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50′ Lawley gaff-rigged sloop
WB No. 194

VEGA, 50′ Lawley gaff-rigged sloop
VEGA, 50′ Lawley gaff-rigged sloop

VEGA, a Lawley-built sloop of 1905, is a survivor. A new owner who commits to a thorough rebuilding will be rewarded with a rare prewar classic.

VEGA was last in commission in 1962 and has been in the Peaslee backyard ever since, although always under a cover. Her original interior is still substantially intact, complete with its Lawley-inscribed porcelain toilet, leaded glass cabinetry, and hand-operated galley pump. As part of an at-home rebuilding project begun by Leon’s dad, most of the deck has been replaced with laminated beams, plywood, and fiberglass, but accomplished without disturbing the original round-fronted trunk cabin. The horn timber and transom need replacing. The planking is longleaf pine and thought to be in good shape. VEGA still sits atop her original cast-lead ballast keel.

Some of my observations, having seen photos and drawings but never the boat: The sheer needs restoring; it has flattened amidships. Plans are available at MIT’s Hart Nautical Collections (Lawley hull No. 551). The centerboard trunk, although it projects slightly above the keel, is completely beneath the cabin sole. The hull was constructed around widely spaced sawn frames with steam-bent ones added after planking. In her original configuration, she’s much like the Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 30s but wider, longer overall, and carrying less sail. Lawley-built yachts of this era that are this original are rare indeed. I think she’s a classic that deserves saving through a first-class restoration, with careful study of techniques utilized by this famous builder during the process.

For more information and to inspect VEGA (in Connecticut), contact owner Leon Peaslee, lpeaslee AT sbcglobal DOT net.