My 18' Atkin designed
plywood Hardanger faering
plies the waves in
early '80's Gig Harbor bay.
That's me at the helm,
with my wife and kids
for trim ballast.
This photo was kindly supplied
by Bruce Smith.
The Hardanger faering
Al Swanson of Parkland (a righteous Swede) built
her of plywood in the mid '50's according to an Atkin plan in Rudder magazine.
My Dad bought it from him and left it to me before his passing in '81.
Instead of a centerboard she had a long skeg, and was sloop rigged, which
was good. The traditional rudder was more of a brake, so it took some touch
to handle, but handle she did. The boat turned out to be a Lightening
killer. Here's how I found out:
I was teaching myself to sail. After surviving
three solo trips, an SORC retiree named Perry hitched a ride with
me for my fourth. He was an Irish Jew from Connecticut, a veteren
of two heart-attacks and a stroke, hiding out West with his Norwegian wife.
He raced in hot pink shirts and with a hipflask of brandy. But this
was no race today, or so we thought. Perry trimmed the sails while
I took the helm. His first words to me were, "You can't teach a dummy
how to sail."
Threatened with such a curse, I paid him strict
attention. He taught me to trim for the slot, and how sail-chokers
overtrim and lose races. Smoke from his cigarette gauged the wind
for ghosting. Then we espied a Lightning and gave chase. I
was lazing back with the tiller over my shoulder as we tacked in pursuit.
Perry looked back and snarled, "Get off your ass, this is a race."
The Lightening should have walked away from us,
what with their waterline, sail area and decent centerboard. Maybe
it was something in Perry, a something that came from deep within him that
science can't help us with. We were still closing when the wind died,
so both boats just sat there. A motor boat from the Tides Tavern
zipped over, circling us. Her skipper hollered questions about my
"Is that a Drascombe?"
"No," yells I, " it's a Hardanger Faering".
"It's a Hardfinger-f....r" yells Perry.
And so it goes. We not only killed a Lightning
with a stupid Norse three-plank lapstrake cod boat, but we did it for a
large audience at a popular dockside tavern. Not bad
for a master and his dummy.
This boat attracted notice everytime I took it
out. Painted the colors of the Swedish flag (by me), she was
pretty on the water. One time I was following a motorboat caravan
to the harbor entrance. I had her on her ear, keeping up with them.
One skipper looked at me, then looked at his instruments. He turned
back, signalling my speed with his fingers. I was making something between
6 and7 knots. Those were the days, when we knifed the water together
without a wake.
If I'd have taken care of her, she'd be sailing
today. She was built in the '50's, and in good shape when I got her.
But I squandered my inheritance, and now she's pattern stock. I'd
trade my Columbia 26 for one like her straight across. I miss that
skateboard feeling of being near the water with the waves slapping on her
plywood. I believe Noah had plywood. He had to have,
because our ancestors were actually smarter than we are, and we have it.
My thanks to Bruce Smith and his Significant Other for the photos I have
of her under sail. I learned from their sense of history and eye
for art to take lots of pictures, because the things you love tend to fall
apart while you look at them.
Next up: The "NSF", my
Columbia 26 Mkll
our 3 ton floating living room. Don't be fooled,
she's fast. I made Blake Island
from the mouth of Gig
Harbor in 1 hour, 45 minutes during
a nice South wind.
This Wm. Tripp design fits the bill for bateau-hippii
like us. We got her in '89 from a fully gruntled Swede (another righteous
one, judging from his taste in boats). She's fast, even with original
sails (circa '71), but a little snotty when trying to hoist away while
motoring into the wind, due to sailplan and forward windage. The
high freeboard and flush deck are a nice touch. The Blake Island
run mentioned above exceeds her hull speed. We were towing a dinghy
One yacht broker told me of a C-26 owner who sold
his cow and lit out for the Queen Charlottes, up the B.C. coast.
On returning he smacked into a rock and tore a hole in her. He sailed
her home to Gig Harbor, and left her anchored out for a year or so before
hauling out for repairs. C-26's are bulkheaded forward, enough to
take a few bumps.
Another rumor came from a magazine, 48 Degrees
North if memory serves, where someone in Mexico met a circumnavigating
couple in a C-26 who had a kid enroute, and ditched the motor to make way
for Huggies. I don't know if I'd test a short fin keel on that kind
of trip, but with God all things are posssible.
There are lots of these boats still sailing back
East, and many on Puget Sound as well. A web search will turn up
online manuals and support groups. Yes, it's a disease.
lost...but only for a moment...
is blown off her mooring in storm,
upright by obliging trees.
came back, so we were
to drag her off...
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