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Thread: Thunderbirds are go

  1. #1
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    Default Thunderbirds are go

    There is much to like about Seaborn's Thunderbird. The cost of ownership is low and many of the fleets active after 60 years.




    There is nothing you can do with an ape/human hybrid. They'll rip your arm off.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    They used to be a really popular entry level boat around here until the cost of moorage so far outstripped the cost of the boat. Still active tho.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    They used to be a really popular entry level boat around here until the cost of moorage so far outstripped the cost of the boat. Still active tho.
    That is a cold way to look at boats. Makes too much sense...like my wife and my boat ownership.
    There is nothing you can do with an ape/human hybrid. They'll rip your arm off.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    They used to be a really popular entry level boat around here until the cost of moorage so far outstripped the cost of the boat. Still active tho.
    That's the problem I'm having. There is a McKay Bluenose for sale down on Long Island for about $6k and I do like that design. A summer mooring here with launching and a pull in the fall is about $5k. I can buy the boat, but I can't afford to put it in the water!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    That's the problem I'm having. There is a McKay Bluenose for sale down on Long Island for about $6k and I do like that design. A summer mooring here with launching and a pull in the fall is about $5k. I can buy the boat, but I can't afford to put it in the water!
    Or buy the boat and sell her for $2000 at the end of summer... coming out 2-3,000 ahead.
    There is nothing you can do with an ape/human hybrid. They'll rip your arm off.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Dude, I thought this was going to be about the films that made me go into model making.

    Peace,
    Robert

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    CW, you could always trailer-sail it - this one is for sale in the Owen Sound region of Ontario (Canada, for those who might think I am referring to California) for USD$3,200, with sails, trailer, roller-furling jib, etc. And to gently and politely correct, it is McVay, not McKay...

    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Dude, I thought this was going to be about the films that made me go into model making.

    Peace,
    Robert
    I dreamt of flying this one.



    The female puppets were too high maintenance for a young lad.

    There is nothing you can do with an ape/human hybrid. They'll rip your arm off.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    There is much to like about Seaborn's Thunderbird. The cost of ownership is low and many of the fleets active after 60 years.




    That one on the bottom is the oldest extant home-built Thunderbird. The Center for Wooden Boats recently sold it to some friends of mine.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    CW, you could always trailer-sail it - this one is for sale in the Owen Sound region of Ontario (Canada, for those who might think I am referring to California) for USD$3,200, with sails, trailer, roller-furling jib, etc. And to gently and politely correct, it is McVay, not McKay...
    Sorry about that.

    One of the realities here is that there is no inexpensive launching facilities. The ramps go to the high tide mark and then end. I even had a rough time with my 505 for years until I found a friendly family with a graveled back yard leading into the water.

    It is a sweet little design, isn't it?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    CW, you could always trailer-sail it - this one is for sale in the Owen Sound region of Ontario (Canada, for those who might think I am referring to California) for USD$3,200, with sails, trailer, roller-furling jib, etc. And to gently and politely correct, it is McVay, not McKay...

    My brother & I had one of those McVays. Nice little boat. The FO had installed a 1 cyl. Volvo in it & named it Rattle & Hum... Very appropriate. Had to replace the 30 gal. fuel tank with a 5 gal. tank 'cause that thing sipped the fuel! When the started/generator quit & realized it was identical to the one on my 20 year old Simplicity garden tractor. That was a no brainer!

    If we'd had better sails, she'd have pointed better...

    To the OP: Nice to see some Seaborn recognition. As the owner of a Seaborn boat, I can get behind that!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Yeah, I like the boat; such elegance in a small package. Mr. Roue had a good eye. Sorry to hear that access to water is so restricted in your area. I'm too used to boat ramps everywhere ,often out in the middle of no-where on a small country road.

    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    Yeah, I like the boat; such elegance in a small package. Mr. Roue had a good eye. Sorry to hear that access to water is so restricted in your area. I'm too used to boat ramps everywhere ,often out in the middle of no-where on a small country road.
    That is so appealing! There remains one ramp I want to check. It's very public, as in not secure, but it may do the trick.

    By the way, one more reason to love Nova Scotia!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    There's lots to dislike here, too; same as anyplace, I guess. I have been fortunate enough to have travelled about quite a bit, so my residence here is a choice I made that was informed by experience. So many, in just about everywhere, rave about how their home area is "the best" (and for them, it likely is), but base their opinion on no experiential data. I chose to live here, warts and all. Truth be told, I am rather jealous of Steve McMahon, who moved from here to Newfoundland.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    That is so appealing! There remains one ramp I want to check. It's very public, as in not secure, but it may do the trick.

    By the way, one more reason to love Nova Scotia!
    Bummer! Champlain has dozens of ramps & all are pretty tolerable. Of course don't try launching @ 7AM when the fishing derby is on...
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    There's lots to dislike here, too; same as anyplace, I guess. I have been fortunate enough to have travelled about quite a bit, so my residence here is a choice I made that was informed by experience. So many, in just about everywhere, rave about how their home area is "the best" (and for them, it likely is), but base their opinion on no experiential data. I chose to live here, warts and all. Truth be told, I am rather jealous of Steve McMahon, who moved from here to Newfoundland.
    I remember that house on the cove you showed us when we visited. Lovely.
    "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Alice

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    We have moved six times since then, John, and live in a different county about two hundred miles away now, but the welcome mat is still out awaiting your return visit...
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Back to the original topic, I sailed a wooden Thunderbird out of Berkeley on San Francisco Bay for five years. Very nice boat, if a bit angular for my taste. She was also a bit light and overcanvassed for the Bay in summer, but almost everything is. I don't think I ever used the large jib. Two reefs in May, keep 'em in until September. Sailing out of Berkeley against the sea breeze, the main would be soaked halfway up, but she stood up to it nobly, nothing serious ever broke or tore, and we had a great time..
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Broke in to big boat sailing on the foredeck of a Thunderbird on Lake Michigan in the mid 60's. Surfing down the front side of waves running dead down wind with the chute up. Boat was built by the skipper who emigrated from Germany after WWII. A severe perfectionist as only a native German can be but I sure learned a lot of sailing in a very short time. The thread and the pictures bring back fond memories,
    If you don't know where you're going, you might not end up there.-Yogi Berra

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    There are a couple of Thunderbirds in my area, but not enough to make up a race fleet, I think. A boatbuilder friend restored one a decade or so back, and I got to see a lot of the "innards". Never sailed on one, though.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    That is so appealing! There remains one ramp I want to check. It's very public, as in not secure, but it may do the trick.

    By the way, one more reason to love Nova Scotia!
    C E have you tried Chapman's landing a quick Google lists it as all tides.

    http://www.eregulations.com/newhamps...-access-sites/

    Your lack of access surprises me within 7 miles of me in the last few years NH has put a trailer ramp by the rt 25 bridge over the ossipee, ( the river is shallow so only good for kayak type sailing) a big nice ramp on rt 25 with access to ossipee lake, and a parking carry in access of off 153 in Madison. Really not sure why they have done so little for good salt access.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    I match raced against a Thunderbird champion in Dragons once in Seattle. Very odd looking boats to my eye but I think they have a very loyal following and are quite a lot of boat for the money. Looks to me like they have a lot more in common with things like the Moore 24 or J/24 than they do a Bluenose (or Dragon). They must be pretty light to move as well as they do in light airs.

    Mickey Lake
    'A disciple of the Norse god of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker'

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by bamamick View Post
    I match raced against a Thunderbird champion in Dragons once in Seattle. Very odd looking boats to my eye but I think they have a very loyal following and are quite a lot of boat for the money. Looks to me like they have a lot more in common with things like the Moore 24 or J/24 than they do a Bluenose (or Dragon). They must be pretty light to move as well as they do in light airs.

    Mickey Lake
    They are essentially the first sportboat, as fast as a Dragon but with more beam and accommodation. If Seaborn had made them just a little flatter, the design would still be current.

    They aren't beautiful, but they have a purposeful look.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by bamamick View Post
    . . . They must be pretty light to move as well as they do in light airs.
    About 4000#, IIRC.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by johnw View Post
    They are essentially the first sportboat, as fast as a Dragon but with more beam and accommodation. If Seaborn had made them just a little flatter, the design would still be current.

    They aren't beautiful, but they have a purposeful look.
    Seaborn did a few boats with reverse sheer. Reverse transoms too. I don't think he worried about traditional appearances in his later boats.

    Here's a (tired) one that just sold on eBay ($1125) with flat sheer & reverse transom from 1959:

    59Seaborn.jpg
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Smith porter maine View Post
    C E have you tried Chapman's landing a quick Google lists it as all tides.
    Interesting. I never knew it's name. I drive by there often and it is a good spot if you have a motor and want to sail in Great Bay. I will keep that in mind.

    What I want to go back and investigate is the ramp at Rye Beach. It looked pretty good to me when I was last there and there were a number of small boats on moorings. I'm wondering how those moorings compare with Kittery Point?

    Regarding the Thunderbird, those angles remind me of a 110. I can see why a home builder would be attracted to it. However, it also makes me think rather longingly of a Stone Horse just because of the size. Still, how does it do in chop and waves? Does it glide over or bounce?

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    That's a hell of a deal if you've got the resources to restore that boat. Here's one in much better shape that lives on Lake Union:



    The Thunderbird was a plywood version of the earlier Sierra class, which had a reversed sheer. The flat sheer of the Thunderbird was intended to make it easier to build, for amateurs.

    He eventually did a fiberglass version of the Sierra, the Rawson 26, which had a masthead rig. Didn't really catch on.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Seaborn's Sea Fever, built around 1959. The forward deckbox and aft house are recent (practical) additions.

    Seafever1.jpg

    Seafever2.jpg

    Seafever3.jpg
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Please make mine this color.

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    Please make mine this color.

    Done and done!

    Peace,
    Robert

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    I really love this Seaborn. Sunda. We'll see her in Jessica's cup next month.

    There is nothing you can do with an ape/human hybrid. They'll rip your arm off.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    Please make mine this color.

    This is Thunderbird hull #2, recently restored in Gig Harbor, the home of T-Birds.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quote Originally Posted by bamamick View Post
    They must be pretty light to move as well as they do in light airs.

    Mickey Lake
    Not as light as a Blanchard Sr. Knockabout in which I could easily out ghost a Thunderbird in light winds. But when the chop came up, my Blanchard would fall behind as the T-Bird bow was better at cutting thru.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Most of Seaborn's boats have wonderful glass in the cabin/pilothouse. Makes for a very cheerful cabin!

    Since we're posting some non-Thunderbirds, here's a Seaborn launched in 1941:

    HadleyHarbor.jpg
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Thunderbirds are go

    Quit your fooling Garrett, that's a Phillip Rhodes design.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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