In 1978 the Luhrs family boat-building conglomerate that included Hunter, Luhrs and Silverton set up a new company, Mainship, to produce a John Cherubini designed 34 foot trawler. Eventually the family sold out, but the Mainship Corporation builds boat to this day. The founding philosophy was to build a line of simple, no-frills boats that were economical to buy and run.
When I first saw Osprey on the Deaton's dock in Oriental I was struck by her classic lines, and when I saw the sliding glass doors between the cockpit and main saloon that looked like they were sourced from Home Depot I immediately thought "Mainship". The hull identification number starting with "MPC" proved it.
Many years ago I sailed Valor down the ICW to the Waccamaw River and then back to my home marina at Southport. On the return trip, I pulled in to Barefoot Landing late in the afternoon and found a spot to tie up directly behind a Mainship. This was in the days when you could dock overnight at Barefoot Landing. The owner invited me aboard for drinks and I had a pleasant conversation with him and his female crew. It seems that, other than a few small fishing skiffs, the man had never owned a boat or had any desire to. But in a state of mid-life crisis, he suddenly decided that he wanted to run the entire length of the ICW aboard his own boat. He lucked into a Mainship, just the ticket for that sort of thing, and put out word of his plans and desire for crew. A friend of a friend volunteered, and they started north. Here they were in South Carolina, close to half way, with no major problems or issues, despite their near-total lack of boating experience. As I said, we had a pleasant evening drinking and telling stories, though each found an opportunity to get me alone and tell me how insufferable the other was. Ever since I have had a soft spot for Mainships.
A boat that you can sail around the Oriental inner harbor. Designer Reuben Trane drew a whole line of small, shallow-draft boats that were built by a series of companies that drifted into existence, lived for a while and then passed into bankruptcy. The last known owner of the molds was Nimble Boat Works, maker of the celebrated Nimble Nomad trailerable cruiser. The little catboat draws three and a half feet with the centerboard down, nine inches with the board up. A well at the back of the cockpit will hold a small outboard for auxiliary power. Rigged up with a boom tent, it looks like it would make a fine camping boat for exploring the shallow bays and creeks along the Pamlico Sound.
Designer Trane seems to have been fixated on poultry, drawing in addition to the Bay Hen - the Peep Hen, the Mud Hen and the Marsh Hen. Later, he was a principal in the Kadey-Krogen Yachts Company. Currently he is marketing director for Castleman Marine, tugboat builders.
These idiosyncratic boats are easy to identify, once you see the first one. The clipper bow, raised deck and numerous portholes in the cabin and the hull, boomed staysail and general appearance of solidity make it hard to mistake this boat for any other. The long, sturdy rubrails, akin to those on Pacific Seacrafts, are a feature that I greatly admire. Built for the charter trade, with lots of interior volume, the CSY 37s have developed a following among live-aboards. There is no coring, hull or deck, which makes for springy decks, nothing to worry about. The hull is laid up with close to two inches of fiberglass. Compared to my Alberg 35, this boat is 2 feet more LOA and just under five tons more displacement. The pictured example, in Edenton NC in August 2020, had just completed a slog up the ICW from St. Augustine, complete with extra fuel and water jugs in case of Covid-19 effected resupply shutdowns. The live-aboard owners love their home, though one confided to me that the boat "sails like a barn."
This classic fiberglass Philip Rhodes design was built in Denmark, with most copies exported to France or the U.S. It was on my short list when I was looking for something to replace Valor, and I came very close to driving to New England to see one that was for sale. As far as I am concerned, this boat has perhaps the best lines of any that I know of, very traditional, with a full keel with lots of cutaway at the bow, long overhangs and narrow beam. Good lines usually predict seaworthiness, and owners rave about the ability of their Chesapeakes to handle heavy weather. The solid 'glass hulls are pretty much bullet-proof, though of course all the usual issues with 50 year old boats are apparent. But for the owner willing to recore the decks, replace the engine, update the standing rigging and apply lots of elbow grease and paint, the result will be a true classic from the early age of fiberglass.
The accompanying photograph of Chesapeake 32 Content was graciously supplied by her owner, Bob Senseney. Content sails the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
If you see one, you will know what it is. These little ketches, custom-built in sizes from 30 to 40 feet in length (including the long overhanging bowsprit and boomkin), are unmistakeable. They were built in wood until 1993, though fiberglass hulls were available after about 1990. The yard was, and still is, in Halifax NS, but the days of building sailboats are long gone. Now they specialize in semi-custom small boats for police, search and rescue, oil platform assistance, and such.
The pictured boat was found in Portsmouth VA in 2017. I believe this is the "Annie Laurie", the very last Rosborough built of wood.
Bill Tripp designed this boat and the first copies were built in 1957. Migrator Yachts got rights to the design in 1984 and began building it in fiberglass. It has a distinct resemblance to a Hinckley Bermuda 40, no surprise since both boats came from the same designer, in the same era. The Block Island 40 is usually found in yawl rig, though it is possible that some from the pre-Migrator era were rigged as sloops. The boat draws just over 4 feet, with an additional 4 feet of centerboard.
How many Block Island 40s have been built? It's hard to say, because the molds have changed hands several times, but the 17 built by Migrator still command a substantial price on the used boat market. The boat, with it's yawl rig, low freeboard and limited interior volume is out of style now, but it's impossible for a traditionalist not to love it.
This is a boat that, in a lifetime on the water, you may see just once or twice. Harold Glander built a keel/centerboard, shallow draft yawl out of fiberglass for himself in 1956, and in 1961 went into production of the Tavana, closely modeled on his own boat. Over the next 21 years, he produced a few hundred boats in kit form, to be completed by the purchaser, of several classes.
Evidently, some of the Tavanas were set up with sloop and ketch rigs, but yawls predominated. They are purported to be heavy, seaworthy boats, well-loved by their owners. Aesthetically, the high cabin is a bit odd, but I expect that's what was needed to provide standing room with the shallow draft and low freeboard. This is the kind of idiosyncratic boat produced by a true sailing enthusiast that keeps things interesting for the dockwatchers.
A reader sent me this about the boat - "As to the Glander 33, as a young adventurous man of 22, I and 2 friends whom had little knowledge of sailing bought a Glander 33 sloop in Miami and spent 3 months sailing her around the Bahamas finally ending up in Jamaica, then back to Florida. She was the best boat, whether in shallow water or deep water of the Windward Passage and the Caribbean".
George, the owner of the Glander in Edenton showed me around his boat. I found plenty of headroom, a wide cabin sole and spacious settees. The interior woodwork was well-done and attractive. The only drawback was difficult access to the sides and back of the engine. George also informed me that the boat was reviewed in the February 2011 issue of Southwinds, which can be viewed or downloaded here. Sailrite has a data sheet for the boat that shows sail dimensions here. And finally, Good Old Boats Magazine has a flash video tour of a Tavana here.
For the time, this boat was considered a high-performance cruiser, with a short fin keel, rudder on a skeg and big centerboard, and even now is capable of fast passages. With a fairly high freeboard, there is plenty of headroom in the narrow cabin, and the nine-foot cockpit can hold a party. The mainsail is high aspect, and most examples sheeted to a traveler in the cockpit. This one has a long boom to allow for sheeting all the way aft.
You will often find this boat referred to as a 34C, for "classic", to distinguish it from later Tartan 34 designs, but that was not an official designation. Some interesting records have been racked up by sailors aboard the Tartan 34. In 1981, Jon Sanders set out aboard one on a double circumnavigation, sailing 419 days and 48,510 miles single-handed without a stop. Several records for youngest circumnavigator were set during the 1990s and 2000s by Tartan 34 sailors. David Dicks completed a non-stop solo circumnavigation in 1996 at age 18. Jesse Martin did the same in 1999 and completed at a slightly younger 18. Jessica Watson sailed her Tartan 34 around the world non-stop solo in 2009-2010 at the age of 16.
Traditional appearance above the water line, long fin and spade rudder below. The boat has wide side decks and a big open foredeck to make sail handling safe and easy. The high freeboard and springy sheer remind me of the lines of the Allied Princess. Construction quality and detailing are top-knotch, as is typical for boats from this maker.
With only 78 built, you are much less likely to see one of these than big sister Westsail 32s, but they share many spotting characteristics - long bowsprit, cutaway bulwarks at the bow, external chainplates and transom-hung rudder, to name a few. The hull form is different, with more cutaway in the forward sections, and the rig is higher in aspect. This makes them a bit more nimble and responsive than the big Crealock-designed, Colin Archer-inspired 32s.
The early ones were wood and built by various yards, the later ones fiberglass built by Libery Yachts of Leland NC, not to be confused with Liberty Yachts of Riviera Beach, Fl, builders of the Liberty 38. Easily recognized by its external chainplates and Pacific Seacraft style rubrails. Some were built with a long fin keel, others with a keel-centerboard arrangement. To confuse matters, another boat known as the Pied Piper 28 was built with a completely different profile, flush deck and high doghouse, ostensibly by the same yard. And the Liberty Yachts of Florida built a very similar (as in almost identical) boat known as the Liberty 28.
These boats were built on a semi-custom, commission basis, and the owners had the option to work closely with the builder to get a real one-of-a-kind boat. I have seen pictures of at least one with gorgeous, Hinckley-style cabinetwork.
It's rare to find a center-cockpit boat in the 35 foot range, but designer Bruce Bingham made it work in this beamy Taiwanese-built cutter. The boat features a big aft cabin, a head on one side of the cockpit and a workbench on the other, with a saloon and v-berth forward. The high bulwarks, canoe stern, full keel and powerful dual spreader rig make this a true blue-water boat. It has good antecedents - Bingham also designed the Flicka.
Yes, Cape Dory made powerboats as well as their familiar sailboats, ranging from 24 feet to 40 feet. The various models of the 28 make up most of them, and they are fairly common on the east coast. They feature typical Cape Dory heavy construction in a semi-displacement hull with rounded bilges. They were built with big Chrysler gas engines or Volvo diesels, but many have been repowered. The boats have large open cockpits and pilot houses with comparatively small living areas forward. Some models have flybridges.
I found one site that credited Carl Alberg with the design. Alberg drew most of the Cape Dory sailboats, but whether he also designed the powerboat line I have not been able to confirm.
Easily recognizable by the external chainplates and tiny portholes, these little trailerable boats are well-regarded by the sailing community. They have been in continuous production since 1978, which must be some kind of record. The boats draw just over two feet, and most are powered by a transom-hung outboard, though a few were built with tiny 10-horse Yanmars.
The designer's name may not be familiar, but the man drew two of the best known sailboats on the water, the Com-Pac 23 and the Optimist pram.
The boat resulted from a design competition in Sweden in 1942. The sponsor, The Scandinavian Yacht Racing Union, couldn't decide on a winner, so they chose the best features of several plans and commissioned Sunden to create a design. He did, and the Folkboat has gone on to race, cruise and sail worldwide for seven decades. The originals were carvel planked, but starting in the late 1960s fiberglass models were (and are) being built. Blondie Hasler raced a modified Folkboat to second place in the first Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race in 1960. The heavy iron ballast keel (over 50% of total displacement) makes for a very stiff and seaworthy boat. The fine lines make it fast and the fractional rig makes it easy to sail. I took this photograph at the marina in Brookings OR in 2003.
With an unstayed cat ketch rig, these boats are distinctive and easy to spot. The earliest examples had wishbone booms but later ones, like the one pictured, had conventional booms. Underwater is a long shoal keel and centerboard. There were a whole series of Freedom catboats from 21 to 45 feet, built in the U.S. and by license in Great Britain.
With only 6 built (the builder was a casualty of rising resin prices and the luxury tax), you may never see one of these, but they are easy to identify by their external chainplates, canoe stern, high gunwales and cutter rig. To my eye, they look like a big Westsail 32, and the similarities extend to a full keel and heavy displacement. One difference - the rudder is hung under the counter. Another - steering is by wheel rather than tiller.
J-Boats have proven some of the most popular class racers around. The builder has produced over 9,000 in various sizes and is still going strong.This racy 30-footer sports a retracting sprit for carrying an asymmetric spinnaker. About as far from a heavy displacement cruising boat as one could find, the J/92 normally carries a crew of six for class racing. Looks like it would be a blast to sail - any J/92 skippers looking for rail meat, give me a call.
Easy to spot with lots of tumblehome and a transom-hung rudder. She has a fin keel and draws just over 5 feet. The designer had been chief designer for Camper and Nicholson before emigrating to Canada and taking the same position with Canadian Sailcraft. The builder was known for quality work.
Traditional heavy displacement, full keel boats known for quality construction, sea-kindliness and classic lines. Easy to spot by their external chainplates, clipper bows and wineglass sterns. These boats are popular among sailing couples and single-handers.
Fin keel, high aspect rig make for a capable racer-cruiser. Built to high standards, these boats are well-regarded in the sailing fraternity.
Another classic Alberg design. Notice the close family resemblance to the Alberg 35 and to the whole line of Cape Dories. Huge fleets of these sail the Chesapeake. The pictured boat is hull #30, built in 1964.
The quintessential racing dinghy, also makes a pleasant and tractable day-sailor. Planes easily running downwind under a spinnaker; fractional rig, hard chines and heavy centerboard allow her to go to weather.
Heavy displacement, full keel in a nineteen-foot package. Tall mast, fractional rig. Auxiliary power provided by a transom-hung outboard.
Modern fast trawlers. Full-width saloon with no side decks. Swim platform. Little exterior teak trim. Nordic Tug makes boats ranging from 26 to 54 feet, all sharing a family resemblance.
The pictured boat is one of 75 37-footers. The remaining 11 ranged in length up to 48 feet. The design cosmetically is based on the Moran working tugs of New York harbor, while below the waterline the boat is based on the traditional Maine lobsterboat hull form. These boats are easy to spot - there is nothing else on the water quite like them.
Stout blue water cruising cutters in the Colin Archer heritage. Double-ended, tiller-steered.
Scaled-down version of the renowned Crealock 37. Canoe stern, external chainplates, high gunwales, small cockpit. This photograph shows that at least one example was fitted with a tiller.
During over 40 years of production the boat has changed some cosmetically but the pictured boat is typical of production from 1970 through 1995. The Catalina 22 popularized the concept of the trailer sailor though marina-kept boats are common. Huge racing fleets of these boats can be found in sailing centers all around the country.
This is one of the most common Cape Dorys, and it seem like almost every marina has one. They are easy to identify by the lazarette at the stern that covers a well for the outboard motor. Starting in 1977 they had a bridge deck added at the front of the cockpit. They have a reputation for being seaworthy and solid - also for being wet beating into the wind.
An ocean-going sailboat 20 feet length on deck sounds unlikely, but that is just what the Flicka is. These boats have sailed the seven seas, through storms, groundings and collisions and they are just unstoppable. They have a huge cult following and never fail to attract gawkers. They're easy to identify - they are the only 20 foot boats you will ever see with chainplates and pinrails. Don't confuse them with their big sister Dana 24s, which look similar but have some extra length.
These big, sturdy power cruisers reflect their designer's heritage of drawing commercial tuna clippers for the San Diego fleet in the 1950s.
Beamy, deep and heavily built, these boats are the modern fiberglass embodiment of William Atkin's classic cutters, which in turn were based on Colin Archer's Norwegian lifeboats. Double-ended, tiller steered, long bowsprit and boomkin, chainplates - once you know what to look for, they are easy to spot.
Relics from the earliest days of mass-produced fiberglass boats, these boats are still common in east coast marinas. The Alberg trademark stepped cabin top is a spotting guide, as is the spacious, open foredeck. These boats came in sloop and yawl configuration, with tiller or wheel steering.
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