Ruby Slipper is definitely a trailer sailor. My old 24’ mahogany planked sloop was 6,500lbs and I trailer sailed it.
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)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)By JAMES EWING
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)
There are quite a few of those old shock absorbers still in operation, my buddy's Chicane, a 1926 57' Alfred Mylne has one. I love it. Very Steam Punk.Triaxial loading on the shackle is pretty insane, too.
I'll just leave this here.
Bull, looks like the cockpit might drain into the c/b case.It looks to me as though her cockpit is not self-bailing. It's a drawback, but maybe fixable.
In the article, the reviewer says that she is trailerable.
Looks like a Etchell on steroids.
I'll just leave this here.
Beer, I knew that Saare was building again, but I had not seen that review.
I really like the H-Boot! But the article has got one detail completely wrong.
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).It is one of 8 H-Boats currently to have.