As summer winds down and the fall approaches, we can look back on another good boating season. The fall boat show season is fast approaching and haul outs and de-commissioning can’t be far behind. But until then let’s enjoy my favorite season, late summer on the Chesapeake.
This column deals with boats. Building them, repairing them, maintaining them, and restoring them are our main concerns. But boats are used and loved by people, and sometimes it is refreshing to remember the human story behind a boat. Marianne Jackson of Higgins Yacht Yard in St Michaels, MD, sends us a report that does exactly that.
“Judy Sue Returns to New England, a Love Story: longtime customer of Higgins Yacht Yard had a special boat built in 2012 after spending years collecting information and making sure it was everything he wanted. It was built by Alex Hadden and based on a design by Vinnie Cavanaugh, a legendary wooden boat designer. Both men practiced their craft in Maine.
“Unfortunately, not long after her launch, our customer became ill and eventually passed away, leaving his widow with the boat that he had spent years designing with Alex Hadden. For a long time, the Judy Sue stayed here with us at Higgins Yacht Yard, and we maintained her as needed. Her owner just could not bring herself to sell her husband’s boat. Then one day, a man visiting from Massachusetts stopped by our boatyard and fell in love with Judy Sue. Many of us have a special place in our heart for wooden boats. In a world full of fiberglass super yachts, a 36-foot wooden lobster yacht is a thing of beauty. Such boats can be temperamental and costly to maintain, but there is no denying their appeal. Higgins Yacht Yard announces that following a whirlwind survey and some restoration/renovation work in our boat shed, Judy Sue now has a new home with an owner that acknowledges her beauty and hopes to one day pass her down to his grandkids. She has returned to New England—and we think she’s happy to be home.”
From Crisfield, MD, we get the following update from David Evans, Jr. of Evans Boat Repair. “We are staying busy around here for sure! In July we refurbished a Canadian hull for Vaughn Pruitt, painting the hull a two-tone blue after repairing scuffs from pulling pots on the starboard side. The BevVon is one of the hardest working vessels on the shore, and we are happy to give her a face lift, almost every few years. We also completed a new custom 25-foot Evans for Joe Lipira, heading to Joppa, MD. This boat will be used for commercial crabbing and was rigged with two outboards from Goldsborough Marine here in Crisfield. We placed a small forward cabin with open back on it, as well as an outside console.
“We are finishing up a complete restoration of a 30-foot Somerset model hull for commercial use in Windsor, VA, by Bryan Bankson, as well as doing a complete refurb on another 30-foot Somerset for Paul Springer in White Plains, MD. Privateers have become quite the hot item as well. We did a total refurbish on a 24-foot Privateer and completed it this month. This was our second Privateer refurb in just under a year’s time.”
Joe Connor, lead shipwright at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, MD, reports that its working shipyard is a few months into its construction of a new Maryland Dove, a reproduction of the 17th century trading ship that accompanied the first European settlers to what is now Maryland in 1634. The ship is owned by the state of Maryland and operated and maintained by the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission. Shipwrights at CBMM have been busy in these first few months of the project, working on things like lofting naval architect Iver Franzen’s design to full scale and fabricating the backbone.
“The front of the ship is largely represented with a massive live oak timber that makes up the stem and apron. Shipwrights have identified and roughed out all the deadwood and main components of the backbone and are now working to join these pieces together horizontally before the entire centerline structure is raised vertically. On Friday, September 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the public is invited to join staff members from both Historic St. Mary’s City and CBMM to explore the history of the original Ark and Dove and the research, design, and construction plan for the new build. The day’s events will include a morning talk, afternoon panel discussion, and dockside tours of the current Maryland Dove. CBMM’s construction of the new ship officially kicked off with a keel laying ceremony in June and will end with the launch of the new Maryland Dove in 2021. All work will be done in full public view, allowing the public to experience every stage of the project: marylanddove.org.
David Low of Herrington Harbour North in Tracys Landing, MD, reports that Weaver Boat Works moved the newly completed Weaver 70 hull from their Deale facility to its fitting out bay at Herrington Harbour. In other news, the marina has completed its first floating dock, and it is already full. Upgrades to the marina’s landscaping and walking trails continue. This spring the marina introduced a shrink wrap program in cooperation with the Maryland Marine Trades Association and was able to recycle two tons of the single-use plastic wrap and keep it out of local landfills.
From Oxford, MD, Jane Campbell reports: “Campbell’s Boatyards has been working on a 56-foot Lyman Morse motor yacht. The new owners of this 20-year-old vessel are long-term Campbell’s customers. Some of the upgrades include new electronics, satellite TV and internet, new interior lighting with LED fixtures, and the removal and replacement of all opening port lights. The interior will be updated while remaining very traditional in the style of a Downeast cruiser. The engines will have a 3000-hour service completed. Hull paint, exterior varnish, and new canvas will enhance the exterior, while a new Freedom Lift is planned to be installed on the transom.”
And Alex Schlegel of Hartge Yacht Yard in Galesville, MD, sends us the following report.
“We have been redoing a 1984 Californian 43 trawler, built in Southern California. The owner is a longtime customer who also has a West Sail 32 that he sailed around the Caribbean and Southern California. We did a refit on the sailboat, also. Before taking the trawler to Florida earlier this decade, the owner had us repair or replace many of the systems: Batteries, battery charger, solar panels, generator, pumps, shaft seals, windlass, anchor rollers, wash down, and dinghy davits. It was a lot of work but not what I would call a refit. The boat came back to us on West River in the fall of 2017 to get ready to cruise the canals of Europe. Since the spring of 2018, we painted all the exterior with Awlgrip, repaired or replaced rub rail, swim platform, thru hulls, stanchion bases, hardware on deck, new windows in the aft cabin including fiberglass work to make them fit, antennas, exterior lights, weather boards painted to match, alternators, soda blasted bottom, solar panels, life raft, and foldable radar mast. The old fixed arch that held antennas and the bimini top was removed for height restriction in European canals.
“By May of this year the boat was almost ready to go on the Great Loop, as Europe had been put off for now. Transmission problems developed and then engine problems, and it became too late to do the Loop. The engines are Caterpillar 3208s and out of production. We are working with Alban who put us in touch with T&S Marine in Crisfield, a 3208 remanufacturing specialist. Together we priced taking the old engine apart to be small enough to get it out of the companionway or a window, and then disassemble, move in, and reassemble the remanufactured replacement; and that was very expensive. We cut a hole in the fly bridge sole, cut down the new vinyl overhead, pulled the engine out, and put the remanufactured one back in with ease. The new engine runs and sounds so much better. The other engine will be switched out. Maybe it will be next year for the Loop, or maybe off to Europe.”
That’s it for this month. See you at the boat shows.
By Captain Rick Franke