Author Topic: Thoughts on Herreshoff 12 Hull #768  (Read 9770 times)

Jon Brooks

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Thoughts on Herreshoff 12 Hull #768
« on: July 03, 2010, 05:34:49 PM »
I spent some quality time at the Long Island Maritime Museum in Sayville, NY this week.  Along with several beautiful Great South Bay cat boats, two of Wilbur Ketcham's boats including his own Narrasketuck Class #7 "Defiance", is H-121/2 #768 "Avalon" (formerly "Kiddie"). 

This boat was contracted very early (July 1915), and has a combination of both oak trim and a mahogany transom.  The original owner was Commodore Bourne, who made his fortune as the President of Singer Sewing Machines.  You may remember that "The Commodore" was the Commodore of the New York Yacht Club around the turn of the century, when Captain Nat was knocking out some rather exceptional Cup Defenders.  His house still stands not to far away from his 12, as the former home of the LaSalle Military Academy, and is now home to the Sayville Campus of Saint John's University. 

Hull #768 was purchased for the Commodore's daughter to sail.  In order to bring it will them on their Mediterranean vacations, #768 was equipped with two rather large ring bolts through the fore and after decks.  With these, the 12 was lifted aboard the Commodore's rather large steam yacht.  After all these years, the lift rings are still present, as is the transom design with the interior bracing.  There is no rowing thwart, but the usual bench seats.  The forward end of the cockpit has an open arch cut into the bulkhead, with varnished wood trim pieces framing the opening.

Jon   8)     

Steve

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Re: Thoughts on Herreshoff 12 Hull #768
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2010, 10:02:17 PM »
Thanks for this very informative report-out, Jon.  Do you think the mahogany transom is a replacement?

Adam

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Re: Thoughts on Herreshoff 12 Hull #768
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2010, 11:39:47 PM »
I have nothing to add other then my Sister got married at his house! :D

Jon Brooks

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Re: Thoughts on Herreshoff 12 Hull #768
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2010, 06:07:30 PM »
The transom may be a replacement, as the side deck covers and combings appeared to be replacements.  The oak on the side decks appeared to be thicker than standard, and the combings appeared to be too good for 1915.

While the transom was mahogany, it had the interior wood bracing that I've seen on many of the older boats.  Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the interior (duh!), but here's a shot of the exterior:



And here is the original builders' plate:



And here is the erroneous museum sign, showing her built in 1922:



This wasn't the only sign that was wrong in the museum.  They had Wilbur Ketcham dead 33 years before his time, and many other errors.  My dad was with us, and he was familiar with many of the boats and personalities involved, but he said he'd have to spend days there fixing the errors.  He used to race against "Avalon" back in the 1950's handicap in his Cape Cod Bullseye #55.

Jon   8)

Steve

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Re: Thoughts on Herreshoff 12 Hull #768
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2010, 11:54:56 AM »
Thanks, Jon.  The photo of the builder's plate just set off a lightbulb.  Many folks erroneously believe those early plates were bonze, as opposed to German silver.  This photo clearly shows German silver covered with peeling varnish.  But ... doesn't the varnished  metal look like bronze?  Maybe some less-than-perfect spring commissionings gave rise to the mis-conception?

Jon Brooks

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Re: Thoughts on Herreshoff 12 Hull #768
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2010, 01:40:39 PM »
I didn't know that!

Notice that the sign also has "L.O.A.: 12 1/2'"!  ::)

Jon   8)

Erick Singleman

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Re: Thoughts on Herreshoff 12 Hull #768
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2010, 09:35:23 PM »
Was that the same Singer that built Singer Castle in the thousand Islands?  Told his wife he was building a little hunting cabin up north.  Some hunting cabin.
The wife says I can have a mistress as long as her ribs are made from white oak.

Adam

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Re: Thoughts on Herreshoff 12 Hull #768
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2010, 09:46:15 PM »
Yep...The Bourne family....

Jon Brooks

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Re: Thoughts on Herreshoff 12 Hull #768
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2010, 03:23:56 AM »
Mr. Singer patented the Sewing Machine and started the company, but it was Mr. Bourne who made it a world-wide entity.  Word has it he made much more than Mr. Singer.

Jon  8)