Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 15 2014
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SPIRIT OF MARION
Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 15 2014
SPIRIT OF MARION
As originally conceived the H-15s were intended for speed and aggressive racing – and they are by all accounts thrilling sailing boats; fast, stiff and responsive with a hull form that creates so little turbulence the boat leaves hardly any wake – even at speed !
SPIRIT OF MARION is a stunningly pure new build, shying away from the quicker modern strip planked method in favour of authentic carvel construction to present a boat that so completely deserves her place in the fleet of this iconic Herreshoff design.
OWNER / BUILDERS COMMENTS
Using Herreshoff’s original handwritten offsets, I very carefully drew a set of lines which confirmed the offsets were incredibly accurate. Herreshoff worked almost exclusively from half models and this is how he arrived at the offset measurements. Academic intrigue took over and I decided to loft all 35 stations full size to confirm the accuracy of the offsets. The result was incredibly accurate and rather than let the planks take the curve using say every fourth station or so; all 35 frames were used. The stations were almost perfect. Small imperfections were associated with drafting discrepancies and frame cutting, rather than the Wizard of Bristol’s offset tables!
The only remaining available plans include an elevation and plan drawing with most of the scantlings shown, including wood type and sizes. Sail plan, mast and spar dimensions are also available as are rudder and centreboard details. I have deviated a little from the scantling specification because of timber availability. The centreboard is marine ply, strengthened with bronze plates and weighted with lead.
CONSTRUCTION AND FINISH
The principal elements of the construction have incorporated some changes from the original in the light of non availability of some originally specified materials while some features have been incorporated to render the boat more robust without compromising the original concept.
- Alaskan yellow cedar planking; planks step scarfed rather than butt jointed
- European oak sheer plank, floor timbers and a single length board keel plate
- Steamed green English oak ribs
- (American white oak unavailable in a green enough state suitable for steaming)
- Siding of the ribs increased by 1/8th inch to strengthen hull construction
- Ribs 30 - 35 are epoxy adhesive laminated oak to retain the tight bends
- Ribs lock into the bed logs rather than using metallic brackets as originally specified
- Laminated iroko stem
- Cockpit seating changed from single oak planks to box construction in cedar
- Seating is wider with storage space below; this modification similar in weight to the original oak
- Seats finished in Albright
- Stringers and sheer clamps all in Douglas fir as on the original plan
- Western red cedar deck (as original specification), tongue and grooved with 440 caulking
- Deck traditionally finished with a painted canvas covering
- Transom frame added to provide a better landing for the planks
- Crewsaver bags in bow and vacuum sealed Styrene bags in the stern for buoyancy
- Small gunwale covers the end grain of the deck
- Silicon bronze fixings used throughout
- Hemple paint finished
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO THIS BUILD
It is easy to forget - because Nathaniel Herreshoff’s genius achieved such success in the America’s Cup resulting in commissions for large and medium sized racing classes - he also designed small boats. His Buzzards Bay 15, named after the bay off South Massachusetts was his second one design class, following the Newport 30 of 1895 – and it became extremely popular. The first 11 boats of the class were delivered to members of the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion MA for the summer racing season of 1899. In all 91 boats were to be built by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company between 1899 and 1927. Of these 91, 32 are currently known to exist, 20 are still sailing and others are in museums or awaiting restoration.
The H-15 was designed under the then prevailing Length and Sail Area Rule, which tended to produce graceful, narrow hulls with long overhangs. The America’s Cup yacht COLUMBIA had been designed to this rule and many refer to the 15 as “little Columbias” – when heeled over the waterline length increases and so does the boat’s speed!
The builder and owner of this boat having developed an interest in Herreshoff designs whilst building a Haven / Herreshoff 12 ˝ derivative, stumbled on the Herreshoff Registry, where many of Herreshoff’s yacht designs can be found including the Buzzards Bay 15
Since the 1930s, several BB 15s and a Marconi rigged derivative called a Watch Hill 15 have been built and indeed several builders in the USA are still building them in GRP, strip plank and traditional carvel wooden construction. This boat however is the first BB15 to be built outside the United States as far as we know.
In taking on this project our builder first contacted Jim Reineck who specialises in manufacturing replica Herreshoff hardware. He in turn recommended Alex Brainerd at Artisan Boatworks who specialise in classic boat construction and build BB15s. Alex in turn advised contacting the curator of the MIT Hart Collection. It transpired they have plans for the BB15, but not all of them - although they do have the original offsets. Additional information was kindly provided by Jim Reineck.
FITTINGS, SPARS, SAILS, EQUIPMENT CANVAS AND TRAILER
- All fittings are HMC Co replicas by Jim Reineck & Son USA
- Ballast keel by Amat Metalplast Barcelona
- Mast and spars by Collars UK
- Rigging by John Albrecht, Gweek, Cornawall
- Sails; Club footed jib, strom jib and gaff main sail by Nathanial S. Wilson USA
- 2 x Electric bilge pumps under cockpit floor
- Separate batteries and switches under cockpit seats
- Tent mainsail / boom cover and boat trailer cover; Crusader Sails Poole
- Trailer by Lizard Trailers Cornwall
These particulars have been prepared from information provided by the vendors and are intended as general guide. The purchaser should confirm details of concern to them by survey or engineers inspection. The purchaser should also ensure that the purchase contract properly reflects their concerns and specifies details on which they wish to rely.