November / December 2022

Aboard: OWL

The “just right” balance of a Concordia yawl
OWL

BENJAMIN MENDLOWITZ

As with many Concordia yawls, OWL’s original jib club has been retired, and roller furling has been installed. She carries a 100 percent jib most of the time, because it balances the helm well and doesn’t overpower the boat in gusts. It also tacks easily, and its high clew allows excellent visibility forward.

The Concordia 39 yawl OWL was built in 1955 by Abeking & Rasmussen, one of 11 Concordias the German firm completed that year for delivery to American buyers. My wife and I have owned OWL, No. 31, since 1996 and have sailed the boat more than 30,000 miles throughout New England and Canadian waters.

Wherein lies the authentic genius of these eternally popular boats? Here is our own insight, which came to us after several years with OWL: the Concordia 39 is a yacht of entirely ideal dimensions, neither too big nor too small.

“Not too big” means that she can be managed with ease, even when sailing solo, as I very often do. With its compact cockpit, low sheet loads, and uncanny self-steering ability, a Concordia is quite easily handled, even in strong wind. Because a 39 is so readily singlehanded, any good day can be a sailing day, regardless of whether crew can be mustered. “Not too big” also means that the 35-lb anchor can be raised without a windlass, and the boat can be brought to a dock without fuss. When sailboats start to exceed 40' in length, the corresponding increases in volume, displacement, windage, and loads really begin to make themselves known.

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