Silent Maid: Loud Statement
This 33-foot catboat, the reincarnation of a storied Barnegat Bay racer, is the latest success of a former Wall Streeter devoted to bringing classic wooden sailboats back to life. Yacht Style from our December 2012 issue.
Silent Maid, with an LOA of 33 feet and a beam of 12 feet 6 inches, was bigger than most of the other catboats; she carried 950 square feet of sail area and had a huge cabin that slept four comfortably. The cabin had 6 feet of headroom, a galley, and a head, and there was also an innovative self-bailing cockpit.
|The author takes a trick at the wheel. Photo courtesy of Craig McLean.|
The boat was equally capable as a cruiser or racer. In the chapter “American Catboats,” Schoettle describes his beloved Silent Maid: “This class of catboat represents one of the roomiest, safest, and easiest sailed boats of present-day yachts,” he writes. “It is, without question, the best for use in America or anywhere else on inland bodies of water. [Most of] the boats I have owned and sailed for years were designed by my friend Francis Sweisguth. While his work for me has been confined to boats of small size, it is nevertheless to his credit to say, as a token of his versatility, that to do large and small craft equally well is an accomplishment he has reason to be proud of.” Schoettle goes on to pinpoint the source of his affinity for catboats: “This type of boat has only one sail, and there must be perfect harmony between sail and hull,” he writes.
And he was unabashed in his praise for Sweisguth. “Francis made an exhaustive search of the details concerning all famous boats,” Schoettle writes. “Silent Maid is the composite result of this work.”
Yet another intriguing dimension of this story is Kellogg’s devotion to bringing the classics, including catboats, back to life. “Silent Maid was here on Barnegat Bay my whole life,” Kellogg had told me. “My father actually owned her briefly. I had some other catboats, but this was the mother of all catboats. The old one was in bad shape, so new construction was needed. Brady has built over 200 feet of wooden boats for me so far.”
So far, I noted to myself. Builder Brady is understandably a busy man—he also led the conservation of the first Silent Maid, which is now a display piece also at Philadelphia’s Independence Seaport Museum, where she’s preserved with her history intact.
Kellogg has also lent the Sandbaggers Bull and Bear to the National Sailing Hall of Fame in Annapolis, Maryland, for the past two summers. “Over 1,400 people have had a chance to sail on one of these classics,” he said. “Many of them have been first-time sailors.” The Sandbaggers earned their name via the sandbags used as movable ballast during racing to replicate cargo from their early days. Today Bull and Bear, powerful skiffs, use water bags and crew for ballast and extra stability.