May / June 2020

Restoring RANDY B

A statement of simple and sublime utility

David Stevens, the legendary Nova Scotia schooner builder, built this 32′ powerboat in 1985 for his brother Randy. David’s grandson, David Peill, seen here aboard the boat at her December 2019 relaunching, recently had the boat restored under the direction of Bill Lutwick of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.

The best boats are statements of sublime utility—statements that extend to family and friends and entire communities engaged and enabled by craft, making, using, and loving boats as both a means and an end for joy.

Randolph “Randy” Stevens was born in 1923, the youngest of 12 children. His family had been subsistence farmers on Tancook Island in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, and around 1920 had moved to nearby Second Peninsula, on the mainland, to grow and work in trades that included boatbuilding, sailmaking, crop and dairy farming, blacksmithing, blockmaking, fishing, and any other occupation where value could be derived from the edge between land and sea.

David Stevens, Randy’s older brother, was a legendary schooner builder and an accomplished sailor; his narrow designs won races and made Second Peninsula known far beyond the limits of its green fields, barns, and sheds clustered alongshore and framed by spiky ledges. Over the winter of 1985, David, along with Jim Rhodenizer and many people from the community, built the hull of a 32′ powerboat for Randy. The design was scaled down from a 36′ boat David had built for his father after World War II—a boat whose useful days had come to an end. The hull form was an evolution of the region’s famous Tancook schooners, and a step toward Nova Scotia’s now-ubiquitous powered lobsterboat, the “Cape Islander.” The new boat, meant for family fishing and picnics, was elegant, basic, and fast, with a beam of just 7½′. She was capable of carrying a group of six or more, and was then known simply as “Randy’s Boat.”

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