Des Townson – A Sailing Legacy
Boatbuilding School Looking For New Home – Can You or Anyone You Know Help Out?
Originally designed for the Manchester Yacht Club in Massachusetts USA and called the Manchester 17, the first boats were built by the Rice Bros in 1908. As the design’s popularity spread it acquired a number of different names including the Bar Harbor 17 and eventually the Dark Harbor 17-1/2. The plans for this yacht are credited to BB Crowninshield and were completed by R. N. Burbank, an employee of the firm at the time.
The Dark Harbor 17-1/2 is a pure sailing machine of great beauty, but large enough to offer considerably more comfort through a larger cockpit well and a small cuddy cabin. Low freeboard combined with a wide, self-bailing cockpit well that seats you “down in” the boat puts you very close to the water. The lovely, slender hull lines, long ends, deep draft and large rig provide wonderfully sweet feel in this powerful, fast, wet, responsive and handy boat.
The clinker Jack belongs to woody Dean Wright, they got Jack from Picton back in 2008, a 8’6″ kauri clinker. From what Dean has learnt she was probably built by the Jack Morgan yard in the 1960’s. If anyone recognises Jack and has any more history, he would love to hear it.
The story of Jack as told by Dean
He’s always been a leaker despite long spells in the briny to take up. You’ll see from the photos 3-4″ of water sloshing about and the bailer afloat, we decided that 2016 was going to be his birthday and he was going to get tight.
We stripped him back to bare, cleaned out the lands then took him to boat builder Bob Van Pierce (owner of the mullety Cora) for his opinion. He thought she was recoverable but she’d need three and a bit new planks and a general refasten. And while we were at he’d fix the bulge in one side of her hull and bring her back into her original shape. Bob did all the smart stuff and I got on the end of the dolly. Thanks Bob, you did a fantastic job.
The first photos show the general condition of the planks we replaced, splits and bits missing.
A few replacement planks & Bob scarfed one in. Spotted gum for the ribs. The steam box was cranked up, ribs loaded in & then bent in. A few broke but where were spares. Ribs were nailed from below and riveted.
Then primer, Prekote and topcoat prior to new purple heart thwarts being fitted. Bob also added rubbing strakes.
Then Jack came back home to your the shed and was ready for bottom paint & signwriting by artist Lester Hall. Thanks also Lester for the beautiful oars complete with welcome swallows. These have been decorating my wall for the last 5-6 years, they got a hell of a fright being immersed in salt water.
Then the bronze rowlocks were fitted & new floorboards in + nylon rub rail secured with copper wire.
First outing was planting trees with Project Island Song. Over a day, we got half a litre in the bottom, pretty happy with that.
The old dinks – Ken is not happy, he’s been relegated to barge duties.
And While On The Topic Of Wooden Boats
The NZ Traditional Boat Building School has just released details on its latest courses, see below. The presenter / instructors are legends in the wooden boating community. In the past the courses have been oversubscribed, so get in early or miss out.
To register – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 027 – 45 33 55