A New Wooden 12-Meter

in almost 50 years.***

12 Meter 2

(Photos courtesy Lilli Berking, Robbe & Berking Classics — http://www.classics.robbeberking.de)

From their press release of yesterday:

“This was a very special moment in yachting history, when the first wooden 12-metre yacht that was newly constructed of wood in more than 50 years went into the water for the first time. It is design number 434 of the famous Norwegian designer Johan Anker, dating from the year 1939, his last 12-metre and his second-last design overall – his last design ever was an 8-metre yacht. The war and Anker’s death, due to illness, in 1940 were the reasons why these two boats were never built – until today. “Robbe & Berking Classics” was able to source and secure all drawings that Anker had made for his last, fantastic 12-metre and built this classic yacht for a Scandinavian customer.”

Her specs:

Specification „Johan Anker 434“

Length over all 21,65 m

Beam 3,60 m

Draft 2,64 m

Sail area as measured 174 square metres

12-Meter C


The company that built her is a fascinating one as well.  Matt wrote about the yard in WB No. 227.

Which was the last wooden 12-Meter built almost 50 years ago?  I’m guessing it was Intrepid.  But I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m mistaken.

The memory of wooden 12-Meters takes me back to a time when we introduced the “WoodenBoat World Champion 12-Meter Regatta” in Newport sometime in the ’90s.  We had a fleet of nine of them, and 132 WoodenBoat readers from all over the world racing aboard.

The first sign of trouble came when some officious group said we couldn’t use the term “World Championship.”

We had two days of just fabulous racing… until the morning of the second day, the boat that WB staff was on (I will not divulge the boat’s name here) t-boned Nefertiti just prior to the start.

Ever since then, I have to confess that I haven’t been following 12-Meters too closely.  But they are grand vessels, and I am so happy to see Robbe and Berking launch this lovely example of the type.

For more information, please see their webpage:  http://www.classics.robbeberking.de/en/neubau/index.php

What do you think?  Please comment below.

Thanks so, Carl

*** — Gareth corrected me on the WoodenBoat Forum:  Kate was built by Philip Walwyne maybe 10 years ago.  I apologize!

Posted in My Wooden Boat of June 2015 | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

When Next I Win the Lottery (Part Six): Arethusa

“.. I was standing on a Gloucester pierhead when I first saw her.  It was toward sunset, and the air was light so that she seemed a ghost into the harbor’s mouth under full sail.  She was an aristocrat, a thoroughbred from her full keel to her trucks.  The late sun turned her spread of canvas golden, and my throat was tight and stiff as she came walking up the harbor like a great lady entering a room.  Her long, low black hull told the mariner of speed and grace… [she] sailed in through the harbor of Gloucester that night and straight into my heart.”

Sorry, it is I who have embolded the above.  Finer writing of one falling in love with a boat at first sight I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered.

[Here it would be appropriate for me to insert a profile of Arethusa, from Howard Chapelle’s The American Fishing Schooners, 1825-1935 — pp. 271-272.  Alas, for two days I have been struggling with my scanner, and its insistent on resting when I want it to work prove the victory to the infernal machine.  Instead, I will post this photo:]


 (Photo courtesy Cape Ann Museum)

The photo above doesn’t show her with rig, of course.  She was designed by the noted yacht designer Thomas MacManus, and built by Tarr and James in Essex, Massachusetts in 1907.  She was originally a knockabout schooner, but a bowsprit was added later.  She was noted to be very fast and weatherly.

She was 127′3″ LOA; 25′0″ Beam; 13′2″ Draft.

What was her particular significance to American history, I ask you?

If you, as I have just, had read a copy of Frederic F. Van de Water’s amazing book The Real McCoy, you would know the answer,  (Well, true:  You may be enough of a marine historian to know the answer without reading this particular book.  But it’s your loss if you haven’t read it.)

The person who spoke the words at the beginning of this column was Bill McCoy, the “inventor” and master of Rum Row off New York during the US’s terrible experiment with Prohibition in the 1920s.  Bill was a stupendous person, as the book ably demonstrates.  In addition to which he was a teetotaller.

Bill made millions of dollars from these smuggling exploits, but ended up giving all or most of his ill-gotten gains to lawyers to shorten his inevitable jail time after a shady deal between the US and Britain permitted him to be caught outside the territorial limit.

Prior to his arrest, Bill had amassed quite a fleet of schooners for rum-running.  But the love of his life was Arethusa, which he lost due to his arrest.

I can’t recommend this book heartily enough.  I suggest you buy a copy from its publishers, Flat Hammock Press, in Mystic, CT (www.flathammockpress.com).  Or, if you prefer, from Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Real-McCoy-Frederic-Van-Water/dp/0971830320/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433371929&sr=1-2&keywords=the+real+mccoy 

The Real McCoy

Reading this book made me reminisce about our World Schooner Cup, which we decided to produce in the days before email.  I got actual letters from around the world from interested parties.  Alas, our #1 contender and partner in the endeavor, Covey Island Boatworks, was unable to obtain provincial or federal funding, so we had to cease the enterprise.

Some people wish they could turn the time clock and be in Paris in the 1920s, hanging out with Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stein, et al  Me, I’d rather go back to the International Schooner Race of that same time.  (Bill McCoy, of course, asked if Arethusa could race in it, but was told No — she was no longer deemed a fishing vessel.)

More images of Arethusa at:  http://images.marinersmuseum.org/#/gallery/bill-mccoy-and-rum-running/apk57v15biplane-arethusa

What do you think?

Thanks, Carl



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