Abbott33250By Paul Howard

That's the lilting refrain from old Abbott and Costello shows. It's also how some Abbott sailors hail their competitors on the start line. Abbott sailors are a fun-loving fraternity. They enjoy friendly rivalry and their familiar cheer is their way of not taking themselves too seriously. Abbott Boats of Sarnia, Ontario produced four sizes of Abbotts: the Abbott 28 in '64, the Abbott 22 in the early '70s, the Abbott 33 by 1980, and the Abbott 27. There are also plans for an Abbott 36, although none have been built to date. In the '60s, Bill Abbott built wooden Folkboats and the Olympic class Dragon before he built his namesake. Now, he also builds the Soling.By the late '70s, Juergen Hendel, another avid sailor, saw a test of the Scandicap 99, a 9.9 metre designed by Larson in Denmark. Hendel told Abbott about it and he headed for Europe to try it.

The European boat had a spoon-shaped bottom for ocean racing. Abbott changed it to a vee-shape, with softer lines for the Great Lakes. "We made changes to the keel, moving it a couple of inches, and designed a completely different rudder." What Abbott came up with was a 33-foot boat, weighing only 6,000 lbs. It draws 5.5 ft., has a fractional rig and an 8 ft., six in. beam. This, at a time, when most boats were masthead rig, heavier and broader. Abbott say, "I just kept laying down lines until I found something I liked."

Hendel also liked the long and narrow look. He bought one 15 years ago, and still enjoys racing and cruising. And, what a performer: "To see 16.4 knots on the speedo under chute and nothing ever broke."

Hendel admits the Abbott isn't for everyone. For one thing, it doesn't have much head room. But as Bill Abbott put it, "You're not going to dance down there."

Margaret Evans also like the 33. She says it wasn't designed as a cruising boat and yet, it's easy for two people to dock or anchor. Evans says it also helps break the ice. "It looks unusual and a lot of people ask you about it. That's how you meet nice people on a cruise."

Evans is the wife of David Evans, a single-handed racer, whose Abbott was named Ratso, or Ostar backwards. Evans' dream is to sail the trans-Atlantic single-handed. Meanwhile, he's already won his share of flags, including six single-handed Mackinac races.

Evans also entered his Abbott in the Bermuda One-Two from Rhode Island. In 1989, he took second on the way down in the single-handed start. It was an exiting and wild ride for a lake sailor and boat. Evans headed into 40 mile-an-hour winds and 15-foot seas, the most frightening experience of his life. He says the Abbbott was so light, it would drop off the waves and he had to run off, under storm jib only. There was some oil-drumming in the bow and one of boat's ribs snapped. At one point, the toilet pitched off its mount and rolled the length of the cabin. The wind and waves rivalled a race on Lake Huron. Evans was off Goderich where it was blowing 35 to 40, with huge waves. He was below when he heard a tremendous crack.

He looked up and the mast had broken off at the spreaders. "It was just as well," he says, "I wasn't enjoying the race anyway."

Despite all that, Evans claims, "The Abbott is one of the nicest boats I've ever owned, and I'd have no hesitation buying another. It's an exciting boat to sail on all points." Evans has a bigger boat now, but he misses the one-design Abbott races. "It's a good class. If you win the Abbott series, you know you've won because there's such good competition." His comments were echoed by other owners, Yvonne, or "Red" McRobbie says, "We like to see the boat do well, whether it's yours or someone else's." She introduced many women to racing and, in 1984, took first in the Shakedown race to Put-In-Bay, Ohio on Lake Erie. Formerly an all-made preserve, McRobbie won the race with an all-woman crew. She took a lot of ribbing and that's another reason she likes the Abbott. "The owners are good people and there's lots of camaraderie."

In 1994, for example, the class association presented Bill Abbott with a t-shirt which says, "I've tried, but I can't love a Crescent sailor." It was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the first NOOD race on Lake St. Clair. A large fleet of Abbotts was on hand for the one-design regatta. They were looking forward to racing against Bill Abbott, the godfather of the class, but Abbott never made it. He was tee-boned by a Crescent on the way to the start. Fortunately, no-one was hurt, but Abbott (whose boat is aptly named Surprise) had to limp back to port for repairs.

Jerry O'Brien is the president of the class association. It's an active group, which meets regularly. The association publishes a slick newsletter, full of race results for the overall championship as well as articles on how Abbott owners make their boats go. O'Brien admits, it's a class of good sailors. "You can get in as a beginner and learn a lot." Abbott sailors have one gripe about their boat -- the original engine. Some say it's underpowered and Gene Boivin, who has owned his Abbott for three years, was was plagued with mechanical problems. Frustrated at replacing gear shifters and head gaskets, he tore it all out and installed a diesel -- now standard on all new Abbotts.

There are 40 Abbott 33s in existence, and most sail the Great Lakes, from Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio; to Grosse Isle, Michigan; Windsor, Sarnia, and Toronto. There's also one in Winnipeg, one in Georgia and one on the Finger Lakes in New York State.

The most unusual Abbott is sailed out of Kingston by David Surridge. Surridge contracted polio when he was 11 years-old. He's paralysed from the waist down. He wears braces and walks with crutches. His Abbott is specially rigged and designed so he can cruise and race.

There are no cumbersome running backs, and his main is on lazy jacks for easy take-downs. His headsails are self-tacking. There are extra winches and all lines are programmed to the cockpit so he doesn't have to go on the foredeck. A shortened tiller gives him more room and the anchor is stored on the bow with an electric windlass. A bridge deck allows him access to the cabin. Once Surridge lowers himself down the companionway, there are extra hand-holds and an off-set table next to a double bunk amidships.

"What Bill Abbott did was amazing," Surridge says. "He spoke to a friend who said, 'sit down on your bum and see what you can do. Imagine yourself. You can't stand or sit up.'... But Bill did it and it was fantastic." Abbott gave Surridge the freedom to enjoy his favoutite sport and now Surridge races his 33 and wins. He took second place in his class last year.

"The boat is poetry to sail. When I'm on the water, I'm like a bird out of a cage." It's the feeling most Abbott owners have. As McRobbie says, "I don't think there's anything on the water that can beat the boat's handling. I've never felt disappointed. I know what it can do. It doesn't pull surprises. It's not into treachery." It's a fast, forgiving boat that's easily sailed, certainly something to cheer about!

Originally published in Canadian Yachting 1995.

 

 

 

Destinations

  • Prev
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
There is good anchoring in Cowichan Bay and nearby, and salt water enough to make any boater happy. ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...

Thornbury on Georgian BayJennifer Harker

To borrow a line from Monty Python, “and now, for something completely different”.

Normally, our boating adventures are spent weaving our way amongst the picturesque backdrop of the 30,000 Islands of eastern Georgian Bay aboard our Sea Ray Sundancer 268. This time we’ve traded power for sail as friends welcome us aboard their 38-foot Irwin for the Canada Day long weekend.

We’ve set our sights on a decidedly different destination for this journey, charting a course for Thornbury. This small town, located in the southern reaches of Nottawasaga Bay, is an oft-overlooked area of Georgian Bay - but it shouldn’t be. Although we’ve explored this shoreline on countless road trips, this will be our first visit from the waterside.

Read more about the Thornbury on Georgian Bay...

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
My husband and I were visiting the Bra d'Or Lake from Newfoundland in our 39 foot Sea Ray ...
After an autumn in Canada, we arrived back in northern Florida at Adamant 1 on January 3rd and with ...
This issue, to kick off 2019, we have an unofficial Photo of the week and this, the unofficial ...
Readers give us a bit of feedback on the 60th anniversary of the Shark 24
We are home for Christmas this year. Soon we will be heading back to Adamant 1 for another winter ...
This past October we drove to Telegraph Cove with friends and spent a day of wonder cruising the ...
We have kept our subscription to Canadian Yacht Onboard as we have traveled the South Pacific over ...
Stuart Walker a legend in competitive sailing passed away on November 12, 2018 in Annapolis. Stuart ...
“In Grenada, we had about 80 cruiser kids visit our boat...by dinghy of course! Sometimes you ...
Austin Edwards told students and parents at the Saanich School’s “Parents as Informed Partners” ...

Cruisers Yachts Cantius 46The Cantius 46 is the latest evolution of Cruisers Yachts’ Cantius line – now there are five models from 42 to 60 feet. The new Cantius 46 is a great example of “easy boating” the way Volvo Penta imagined it and how Cruisers Yachts has executed it. The idea is that you just come on board, unlock the glass doors, fire it up, cast off, and enjoy - alone, with a spouse, or with a huge group.

Since the first Cantius model was introduced, Cruisers Yachts has continued to refine the concept for ever-greater convenience, more clever and innovative features, and also greater performance.

Read more about the Cantius 46...

 

 

 

 

Sun Odyssey 410By, Zuzana Prochazka

The revolution continues – with a twist

The Jeanneau 410 is the eighth generation of the Sun Odyssey line, but even with that long history and umpteen years of tweaks and iterations, what the French builder has done in the latest revamp will make you say, “Wait, what?”

 Last year, Jeanneau turned the sailboat deck layout on its ear with the introduction of their Sun Odyssey 490 and 440, and the concept of the ‘walk-around deck’.

Read More about the Odyssey 410...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Electrical ground is a term used to describe the reference point in an electrical circuit from ...
Last time we looked at making proper electrical connections – the tools, supplies and methods ...
Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is ...
When a boat is in the water, the bilge will often collect water that enters the boat from weather, ...
Recently I suggested doing an off-season (winter) project with a potential client, and my ...
A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...

Ask AndrewAndrew McDonald

Last time we looked at making proper electrical connections – the tools, supplies and methods needed to make connections between components and wiring.

When planning out electrical work, one of the more common questions that I address is on the set-up, installation and sizing of breakers and fuses.

Fuses and breakers are collectively called ‘overcurrent protection’ – and these come in many different shapes, styles and sizes. Their purpose is the same: to prevent a situation where a larger than intended electrical current is running through the circuit, which puts the circuit at risk of overheating, fire and damage to equipment. 

Read More about Electrical Installations Basics...

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
You most likely operate your vessel with batteries that are rechargeable. Rechargeable batteries ...
This past decade has been a real up-and-down ride for the companies who make boating equipment. ...
Making it’s global debut at the Toronto International Boat Show the new Mercury 5hp Propane ...
Most of us have heard of fuel additives, whether it be for gasoline or diesel. But which one to ...
While the basics of boat hull design hasn’t changed that much over the years, the same cannot be ...
Yamaha targets the Canadian big-water market with its high-torque 425 horsepower V8 XTO outboard, ...
Looking for a great Christmas gift for the Offshore sailor on your list? This being a Marblehead to ...
Sail shape is long gone. They have stained, feels thin and you see broken threads everywhere. Your ...
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...