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Coolboats to admire


A timely article...big, bigger size, then right size

Courtesy of the National Review:

Twenty-Three Years with Patito - William F. Buckley's last boat.

Underway, Dutch Harbor, R.I., August 2022(Courtesy of Chris Museler)
November 27, 2022 6:30 AM

On owning William F. Buckley’s boat, now in need of a new owner

The ad was inconspicuous. A small inset, buried on the classified page of the Yale Daily News — this was the prior millennium, and classifieds were still a thing —asking simply: “Do you know how to sail?” There were a couple of minimalist pen illustrations accompanying the text: an elongated upside-down W evoking a seagull in flight, a couple of reversed undulations below meant to evoke waves. And then, beneath the large-font question, some further brief information, a name, and an address. “Seeking mate to work out of Stamford on 36′ sloop for summer weekend cruises; please email [email protected]” (again, the prior millennium, but at its culmination, and primitive emails were by then a thing), signed — William F. Buckley Jr.
Ahem. The William F. Buckley Jr.? Founder of National Review, host of Firing Line and its wonderful debates, author of numerous books about God, Man, Yale, and Blackford Oakes? Well, this was Yale, and Mr. Buckley had just taught a writing seminar on campus, so the possibility was real. And if real, it was probably a great gig for an aspiring politician or pundit, less so a simple varsity sailor — even one whose politics were generally aligned.
So even though I made note of the ad, and secretly thought it would be the opportunity of a lifetime, I demurred. I demurred until no fewer than five fellow students and staff — even Ruth in the dining hall — mentioned to me both the ad and how I was the fellow who immediately came to mind. So I wrote and sent a brief email to the address, and after some confusion and a pair of unmistakable voicemails, I was off to Stamford to interview for the job over a delightfully decadent lunch. Three weeks later, I was a newly minted graduate of Yale and driving again to Stamford to commence what was to be a single summer as Mr. Buckley’s — by now Bill’s — boat captain aboard Patito, his Lancer 36 sloop.
Underway, Dutch Harbor, R.I., August 2022 (Courtesy of Chris Museler)

The weekly routine was standard, though the particulars varied. Two guests would join us each Friday night, sailing from Stamford to some proximate harbor on Long Island Sound. Dinner and all other food would be arranged and prepared at home by Julian, Bill’s chef, and my job was simply to warm it in the boat’s oven or sear it on the grill. The multicourse dinners were buttery and exquisite, the wine flowed freely, and the conversations and camaraderie were delightful. The only thing missing was politics; Bill was adamant about not mixing his vocation with his avocation. In the morning we would return to Stamford after breakfast, often playing word games such as Ghost, where he was often — though not always — the winner. (In Ghost, players go around a circle, each adding a letter to a nascent word but trying to avoid either completing one or misspelling along the way. Bluffing is welcome but can be called out. For years Bill’s favorite word was “kaleidoscope,” as few knew the spelling and — so he mistakenly thought — no other words were embedded within it. So one morning after he added an E to K-A-L, I halted the progression on account of a complete word. It turns out Bill could spell “sesquipedalian” and just about everything shy of it, but a four-letter leafy green vegetable had him stumped.)
Patito’s layout was and is quite conducive to conversation: no bulkheads from stem to stern, save a small private owner’s cabin in the port quarter berth — a rarity among boats her size, which often feature private cabins forward and aft around a small central saloon. Aboard Patito, two people could be in the cockpit, one in the galley, and one all the way forward down below, and everyone could be part of the same conversation. Three of the four sleeping berths were in the same open space; snoring was contagious. As privacy was all but nonexistent aboard, Bill relished remarking that “four people aboard is perfection, but five is three too many.” But the fellowship with four, all led by the maestro himself, was hard to top.
The Patito in Sebasco Harbor, Maine, August 2022 (Courtesy of James Ewing)

One summer’s job soon evolved into a winter internship researching Bill’s next book, in Switzerland, and then the next summer was spent editing the book and sailing some more. Eventually graduate school and then my career precluded more sailing and research, and it was time for Bill to find a new mate. But the generations were changing, even in those few years, and the newly minted graduates of the early 2000s had become focused more on internships and jobs tied to hypothetical careers, and a summer serving as boat steward, even to one of the great intellects of the era, held somewhat less appeal for Millennial Yalies. As staffing became more difficult, Bill began to reconsider his own waning physical abilities, and in a foreboding essay in the Atlantic (“Aweigh,” July–August 2004), he announced his intention to sell the Little Duck (“patito” being “duckling” in Spanish).
Soon three gentlemen, each of whom would be familiar to readers of NR, offered to purchase Patito for a below-market price by permitting Bill a three-week cruise for the next three years. (Sadly, he sailed but once before he gave up altogether.) But as only one of the three had offshore sailing experience, Bill suggested they contact this former mate for a briefing on the boat. We all quickly became friends, and when one of the three’s life circumstances changed in a way unfavorable to boat ownership, he sold his share to me. By now Patito’s slip was shoaling, and after a brief interlude across Stamford Harbor, we found her a new mooring a few miles away, on the placid and picturesque Five Mile River in Rowayton, Conn. Owning a boat in syndicate has many advantages — cost, friendship, many hands to make light work — but it also has one significant disadvantage — the inertia of deferred maintenance. Ponying up for big work, even that which eventually must be done, is much tougher in a collective. Ask anyone who escaped communism, or who ever lived in Berkeley. When everyone owns something, it is often as if no one owns it. And so the looming maintenance projects — specifically, rebuilding the delaminating deck core — were postponed, and postponed again, until almost a decade passed.
What changed was when one of the others in the syndicate was offered a new posting in Baltimore and therefore had no use for a boat in Connecticut. By now I was living in Boston, but I was also bringing Patito to Newport for a few weeks each summer. And the third owner, the only one who actually lived in Connecticut, seemed to never have fully found the intrinsic joy he had sought through boat ownership. So they offered their shares to me, at a very fair price, given the amount of work that was by now required on her.
Left: Maine cruise underway, August 2022. Right: The Patito in East Boothbay, Maine, August 2022 (Courtesy of James Ewing)

In the summer of 2014, I moved Patito to Newport — Rhode Island taxes neither sales nor ownership of private boats — and the following winter I had much of the deck rebuilt and the hull repainted. Gone were the 1970s-era off-white hull and candy-striping trim; instead Patito now took on the look of a classic New England yacht, with her burgundy hull accentuating her long lines and classic curves. Subsequent winters have seen further work: painting the spars, replacing running rigging, rewiring and recanvassing. Meanwhile life has moved on. What once was a young couple delighting in a large boat designed for open conversation is now a young family managing in a seemingly much smaller boat that — by design — affords scant privacy. Cruises — overnight and longer — are still staples of life aboard Patito, to which we have in recent years added another staple: the multifamily, multi-boat raft-up. Friends and families with boats of their own tying up on weekend afternoons in summer to nosh, to converse, to swim, and to sway have become the moments we all eagerly await over the winter months. She is still a stout cruiser, and just last August my family and I sailed overnight from Newport up to Maine to visit friends and gunkhole through that summer cruising paradise.
Bill owned Patito for 23 years: from her launch in 1980 to 2003. She has been in my care now for 23 years as well: starting as a mate in 1999, as a partial owner from 2005, and as her full owner since 2014 — over half of my life in sum. But such a full generation is a long time for a boat, and as our family has grown, our priorities have changed. It is time for her to find a new owner: hopefully one who appreciates her history, acknowledges that this dear old boat has many pressing needs greater than her value, and would enjoy and exploit the unique layout that her first and most famous owner and his many guests so relished.
Sunrise aboard the Patito, August 22, 2022 (Courtesy of James Ewing)
The finest boat stories I’ve read were written by Wm F. Buckley. Wonderful story and wonderful storyteller. where may we find the boat listed? (For sale)

Cruisin Loser

Super Anarchist

I'll just leave this here.

Those have been produced by others for many decades, I first saw one in the 1960's when my Mom took me to an antique auction in Newport. Saw several here in Midland in the 80's. Seems like this guy has refined it but it's an old concept.

Given the decorating budgets for some big boats (a friend had a decorating budget of $20 mil for his big Feadship), these tables are not outrageous.

Bull City

A fine fellow
North Carolina
Paging Mr. Bull @Bull City

Maybe you have seen this...
Beer, I knew that Saare was building again, but I had not seen that review.

The cockpit shown in the photos is certainly not inviting. My traveler has been shortened from the original coaming-to-coaming design, but it's about as un-obstructing as possible. It's the only compromise we made, but one we have been happy to live with, given the other wonderful attributes of the H-Boat. :giggle:

The V-berth is comfy for two mid-70 year olds, 5'10" and 5'8", and the settees in the saloon are very comfortable.

Since I had the electric pod drive installed, it has been even better. The long after deck is no longer a barrier to reaching and fiddling with an outboard motor. Rather the enormous lazarette now can be an aft cabin for grandchildren.



Paging Mr. Bull @Bull City

Maybe you have seen this...
I really like the H-Boot! But the article has got one detail completely wrong.
Noone will get a new one for cruising. There are literally tons of used one in perfect shape around for a fraction of this one (in Europe, obviously), I mean seriously,this will cost you 100k or more if you fit it out for cruising...
So she cockpit must be set up for serious high level and high budget one design racing, that's the only market for this boat.


Super Antichrist
This one is currently up for sale on nettivene


For 11,000 EUR.

It is one of 8 H-Boats currently to have.

It is also the most expensive one listed. Maybe because the trailer is included.

And yes, it might have had some surgery on the starboard side, but that didn't hinder it from winning class in last year's Hanko race.

I like Saare a lot, I think their large boats are superior to Hallbergs.

But picking up the molds for this one really makes me question their business strategy. I don't see a lot of overlap of prospective customers.

If you just spent 500,000 EUR on a Saare 41, you are not normally spending another 100k on your weekender. And if you do, it would certainly look much more like this:



It is one of 8 H-Boats currently to have.
In northern europe there will be at most yacht club and harbour noticeboard local listings for symbolic sums for at least one. They are usual "beginners" first boats to get, in reasonable conditions and with 20 years old sails. Perfect for daysailing, just get a second hand jib from the racing fleet and if you are really motivated a mainsail (beware, (second hand) racing ones have no reef).
The more expensive ones listed online are usually well fit out regatta boats.
And yes, getting a brand new one won't give you any advantage over an reasonable older one, and if you buy a second hand one from a good sailor, you might get the tuning tables he used and be miles ahead of a new one.

I guess economic sense of them producing new ones is a mix of marketing, low initial investment cost and nostalgia. If they have the space for the tooling and build them on request at 70k per hull the risk is probably low. I am sure they can find a dozen rich guys who love this boat due to it beeing their first boat when they were kids who want to spend money on something like this.

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