What Is and What Is Not Quite Yet

Absentees and new launches, lots going on before the Annapolis Boat show. From "Past the Spindle" for October 1, 2008

PSOct 368

Rockport Marine recently launched Adventure II,a 17th-century replica of a colonial ketch.

The geese are heading south, and this being October, so is most of the CW editorial staff, bound for the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis. Unfortunately three of the boats I most looked forward to seeing won't make it to this year's coming out party, where new models are introduced to the American market.

Atop that list is the Feeling 55 from Alliaura Marine of France. I got to see the boat last winter at the Paris boat show and concluded it would be a lot of fun to be a fly on the wall and listen to the dockside comments here in the States, especially from the baggywrinkle-loving purists. The Feeling's as wide as a catamaran, has twin keels and rudders, and the boom's high enough off the deck that you could hang a basketball hoop at the end and have a nice space for a half-court game.

I was also eager to see the new Moody 45 DS in Annapolis, but unfortunately, importer Don Walsh says they're selling too many boats in Europe to spare one for us Yanks. Moodys have long been renowned as rock-solid English cruisers, and I was looking forward to hearing the gasps of a few stiff-upper-lipped Brits when they see what German builder Michael Schmidt and his Hanse Yachts have created now that they own the name. From the photos and video I've seen, I like the look, but it sure ain't traditional. You'll have to wait awhile to see it Stateside, but you can grab a sneak peak here.

Rounding out the list of what could have been is the Prout P-45S. New owners have revitalized the first name in catamarans, updated the design, and are planning to actively market them in the U.S. Unfortunately, they missed the boat-- literally-- and the first of the new Prouts won't make it here from the Far East in time for Annapolis. Which is all the more reason to head to Florida this winter to see one there.

One builder who will be there is Stephen Brodie, owner of Pacific Seacraft. About this time last year, he was in California, where it turned out he was the winning bidder for what was left of the company that brought many a lovely W.I.B. Crealock design to life. Brodie, several unfinished hulls and molds, and a cadre of P.S. employees trekked east, to Washington, North Carolina, and settled into temporary quarters that are now becoming permanent. When their upgrades-- new ventilation, offices and an overhead crane-- are complete, P.S. will have 60,000 square-feet of workspace and water access across the yard. Since making the move, Brodie and crew have finished and sold a P.S. 34, and they plan to have a new 31, 37, and 40 in Annapolis, ready for buyers. This is a good story that seems to keep getting better.

Meantime, while cleaning out the inbox in anticipation of a few days out of the office, I came across a few new launches and design announcements. FinnYachts, in Pieterasaari, Finland, took its new Finn Flyer 36 for sea trials at the end of the summer. This is a sleek-looking cruiser/racer that will hopefully grace our shores sometime soon.

Morris Yachts has laid out plans to add a 29-footer to its daysailer production line. Like its graceful sisters, the M29 comes from the drawing boards of Sparkman & Stephens. Look for hull number one in February.

On a cold and drizzly day in Maine, the doors at the Rockport Marine shop were flung open and out rolled Adventure II, a 17th-century replica of a colonial ketch that's headed south to a dock at Charles Towne Landing in Charlestown, South Carolina. The ship is the centerpiece of the 75th anniversary celebration of South Carolina's state parks. Adventure II is 73 feet long and was built in nine months, using domestic cedar, pine, and oak.

So, that's it, I'm off, headed for the land of crabs and oyster shooters. If you're in Annapolis for the show, let me know how you spent the money Uncle Sam gave you earlier this year to jumpstart the economy. You did save it for the boat show, didn't you?

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