The holidays. Five airports, four families, three American states, two babies but oodles of kiddos, dogs and cats and hikes and boomerang lessons and Shrek reruns and bike rides and obligatory feasting, and one all-out good time.
A nice break from planning an expedition.
But am now back at my desk. The rain that pummeled the bay area most of December has moved on. The sky is blue and the today is such an imitation of summer that I’ve opened the doors and windows while I write. Varied thrushes are passing through the neighborhood. In the garden, a misguided rosebush attempts a bloom.
During our holiday tour, I made but one water-directed sidetrip. Specifically, I spent an afternoon in Marina Del Rey, California, aboard Lola, a renovated Sparkman and Stephens ketch in steel being offered for sale.
What a classic yacht is Lola! Her lines, lithe and understated, her overhangs, long, her sheer, graceful, and all evocative of the wooden yacht whose age was fast closing when she was welded-up in 1972. Though she has become an “antique” (if you believe the classification on YachtWorld.com), she presents beautifully as a serious cruiser.
Actually, I call her Sparkman and Stephens out of convenience, as her lineage is complicated. It goes something like this: her original owner, during a business trip to New York, requested that Messrs. Sparkman and Stephens design for him a sturdy cruising yacht, but as they were too busy, he took plans for one of their racers back with him to his Holland home. There he had yacht architect D. Koopmans rework her lines, adding a deeper keel, skeg hung rudder, etc., after which Maasdam-Deckker welded the hull and the builders at the Royal Huisman yard did the rest.
And it could be that she has already been to the Antarctic. In her records is retained a 1985 project plan titled “The Voyage of Hero, II,” which was to be a recreation of Captain Nathaniel Palmer’s southern ocean sealing expedition of 1820. Hero, Palmer’s 40 ton sloop, was pushing toward unexplored seal rookeries south of Cape Horn that summer when the skipper picked out ahead the faint loom of coastline and thus became the first American ever to sight Antarctica.
Quoting from the project plan:
The entries from Captain Palmer’s log of this voyage, which are on file in the United States Library of Congress, provide the basis for the United States’ claim to have discovered Antarctica. While this claim has been contested by Russia and England, it certainly serves to preserve the international status of this global frontier.
In addition to retracing Hero’s track, the crew of Ariane (Lola’s name then) wished to plot their course according to the daily dead-reckoning records left by the Palmer. No log of Ariane’s southern voyage has been found.
Lola’s current owner has been busy nonetheless, and in recent years has had the boat entirely rebuilt–masts, rigging, sails, deck hardware, interior configuration, galley, tankage, electronics, wiring, battery pack and gallons of sparkling paint have been added to Lola such that the only original items remaining are her hull and beefy Perkins, and even that has been overhauled.
Steel, center cockpit ketch, round bilged, extended fin keel with skeg-hung rudder.
LOA: 48; LWL 34.4 (due to overhangs); Beam: 13; Draft: 7.2.
Displacement: 34,400 lbs; Ballast: 12,000 lbs; Sail Area: 1,350 sq. ft. (racing configuration = 1,717 sq. ft.).
Displacement to Length Ratio: 377 (overstated due to overhangs). Ballast to Displacement Ratio (after personal increment): 30%. Sail Area to Displacement Ratio: 20.5. Capsize Ratio: 1.6.
Sails: foresail furling; staysail hank on; main and mizzen fully battened with nice roach, cruising spinnaker.
Plating: keel, 8 mm (5/16th”) and 6 mm (1/4″); hull under water, 5 mm (3/16″); hull above water and deck 4 mm (5/32″).
Tankage: 100 gallons fuel in two stainless steel tanks in the bilge; 100 gallons black water (?) in two stainless steel tanks in the bilge; 50 gallons water in plastic tanks.
Insulation: 40 mm (1.5″) glass wool mat, laid against hull from deck to waterline.
Engine: 85 hp (ratio to displacement in tons: 4.94). Other stats show engine at 72 hp.
Steering: wheel to quadrant.
Power: eight 6 volt, wet cell batteries for 800 amps in the house bank.
Positives from the Figure 8 Perspective
Concerns from the Figure 8 Perspective
That said, Lola is an extraordinarily beautiful piece of work.