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Thread: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

  1. #1
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    Default William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    Hi,
    I'm curious if anyone has an opinion of the 46' Porpoise Ketch designed by Mr. Garden. I see one advertized for sale in Oregon, but it's a long drive and I don't want to go all that way until I know it's worth it. I know it's not a Beneteau; slow is fine, but do they sail at least reasonably well? Can I tack it without starting the engine? Etc.

    I understand it was built in Taiwan with deadwood made of yucal and framing made of keyaki. Planking is 1.5 to 2" teak. I know about teak, but what are the other two woods?

    Some boats are worth maintaining and others you should simply run away from as fast as you can. Obviously the condition of the actual boat is important, but just generally speaking should I take a closer look or run away? :-)

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    FB,

    I'm sorry, I don't know squat about the design or the boat but if it's a Bill Garden and it's well built and you are interested in it then I think you could be on to something.
    BG designs are terrific in my opinion.
    I've seen many and sailed a few.
    Bill lived near me and we spoke on the phone more than once, he was a great designer and a wonderful man.
    I hope it works out for you.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    I know I've read stuff about the ones built in the Far East. I'm sure someone will chime in on that point.
    Chuck Thompson

  4. #4
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    There is some information on Fung built Porpoise's here http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?43784-R-Fung-Co-Ltd-Hong-Kong



    Around BC the Porpoise is affectionately known as a "Tortoise". They are slow, a lot of that has to do with many being overweight, tender without enough ballast, with a rough bottom, poor to no keel fairing, bad sails, big propellers, etc. They will certainly tack without starting the engine as long as there's some wind. They would benefit from more sail area and a lower CG.
    ___________________________________
    Tad
    cogge ketch Blackfish
    cat ketch Ratty
    http://www.tadroberts.ca
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    That was certainly an encouraging thread about the build quality of the Fung-built boats. If I go look at this one I'll check for the plate. As for the tortoise qualities (hmm, tortoise rhymes with porpoise) it sounds like some of those things are correctable and some would not be. Adding ballast to an already overweight boat could be a problem. But I get the impression that a Porpoise could be built by Fung or by another yard or by a home-builder. Is that correct? If so, then maybe all boats do not exhibit these problems.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    Quality will vary a lot, in the 1960's anyone with $300 could get a set of Porpoise plans and build a boat. A bunch were built here locally of softwood, there's usually a handful of them for sale.

    From the Garden Catalog.....



    ___________________________________
    Tad
    cogge ketch Blackfish
    cat ketch Ratty
    http://www.tadroberts.ca
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    That's splitting a pretty fine hair on the definition of "inboard rudder".
    A boatless inlander, searching for the meaning of life-aground.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    Quote Originally Posted by Figment View Post
    That's splitting a pretty fine hair on the definition of "inboard rudder".
    More properly it was, "inboard rudder stock". Which created the opportunity to use a worm steerer with a wheel. I'd rather have the outboard rudder and tiller.
    ___________________________________
    Tad
    cogge ketch Blackfish
    cat ketch Ratty
    http://www.tadroberts.ca
    http://blog.tadroberts.ca/
    http://www.passagemakerlite.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    Quote Originally Posted by TR View Post
    Quality will vary a lot, in the 1960's anyone with $300 could get a set of Porpoise plans and build a boat. A bunch were built here locally of softwood, there's usually a handful of them for sale.
    Wow, that was a lot of money in the 1960s. My parents' mortgage payment on a 4000 SF Victorian house was $44/month back then.
    But your point is well made. Who made it, materials used, etc. I suppose by now most of the softwood ones have become "very soft". The boat in question was made by Fung in Taiwan. After reading that previous link I guess that's at least promising. Teak lasts a long time, though I don't know about the weird framing woods that were mentioned. They may be wonderful, but I've just never heard of them. (yucal and keyaki)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    R. Fung in Hong Kong.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    Oops! Yeah, Hong Kong. Sorry.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    Truth is, it's an old wooden boat, there will be issues. The question becomes, can you handle the issues? If the boat is decently built in the first place (and a Fung build is), then the issue becomes how was maintenance. The materials almost don't matter if the boat was sealed up and left. If the fresh water has been kept out and the boat has been ventilated, she may be really good. Her pedigree ensures she is worth repairing/restoring (don't expect to make money on that) but unless you are a shipwright the cost may become unsustainable.
    ___________________________________
    Tad
    cogge ketch Blackfish
    cat ketch Ratty
    http://www.tadroberts.ca
    http://blog.tadroberts.ca/
    http://www.passagemakerlite.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    Quote Originally Posted by TR View Post
    Truth is, it's an old wooden boat, there will be issues. The question becomes, can you handle the issues? If the boat is decently built in the first place (and a Fung build is), then the issue becomes how was maintenance. The materials almost don't matter if the boat was sealed up and left. If the fresh water has been kept out and the boat has been ventilated, she may be really good. Her pedigree ensures she is worth repairing/restoring (don't expect to make money on that) but unless you are a shipwright the cost may become unsustainable.
    I have built a small boat before and worked with wood for many years, but I am definitely not a shipwright. An old boat - wooden or not - will always have this issue or that. I have talked to the owners of quite a few old wooden boats and most know where this or that spot of rot is starting, which need immediate attention, which can wait until the next haulout or the one after that. So I think I have a pretty good understanding of good wooden boat maintenance and it doesn't scare me off, assuming I start with a well maintained one. I am competent to do most repairs but I have no intention of embarking upon a major project. I do plan to have a good survey done if I get that far. This thread has been about determining if I should even go look at the boat. So armed with a bit more knowledge, I'll contact the owner next and see how that goes. I'm not an impulse buyer or I would own the Flying Dragon.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    I've sailed one of these and had her 35' cousin, the Sea Foam. It's amazing what decent sails (spring for some roach and full length battens) and a little attention to sail trim will do. Always stately, never perky, but serene and comfortable. The boat benefits from getting stores' weights low and carrying enough to cross the Pacific at an ambling pace.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    Fatbear et al,

    If anyone is interested in discussing Robin Fung built porpoises, I have owned one for about 5 years and have some insights to share on build and potential problem areas. It had a lot of deferred maintenance when I bought it, and I'm still working through that, so I don't have any experience sailing it yet.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    Some friends and I are planning on restoring a Robin Fung built Porpoise Ketch for a circumnavigation. "Horizons was built in 1973 in Hong Kong, perhaps one of the boats that originally burned and was rebuilt, also one of the last.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    @ Shing, how is the restoration of Horizon coming along? Just curious , any pictures? H.Fung

  18. #18
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    Default Re: William Garden Porpoise Ketch

    William Garden himself noted that this hull particularly ranged from works of art to nearly unrecognizable. Many were built by owners. This may affect the reputation somewhat.

    Its a boat worth dreaming about for sure.

    Is your ballast lead? Concrete would be a turnoff for me.

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