July / August 2021


The resurrection of a fast schooner

The 49’ Chuck Burns–designed schooner SIR ISAAC has recently emerged, in pristine condition, from a decade-long restoration by her owners, John and Ann Bailey.

For five years in the early 2000s, John and Ann Bailey raced and cruised the 49' schooner they’d just bought. They sailed from their hometown of Port Townsend, Washington, not entirely sure what they had or wanted to do with her but enjoying the heck out of the ride. They sailed her hard and fast and wet and figured if anything was going to break, this was the time and place to learn about it.

“Ignorance is bliss, man,” John says.

Flash forward. SIR ISAAC has moved into a 72'-long workshop where the Baileys also reside in an apartment scrunched into the building envelope. A full-scale renovation is underway. It will take three to five years, John figures. On this particular morning he has removed the keelbolts for inspection, a few at a time, and they look fine and shiny. The first goes back in. John begins tightening it to the specified 50 foot-pounds of torque. At 20—Snap!—it breaks.

As does the second.

And the third.

“That was it!” he recalls. “No more. I was mortified.”

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