Issue #8, Fall 1989
In February, Mystic Seaport Museum presented its Second Yachting History Symposium and fellow Concordian Dan Strohmeier, naval architect, skipper of MALAY #77 and past Bermuda Race winner, presented a talk entitled The Effect of Rating Rules and Yacht Design. Some excerpts might be of interest Concordia fans. Thanks to Peter Vermilya of Mystic Seaport for supplying a transcription:
"I would like to discuss the efforts of the yachting world to come to grips with an equitable rating rule. The typical rating rule is a stew consisting of theory, empiricism, practicality, vested interest and emotion, all tossed into a pot and served by some preordained deadline whether the stew in properly cooked or not. Yachts designed to such a rule often show symptoms of indigestion." (There was discussion of the Thames Measurement, Seawanhaka, Universal, International and CCA rules and the type of yachts that resulted,..)
"It was not until the post-war years that the yawl reached the height of its popularity, only to be overtaken again by the sloop rig. Today. there are virtually no yawls to be seen in offshore races and no schooners at all... We are a long way since the last war. It is easy to forget that before WW II there was no fiberglass. Virtually the entire fleet of offshore and cruising yachts was built of wood. Furthermore, with few exceptions, they were "one-off," that is, one design - one boat. The boat factories, as such, did not exist. The runs of several hundred identical boats, many lacking character and made possible by fiberglass, are strictly a post-war phenomenon. Pardon my bias, but I can't help feeling that that touch of class, associated with yachting, lost some of its luster with the advent of mass produced fiberglass boats.
This discussion would not be complete without mentioning, forgive me, the Concordia, Her design just made it before WW II when she replaced Llewellyn Howland's Colin Archer designed cutter, wrecked in the 1938 Hurricane in Padanaram. Ray Hunt of Concordia is given credit for the design, but there was a lot of input from Llewellyn Howland, his son Waldo, Clinton Crane, Fenwick Williams and Frank Paine. She was designed to no rule whatsoever, but she inherited the lessons learned from the past mistakes of earlier rules. She was intended to be just a good boat for the choppy waters of Buzzards Bay. No effort was made to squeeze in extra accommodations which mean more knees and elbows to spoll a comfortable cruise. That is the stuff for sales brochures. Yet, the Concordias. as she and her sisters came to be known. proved to be a happy and beautiful blending of the verities of good naval architecture and construction. They are sea-kindly. They are fast for what they are and fun to sail. They are lady-like and to the manner born. They are easy on the eyes. When they heel. they don't stick their rumps in the air or expose their private parts, as do so many of the modern breed on the cutting edge. They are light on the helm, don't ventilate their rudders and don't wipe out. There were 103 built and all are in commission today - an extraordinary record. Last summer. Mystic Seaport graciously extended a welcome to the Concordias to celebrate their 50th Anniversary - a tribute to enduring design, construction and loving maintenance.
IMS seems to be the wave of the future. It is not perfect and never will be, but it seems to be working as a basis for fair handicapping. Furthermore, it is not type-forming. We have yet to see what might be called a typical IMS yacht. Under IMS, designers and owners are free to create the kinds of yachts that please them, unsullied by the exigencies of a rating rule. The future could not be more promising."
Dan also writes: We spent over 5 weeks on MALAY this summer - Maine. New Brunswick. 51. John River. It was a dandy cruise and how comforting to be able to slide over the lobster pots with a gently sloping keel and attached rudder!
That's what we became this year having sailed two weeks in Maine as guests aboard ABACO (#102) and five weeks on IRENE (#103) in British Columbia waters. Walking barefoot along the isolated white sandy beach at Roque and gazing out on only one lovely yawl at anchor and the Atlantic beyond is a sight to behold. Sailing up the fjord-like Knight Inlet looking up at numerous 10,000 foot snowcapped peaks in B.C. is equally captivating. And to experience them both aboard a Concordia yawl is an experience of a lifetime. I'm convinced. that as long as a tan isn't the most important part of your sailing experience, these are the greatest cruising grounds in the world. And, of course, a Concordia is a great yacht to go cruising onl Sailing as guests aboard a yacht similar to your own and in an entirely new area is a most unique and enjoyable experience. You're immediately familiar and comfortable with you surroundings. Maine seems a very civil place compared to the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. We are not used to being catered in deluxe fashion in every port. Jonathan Goldweitz runs a very well organized yacht and Dorothy's galley turns out nothing less than five star meals, even at sea! Next year they'll get a taste of Northwest sailing. On the return voyage we stopped by Hank Bornhofft's Yankee Marine in Gloucester and celebrated the 51st season of Concordia sailing with a gathering of the crews from ABACO, IRENE, SAFARI and MAGIC.
A hlghlight of the trip was stopping off at Great Harbor and getting a grand tour of WoodenBoat Magazine's production facility by Jon Wilson (and using their wharfside shower). Be sure to stop by if you're in the area and visit the boatbuilding school as well. This is a very friendly place as you might expect.
While moored in Camden Harbor I had a chance to see the recently refitted LOON #45. Rockport Marine has spent two seasons on her and much has been done including complete refinishing, new monel keel bolts, new Dynel decks, fancy electronics and new sails and canvas. She even has plumbing installed for a shower in the cockpit. Not a bad idea. She looks lovely moored in front of her owner's summer home.
Tom McIntosh, Long Grove, IL
MISTY WINS 1989 MACKINA RACE! Misty Doesn't Win 1989 Mackinac Race. Did she or didn't she? Well, both. According to the original IMS scoring she won. The race, which started on July 15, was sailed in very light winds, lighter than anticipated, and thus the scoring was protested and the results changed weeks after the event. MISTY thus went from first overaH and first in class to just first in class. They sailed the 333 mile race in 88 hours (the third slowest Mac in history) and had on board a seasoned crew of 8 - all of whom shared a contempt for the latest trend in race boats. The light and fluky winds were from all directions except for the last 20 miles which was sailed in squall like conditions. IMS penalizes the mizzen so it remained furled throughout the race. Tom has sailed MISTY in all but one Mac race since 1980 and was second in class in 1988, He has added a Harken headstay and traveler, the latter making a big difference in mainsail control. After the race Tom, his wife Vicky and friends cruised in northern Lake Michigan to Beaver Island. Lake Charlevoix, Big Bay de Noe and Green Bay. MISTY has been in Tom's family since new, mooring in Waukegan in the summer and wintering at Palmer Johnson in Sturgeon Bay, WI.
Gary & Veronica Custard, Miami Shores, FL
Thanks for printing my letter about our sails being stolen in Key West. As a result Barry Light of NYC owner, of STREAMER #21, sent us a 150% genoa in great shape. gratis and Rich Navarro from Maine, owner of MEMORY #35, sent us a good used main and mizzen, also gratis. We want to express our sincere thanks to these guys for their generosity and spirit of fellowship. Concordia folks seem to be as special as their ships. Concordias who are passing through Biscayne Bay are welcome to raft up to MALAY for a few days on a quiet deep water canal just north of the 79th St. Bridge in Miami: (305) 759-9033. Now if we can just get this old gas engine running again...
Bill Rich, St. Thomas, USVI
(5 July): Greetings from the West Indies, another smail corner of the Concordia empire. GOLONDRINA is hauled out this weekend at the Caneel Bay Shipyard. in the middle of the 4th of July Carnival. We watched the fireworks sitting in the cockpit last evening. This morning found me scrambling through my files to find The Concordian #6 with the directions for replacing keelbolts and other minor (7) items. Alden is sending replacements from Concordia Co. Spars are out for varnishing and Jennie is wooding the house and cockpit (long overdue). The Westerbeke has been rebuilt and is waiting for a checkout. Current fantasy: leave the Caribbean next spring. island hopping back to America and arrive with GOLONDRINA in New England by mid summer. (Bill recently reported that GOLONDRINA weathered Hurricane Hugo in September with only the loss of a little paint. Over 500 boats were washed ashore nearby.)
Richard Keegan, Shrewsbury, MA
(15 June): SUMATRA arrived in Marion - by truck from San Diego - on 23 May - all in one piece and with no significant damage, only a small chafed area on the main mast and a broken masthead light bracket. Not bad for 3.800 miles of "day sailing." Kenosha loaded her on the trailer 15 May - all very professional and super people to deal with. There were tornados and floods in Texas when she passed through (I wonder if getting a mooring in Oz would be easier than getting one in Marion?) and the Highway Patrol wouldn't issue permits for oversized loads until conditions moderated so she spent a day sitting in a 9S degree truckstop. Needless to say she dried out a bit. Alan Vaitses surveyed her last Monday for insurance and wouldn't believe that she was built in 1960 as she surveyed out so well. This Saturday it's off to W & L Howland Insurance Agency, Inc. to find out how large a piece of my life savings they want. We are slowly re-adapting to our Friday night / Sunday night commute (road race?) down the Interstate to get to the harbor. It is good to be back home on the East Coast, nice to see green instead of desert. The only thing we miss about Southern California is the weather - always perfect for varnishing. One major disadvantage we've already discovered is the proximity of Concordia Co. - the checkbook is taking a real beating. I guess we'll have to stay in the water until Thanksgiving to make it a worthwhile season.#104
Mark Webby, Whangarei, New Zealand
(13 July): Most of the year I've spent working on other boats to build up my funds. I'm now back and cutting out deck beams to start the deck frame. (Mark enclosed photos showing the hull completely planked and faired. So far the vessel looks exceptionally well built. We have no word on a completion schedule. Mark has been building this Concordia single-handed!y for the last several years. None have been built since 1966.)
J. Thomas Franklin, Cambridge, MA
We hope to sail through October, hurricanes permitting. OUf first summer with WESTRAY included two weeks in Maine which were quite foggy and rainy, and one week in Nantucket which was much better, plus sailing every weekend in the Buzzards Bay area. I have a lot yet to learn but I have never more enjoyed learning and she continues to delight us with her comfort, speed and beauty. (I had a chance to visit with Tom and see WESTRAY this spring in Marion just after a major refit at Ballantines and I can see why her skipper is so pleased with her. She looks nearly new!)
Barry Light, New York, NY
(8 May): STREAMER spent last winter in the water. There were no problems and it made for an easy start up in the spring. I had a custom cover made which really kept the boat snug. I will haul in June for bottom and hull painting and to check the forward keel bolts. I hope we can just tighten but am prepared to replace if required. Almost all the 'w-allpaper (vinyl grassc1oth) is out. So we now must sand and paint. White and varnish seems fine to me. Also, new dark green cushions to replace the old Herculon,
Stewart & Denny McDougall, Seattle
(16 July): We just completed a two week haulout. Stew pulled the engine and made repairs on it and also put in two sister frames under the engine bed. New paint topside and the usual annual maintenance. Glad to be in the water again. Right now we're sitting out the rain in Manzanita harbor after a wonderful sail. (Stew also added a Simpson Lawrence anchor windlass - a very neat and well thought out installation. KODAMA has a number of interesting goodies including a cockpit manhole cover. a custom main hatch turtle, a built in forward double berth and windvane steering. Ed.)
Doug Cole, Bellingham, WA
Our cruising this season started out earlier than usual this year, February, mainly as a result of a new diesel cabin heater which kept us warm and toasty. IRENE spent 10 days on the hard the April for painting, etc, and the weather cooperated perfectly. We're able to get by on topside painting every three years and since we're do-it-yourselfers this cuts down on the springtime maintenance challenges. We try to schedule only one major project a year although it seems there's always a spring rush. We participated in the Classic Mariners Regatta in Port Townsend over Memorial Day weekend along with four other Concordias. There were two races on Saturday with perfect winds followed by a light air race on Sunday. The Foleys on VINTAGE hosted a great breakfast for the Concordians before Sunday's race. We spent five weeks in July and August cruising the British Columbia "up coast" navigating numerous rapids, exploring Drury, Kingcome and Knight Inlets and Desolation Sound and then headed to Victoria for the Classic Boat Festival. All the sanding and polishing paid off: IRENE was judged "Best in Show." Many spectators were incredulous that a boat with a 'fiberglass hull' had the nerve to participate in the show! We then headed back to Port Townsend for the sunniest Wooden Boat Festival ever. Summer weather didn't reatly hit until September and so we took advantage of a beautiful warm faU for a few end of the season cruises. The winter covers went on last week - in pouring rain - but we hope to get in a few winter sails.
South Dartmouth, MA
The Concordia class has certainly been an important part of yachting history and I'm sure has influenced boat thinking for the better. I wish I could have heard Dan Strohmeier's talk about yacht racing rules at Mystic. Both he and the Concordia yawls have had a good influence on racing rules. The more sailors understand these rules and their influence on boat design the better. It is great to hear that WESTRAY has been purchased by another good owner. McNary had her for nearly 30 years. had crossed the ocean in her. won prizes in many ocean races, as well as day races. and enjoyed her so much for so many years. I'll be interested to hear how the new house top on SAFARI works out. With the different cambers built into a Concordia yawl housetop I would be afraid that plywood would have trouble holding to the very carefully designed shape. A lamination of thin wood might be one solution but so far as I know the planking as done by A&R has served well.
Concordia Company, South Dartmouth, MA
No major winter projects so far. We recently dropped the keel on RENAISSANCE #88, a 41', to check out some minor weeping forward. We found the two forward (original) keel bolts non existent. They had rusted away to a pencil point. The bolts aft from there were much better. in fact many looked like new. We replaced the entire lot with T - 316 stainless bolts. We were also curious about the condition of the bronze floor timber bolts which add so much to the structure of the backbone. These were all found to be in like new condition.
Author of Riggers Apprentice
Brion Toss was aboard recently in Port Townsend to check IRENE's rigging and I asked if he had any more words of wisdom for the fleet: There are two categories of rigging tips specific to Concordias: dealing with age in old rigs and dealing with cans of worms that result from 'modernizing.' First, age. I mentioned previously (#6) that wire fatigue is getting to be an issue for many Concordias. The integrity of stainless steel wire deteriorates, not just in response to rust, electrolysis and impact, but also because of plain old use. Cyclic loading over time 'fatigues' the metal; ultimately it can fail from this even though the wire looks fine. In northern climates you can expect fatigue to become an issue after 10 to 12 years of actual use. So a 40 year old yawl sailed 3 months of the year might have tired wire. The stronger the wire is relative to the load that comes on it, the slower it will fatigue. Since Concordias are relatively heavily rigged, this is one reason their standing rigging is long lived.
There are factors that can accelerate fatigue, the worst of which is bad tuning. If the rig is left too slack, every time you tack you 'shock load' the wire as it takes the load with a bang. Conversely, too tight rigging simply means that you've imposed an additional load on the wire, on top of which the sails impose. Sometimes you'll see boats with some wires too loose, others too tight. Then you get the joys of shock load and overstrain all in one boat. Of course, bad tuning also adversely affects the mast and hull. Perhaps in a future letter I could try to describe tuning theory and procedure. Climate is the other factor in fatigue. It's common for vessels in the tropics to change their rigging every 5 or 6 years. Corrosion from warm salt air weakens wire, effectively increasing load relative to wire strength, accelerating fatigue. Rinsing the wire with fresh water, particularly at its bottom ends, slows corrosion. So does choosing a fatigue and corrosion resistant wire in the first place. Since fatigue is generally worst at the lower terminal, it also helps to choose a fatigue-resistant terminal. This brings us to the can of worms section.
Concordia yawls originally came with spliced terminals. Splices in 1X19 wire were never commonplace, and they're very rare today, but, among other virtues, they're extraordinarily fatigue resistant. They're flexible along their entire length, so there . are no 'hard spots' where loads can concentrate when the wire flexes. Done properly, their strength is up there with mechanical fittings, and they're a treat to survey since you can see right into the terminal. The trouble is that when the time comes to replace the rig many owners shift to different terminals, usually swages. Apparently they're under the impression that something made by a machine must necessarily be better that something made by a human. It doesn't matter that the splice has done fine over a lifespan unheard of for a swage - oooh, it just makes me so mad! Truth is, it's much easier to find a competent swage machine operator that it is a competent splicer of 1X19. In my shop right now us a gang-in-progress for a 4 year old boat whose (failing) rigging was spliced by a non-expert. But a good 1X19 splice is a wonderful terminal. As a capper, it looks right on a Concordia. Why insist on Howland's bunks, Charley Noble and cockpit seat backs, only to introduce visually jarring wire terminals? About the only place I might not use a splice would be on a stay with roller furling on it - there's not enough room amongst the machinery for a long, tapered splice.
This brings up the problems that arise when you change the configuration of Concordia rigging. A masthead rig with roller furling imposes a whole different scale of load on wire and mast than the original fractional rig with self tending stays'l. Even if you stay with a fractional rig but go with a tacking, overlapping stays'l you might run into unexpected complications. For instance, you'll find that your stays'l sheets will chafe on the splices for the lowers ends of the shrouds. If the splices are served with twine it'll quickly get eaten through. The saltiest solution is to serve with annealed stainless 1/16" 1X7 seizing wire instead of twine. Some Concordia owners have replaced their wooden masts with (usually taller) alummum ones. It's still possible to get spliced rigging to fit. you just have to be sure that the tangs on the mast are compatible with the solid bronze thimbles you'll be using in terms of opening, depth and pin size. (A future installment with deal with splice inspection and mainte1}ance. If you have specific questions I will pass them onto Brion.)
Chicago - Mackinac Race
1st IMS "10" Division: MISTY #66 - Tom McIntosh
Buzzards Bay Regatta
1st Concordia Division: BANDA #52 - Lee Davidson
Classic Mariners Regatta - Port Townsend
1st Racing Division, 1st Concordia: IRENE #103 - Doug & DeMaris Cole
2nd Racing Division, 2nd Concordia: ALLURE #87 - Ben & Ann Niles
3rd Concordia: CANDIDE #39 - Phil & Beverly Brazeau
4th Concordia: KODAMA #46 - Stewart & Denny McDougall
5th Concordia: VINTAGE #51 - John & Martha Foley
Classic Yacht Festival Race - Victoria
1st Division 1: DORADE (52' S&S yawl)
1st Division 2: IRENE #103
The long awaited Concordia documentary will be released the second week in November! We have a very interesting program. Over the summer we tracked down interviews with Ted Hood and Elizabeth Meyer and spent quite a bit of time with Mystic Seaport and other sources gathering archival film footage and photographs. We found old movies of Waldo Howland, Dan Strohmeier during the '54 Bermuda Race. Ray Hunt and a number of his designs including Victoria, Easterner. Sea Blitz and Moppie, other Concordias and lots more. Much of this footage has been in various dark ciosets for Years. We've settled on a title: "Concordia: A Classic Wooden Yacht." The film comes in VHS or Beta format. The price is $50, plus $1.25 for postage. Point Films, 116 Mishaum Road, So. Dartmouth, MA 02748.
Gary Brown reports that PARAMOUR #72 rode out Hurricane Hugo last month without a scratch. She is moored on the Neuse River near Minnesott Beach, NC, 10 miles inland. He drove five hours from his home near Atlanta to secure things aboard and then waited out the storm ashore nearby. The winds were only 55-60 compared to over 110 in Charleston, 100 miles to the south. Al Brown aboard SUNDA #33 was at the same marina returning from Newport enroute to Savannah.
We would be remiss not to mention fellow Concordian Elizabeth Meyer's tremendous ENDEAVOUR project. Whew, what a yacht! I'm surprised there are no davits on the transom for MATINICUS. There's definitely some Concordia inspiration there. Did you notice ENDEAVOUR's main skylight and the painting at the foot of the master's bunk? Rumor has it that the crew even sleeps on folding Concordia bunks. MATINICUS sat in the water at Concordia this past summer, unrigged. Elizabeth said, "I love her, but one boat is enough even if she has the gross misfortune to be a cutter."
Several Concordia owners are contemplating installing radar sets and ask if those that already have done so for suggestions or comments about their installation, especially the location of the scanner so that it is visible from the helm, out of the weather and out of the way.
John & Martha Foley's VINTAGE #51 spent most of her life sailing on the windy waters of San Francisco Bay before arriving last year in Port Townsend. A previous owner had replaced the original rig with a much shorter aluminum rig which was well suited for San Francisco but not for the light airs often found on Puget Sound in the summer. VINTAGE is having new wood masts and new sails made this winter (new diesel, too) so we expect to see nothing but a yellow blur on the race course next season. Peter Spectre in WoodenBoat #91 commented on his favorite boats at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival this year which included "a Concordia yawl patnted a shade of bright, I mean BRIGHT yellow, that would make Waldo Howland blink more than once."
As you recall, the Concordian is made up primarily of information sent in by you, Concordia owners. We're all interested in your maintenance projects (or problems), racing results, cruising exploits or what have you. Keep those letters coming! For you new and old subscribers, $5 a year covers printing and postage expenses. Thanks to all who have sent in their "subscriptions."
Concordia: A Classic Wooden Yacht
A documentary featuring the people and boats in Concordia history.
Archival footage of Concordia Company's early years.
Race footage of 69 Concordias in Buzzards Bay at the 50th Anniversary.
Interviews with Waldo Howland, Ray Hunt, Dan Strohmeier, Elizabeth Meyer, Ted Hood and Concordia owners.
VHS or Beta - $51.25
Point Films - 116 Mishaum Point Road - South Dartmouth, MA 02748