Elco cruisers, although built assembly-line fashion and known as “standardized,” were among the best of their type—right up with Consolidated, Chris-Craft, Wheeler, and Richardson. Nearly 80 “Flat-top 42s” such as tenango were built during the 1920s and ’30s, and back then you could take your Elco right back to its builder for storage and maintenance at season’s end and pick her up ready to go come spring. But by the time Elco, as a yacht builder, folded around 1950 that option had disappeared, as had the New York City showroom called Port Elco.
TUSITALA has been regularly maintained and, though she still needs some work, is in the water ready to use now.
Launched as Elizabeth for Mr. and Mrs. John J. Sesnon, this yacht changed appearance dramatically in the 1950s when MIT-trained marine engineer Thomas Rowlands enclosed the upper deck to form what amounts to a “second story” containing the galley and dining area, and added a new wheelhouse atop the old one with a flying bridge above that. Either configuration, early-and-slinky or later-and-stately, looks unusual, and to my eye, really very appealing.
For nearly 40 years, Skip Green sailed BACCARAT all summer long from his home on the Maine coast. He kept her in good shape while he could, but his recent death means she needs a new owner to look after her and bring her back to her former glory.
Realizing how popular motorsailers had become by the mid-1930s, especially ones designed by William Hand, Wheeler Shipyard in Brooklyn, New York, commissioned four new designs from him in four sizes—35′, 40′, 48′, and 57′. Wheeler specialized in high-quality “standardized” boats, generally power cruisers, and because of the yard’s production-line efficiency they could be purchased at prices below those of the one-at-a-time custom boats being turned out by other builders. Ernest Hemingway’s PILAR (see WB No.
Contemporary advertisements in Yachting magazine in the 1960s claim that these standardized cruisers, of which Sample has built several both as 42- and 36-footers, were “Built in Maine to ‘Take It.’” Given the extensive commercial work of both designer and builder, it’s likely that wasn’t just an idle boast. PEGASUS, like her sisters, has a double-planked, bronze-fastened, mahogany hull, with fiberglassed plywood decks.
Only a glance at ALTAMAR’s stripped-out hull, and you’ll see that getting her fixed up and sailing again will be a major job—so major that one might question why in the world anyone would undertake such a project. In truth, ALTAMAR’s needs are not that different from most 75-year-old boats; it’s just that here they’re more apparent. She needs new transverse framing (steam-bent frames, floor timbers, and deckbeams), along with a new deck, interior, and rig.
VARLET, a pedigreed launch that’s been with the same family since her 1930 launching, is available to a new owner with the means, knowledge, and appreciation to keep her going. Although VARLET has been upgraded with a new engine in 2004 and the systems that go with it (including a fuel tank), and has had a bit of structural work done, we expect more will be needed to put this 83-year-old craft in show condition, if that's to be a goal of the new owner.
VIDA MIA (the name she has always carried) was originally built for W.V.B. Campbell of Pebble Beach, California, and registered in San Francisco. Of the 14 yachts that Stephens Bros. in Stockton built in 1929, she was the largest and considered sufficiently noteworthy for Pacific Motor Boat to feature her in its December issue, concluding, “VIDA MIA is unquestionably one of the finest medium size Diesel cruisers of this year.”
If you’re looking for a boat to live aboard in near luxury, they don’t come much better than this! Carl Lane had her built as PENOBSCOT (Penobscot Boat Works, 1966) to be a floating retirement home while he and his wife seasonally shuttled the Intracoastal Waterway between Maine and Florida. She’s set up for two, with sleeping quarters forward, a raised pilothouse amidships, and a full-width, so-called main lounge (think of it as a parlor) aft. This space really is grand, with big windows, a settee, dining table, desk, and a galley that’s tucked away forward on the port side.
I’m fairly certain that this lovely little schooner is Chapelle’s Corsair design that was featured in How to Build 20 Boats No. 9 (Fawcett Publications, 1948) and described there in detail by J.A. Emmett, who constructed the first one. Other Corsairs followed, including HEART’S DESIRE and my friend Patrick Dole’s HENRY RUSK. Chapelle used the fishing schooners of Gloucester as his inspiration and in my opinion did a bang-up job with this scaled-down version of his.
JEANNE has been acquired by David Stimson of Maine (Sept. 2012).
JEANNE is a scaled-down Concordia 25 and is cute as a button. With a three-window trunk cabin, a bowsprit and boomkin, a self-bailing cockpit and bridge deck, and an inboard engine, she’s a real little ship. And below deck, she has a pair of those wonderfully comfortable fold-down Concordia berths in the main cabin as well as a single pipe berth forward. Her galley is aft, partly under the bridge deck, and extends side-to-side, the full width of the boat. She even has standing headroom where it counts.
Michael Pease of Pease Boat Works and Railway in Chatham, Massachusetts, reported in September 2012 that POCAHONTAS, the 31′ Yankee One-Design sloop featured in Save a Classic (WB No. 227), has been brought to his yard "for a several year restoration for the new owner. You know her story......thanks to your feature of her in the Save a Classic he bought her from the [Deltaville] museum in Virginia." Check the Pease website for updates http://www.peaseboatworks.com.