Editor's Page

Small-World Stories

In February, I traveled to Tasmania, the beautiful island state just south of the Australian mainland, for the biannual Australian Wooden Boat Festival (see page 80).
The show ran from Friday through Monday, and throughout the weekend I was reminded of the power of wooden boats to connect far-flung people and communities. Here’s a succinct account of just a few small-world stories from the festival:

Thursday, February 7

Upon arrival at the Hobart airport, I met Emily Jateff, who works for the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney. She is an underwater archaeologist, and so is her husband, and one of his field areas, I learned, was in the Penobscot River, about a mile from my house in a tiny midcoast-Maine town.

Friday, February 8

I was invited to join the crew of YUKON, a 60-ton Danish fishing ketch turned charter vessel. I knew of this vessel from our story about her in WB No. 220, written by her owner-restorer, David Nash. But I had never met David, and did not know that YUKON is now based in Franklin, Tasmania. I had a stunning day aboard her and got to know David and his wife, Ea, in a place where I had never imagined I would meet them.

Saturday, February 9

I ran into the Maine-based yacht designer Chuck Paine in an espresso shop in downtown Hobart. Later, I met Geoff Ashton, who has been cruising with his family aboard a 50' sloop displayed at the festival. Geoff, a former merchant mariner, studied at Maine Maritime Academy. “All this way to talk about Maine,” Geoff said to me, laughing, before inquiring about the Gloucester, Massachusetts, boatbuilder Harold Burnham.

Sunday, February 10

I visited with Greg Hatten, author of “A River for the Running” published in WB No. 266. Invited by the crew of the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building (more on this in the article), he had shipped his beloved wooden drift boat, OBSESSION, and gave a riveting slide-and-film presentation on river running later that day.

I later visited aboard BENITO, a 44' lobsterboat-as-yacht built by Johns Bay Boat Co. in South Bristol, Maine.

Monday, February 11

After an excursion with friends John and De Deegan, who took time out of their world-girdling voyage in the early 1990s to work for WoodenBoat School for a couple of summers, I joined a small tour of IMAS, the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies facility. Its state-of-the-art building is adjacent to the festival venue, and this was a little detour from the wooden-boat action—or so I thought. Our guide was Mike Coffin, who oversaw the construction of the facility and was its director. As our tour was concluding, Mike made a brief stop at his office, and my eyes alit on three photographs on his wall, of classic wooden boats in a very familiar setting. “That’s my S-boat,” he said. “I have a place in Maine.” Mike, it turned out, grew up not far from WoodenBoat, and he returns to Maine regularly. The S-boat, a classic Herreshoff one-design, just happened to be the previous issue’s cover story.

It was a very full weekend, and I spent it sprinting to see as much as I could see. So you can imagine my disappointment when I returned home to this note from regular WoodenBoat contributor Nic Compton: “Did you come across a boat called LUCY, designed by Ed Burnett and built by a couple in Tasmania?” In this issue, Nic writes about Ed and the great designs he left behind when he died in 2015 (see page 26). Alas, I had not seen LUCY. By all accounts, she is a beautiful boat. As much as I would love to have encountered the genius of Ed Burnett at the festival, and to have connected two more dots in the wooden-boat community, I’m looking forward to eventually doing so—and to another small-world story.

Matt Murphy

Editor of WoodenBoat Magazine

Page 26

The Design Legacy of Ed Burnett

by Nic Compton

It’s a balmy summer’s evening when I visit yacht designer Ed Burnett’s parents, Adrie and Jeremy, at their former captain’s house overlooking Falmouth Harbour, Cornwall, in southwestern England. I’ve barely sat down when Jeremy asks if I want to see his son’s first-ever design. “It’s hanging in the hall,” he says with evident pride. It is a 54' gaff-rigged ketch with a plumb stem and what looks like a lute stern, which is typical of some English traditional craft. The boat is meticulously drawn, with reefpoints on the main and mizzen sails, ratlines on the shrouds, a large bowsprit net, and anchors forward and aft.

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Page 34


by Text and photographs by Nic Compton

Ever since Lin and Larry Pardey sailed around the world in their 24' Lyle Hess–designed cutter SERAFFYN, 24-footers have come to be seen by many as the perfect size for pocket cruisers. They are economical to maintain, yet big enough to feel like “real” boats. The 24' PANACEA is no exception, though her design brief was very different from SERAFFYN’s.

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Oxford shell
Page 38

The State of the Art of Recreational Rowing

by Carl Kaufmann

The sport of recreational rowing is growing, and boat designers and builders are responding by offering a variety of light, high-performance craft that match the needs of both novices and experts. While these boats are all so-called “sculls”, they are from a diverse family of designs—examples of which are presented on the following pages.

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EVLI Hangon Regatta
Page 48

Hai Times on the Baltic

by Text and photographs by Greg Smith

As we headed out to the starting line in her Hai-boat, KAUNE, Anita Saksi reminded me about the jaska (boom vang). Our three-person crew consisted of Anita as skipper, Heidi Nieminen handling the foredeck, and me between them in the “pit” position. I was in Naantali, Finland, for the 2018 National Championship (SM 2018) of the Hai class.

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Photo boat deck
Page 58

A Builder’s Theory of Beauty

by Lawrence W. Cheek • Photographs by Allison Langley

Once you have owned a wooden boat, or built one, or simply become a pathetic lovesick dock hound, you may find yourself walking through a forest, seeing boats in the trees: a fine stem in the crook of that gnarled live oak, a grove of masts in the prospective yield of this old-growth Sitka spruce. I have learned to not give voice to these visions when hiking with friends, who invariably find them self-indulgent or even sacrilegious. I wonder myself,  sometimes: how does one justify creative works that also require destruction?

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Page 64

The New World Coracle

by Hilary Russell

The Celtic coracles of the British Isles are round or oblong-shaped skin-covered boats. In their simplest form, they are propelled with a paddle and meant for light inshore work. The Irish called all of their skinboats currachs; coracles were called river currachs, and they evolved into the oar-propelled currach by increasing their length, adding tholepins for oars, and finishing the sterns with transoms.

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Finished boat
Page 66

The Basket as Boat

by Text and photographs by Hilary Russell

Willow is easy to find, sustainable, and usually inexpensive or free. It is flexible when green, stiffens without becoming brittle when dry, and can be returned to flexibility by soaking in water. It has been used in currach and coracle construction for thousands of years. 

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New mast, boom, and gaff.
Page 72

New Spars for ZISKA

by Pat Mahon

In fall 2017, ZISKA sat neglected for the second time in her long life, now 114 years, and she was 5,000 miles away from where she was built in northern England. ZISKA is officially a Morecambe Bay prawner, a type colloquially known as a Lancashire nobby, but she was built in 1903 as a yacht and racing boat by the Crossfield Brothers at their yard in Arnside, Cumbria.

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Waterfront of Hobart
Page 80

Australian Wooden Boat Festival 2019

by Text and photographs by Matthew P. Murphy

On the morning of February 8 this year, the 60-ton Danish fishing ketch YUKON eased alongside a floating dock in the town of Kettering, in the Australian island state of Tasmania, to collect a load of passengers en route to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in the nearby city of Hobart.

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Page 86


by Bruce Stannard

In 2018, the 40' LADY FREE became the first Norwegian vessel to successfully complete a circumnavigation of the North and South American continents. The 32,000-nautical-mile odyssey, which took two-and-a-half years, is all the more remarkable for having been accomplished, for the most part, shorthanded in a 20-ton, double-ended wooden boat whose lines and traditional gaff topsail rig have remained essentially unchanged since they were conceived more than a century ago by Colin Archer, the great Norwegian designer of Scottish descent.

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