WoodenBoat Magazine 266

January / February 2019

Editor's Page

The Survival of the Lucky

The 67' yawl CHUBASCO, which appears on the cover of this issue, is a legend in California yachting. She was designed by Sparkman & Stephens and launched by Wilmington Boat Works in 1939. That same year she placed second in her division in the Transpac Race. A remarkable racing career ensued, including class victories in the Transpac and another second-place class finish 31 years after her launching. She raced seriously into the 1970s and has continued in commission since then.

Sparkman & Stephens designed CHUBASCO during a crazy-fertile era for the company—and for yachting. Many of the classic yachts sailing today came from S&S during the 1930s. They include BARUNA, which was recently restored by Robbe & Berking in Flensburg, Germany (see
WB No. 258); the impeccably maintained 12-Meter class sloop VIM; Mystic Seaport’s flagship schooner BRILLIANT; the yawl STORMY WEATHER, which was an evolution of Olin Stephens’s breakthrough yawl, DORADE; the 12-Meters NORTHERN LIGHT and NYALA; the sloop BLITZEN (an East Coast yacht launched in 1938 that sailed against CHUBASCO in her inaugural Transpac); and the schooner-turned-yawl SANTANA, which was also built by Wilmington Boat Works and was recently restored by East Passage Boatwrights in Rhode Island.

  During all of this, S&S also turned out the fleet of 45' LOA New York 32 sloops—20 boats built by Nevins over a single winter—as well as the magnificent J-Boat RANGER, which was a collaboration between Olin Stephens and Starling Burgess. Incredibly, all of these yachts—save for RANGER and several New York 32s—are still sailing today. But even RANGER has been replicated, and several of the “32s”—thanks largely to the enthusiasm and skill of the crew at Buzzards Bay Yacht Services in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts—have been brought back from the brink of oblivion to excellent condition.

Indeed, the skilled guidance of sophisticated shipwrights has been vital to the continuing survival of the yachts listed above. Wayne Ettel has been involved in CHUBASCO’s care for more than 35 years. In his article beginning on page 22, Randall Peffer describes how a young Ettel, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, was conferring with none other than Olin Stephens, by speaker phone, from “the posh inner sanctum of the prestigious Ardell Yacht & Shipbrokers in Newport Beach, California, where men in blazers and ties make million-dollar deals on trophy boats.” Ettell, writes Peffer, said he had determined, unequivocally, how to cure CHUBASCO’s persistent leaking, and the fix involved a tweak to the original S&S construction specifications. A fragile ego might have crumbled at this, but Stephens gave Ettel the nod, and that moment, over the course of more than three decades, gave rise to the image on the cover of this magazine; Ettel would be subsequently involved in several major jobs on CHUBASCO, including the recent rebuilding of her bottom.

While good design and construction certainly give a leg-up in a yacht’s longevity, they do not guarantee it. The fact that CHUBASCO has survived and thrived to this day is due to a confluence of factors. She does, indeed, have an exceptional pedigree of designer and builder. She has had committed owners. She has had the benefit of the skilled guidance of a sophisticated shipwright. And she has also had a little luck in the mystical fate that brought these three things together.

Matt Murphy

Editor of WoodenBoat Magazine

Page 22


Wayne Ettel could never have imagined that the moment would come when he, as a young boatwright, would be telling one of the world’s most-respected naval architects that there was a flaw in the designer’s masterpiece—and that he, Ettel, knew how to fix it.

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Page 34


by Melissa Wood

On August 15 last year, a 48' shallow-draft motorsailer named TARI-ANN slid down a marine railway and into Nova Scotia’s Gold River. In the water, her likeness was remarkably similar to a sketch drawn by her owner and co-designer, Tom Goodwin, well before the project took shape.

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Periwinkle Juniors
Page 44

The Periwinkle Junior

by John Rowse

In Part 1 of this series, we completed the hull structure of the Periwinkle Junior. We’ll start this second and final article with making and installing planks, and then we’ll see the project through to completion, including the framing and interior fit-out.

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Page 52


by Maynard Bray · Photographs by Benjamin Mendlowitz

The sloop Wizard hadn’t sailed for half a century when she entered the 2017 Eggemoggin Reach Regatta. She needed all those years of resting, perhaps, after making an incredible round-the-world voyage in 1959–62.

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Page 58

Cockwells’ Heart of Wood

by Nic Compton

What we’re doing is providing a good working environment which is dry, warm, and—most importantly for all boatbuilders—has a flat floor. Because you’ve got to provide a space that people want to go to, so they’re happy to go to work.”

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Page 64


by Nigel Sharp

About 10 years ago, Dave Cockwell, managing director of Cockwells Modern and Classic Boatbuilding (see article, page 58), was keen to enter the blossoming superyacht-tender business. So he formed a partnership with the yacht design firm of Redman Whitely Dixon and asked them to produce a concept design for both companies to promote. The result was a simple plan view and elevation of a 31 launch with a clear matte finish.

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Dave Helfrich running Pistol Rapids.
Page 68

A River for the Running

by Greg Hatten

We stood on a weathered rock slab worn smooth by the river over thousands of years, just a few feet away from the pour-over at Pistol Creek Rapid. Pistol, one of the most challenging rides on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in north-central Idaho, is tucked down in the heart of the second-deepest canyon in North America.

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