View Full Version : Covey Island Boatworks' latest - boat porn (BIG file!)
Hi folks. I thought you might be interested in the latest from Covey Island Boatworks in Petite Riviere, Nova Scotia. Her name is "Elsie" and she is a modified Herreshoff "Tioga" design. She's 57' on deck, 65' LOA, and built of clear fir on laminated fir frames, all stainless fastened, then sealed in epoxy & 'glass. The modifications, some of (see note) which I was fortunate enough to have a hand in, are as follows:
(NOTE: Through poor grammar in the original form of this posting, I inadvertantly gave the impression that I was taking credit for all of the modifications listed below. This is not the case, and I apologise to the true authors of the modifications to the hull, rig, and centreboard system, and to the readers whom may have been misled. Please see my posting farther down this thread for details on who did what. - Michael Mason)
There is a slight ballast keel addition, similar in form to that of "Bounty" but smaller, to house a hydraulically actuated fin centreboard. This allows her to have the proper amount of lateral area but keep the shallow draft of the Tioga design, but not have the 'board casing intrude into the interior.
The sheer is raised 6" to add a bit of headroom in the interior. We humbly disagree with Mr. Herreshoff's notion that you only need full headroom when you lie down.
The seperate raised engine hatch, main cabin trunk, and forepeak deckhouse of the original design were abandoned in favour of a single, larger deckhouse to enhance livability below.
The sailplan was altered to accomodate fully-battened sails with generous roach. Roller furling was added to the jib. All sail control lines are led aft to the cockpit. Main & mizzen travellers were replaced with gimballed blocks.
The interior was completely redesigned for more modern sensibilities and outfit, but retains the Herreshoff style of white T&G with mahogany trim. She has two heads, two double berths, two single berths, and two pilot berths.
Power is via a Perkins 85-hp diesel through a centreline shaft, rather than the canted-to-port arrangement originally by LFH.
First, three photos of her at the wharf at the Lahave Bakery (a wonderful spot in it's own right):
Here is a couple of photos of the interior while it was still under construction:
Here's a couple of detail shots. First, the trailboards,
... then the lovely little dolphin that caps the raised bulwark transition:
Finally, a shot of her sailing away today, heading out of the mouth of the Lahave River on her way to Newport to the broker who is selling her for a bargain $850,000 USD.
Hope I didn't choke your 'pooter!
[ 11-20-2002, 03:39 PM: Message edited by: mmd ]
11-19-2002, 09:16 PM
What a great boat! I, along with many others I'm sure, have always been a fan of this design. I like your mods- they clean up the lines a bit, and do much to help the interior come up to date. Since I'm 6'5" the extra freeboard/headroom would be needed- you can't even tell its been raised from the photos- did the trunk cabin get raised also?
I've been on Stan Bishopics (sp) Ticonderoga replica several times- an absolutely perfect piece of craftsmanship if ever there was one- but found the original deckhouse layout awkward to say the least. My only question is how would you handle a dodger on one of these?- they're an absolute requirement here in the wet NW!
The Bishopic replica has tons of brightwork- very pretty, but I like this better- clean and simple. Thanks for taking time to post the pics, and congradulations on being selected to work on such a fine project!
[ 11-19-2002, 09:20 PM: Message edited by: Conrad S. ]
The deckhouse height & centreline profile is faithful to LFH.
11-19-2002, 10:04 PM
Runs out to buy lottery ticket ..
11-19-2002, 10:05 PM
What are the spars made of?
What a yacht! Hope whoever dropped almost a mil. really appreciates her!
11-19-2002, 10:26 PM
Wow! Thanks, Michael!
Masts & spreaders are wood, too - Douglas fir.
11-19-2002, 11:32 PM
Nah hate it. Gnash. (Runs out to buy 2 lottery tickets.)
She's a beautiful thing.
PS that looks suspiciously like a 40 ft hull wave there. What speed does she motor at, 8.5 or 9 approx?
[ 11-19-2002, 11:35 PM: Message edited by: John B ]
John told me that he clocked it with a handheld GPS at 8.8 kts with the motor turning at 2450 rpm; max revolutions is 2600.
No, she is lovely. There is also a good slide show of her launching on Covey Islands site.
I am curious about how you raised the sheer. Was it all in one spot or did you re-space the waterlines in her topsides? Did the sheer change in breadth?
In the interest of full disclosure, I designed her centerboard mechanism.
Thanks for posting the pics.
All the best, Tad.
OMG!! redface.gif :eek: Tad, I owe you a v. large apology. I just re-read my original posting and my poor grammar gives the impression that I am taking credit for all of the modifications, which is terribly wrong. So sorry. I will go back and edit to remove this mistake.
For the record, my participation was to work with John Steele on the re-design of the interior accomodation arrangement and cabin trunk, revise the sailplan, and revise the standing and running rigging arrangement. For my personal comfort I calculated the rigging loads to confirm that the rearrangement of their geometry didn't cause any problems. Finally, I did the survey for her Tonnage Certificate.
The hull was originally built in New Brunswick, Canada (builder name unknown to me) in 1992 and brought to Covey Island Boatworks (CIB) in 1997 or 98 for finishing. Through events unknown by me, CIB became owner of the hull, and this year they decided to complete the project on spec. I believe the sheer was raised by the original builder by sistering frames to the originals and adding a single faired plank to the hull.
Again, my profound apologies to all.
[ 11-20-2002, 12:22 PM: Message edited by: mmd ]
11-20-2002, 12:26 PM
A beautiful boat! The asking price of $850,000 is the surest indication yet that the late John Gardner was correct when he said that amateurs will be the saviors of wooden boat building, for how many potential buyers will there be for expensive boats like this? Contrast this boat with the several Appledore schooners built by a husband and wife of fairly modest means who employed skilled labor helpers at only a few points in the construction.
And while that dolphin looks pretty, I'd hate to take the dorsal fin through my palm if I had to grab for the rail in a hard chance!
11-20-2002, 01:07 PM
Ummm. This is interesting.
I drew the rig for this boat too!
Maybe the new owner will get a couple of rigs? One for weekdays, the other for weekends!
John Gearing, with due respect to your opinion on the cost and lavishness of this boat, and with utmost admiration for those unsung amateur builders who create exquisite yachts in their back yards on a shoe-string budget, I hope that there is always a place in our world for the dedicated professional craftsmen and -women who commit an inordinate amount of their time, effort and psyche to achieving and maintaining the pinacle of yachtbuilding expertise. They deserve to be paid their wage and the companies they work for deserve to make sufficient profit to allow them to grow and move on to the next project. And I especially appreciate the very few wealthy people who are discriminating enough to recognize that in their ability and desire to own the very best in wooden yachts, they are contributing to the possibility that the professional wooden yachtbuilder will be able to maintain and advance his craft.
A vessel such as "Elsie" takes about 12,500 manhours to create; raw materials and out-sourced equipment is in the order of $250,000; the cost of maintaining (mortgage, heat, lights, water, maintenance, etc.) a large professional shop for the duration of the construction of the yacht is around $100,000; taxes, insurances, employee benefits, and other costs come to around $200,000; leaving a balance of $300,000. If you agree that a reasonable wage for a superb craftsman at the top of his game is $20 per hour (I see that you are a law student, what do you think will be a reasonable hourly rate for your services?), so labour costs are going to be $250,000. This leaves a profit of $50,000 for the yard owner. Do you feel that this is an exorbitant salary for the man who has just spent a year managing a million-dollar project, a half-million-dollar facility, a dozen or more employees, not to mention betting his livelihood on the project?
Yes, $850,000 is a lot for a boat. Yes, some people can achieve similar quality at vastly reduced price and greatly increased calendar time. No, the cost is not exorbitant nor inflated. God bless those who can afford to keep us plebes doing what we love and able to support our families.
And that dolphin fin? It's 12" above the deck. If you need to grab it while you're heading overboard, its' 1" high and well rounded surface will be the least of your concerns.
Alan D. Hyde
11-20-2002, 01:38 PM
mmd, I note the many washports amidships, but see no indication of many forward or aft. Perhaps they are just hard to discern in the photo?
IF the only washports are amidships, it seems that these may free water well when the yacht is level, but might permit quite a weight of water to remain behind the bulwarks while she is pitched in heavy weather.
This is quite likely a stupid question from a non-NA who hasn't done much heavy weather sailing in boats like this, but I'd nevertheless appreciate hearing your thoughts.
Ed's sail and rig design was (and is) superb, and captures the essence of the rakish elegance of LFH's original with remarkable skill. My involvement was to incorporate Ed's design into the structural and general arrangement drawings, check loads on the mainsheet rigging where it lands on the new cabin trunk, define the leads of the running rigging on the new deckplan, and compare the new stainless steel fittings to those originally designed by LFH for fabrication in bronze. I went through the exercise of calculating the location and loading of the standing rigging on the existing hull structure to satisfy my own curiosity, which had been piqued by a comment from another naval architect regarding the strength of LFH's original design, and not due to any misgivings whatsoever about Ed's work.
A vessel such as "Elsie" is only realized through the committment and efforts of a number of talented and gifted people, and I am pleased to have been able to play a small part in her creation and be on the periphery of such luminaries as LFH, John Steele, Tad, Ed, and many others.
Alan, I will defer to my peers and betters present in stating absolute truths on this matter because the topic of scuppers on this design seems to be a bit of a hot topic in some circles. The area that you see scuppers in Elsie's profile is the lowest point of a quite arched sheerline at deck. Herreshoff's original design didn't indicate any scuppers through the bulwarks at all; water on deck was drained through internal scuppers - three per side - that exited the hull just above the waterline and concealed in the boottop. The "Bounty II" by Legendary Yachts appears to have gone this route, as there are no scuppers evident in her topsides in the pictures that I have seen. The Bounty reproduction that I worked on last year that is currently under construction in the USA was specified to have through-deck scuppers as described by LFH, albeit with modern hoses instead of copper tube. CIB opted to maintain the integrity of it's composite decks by cutting a series of scuppers through the bulwark at the low point of the deck. Time and experience will tell whether they are located properly - I think they are. They certainly have a much greater capacity for ridding the deck of water than did the LFH arrangement. As for which is better looking, well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the purview of the owner.
11-20-2002, 02:26 PM
If only I had a spare 850g's around.....
11-20-2002, 03:05 PM
Hubba, hubba. I think my keyboard just shorted out from the drool. :eek:
From the pictures, I actually like this better than the Bounty done by Legendary Yachts. Neater and more business-like I think. Gives a guy something to dream about, that's for sure!
11-20-2002, 08:21 PM
I didn't mean to belittle either the skills, dedication, or wages of the folks that built this boat. John Gardner's point, which you in fact have made quite forcefully in your rendition of the various costs of this project, was simply that due to the high costs of new construction there will not be a return to the "golden age" of wooden boatbuilding, when there were many yards turning out many fine boats every year.
You seem to have taken my post to mean that I feel that the cost of building Elsie was exorbitant. My opinion is exactly the opposite. The costs are whatever they are. And the market value is whatever someone is willing to pay for the boat. As long as there are people willing to pay enough more than the cost so that the seller makes a sufficient profit, then professional boatbuilders should be able to stay in business. However, there seems to be plenty of evidence to suggest that the number of people willing to pay that sufficient amount is rather limited. Therefore, the number of yards is going to be limited (and indeed it is), and the number of professionals they employ is going to be limited. And yes, we should all be thankful for those well-heeled patrons who keep the custom builders going. Absolutely, for the professional is still the pinnacle craftsman whose excellent example the amateur builder will (or should) emulate.
But is the construction of a relative handful of beautiful yachts going to be the force that saves wooden boatbuilding? John Gardner didn't think so, and for a long time I disagreed with him. But lately I've come around to his point of view. The professional builder is always subject to market forces. If the market decides it is no longer interested in wooden boats the professional will have to find another means of making a living. The amateur, by definition, is not dependent on his boatbuilding for his living. Therefore he is immune to any downturn in the market for wooden boats. He can take 1000 hours to build a simple flattie skiff and not suffer any economic consequences. It is the widespread acquisition of traditional skills by talented amateurs that will ensure the future of traditional wooden boatbuilding.
Yes, with Elsie the folks at Covey Island have contributed mightily to keeping the flame alive, but so has Art Read with the beautiful Dark Harbor he is building, along with all the other amateur builders whose boats are featured in "Launchings" each issue. My point about the Appledore schooners (which were built to quite a high standard by the way) was simply to illustrate that while Elsie may be financially out of reach for most of us, the dream of owning a sizeable yacht can still be realized by persons of fairly modest means who are willing to put in the time and effort to do it themselves, and do it right. This has been proven time and again as chronicled in WB.
Since you seem interested in the fact that I'm a law student, a note on lawyers and wages: A newly minted lawyer can make between $70 - $100K per year BUT they usually have to work 50-70 hours a week in exchange, and sometimes more. Let's see how this works out in an example: $75K per year works out to $1500 a week (50 weeks) divided by 60 hours a week = $25/hour. This is at least in the ballpark of what a top boatbuilder makes, although granted I'm comparing an inexperienced lawyer to an experienced craftsman. Perhaps the fact that the new lawyer will typically carry with her $100K or more of student loan debt will even things out a bit.
As for the dolphin decoration, I guess we'll just have to disagree. I personally find it esthetically excessive ("cutesy" and "precious" come to mind) but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I certainly recognize my opinion as strictly my own. And as regards the safety angle, I can think of any number of situations short of going over the side where I wouldn't want to fetch up short on that dolphin. But again, that's my opinion....like the guy who said "the surest way to improve a yawl is with a saw."
[ 11-20-2002, 08:30 PM: Message edited by: John Gearing ]
11-20-2002, 08:52 PM
Wow, what a great thread. Congratulations to ALL who helped make “Elsie” what she is. (Even if she does have non LFH specified scuppers, an improvement I’d say.)
One question for MMD though; so how did LFH do in sizing the original rigging design?
No apology is necessary Michael.
I mentioned the scuppers mostly in jest. There are very good reasons for them, as you have covered above. But L. Francis would be appalled. He almost never included scuppers in his designs; he didn't bother to draw the deck drains either. He just knew the drains would be installed by the builders as a matter of practice. He also almost never included portlights in a yacht's topsides.
I have been involved with a number of boats of this general type, none of which have scuppers. Instead all are built with deck drains, usually three, P&S. The center drain is positioned in the waterway at the lowest point in the sheer. The other two are positioned for and aft of this, perhaps 6-10' depending on the size of the vessel. So hopefully the forward drain ends up at about the widest point in the sheer. On the most recent boats these drains have a cast bronze grating with a small sump, but these are very large vessels.
The real reason for the drains is to eliminate the black streaks on the topsides where water runs off the deck through the scuppers.
My general feeling is that the drains keep too much water on deck, causing problems with leaking hatches. The scuppers (as seen above on Elsie) are entirely appropriate for deep sea voyaging in anything other than the best weather.
All the best, Tad
11-20-2002, 09:15 PM
Thanks for the pictures, Michael. The boat is stunning. You must be proud of the part you played in making this happen.
11-20-2002, 11:51 PM
Good friends of mine are Island Packet dealers. Island Packet makes a good boat in the upper end of the price/quality scale. Knowing what Island Packet's price is for their larger baots, the IP 44 and the new 48, I think $850K for a quality boat 57 ft. on deck is actually a bargain !! (a bargain I can't begin to afford). IP's new 48 is about $450K. A 57 foot IP would be at least double that. I wonder what Hinckly get for a 60 ft. boat, bet it is well over a million. If I had the money to spend, I'd take the Covey Island.
11-21-2002, 12:54 PM
Mmd - you didn't incline her by any chance did you?
If you did, I wouldn't mind a look at the righting moment to check my estimate! It's always nice to close the loop on this sort of thing.
11-21-2002, 01:02 PM
Ed, I thought your name looked familiar!
You developed the plans for a VARUA type. The original was one of my first dream designs after reading Robinson's book many years ago.
It would seem that we, lucky folks, have at least three NA's in our midst.
Tad, MMD and Ed, not too shabby, or so says I.
Sorry, Ed, inclining was not in the cards. I agree it would be nice data to have. We have had a series of nasty north-easterly storms in the past few weeks, and another one due on the coming weekend, making it difficult to get fitting-out and trials done in time for the delivery trip to Newport. Good calm days have been pretty sparse around here lately.
Another "Bounty" is a-building in Massachusetts that I have had a hand in, and I am hoping to incline this one to validate my calculated stability data for her. If this happens (early next spring, I expect), I would be willing to share the data.
11-21-2002, 01:22 PM
It would seem that we, lucky folks, have at least three NA's in our midst.
Tad, MMD and Ed, not too shabby, or so says II count five, with John Hardiman and Bainbridgeisland.
11-21-2002, 01:28 PM
Whups you be correct Bruce. redface.gif
11-21-2002, 01:46 PM
Michael, she looks nice-glad to see her finished and sailing.
I have to comment on the price tag etc - first of all-and without having seen nor sailed her-850K is definitely a bargain for a boat such as this-pedigree design, well respected builder, etc. All else being equal-her new owner will have a very good value and a beautiful yacht.
As far as whether yards like this can "save wooden boatbuilding" - I think that without question professional wooden boat building is critical to the survival of the species and that there are plenty of folks with the taste and funds to support such yards. Unfortunately, alot of yachting dollars get poured into pretty horrible 100 foot motoryachts (not all are horrible)- but look around outside your local harbor in the big world out there and you will be astonished at just how many people really can and do afford million dollar (and times many) yachts. I hope that Covey Island can sell her quickly so that the new owner can enjoy her and they can get to building another wooden boat!!
Alan D. Hyde
11-21-2002, 02:16 PM
I agree, but, sadly, for every dime that gets spent on a quality vessel, a dollar is spent on JUNK.
This prompts a thought.
Why don't we pick a day as "Wooden Boat Day," and take our boats to malls and other places, and let people go through them (or open up the Marina, or set up a shuttle out to the anchorage...) and maybe go give volunteer talks in schools, get the local talking heads to interview a few good spokespeople, etc.
It could be done.
It might be a pleasure, I'm thinking. How about October 12th??? What do y'all think???
11-22-2002, 04:19 AM
Mmd - thanks for the offer. If you do get round to it on the other boat I would be very grateful of a look.
Dave - It's amazing how many people have VARUA near the top of their dream boat list, usually prompted by something of an overdose of W. A. Robinson's evangelical prose!
11-22-2002, 09:28 AM
I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for everyone involved in that project, including the owner who had the wisdom to spend his/her money supporting the wooden boat fraternity.
11-22-2002, 10:58 AM
Ed, the prose didn't get me, I was in prep school oh so long ago when I first read the book. It was the design, the lines,that caught my eye and the type of construction used. His account of the 'ultimate wave' in the Southern Ocean really struck home when some years later I read Once Is Enough bye the Smeetons. No flowery prose there but words to scare the Bejaysus out of me!
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