Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Another Successful Wooden Boat Show

We have exhibited at the Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut every year since 2007, when our Paper Jet prototype received the Outstanding Innovation Award. In 2015 Kevin Agee was runner-up in the owner-built powerboat division of the Concourse d' Elegance with his Inlet Runner 16 prototype.

Last weekend we were there again, for the 25th anniversary of the show. I had sailed my Paper Jet at Cape Hatteras the previous weekend in a 20 knot breeze and it is sailing well, as usual. It is in need of some cosmetic work, after 9 years of sailing, boat shows and being trailed more than 10,000 miles, so we left it at home. Instead we borrowed the Inlet Runner from Kevin and took that to the show.

But our efforts are not what I want to write about. Also on the show was the very lovely "Alizee", the Didi 40cr that was built in Boulder, Colorado, then towed by the owners to Mystic for launching.
"Alizee" at left, dwarfed by the "Charles W Morgan" whaling ship.
 The visitors loved "Alizee"; she made a very good first appearance in public. That is because owner/builder Bill Connor and his family made such a great job of crafting her. It was no big surprise when she won the owner-built sailboat division of the Concourse d' Elegance.
Didi 40cr "Alizee" poses for her many admirers.
"Alizee" may be a big sister to "Black Cat", the Didi 38 prototype that I built in Cape Town. But I built her as a lightweight and fairly stripped-out racer to carry me and my crew across the South Atlantic Ocean multiple times. Bill built his boat to take himself and his family cruising in safety, with a bit of speed (of course).

Bill's project was way more ambitious than mine. He has finished her to a much higher standard, with a flawless level of finish on the exterior paintwork. This family did almost everything themselves, aside from rig, sails and keel. That includes, the welded stainless steel pulpits and dodger frame, as well as the canvas work.
Cockpit , with owner-built stainless and canvas work.
Although she has an inboard shaft-mounted rudder, she also has the V-notch in the sugar scoop to take a transom-hung rudder. This is because Bill has elected to carry an emergency rudder that quickly drops into the V-notch if needed. She still has a tiller though, no wheel steering for Bill. He says that his wife, Catherine, was apprehensive about tiller-steering. To cure her he left her steering all day - apprehension gone. Bill's comment was "Why anyone would put a wheel on such a sweet ride is beyond me".
Transom with sugar scoop and cut-out for emergency rudder.
As for sailing characteristics, best let Bill say it in his own words. "We did finally have 15 kts yesterday, so we jumped on it and had a great sail. She is absolutely perfectly balanced right out of the box. I took a swag at the rake and haven't touched it. Just a delight."
"Alizee" leaving Mystic Seaport after the show.
Next chapter in the life of "Alizee" is to start her cruising by spending the summer in Maine, where she will be based in Belfast. Watch for an article about her in a future issue of Wooden Boat magazine.
Beautiful interior of "Alizee", all the work of the owners.
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