The prospect of having to fiberglass the bottom of a hull can be a bit ominous. Any type of overhead work can be frustrating, but the thought of trying to hold fiberglass in place while applying epoxy can produce nightmares for some people. This is especially true if you will be working alone. Continue reading →
In March of 2013, after 42 years, my Mom and I sold the family business that she and my Dad started in 1971. I was still in high school when I started working for my parents, and as a result, I have never filled out a job application or been to an interview. At 56 years old I wasn’t about to start now! So in the spirit of following one’s own path I turned my hobby into a new business and opened Nelson Niederer Woodworking. Continue reading →
Surcease is a late ’50s International Flying Dutchman Class sailboat. The Mahogany hull was cold-molded in Holland and imported by Paul Rimoldi of Miami Florida. Mr Rimoldi made everything else, including many pieces of hardware. He raced the boat on Biscayne Bay into the ’60s and sailed it for many years. He rebuilt the boat in the late ’80s but died before he finished. We bought the boat in August 1992 from his widow and sailed it for almost a season before we discovered that the hull was in very poor condition; the Urea-resin glue between the veneers had begun to turn to dust. We stored the boat and bought another Flying Dutchman. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: A good overview of Port Townsend’s busy harbor on a gorgeous September day.
If you are interested in US Maritime history and heritage, you owe it to yourself to visit Port Townsend, Washington. Port Townsend is located 56 miles NNW from Seattle and sits on the waterfront of Port Townsend Bay in Puget Sound. This unique village is known for its sense of community and a lifestyle of “salt water hippies” focused on boats and the sea. Port Townsend is also the home of the oldest and largest Wooden Boat Festival in the Pacific Northwest, perhaps in the US. Truly an international event, Continue reading →
On July 15th, 2006, a friend and I took my 1958 Flying Dutchman out for a sail in the Saginaw River. This was only the third time the boat had sailed in 30 years and the first hard sailing since my six-year-long restoration. We set both sails and made several runs in front of the Saginaw Bay Yacht Club before we hit something, maybe an old piling or maybe the freighter rudder that went missing the previous fall.
The Damage The centerboard took the first impact, splitting at the pivot bolt hole. Next the rudder hit, forcing it upward, snapping the tiller and tearing off most of the transom. The board jammed against the back of the centerboard trunk and gouged a triangle out of the trailing edge of the centerboard. Continue reading →
“Maybe the prettiest yacht ever built.” That is what some folks say about Bolero. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, still, very few boaters would be able to take a quick glance at this yacht and not continue to stare and measure every detail with their eyes. Any sailor would imagine themselves on board sailing for Bermuda or their destination of choice. Her proportions are just right and the construction details are elegant and refined. Continue reading →
I first got into International 110 sailing 15 years ago and soon bought an old fixer-upper boat. After sailing it for a couple of years in a decrepit state, I made the decision to fix it right. I had worked with WEST SYSTEM® products before, and I was pretty familiar with the product line. I had done significant repairs on a 1965 Continue reading →
The beauty of a wooden boat is undeniable. It doesn’t matter whether it’s sail or power. When I see one, my response is both cerebral and primal, and I know I’m not alone. I began racing sailboats in the late 1970’s and, without exception, it has always been aboard FRP production boats. In 1980, I was invited to crew on my first long distance race, hosted by the Buffalo Yacht Club near the northern end of Lake Erie. Continue reading →
The gaff-rigged sloop REEB (Beer spelled backwards) was one of three wooden day sailers built in 1922 for a resort in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. My father purchased it in 1953 and raced and day sailed it for several years along the Door Peninsula. In 1958, he obtained a job at the Defoe Shipyard in Bay City, Michigan; with no means of trailering the REEB, he decided to sail it to Bay City. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: “The last thing I needed to worry about was whether or not my boat would stay intact.
Tiptoeing on the edge of danger, I was crouched down on my knees in the cockpit of my ten-and-a-half foot “sheet of plywood” hydroplane, screaming across the water at speeds reaching 65 mph. Crossing the start line with wide open throttle, I, along with eleven other boats, aimed for the first turn pin. Who will make it there first? With just inches between boats, whitewater from the roostertails engulfed my boat and hammered against my helmet’s visor. These roostertails, which extended thirty feet behind the engine and turn fin, were difficult, almost impossible, to avoid. During this moment of frenzy, I prayed that another hydroplane had not stalled in front of me, or worse . . . flipped.Continue reading →