altJust as the mythical “Phoenix” rose from the ashes, reborn to live again, so too was a beautiful yacht launched in September to replace another destroyed by fire.

In 2005, Covey Island Boatyard built a beautiful sixty-three foot classic schooner, “Maggie B” for Chicago venture capitalist Frank Blair. This boat cruised extensively, including a circumnavigation, and was ultimately returned to the boatyard for a refit. On August 12, 2008, disaster struck; a horrendous overnight fire completely destroyed the yard along with the “Maggie B”.

The yard had been operating since 1979 with President John Steele at the helm. Steele, a man whose life has been devoted to boats and boatbuilding, started with a small shop on Covey Island, part of the LaHave group of islands about 25 kilometres from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. They quickly developed a reputation for fine craftsmanship building around 90 pleasure and commercial fishing boats, both sail and power. Success made them expand and move to the mainland at Petite Riviere where they operated until that fateful day.

Blair, now 66, was understandably flattened by the disaster, but it only took him six months to come to the decision that they couldn’t build another Maggie B; it was time to move on. He contacted Steele and the famous British marine architect Nigel Irens to a discuss building another schooner. Irens is considered by many to be the most brilliant naval designer alive today. The new boat was to be slightly shorter at 56 feet and more refined in order to be handled by a smaller crew of four offshore.

However, Covey Island Boatyard needed a new home. Steele discovered that there was huge unused building at the Kraut Point fish plant, in Riverport. Within two months of the fire, a deal was struck to lease this space as the new yard. A head office for Covey Island Boatyard was also set up in Lunenburg.

Four months later, work commenced on the new boat to be named “Farfarer” after the nomadic tribe who were chased out of northern Scotland. They are alleged to be the first whites to cross over to North America, way before the Vikings. Farley Mowat, the acclaimed Canadian author, wrote a book of the same name that gave Blair the inspiration for his new schooner.

Blair’s business success was largely due to his foreseeing the development of all things “green” and set out to follow that concept with his new boat. The wood epoxy hull would be built out of recycled materials. A 136-year-old warehouse, only one block from ground zero in New York, was being torn down. Steele discovered that it was constructed with very old beams of Douglas fir and pitch pine. These were acquired and trucked to the yard where they were milled to create the 1½-inch planks and laminated 3-inch square beams. The hull was built upside down and covered with E-glass in epoxy to a mirror-like finish, then turned right side up (a major feat in itself) for decking and finishing.

The decks are laid with aged pitch pine, salvaged from the warehouse, which is bonded to structural Corcell foam-sandwiched between epoxy E-glass. The interior is constructed of three materials: 1) tongue and groove pine painted white for all the deck heads and bulkheads; 2) trim is all black walnut from the owner’s farm in Illinois; and 3) cabin soles are cork throughout.

The Covey Island workers, all highly skilled craftsmen, are shareholders in the company and were glad to be back to work. Other local labour was added to create a closely knit team of 34.

“Farfarer” is anything but a conventional schooner. She is 56 feet on deck, weighs 35 tons, and draws 6½ feet with the centerboard up (and 13 feet with it down). The centerboard, which floats, swings up on a 4-inch bronze axle into the base of the long keel. A hydraulic pump lowers the board, but doesn’t need to raise it.

“Farfarer” sleeps six with a crew cabin forward and the owner’s suite midship. Blair’s constant four-legged companion “Mac” has his own bunk. The galley is a unique design with an island featuring a truly ancient rock fossil counter.

The masts are of free standing carbon fiber with the mainmast reaching 82 feet into the sky. Blair said of the spars, “they are whippy and more rocket science than I intended”. The rig is very high tech with two loose-footed mainsails and no headsails. The designer maintains that jibs are inefficient and dangerous when crew need to be forward in heavy weather to handle or change sails. The full batten Kevlar sails, crafted by North Sails of Lunenburg are neither marconi nor gaff but rather have a large head about 8 feet long.

The masts are elliptically shaped to act as foils providing extra wing like power and will pivot on their base when tacking. The two sails rise, lower, and reef conventionally with lazy jacks for control.

Power is provided by twin 40hp Nanni diesel engines made by a Spanish firm from Kubota blocks that push her up to 10 knots. There is no genset but rather a large water-cooled DC 350 amp generator mounted between the engine and transmission on one engine, an entirely new concept. As well, there are two alternators, one on each engine, plus solar panels mounted on the cabin roof. The extensive electronics are all state of the art. The yacht has tanks for 200 gallons of water and 300 gallons of fuel.

The custom-designed and hand-built schooner was started in April 2009 and launched in September 2010. When asked the price tag, Blair replied, in good humor, “More than I expected, but less than I feared”. “Farfarer” is an anomaly, being very high tech with the newest and best of rig and electronics, but made by meticulous Nova Scotia craftsmen with a fit, finish and classic touches seldom seen in today’s new yachts. She may resemble a schooner, but she sails like a racing yacht.

After sea trials and final delivery she headed for her home port in Maine and then to Brazil for the winter. Blair intends to have “Farfarer” in the Mediterranean in the spring and the Baltic in the summer of 2011. So, this beautiful new schooner will indeed be another adventurer and explorer.

By Lynn R. Helpard

Destinations

  • Prev
Toronto sailor and former RCYC coach/sailing instructor Ryan May is now a US coast guard captain ...
Just before the weekly party at Shirley HeightsSunsail staffer Chris Donahue conducts our chart ...
Chartering in the Caribbean conjures up images of turquoise sea, palm fringed beaches and great ...
Since anyone who opens an independent bookstore is at least as brave as a small boat shop owner, I ...
You’re on your way east to the 1000 Islands or the Trent-Severn. By entering north of Prince ...
I have lived in Ontario my whole life but have only recently had the pleasure of visiting the City ...
My trip to the Northwest Passage started long before I boarded the flight to Kangerlussaq with ...
During the summer of 2016, my wife and I cruised through the North Channel in Lake Huron on our ...
It’s like we’ve waved a magic wand and disappeared into a picture perfect painting, our ...
The Schooner Cove Yacht Club is situated between Nanaimo and Parksville, on the east coast of ...

Cowichan Bay to Genoa Bay – Almost the Gulf Islands

Cowichan Bay to Genoa Bay – Almost the Gulf Islands

 By Catherine Dook

“So you’re going offshore to Genoa Bay,” said an old salt at coffee that morning. Genoa Bay was 15 minutes away from our homeport of Cowichan Bay and hardly counted as offshore, but it was our first destination that fall. The fog had socked us in all that morning, so John and I drank coffee and gossiped with the neighbours while waiting for the weather to lift. We’d provisioned with cans of chilli, a sack of apples, and tanks full of water. We’d tested the engine and the anchor winch. We were ready.

Read More of Cowichan Bay to Genoa Bay.....

 

 

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
One of our most enthusiastic contributors, Rob Dunbar sent us this photo from Halifax.   ...
Checking back into the US was quick and painless. We made the call to Customs but we needed to ...
Two-hundred-year-old homes are what ghost stories are made of, and Beaconsfield Yacht Club (BYC) ...
This time our photos come from Gimli where Katie Coleman Nicoll was on the scene. She’s an ...
Recently we celebrated our country’s 150th anniversary, and in true form thousands of ...
   We left off Part 1 at the year 1914, and will here pick it back up, running through ...
This week’s POTW comes from across the pond. Who knew we had a European audience   ...
Here is our boat anchored at Hockey Stick Bay. We live in a beautiful country.     ...
Michelle Jacques of Cambridge ON share this memory of her adorable pooch. “This is Frodo. ...
  Our 150 year history began in 1867, but Canada was no stranger to watercraft prior to our ...

 By: Katherine Stone

Two-hundred-year-old homes are what ghost stories are made of, and Beaconsfield Yacht Club (BYC) has its fair share of both. Although no one has seen any apparitions, a former club restaurant manager swore she could feel a presence whenever she went down to the cellar to get supplies.

Shift back to the beginnings of an area known as Beaurepaire. The first land concession on Lake Saint Louis at Pointe Beaurepaire was obtained from the Sulpicians by Jean Guénet in 1678. 

Read More about the Beaconsfield Yacht Club....

 

 

 

A Trip To Iconic Italian Yachtbuilder Riva And Lake Como

Riva And Lake ComoStory And Photos By Iain Macmillan

Eyes turn and conversations on shore pause as one boat in particular approaches the Grand Hotel Serbelloni’s jetty that extends out into the sparkling blue waters of Lake Como off Bellagio, northern Italy. It’s not because the Clooneys, George Lucas or Richard Branson are on board, not this time anyway, the attention is on the boat itself. The world’s most valuable, most magnificent mahogany launch, a classic 1960s Riva Aquarama, is paired appropriately with Como’s most prestigious hotel, its Michelin star dining room and suites that have housed royalty; a perfect mix of pleasure, luxury and a distinguished history.

Read more about Riva and Lake Como....

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
 Since the initial article of this column we have identified a wide range of apps and ...
Since the initial article of this series we have looked at the iPad and its use as a marine ...
The moment we all dread. It’s a warm sunny day and you’re out for a cruise. Suddenly ...
For most of us – this is the time to make the most of the boating season – launch and ...
Question: Is it possible to mount, protect and charge your iPad during marine navigation. ...
  Is iNavX the superlative marine navigation app?    
Question: Can I buy generic automotive parts or products for my boat, or should they specify ...
  There is a good deal of hesitancy and lack of understanding as to whether an iPad can ...
‘Top dead centre’ is the position of the wheel that allows you to steer your boat ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
With all the devastation in the eastern Caribbean a natural question to ask is ‘is our boat in that ...
During the heat of summer, many boat owners turn on their air conditioning units. Whether portable ...
A milestone has been reached. The new D13-1000 sees Volvo Penta move into the 1000hp marine leisure ...
  Still looking for the perfect slip for your boat? Look no further!    
Canadian Yachting traveled to Newport to review and sea trial the new MJM 35z.     ...
Erik Pawson Of Watertight Boatworks here in North Vancouver, BC, is really passionate about the ...
Hydro Clean Hull Wash is Canada's first automatic, mechanical hull wash system and the company has ...
For 2017 there were a total of 31 events planned and 2 were cancelled for a total of 29 events. All ...
When Terry Conrad, of Conrad Marine, offered me ride in a brand-new Sea Fox 288 Commander that he ...
EMCS Industries Ltd. has a unique antifouling system that’s quite clever and incredibly ...