March / April 2023


Reflections on a watershed project

ANNIE soon after her launching, 1980.

One calm summer morning in 2021, I awoke aboard my 33' lobster yacht, EASTWARD, riding peacefully to her mooring in the Benjamin River in Brooklin, Maine. I made coffee and commenced my morning survey of this beautiful harbor full of interesting wooden boats, both old and new.

Then I blinked...and blinked again. “ANNIE!” At first, I thought I was imagining things, but there she was, plain as day, on a mooring, close aboard, and looking as good as the day we had launched her in 1980.

I had not seen this inspiring little yawl for decades, and encountering her again transported me back in time to the roots of her New England heritage, my much-valued friendships as a young man, with an older generation of well-known Marblehead, Massachusetts, yacht designers, and the unlikely story of her creation.

“Hello Fenwick, it’s Art. We have a question about some of the floor-timber scantlings on the construction plan….”

It was 1977. I was 30 years old and conversing on the wall-phone in the boatshed. In front of me, on the wall, one of our crew had nailed a pinup girl, which was typical of Maine boatsheds of that bygone era. Behind me was a husky 24' double-ender in frame. The vessel a-building was designed by Fenwick C. Williams of Marblehead, whom I now had on the phone, and from whom I was hoping for a quick answer to a construction question that was holding us up.

Instead, I was greeted by silence. Finally, Fenwick spoke in his measured New England Yankee way: “Well…Arthur…you know…I’m going to have to…think about this. That was…almost half a century…ago.”


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