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      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

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Donn

Schooner W. N. Ragland dismasted?

43 posts in this topic

Just got a call asking if I'd heard about Ragland, Neil Young's old schooner. Seems she was being delivered back to Neil - repo? - and arrived in the Bay Area minus both masts, only two splintered stumps. Speculation is that the cost to replace the masts is probably prohibitive and her future is uncertain.

 

Anybody seen her after her ill-fated voyage? Pics?

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Here's the story:

http://wnragland.wordpress.com/

 

Dismasted…

 

Thursday October 4th, 2012

Postion: 43*11.2 N 126*12.1 W

I am sad to report that at 2045 last night we were dismasted. Miraculously all aboard are alive, well, and relatively unscathed.

Shortly after sundown we notice an opening in a seem going up the length of the foremast. We call “all hands” to douse the fore course. We are sailing along with just the foresl’e, broad reaching in 20kts of breeze and 6-8ft swell. Not 5 minutes later, with the fore boom prevented over, we suffer a partial crash jibe which spits the foremast open. It totally delaminates. We fire up the engine and once again call “all hands” to drop the foresl’e. We wrestle the sail down, but not in time to save the mast, the hoops of the sail and gaff saddle are the only thing holding the mast together. As soon as we have tension off the sail, like a slow motion lightning strike. “CRrrrrrrACK” the 100ft foremast comes crashing down. Everyone runs for cover. We barely have to time to realize what has happened and mutter “Holy Shit” when again with that ear-peircing, gut wrenching CRACK! The main-mast followed suit, simply not able to hold itself up with the weight of the foremast pulling it down. And just like that, the Schooner W N Ragland was dismasted.

Not a moment was lost, nor a beat un kept, as the entire crew rallied in to action. We took a head and injury count. All accounted for. One bloody lip. Amazing! Flash lights, headlamps, knives, bolt cutters, wrenches, plyers, wire cutters, hack saws and anything else that seemed useful was pulled up on deck as the crew worked tirelessly to cut the rig free. Every single last shroud, stay, halyard, sheet, brace, and sail had to be cut. Everyone worked in unison. It took us two horrifying hours. I simply can’t describe the horror of seeing the jagged, splintered stalk of the foremast thrusting out of the water with every passing swell or the sound of the mainmast crashing again the hull each time the boat rolled.

When the task was done, not a trace of the masts to be found upon scanning the surrounding waters, and all lines on deck coiled and tidy so as to not wash over board and foul the propellor, our only mode of transport left to get us safely home, we put the engine in gear and began motoring south.

In silence, we convened. Some went straight to the liquor cabinet, others went straight to bed, 3 unfortunate few stayed up to take watch for the next four hours. Most importantly, we were all still there. And no one was hurt.

So we’ve plenty of diesel and a reliable Caterpillar engine. We’ll motor the rest of the way to San Francisco.

It is a true tragedy we have had to endure, but as Emyl so aptly put it… “some books need only begin with a tragedy.”

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Very sad, but hopefully not the end. Had a lot of great times with the crew on the old girl BITD.

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I saw her last night. She is tied up at D-Dock in Marina Bay in Richmond. I didn't have the presence of mind to take a picture. The ragged stumps of both masts are still in place, with big splinters reaching up about 15 feet off the deck. Someone was on board tending to the boat.

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Time to switch to carbon fiber masts with a faux wood finish. It's been done before.....

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Somewhere I have a photo I'd love to scan. In the summer of 1954, when I was four, Hurricanes Carol and Edna hit New England in late August, early September. After one of them i went out in the harbor with my father and some others to clean up what they could. There was a 40' or so ketch or schooner that broke both its masts, probably just rolled them out. My memory says one fell to each side but what I really remember was the dark varnished mast stumps and these long jagged bright pine chevrons at the break. They were solid pine spars- it sounds like the ones on Ragland were laminated.

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We built this lathe to turn some spars for the schooner Adventuress. IIRC the main gaff,main boom, and I think the main topmast. Interesting project. The main mast was done down in Oregon,I think it was around 140 to 160ft. A bit large for us. Ours could handle only to around 80ft.

 

post-22256-0-63892300-1350081488_thumb.jpg

post-22256-0-84384100-1350081637_thumb.jpg

post-22256-0-68918800-1350081591_thumb.jpg

post-22256-0-55144700-1350081853_thumb.jpg

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Bob,

 

I used to drive the old 86' two masted gaff Alden schooner "Salee" and was in fear of loosing the foremast. It was pretty rotten up high when the owner sold the boat. The problem with many of those rigs is that all the shrouds are aft of the mast and there are no forestays on the mainmast. We didn't have a single bit of line that lead forward from the mainmast other than the gollywobbler halyard. So, if/when the foremast went, the only way to keep the mainmast up was to head down wind pronto. We in the crew actually talked about it, a lot. Thankfully, we never had to deal with the problem - the next owners did a few years after they bought the boat - and they kept the mainmast up. But, if these folks turned into the wind with the foremast broken and pitched over a wave, I'm not at all surprised that the mainmast went. It probably landed off the leeward quarter having nothing to support it from up forward.

 

What I find really puzzling is that the foremast would break in 20k of wind on a broad reach with only the foresail up. I'm guessing, but I would make an educated guess that there was something wrong with that foremast. A number of times I've seen folks put putty into the checks in solid masts. They do it for any number of reasons but mostly because they think the check (crack) doesn't look good or misguidedly they think they're helping to preserve the spar. My experience has been that if one caulks a check in a spar one is almost always asking for rot to develop behind the caulking where it can't be seen. This is precisely what happened to Salee's foremast above the fore-staysail hounds.

 

While an insurance company might think this boat is a write off - I'm sure someone like Rutherford's could fix it easily.

 

BV

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It seems to me that the boat is on the right coast for getting a replacement. Oregon pine is what they used on Bluenose2 and would probably do the trick. While a lathe is neat, a lot of big masts have been made witha skilled guy witha broad axe and adze. I hope that the boat gets put back together. The main is the photos appears to have a couple stays to the foremast but as BV points out there is nothing once the foremast goes and the weight of the broken fore would be tranferred to the top of the main. That might have helped bring down the main.

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A number of times I've seen folks put putty into the checks in solid masts. They do it for any number of reasons but mostly because they think the check (crack) doesn't look good or misguidedly they think they're helping to preserve the spar. My experience has been that if one caulks a check in a spar one is almost always asking for rot to develop behind the caulking where it can't be seen.

 

When I was a kid, we vacationed near Boothbay Harbor, and walked around the Hodgdon Yard. One summer there were two big schooners there. They were not new, probably there for repair of some sort. They had the west coast rig of a gaff foresail and bermudan main. I remember seeing deep checks in the masts and wondering if it was a maintenance/repair/safety issue.

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I'll walk down the dock and get ya'll a pic. She also caught fire the other night, apparently from sails resting against the heater vent on deck. The remaining crew was below decks and clueless until one of our residents alerted them to the flames.

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Just like you wouldn't believe everything you read about in the tabloids, I caution you not to believe everything that you read on Sailing Anarchy. Even if well intentioned, the truth can be far from what comes across.

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Just like you wouldn't believe everything you read about in the tabloids, I caution you not to believe everything that you read on Sailing Anarchy. Even if well intentioned, the truth can be far from what comes across.

Fuck of newb and show us reis' girlfriend's tits.

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Just like you wouldn't believe everything you read about in the tabloids, I caution you not to believe everything that you read on Sailing Anarchy. Even if well intentioned, the truth can be far from what comes across.

 

The only substantive thing in this thread is a long post that was up on the Ragland blog itself, then presumably removed when someone talked to their lawyer. Not sure what 'tabloid' untruths you are talking about.

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I believe everything on SA.

This is my religeon.

Nam you ho reng gay kyo, repeat after me

Oh yeah, I did that.

 

Clean:

I think it's time you and Mrs Clean came back to the shack.

We need some reflection time. It's not exiting but it's nice.

I will reserve our best room for you.

I'll get Max up here and the two of you can arm wrestle while I take care of the dogs.

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Just like you wouldn't believe everything you read about in the tabloids, I caution you not to believe everything that you read on Sailing Anarchy. Even if well intentioned, the truth can be far from what comes across.

 

The only substantive thing in this thread is a long post that was up on the Ragland blog itself, then presumably removed when someone talked to their lawyer. Not sure what 'tabloid' untruths you are talking about.

 

Hmmm--

Didn't realize the blog got erased. The entry as written still lives in post number 3 on this thread.

Problem?

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Turning a mast on a lathe! WOW Try a power planer, a tree and a couple of plywood pieces with a half hole cut as a template. You guys were spoiled! I am sure the adse is even cooler in that old-timey way, but really, f-that nonsense we have electricity now. Wait, what.. this is a 2013 thread. Why bump that?

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+1. That lathe is very very cool.

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So anybody know the latest? There were pictures of the boat on wooden boat forum taken motoring around at the previous AC in SF with out masts, so is anybody going to rerun her or will she become a motoryacht?

cheers

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Bitchen boat.  Acapulco Yacht Club 1980 .  Was the deck hand on a 63 ft Alden yawl getting ready for our passage to Honolulu when the Ragland arrived.  I was alone on the boat as my Captain was back in the states getting some parts. Anyway, the captain came by one day to introduce himself and said he had been the project manager / lead shipwright on an extensive floor timber replacement on the Alden a few yrs ago.  Invited me over for a tour of the Ragland.  Kinka hippyfied below, but still cool. The deck house had a large chart table with full sized drawers able to hold charts flat.  I Remember  the second or third drawer down had an electric piano keyboard installed in it. A few days later he stopped back by with Neil Young and asked if he could show his boss my boat. Sure thing man.

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Thanks Steve , I saw this and it's a little odd . He sold Ragland in 2011/12. This implies he bought  her back after the dismasting  and re rigged her? 

I had heard he sold her because he was sick and not look after her?

Does anyone have any accurate info from 2017? Nothing on wiki or his website....

cheers warren

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Hi more web searching came up with this post on a nw site

Ned Kelly  January 16, 2017 at 6:00 pm # 

Jan 10, 2017. I have been seeing the WN Ragland in Alameda in the Alameda Oakland Estuary. If you go to the fuel dock at Jack London Square in Oakland and look Southwest towards Alameda in front of the Dry Stack Marina building, you’ll see it. Very unique boat.

 

WHO KNOW MORE? 

Who rerigged her ? Who owned her now?

cheers Warren 

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9 hours ago, Al Paca said:

Bitchen boat.  Acapulco Yacht Club 1980 .  Was the deck hand on a 63 ft Alden yawl getting ready for our passage to Honolulu when the Ragland arrived.  I was alone on the boat as my Captain was back in the states getting some parts. Anyway, the captain came by one day to introduce himself and said he had been the project manager / lead shipwright on an extensive floor timber replacement on the Alden a few yrs ago.  Invited me over for a tour of the Ragland.  Kinka hippyfied below, but still cool. The deck house had a large chart table with full sized drawers able to hold charts flat.  I Remember  the second or third drawer down had an electric piano keyboard installed in it. A few days later he stopped back by with Neil Young and asked if he could show his boss my boat. Sure thing man.

Al Paca,

     That skipper you mention must have been Regoso Joe. He was skippering the Ragland when she was in the VI. I think that was just prior to the trip to the West Coast. He got that name after a boat that he had spent years doing a complete refit, was the boat you were on the REGOSO? 

     One of the many mind blowing details on the Ragland were the elephant railings on the bunk fronts. Probably not so cool today in our PC world...

Image result for schooner wn ragland

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Ras, I believe the Captain 's name was Rodger.  The Alden yawl I was on was called Foam, hailing port on the transom was Roadtown,BVI.  Foam had the new floors installed on the island of Bequia. I think the Ragland had work done there also.  I think Bob Dylan had a boat rebuilt there too.

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Thanks Al,

     I remember seeing Ragland on the railway in Bequia and think that Regoso Joe was already captain. Must have been a previous project that got him that nickname. Damned if he didn't have the coolest job ever skippering the Ragland, but he took the hottest chick on St John with him when he left! They ended up coming back after a few years though. My prayers go out to St John tonight.

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I think I might have found the Rugosa that the Ragland skipper had worked on the rebuild. Halsey Herreschoffs personal boat!

 

Halseycomp-flat-prt-72-lores-1.jpg

Not too shabby...

Image result for ragoso yacht

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8 hours ago, Rasputin22 said:

Now that's what I call a real yawl...

How the hell would you bend the mizzen sail on that???

Image result for ragoso yacht

 

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 Back to Ragland anybody have current news or photographs from this year 2017 ?

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Back to Ragland. Here is an ancient photo of the crew of the Ragland while in the Virgin Islands shortly before she departed for the West Coast.

Raglan-Crew.jpg

Anyone recognize this motley crew? 

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The Ragland is still in the Alameda/Oakland Estuary, across from Jack London Square. I walk the dog by it pretty much everyday. I never see anything happening on board. I will try to get some pictures when I sail by her later today.

 

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