owl. She’s impressive even without the planks in her hull and is a testament to the work done time and time again at the Concordia Boatyard.
Check out our Go Deeper feature on the magic of the moon & star boatyard that has carved its name into wooden sailboat history forever. It’s been fun visiting the yard and checking progress on these boats and our GO Deeper story gives you a bit on insight into the yard and what makes it so successful. Dive in!
Nestled between the super sheds of Hinckley and Hunt Yachts in Portsmouth RI is the more unassuming, yet equally impressive shed of McMillen Yachts. If you appreciate fine yacht restoration and the sweetness of American Motor Yachts – Trumpys, to be exact, then check out the painstaking attention to detail taken by the restoration experts at McMillen Yachts/ Mathis Yacht Building.
Under the leadership of classic yacht enthusiast, Earl McMillen, these guys have invented – or reinvented – the idea of fractional yacht ownership. Want a gorgeous classic yacht but don’t have 100% of the time or money required? Own a fraction of the yacht – and a beautiful yacht, at that. Check out the details on their website.
Then watch this video by Alison Langley of Maine (www.langleyphoto.com) about their restoration of Freedom and check out the write up they got on TotalBoat Show last year. And then look for their spiffy yacht lineup all around the East Coast. Not just motor yachts, either – the 12 Meter “Onawa” is part of their collection, seen often sailing off Newport. Eye candy – all of it!
I have been loving Vimeo for giving us a filmmakers view into the cooler woodshops and boatyards around our planet. These beautifully made films highlight the craftsmanship and total dedication of the gentle souls who pour a lifetime – sometimes many lifetimes and generations – of talent and skill into these wooden projects. It takes the boats and crafts they make to a new level when you can watch a film to see inside the passion of the shipwright or woodworker.
C Blunt Boat Builders in based in Victoria, Australia. They are another example of a cool old yard (Since 1858) handing down the passion over 5 generations. They do things the right way, even if it takes longer. And they still employ the marine railway – another sign of a boatyard with badassness and old timey coolness at their core.
After reaching 80 years old and being passed down from fathers to sons, this Fishers Island 24 called Gull has a new lease of life…
By Chris Museler for Classic Boat Magazine
Venetian Harbour does not sound like the name of a place that should exist next to America’s bustling submarine base in Groton, Connecticut. But a five-minute boat ride around the corner from the cavernous dry docks, steel girders and massive naval ships finds a narrow strip of protected water only a few hundred metres long surrounded by shingled summer homes and a diminutive police station where the officers wave to everyone.
There is not a lot of ‘guarding’ going on in Groton Long Point, certainly not since WWII, but the prize possession of Venetian Harbour is a string of 14 low-slung wooden sloops separating the in-bound and out-bound boats there for more than 80 years. The Fishers Island One-Design, a fine Charles D Mower pedigree design and indigenous to this sliver of water off Fishers Island Sound, is a boat passed down by generations since the DuPont family originally commissioned the class in 1923.
Charles D Mower and A Sydney Dewolf Herreshoff both worked on classes for the Fishers Island fleets, and were contemporaries in many ways. Mower is best known for his A-Class catboat racers and for being a chief naval architect at the Henry B Nevins boatyard, the builders of America’s top racing yachts from the 1920s through the 1950s. Only 16 Fishers Island One-Designs were built to Mower’s design, all in 1923. Two perished in the hurricane of 1954. For a time, only three boats were sailing in races at Groton Long Point and others were moved to other venues around Connecticut and New York. Today the remaining 14 have made their way home and are now still sailing out of Venetian Harbor.
And now, at what seems to be a turning point in the fleet where the varnish can be seen flaking off the tops of the sloops’ masts and the waterlines are hidden by the weight of the sea in their hulls, Chris Christian’s Gull has had a major restoration and has just spent the last season serving as a brightly appointed Phoenix, calling to her sisters and other classics for a spruce up and to join her on the waters they all know so well.
It isn’t hard to be impressed with wooden boatbuilders Ross Gannon & Nat Benjamin. For nearly 40 years G&B have launched pristine wooden boats that they have painstakingly designed and built, refit or repaired from their impressive marine railway in Vineyard Haven harbor on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
A few years ago, a documentary film named Charlotte: A Wooden Boat Story, was released. It can be viewed in its entirety online here, on DVD or in short pieces, like the one featured above.
TotalBoat and Jamestown Distributors are proud to feature the work of Gannon and Benjamin in our latest catalog, on the Go Deeper page of TotalBoat Show and here. If you find yourself in Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard, be sure to go check out the shop and the very cool working marine railway. Few yards still employ the railway technique of launching boats in favor or a Travelift, and when you find a yard with a busy railway – it most surely is a sign of badass boatwork going on nearby. When you find G&B or a cool railway, be sure to tell them (all of them) that TotalBoat Show sent you! Enjoy!