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Thread: Drake -- 40' LOD Munroe-influenced ketch

  1. #1
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    Alan Hyde asked me to put together a "photo-tour" of my ketch. He asked twice, so I think he was serious. What boat-owner could ever resist such a request?

    So today I went hunting through albums. I seem to have many pictures of her at anchor, but very few on the hard showing her overall shape (including keel). Yet the one album I know has photos like this seems to be missing. Very frustrating! 2004 has vanished!

    Drakestbdbowanchorsummer300dpi.jpg

    She was built just after WW2. A Montreal doctor and wife put her together when materials became available again. She is cypress-on-white oak frames, with a live-oak keel and deadwood structure. From what I can see she's never had a plank off, yet there's no hull rot, and hasn't been any yet. Some of the cypress planks are full-length, over 40ft. There have been changes and repairs over the years to her decks and cabin -- these are the things that tend to decay.

    I don't know her design. I have no plans. Yet there are many similarities to Munroe's sharpie-influenced designs. The designer seems to have added just a little deadrise plus a shallow ballasted keel. Her LOD is 40ft. LOA 46ft. LWL 35 ft. Beam 10ft. Draft 40" board up, 7'4" board down. Displacement 18,000 lbs.

    So she's a long skinny boat -- 4 to 1 length to beam ratio. She's also shallow. She has 6'1" headroom in the aft cabin, but it decreases forward. The hull planks are just inches below the floorboards. Here she is before we repainted her and stripped her masts. (In the Western Islands of Georgian Bay, Lake Huron.)




    Let me just post this to see if it worked. More to come.
    Last edited by Dave Hadfield; 11-17-2017 at 08:48 AM.

  2. #2
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    If the photos didn't post, let me know. This is not my forte.

    Her keel is long and shallow -- about 3/4 the length of the boat. It is a casting of iron, about 11" tall and 9" wide. Just ahead of the mizzen, where the keel deadwood starts, the cast angles down to become a shoe keel that goes to the rudder post, about 2" high by 9" wide. This long, wide, casting was a good idea. It functions like the foundation of a house. It's a huge beam, and the boat can't flex much while it's bolted down tight. Also it's easier on the boat to left her in slings, since she's being lifted by her foundation. And this ballast keel is pierced for her centerboard. That means the board can't flex much -- the slot in the iron prevents it. And so the load on the CB trunk inside is greatly reduced. In this photo, taken at the time of purchase, the detail isn't great, but you get an idea of the layout. The shadow line is very close to the top of the iron keel. Unfortunately wood and iron are all painted bronze. (I'll take some photos this spring!)



    Her rudder is a blunt affair, high-drag-not-much-streamlining I'm afraid. It's rather small. She can be awkward to handle in small marinas. Often we use ropes and get her into confined places in stages. I wish some of her rudder surface were ahead of the post -- I think that would make it a lot more effective. As it is, sail balance is important in Drake. The helm is not over-powerful. And I wish that big 3-bladed prop could feather, but not enough to pay $2000 for it. I sometimes think that if I rebuilt the rudder to streamline it more, and put on a feathering prop, I'd get half a knot out of her.

    Last edited by Dave Hadfield; 03-15-2008 at 11:15 AM.

  3. #3
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    Excellent, Dave.

    Thank you very much.

    What you have shown does whet the appetite for more, however.

    Alan

  4. #4
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    In the previous picture of her rudder, I should've mentioned that the group of men behind her are manhandling her new centerboard. If you can make out its shape behind them, it's a rectangle with one curved side. It goes up into the slot in the orientation you see it. The pivot pin is bottom left, and fits into a hole in the casting. In use, when lowered, it presents a fan-shape to the water. It is a steel plate, 3/8" (I think, or is it 7/16?), hot-dipped galvanized, which I replaced 3 years ago. Inside, the pennant is steel cable led from the roof, to a block on the board, up through the roof out onto the top, over a sheave and aft to a winch on the top aft of the cabin roof. It's not hard to wind up with this 2-1 rig, plus the leverage of the winch.

    Here we have her stern. Her previous name meant "breaking wave" in Quebecois french. We changed it to Drake III, standing for David-Robin-Austin-Kelly-Et al., which had more meaning for us.

    If you look carefully, below the waterline, you can see the shape of her deadrise to port. It's shallow and straight -- no "wineglass" fairing into the keel. Shallow draft was important to her builders because she was meant to sail in the St. Lawrence River near Montreal, which is only deep in a few places.



    It's a good stern. The overhang may be inefficient by modern standards, but we can sail all day in 7-footers and the stern deck stays dry. The lazarette under it is where I store my ropes, which is proof enough. There is a boomkin built on which allows a standing backstay.



    [ 12-23-2005, 06:43 PM: Message edited by: Dave Hadfield ]
    Last edited by Dave Hadfield; 03-15-2008 at 11:16 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Dave, very interesting. I love her bow. Lots of accommodation even tho she has a centerboard. Definitely show her underbody in the spring.

    RB

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    Great!!! Thanks. Munroe's Presto designs had some deadrise.

  7. #7
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    Beautiful boat! How much head room do you lose forward?

  8. #8
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    Hey, I'm not done. I've finally figured out thus scan-and-upload thing. Had to move to Imagestation. I've been on it all afternoon.

    It's about 5'5" forward. We call it a focsle, because there's a large hatch above it, but it's really just a forepeak. Two good bunks though, with shelves. Lot's of light and air. Too bad it's usually jammed with sailbags -- that's the downside of a shallow boat -- limited under-berth storage. Here's the saloon, looking forward.



    And here's the place itself, starboard berth, port one full of stuff.



    The only photo I've got facing aft is this one of my son doing dishes (with his friend). It also shows a corner of the wood stove which I set up for cool-weather trips. Its base tray fits into a CB inspection slot, and the stovepipe goes out the skylight. Works great. Wonderful on a cold wet fall day.



    This stove shot was taken on a trip just before lift-out, end of October, with frost forming on the decks. Cozy-looking, isn't it?

    Last edited by Dave Hadfield; 03-15-2008 at 11:19 AM.

  9. #9
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    Rod, the CB trunk is definitely in the way, but it sure mounts a nice table. There are 2 magnificent mahogany boards that hinge up and we can sit 6 (or even 8 friendly) for dinner. It's also handy to have a hole in the boat when you want to pour something in the lake you don't want your neighbours to see(!).

    Let me keep going here... the cockpit is very long, over 7ft. Lots of room for sprawling while still being able to sail the boat.



    The mizzen boom is quite high. The whole thing is not in the way at all, and it's handy to be able to handle or reef that sail from the safety of the cockpit. We don't normally have a bimini, but I had the hottest part of a very hot summer off, this year, and I improvised one.



    That photo was taken in Gros Cap, on the eastern shore of Superior, in a tiny little harbour that scared us going in. The guidebook was inaccurate, and the water was so crystal clear that when you looked you couldn't tell if it was 2', or 12' or 20'. (It was a bit under 5. Bless the CB...)
    Last edited by Dave Hadfield; 03-15-2008 at 11:20 AM.

  10. #10
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    Here's another view of her stern. Robin carved all the nameboards out of cherry, with a mallet and chisel. But she's got to do one more this winter, because we lost one of the bow boards in a rough crossing of the North Channel, last August!

    Last edited by Dave Hadfield; 03-15-2008 at 11:22 AM.

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up

    Absolutely stunning, Dave!

  12. #12
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    Hey Dave, what a great cruiser. Your centerboard setup is very similar to Parker's Exuma 36 that I posted photos of in Houston. The centerboard housing was about 4 feet high at the stern end, and dropped down to about 30" forward. Nice table for dinner there too.

    My Presto 30, whose plans are about to be completed will have the sams type of centerboard, simply because is the most versatile for real shallow water cruising. . . but it will have a foil shape for better performance.

    RB

  13. #13
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    Let me post a few more before I get distracted by a lot of seasonal non-boating stuff.

    I don't have too many pictures of her under sail. (Who does, apart from John B.? Next year will be my "year of the photo".) But here she is in profile.



    This was taken the first year we got her, before her masts were stripped and her paint changed. As you can see, the jib is hanked on foul and the mizzen is bagged out and stretched. (New one in 2002.) But it does point out that the rig is low-aspect. The mizzen is almost as high as the main (in fact when the main has a reef we appear to be a schooner). This was to allow her to get under a number of bridges in the Montreal area. And there's more separation between main and mizzen than in most ketches. The mainmast is located as far as possible forward -- any farther and the shrouds wouldn't support her. The result is that she'll close-haul without the mizzen being backwinded, more-so than most ketches. (Once we replaced the mizzen with a flatter sail, she began to self-steer, which now she does anytime the wind is ahead of the beam unless the seas throw her head off.) This combination -- big sturdy bowsprit to take the foresails, main well forward, mizzen tall yet backstayed, good separation, is unusual. It combines with the long keel to give her wonderful manners under sail. She is a very easy boat through the water. You can see that she's long and skinny and slices through the water, hardly pitching at all.



    That's not to say she's a whiz close-hauled -- long-keeled ketches rarely are -- but her performance is respectable.



    We used to cruise alongside a modern fin-keel spade-rudder sloop (Ticon 30) and never disgraced ourself.
    Last edited by Dave Hadfield; 03-15-2008 at 12:06 PM.

  14. #14
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    But in truth, a long skinny shallow boat does not have a lot of power upwind. When the wind goes to 30 kts, and the seas rise to 6 ft, I can't really hoist enough sail to drive her against them. If I do she lays over too far. To be able to support that much sail, the hull has to be wider or more deeply ballasted. So I generally head off a bit and make a different plan.

    I sailed "against" a Bristol Channel Cutter one afternoon in conditions like that. She did better upwind. On the other hand her cockpit was drenched with spray (it's very rare to take spray in the cockpit of Drake) and of course it wasn't shallow draft.

    Her ketch rig does allow a lot of playing with different sails. Frankly, I enjoy that. Our simplest downwind rig is the spinnaker, but we fly it from the mizzen. This is dead simple. It doesn't require any poles or uphauls and downhauls and things because it's spread over the middle of the boat. The tack is generally to one of the stanchion bases. We raise it from, and douse it down, the main companionway -- perfectly protected.



    The reason we can do this is because the main standing backstays are individual. In most ketches a single wire comes down and attaches to a V-shaped bridle that goes to chainplates or deck fittings on either side (like an upside down "Y"). This arrangement gets in the way of a mizzen staysail or spinnaker. On Drake, I rigged the backstays with big pelican hooks, and I can get the leeward one completely out of the way for hoisting a sail there.

    Another variation is the square. It's a bit of a fussy thing to raise and trim, but very nice when it's up. You certainly don't have to worry about gybing it. I keep the yardarm on the cabin roof (I made it the same length) and hoist it up with the sail attached and gathered to it, held tight to the spar with rubber bands. When all is aloft I haul on the sheets, the bands break, and the sail drops and fills nicely. I admit though, it takes an extra hand to run the square, since it's shape is affected by 2 braces and 2 sheets, and all need adjusting every time the wind or heading shifts.



    Yet another intersting hoist is the "mule" or main backstaysail. Again it's a fussy thing to hoist since I use a sprit to give it shape, but once up it does wonderfully. It looks after itself when you tack. It sets very closehauled. Its biggest area is up high where the wind is -- imagine a jib that works upside down. We only fly it in winds under 15 kts, but when we do, we gain a knot and point up 10 degrees instantly. In this photo we also have the square up -- 5 in total. (I'd hoist more but I haven't enough rope.)

    Last edited by Dave Hadfield; 03-15-2008 at 12:10 PM.

  15. #15
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    Her masts are unusual. They are the original sticks, glued, square-section sitka spruce a la LFH, mounted in very sturdy tabernacles. They are arranged so that the masts can be lowered and then raised by the anchor windlass. I've done it. It works, though it takes a while since most of the rigging has to be loosened and then tensioned again. To do it the forestay is extended by a sturdy rope, and then led forward to a very strong block made fast to a ring at the end of the bowsprit, and from there to the windlass. The forward-leading shrouds are disconnected. The lower bolts are removed from the tabernacles. Then easing the forestay allows the masts to pivot aft. You go under the bridge. Then you hit the windlass switch and the masts go back up again.

    You wouldn't do it on a day-trip, but if it saved a day or two's travel you would.

    I am amazed at the quality of these masts. They are nearing 60 years old. There is no rot in them. (How many aluminum masts will go 60 years?)



    The fife-rail was something I built. There were too many halyards for the original 2 cleats. Now there are 8 pins. They work very well. When you figure out how to "swage" the line around the belaying pins you can get the halyards quite tight.

    There are no halyards leading back to the cockpit. On the other hand, there is lots of room to work up at the mast, good footing, and by doing your hoisting there it keeps a lot of line out of the cockpit. Notice how the cabin roof is clean and uncluttered -- very good for lying on and with little to trip your feet when handing the main.



    Well that's about it. I wish the photos were better. Next year I'm going to make an effort, starting when I take the tarps off and continuing until haul-out.

    One final photo. She's a fine little ship and usually a lot of fun.

    Last edited by Dave Hadfield; 03-15-2008 at 12:12 PM.

  16. #16
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    Hey thanks for the insight Dave, great post. I've always wanted to see more of the boat.
    10 ft beam!! luxury! We sail a pencil LOL.

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by John B:
    ... We sail a pencil LOL.
    Ooooooohhhhhh geeeeeeeeez talk about an open door!! No I will behave so dont get me started John!!

    I too have been hoping that you would one day show her off a bit more Dave and mate she fullfills all expectations... thanks mate!

  18. #18
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    I like the name

  19. #19
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    Great pictures! Thanks for posting them!

  20. #20
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    Lovely boat indeed! But I do not see the wooden barrel/cask that used to grace her cabin top nor her nifty figure head......shame.
    the only serious navigable waters around Montreal that has bridges is the St.Lawrence Seaway and your boat used to clear these with the greatest of ease.....She also spent more time under power then sail since she had to constantly deal with a foul current each time she left her berth,that is ,unless the wind was coming out of the east/Northeast but then again,her owner never took her out since that type of wind meant rain........
    Her "old name" is simply French...not particularily Quebecois french,and refers to the crest of a breaking wave..the white foamy part....

    Lovely pictures and may you have many many safe and fun years with her!!!

  21. #21
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    Thumbs up

    Beautiful boat.
    Looks like you can go exploring with it in places a lot of other boats of similar length can't.

  22. #22
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    How much do you want for the "BEAUTY"!...my tongue is hanging out!

  23. #23
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    M. Lestat, you have whetted my appetite Sir! Tell me more, please!

    I spent all day on this posting, but if it leads to information about her past, it will turn out to be time well spent.

    I am the 4th owner, and have been unable to find out much about her history. I have been in touch with the grandson of her builder, Jean-Francois Bigras, of Montreal (whom we met by pure chance while cruising in the North Channel, and who was able to recognize her even though he hadn't seen her since he was a child) but of the 2nd owner, nothing.

    So who are you? Obviously you know her. Did you sail on her during her days at the Royal St. Lawrence yacht club? As for the rum keg, yes, I've heard about that and I saw the marks where it was located.

    I was told that to get into Lac des Deux Montagnes it was necessary to lower the masts. You'd know more about that than me.

    Please, tell me some stories....

    [ 12-26-2005, 12:20 PM: Message edited by: Dave Hadfield ]

  24. #24
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    Mr.Hadfield,

    Sorry to have gotten you all worked up! I knew her in the early '70's when she sailed out of the R.St.L.Y.C. I know too that she was well cared for by the able hands of Murry and Edmund,the two shipwrights working for the St.Lawrence Yacht Company.
    Her owner at that time,one Pete Charbonneau, was a likable enough sort of chap and had the where-with-all to keep her in top shape.He was also something of a renconteur and could just about talk your ears off with stories about his beloved Deferlante.You shoulda heard the story he told me when I bought one of his cars......
    At any rate,you say you are the 4th owner. Was mr.Charbonneau the chap you bought it from? He used to captain 747's for AC and is now retired.If he is still amongst the living,it may be worth your time to seek him out through the Pionairs club....The R.St.L.Y.C would also be a good hunting ground for more stories and pictures,I suspect, since Mr.Charbonneau was once commodore,if memory does not fail me.

    The waters around Montreal are really not best for sizable sailboats,such as yours, and the best days of summer here are often accompanied by very light winds.Combine this with a nasty current and menacing rapids downstream and you quickly begin to appreciate a nice 3 bladed prop.

    Getting up into Lac Des Deux Montaignes does indeed call for a "low bridge crossing" but I think the bridge has been raised recently.Nevertheless, you are correct about that being THE low spot for Deferlante at the time.

    Your sailing grounds(the Great Lakes?) are far more suitable to her gentle sailing needs then Lac St.Louis ever was.

    Wish I had more to tell you Mr. Hadfield but I never did get a ride in her....just used to sail around her and follow along her quarters whenever she went out and dream of the day when I would have a boat as beautiful as her!

    Any chance of putting the keg back on her? It gave her character all out of proportion to the cost of that diminuitive barrel and kept many a yacht club kid dreaming "pirate ship"! Good luck with researching your boats history.

    Thank you for sharing your pictures and stirring up some lovely 30 year old memories!May you and yours be forever safe on board her!

  25. #25
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    Sweet ship, and wonderful tales. Thank you all.

  26. #26
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    M. Lestat,

    Thank you very much for your reply. I did not buy the boat from M. Charbonneau, but from the retired Ontario teacher who bought it from him. But I knew about him -- I too am an AC pilot. I tried once to contact him, but he never got back to me. I'll try again.

    I suppose you never knew the builder, M. Omar LaFortune, or his family?

    Yes, she is well suited to the Great Lakes. Her shallow draft is invaluable when entering the shallow harbours and inlets, and for staying off the millions of rocks and reefs. We've cruised her from Lake Erie to Lake Superior, but most of our time is spent in Georgian Bay and the North Channel. And she makes a good impression. It's always gratifying to see the way strollers and passers-by walk right past dozens of more expensive modern sloops to see "the one with the wooden masts".

    Best regards,

    Dave

  27. #27
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    Thanks to everyone for your kind comments. Next year, better pictures.

    Dave

  28. #28
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    Mr.Hadfield,

    The name Lafortune does set off a whole slew of tiny bells. If you should so desire, I can rattle around some of my boat building cronies,up and down the river, to see what falls out by way of pertinent information concerning your lovely boat.
    By chance,there wouldn't happen to be a builders plate or registration number or serial number carved out on one of the main frame timbers or cabin beams? Also,was Lafortune the designer AND builder?
    Kindly let me know whether you wish for me to proceed with some fun research and I'll do what I can from my end.

  29. #29
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    Talking

    Dave, thanks for the posting and the beautiful photos.

    I can easily see where the reference to the Commodore comes in. I can see that she's beautiful where she is, but that boat would fit here on the Gulf coast, if you take my meaning. It looks like it was built for our shoal draft waters.

    That boat has 'Florida' written all over it. Uncanny how some designs just connect with certain places.

    Cheers.

    Mickey Lake

  30. #30
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    Mickey, I've thought the same thing -- that it would be a wonderful trip to take her to the keys, and even (with a careful eye on the weather) over to the Bahamas. But her planks are held on with galvanized screws -- many, many thousands of them. Right now, in fresh water, they aren't rusting. No bleeding through the paint. But in salt water.... I'd hate to have to re-fasten her. Neither the planking nor the frames are all that thick (she was built light, for shallow draft) and increasing the screw size would weaken her. Or you could use rivets, but again, there are thousands of them. The onther thing is the teredo shipworm. It seems to be impossible to keep paint firmly attached to the cypress hull. It's like painting a huge pine knot. Each year some of the bottom paint comes off in large flakes. In our fresh water and short season, so what -- who cares -- but in the presence of the Worm.... I don't know. You would -- do they eat cypress? I imagine so.

    Maybe if I could keep her in a fresh-water creek...

    M. Letat, yes please. Her builder was Jacques-Omer LaFortune. He was a doctor in Montreal, for at least part of his life a birthing-doctor. Jean-Francois, his grandson, told me that family legend had it that when he was waiting for the lady to dilate, he'd whip over to the boat shed (only a mile or 2 away) and put another piece of wood on.

    He also said that JOL stretched a previous design to come up with Drake. (Her original name was Mirella -- a name that I rather like and would probably have kept had I known.) He had built a 30-ft sloop before the war. I have no solid evidence that Munroe's designs influenced her other than what I see in the hull, and there, it sure looks like it to me. JF sent me copies of old photos and newspaper clippings. In one of them he says he stretched a "B-Class" boat, whatever that is.

    Anything you could find out would be gratefully appreciated. As for the hull number, yes, she is licensed as a ship, and the ID number is carved into a bulkhead. I'll look it up for you.

    Thanks,

    Dave

  31. #31
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    Thank you, Dave, for a great thread.

    Alan

  32. #32
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    My pleasure, Allan.

    Here's photo of her in the 1950s. Notice the differences -- small pole bowsprit, clubbed staysail, jumper struts, small cockpit coaming boards.



    It's interesting to see how a boat evolves. I've learned that on this boat I should not throw odd-looking items of gear away -- they usually have some purpose. And that there is evidence of many different trials concerning rigs and sails and living-space.

    [ 12-28-2005, 02:51 PM: Message edited by: Dave Hadfield ]
    Last edited by Dave Hadfield; 03-15-2008 at 12:14 PM.

  33. #33
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    Here's another of her in the 1960s. It's a scan of a photocopy, so the quality is poor, but you can make out that she now has a plank bowsprit, and M. LaFortune has almost as much fun playing with ropes as I do.

    Last edited by Dave Hadfield; 03-15-2008 at 12:15 PM.

  34. #34
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    An attractive, practical and versatile design.

    Able to be agreeably adjusted to the owners' circumstances, preferences and cruising grounds.

    Worth emulating, I'd say...

    Alan

  35. #35
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    Hey, through M. Letat's idea, I was able to connect with Drake's 2nd owner. I've been corresponding with him, Pierre Charbonneau. It was him who added the plank bowsprit, the mast tabernacles, interior wiring and much of the interior furnishing, all in the early 70s.

    He says he'll send me some pictures when he gets a chance to dig into his files.

    Looks like this thread has turned out to be a great idea!

    Dave

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