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eye candy


Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
When they are too big to fit into our harbor, they anchor out here:
ELFJE outer harbor.jpg

ELFJE is 170' long. It's hard to keep a graceful sense of scale at this length but the designers did reasonably well.
ELFJE close.jpg

The owner gazes wistfully envisioning a larger yacht?

May 25, 2012
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
Tom, the US1 nickname was "lead mine". carl alberg drew her while at alden. well over 50% of her weight was in the lead keel. with only a 7' beam and 38 ft long. the transom was very small. the cockpit was not self bailing as the floor was below the water line. the cockpit seats were maybe a few inches above the the waterline. sitting so low is a different sense while sailing. below there were 2 berths and an open head between them forward aft of the mast. forward of the mast there were only a few floor boards with just ribs and the hull planking. she had a battery to run the running lights if needed. fin keel with huge rudder attached to it. tillar steering. big manual centrifugal pump that was used on most windy day sails as slop would come aboard in the cockpit. the discharge from the pump was on deck on the starboard side. no aux engine but an offset well allowed for an outboard. a 7 1/2hp evinrude long shaft. you would then yanked the outboard out and it had a rack under the seat and there was a heavy plug that went in the well to make the hull flush. at that time at our club on western lake erie we had a fleet of 24 ish dragons that were very active. they all sailled in and out of the harbor so we mostly did too. electrics, no radio, no depth sounder, no pumps, nada. the speedo was mechanical. i was ten when dad bought her, the vessel was 13 years old. built in quincy mass, 29 day racers with two fleets. one in boston and the other in racine wis. our was bought in Ephraim wis. from an arkansas cotton farmer that summered up north. i assume he got it out of racine. wood boats last ten years then the rebuilding starts. not all at once, but up on fresh water the menace is dry rot. with lots of work, dad kept he her fine shape. i was his runner when she was on the hard. he would be on the boat working while i sat on the cradle waiting to get this or that from his car or the marina store saving him the up and down the ladder thing that is so time consuming. i loved all things boating and i adored my father. it was a win/win. i am one of six kids. i sailed more than the other 5 combined i think. tom, i must have been like your one dog that you photo so much. dad knew wood boats. we did all our own work. she got pulled just days before the freeze up and went in just after the thaw. never letting her dry out too much. dad was always worried about those long over hangs hogging and always had A frames supporting the ends on the hard. the vessel in your picture has a wisp of a hog to her sheer. oh i know the lines so well. but for the '25' she looks great for her age.
they had a very tall rig. sliding back stays. cotton sails. spinnaker. reacher, very light cloth, that the clew went aft of the boom if trimmed in tight. ( a light air reacher) hollow sitka mast and boom. no reef points. FAST, in the 13 seasons we had her i was never passed by another boat on western lake erie. because i always helped, i was groomed to drive her and by the age of 14 i was allowed to take her out alone with my buds. a friend across the street was 16 and could drive. we pretty much lived at the club during those summers. i knew all the sailors that were actively sailing as well. the dragons raced wed, sat, sunday and the top crews practiced tue. i was out there too. snot nosed kid, and i was faster, hey hey hey .....
western lake erie is all shallow. 15/18 feet where i sailed. short choppy waves were common with the north easterlies. the prevailing winds are mostly westerly and so we had off shore winds more often then not. that boat was WET. she went through waves not over them. saw blue water over the bow many times but it always would break up and spill over from the coaming around the mast hole and the tiny deck house in front of the cockpit. waves would slurp into the cockpit on a windy day. the aft deck would have the stern wave on it when flying along on a heel on a breezy day. young and stupid, we always pushed that boat as hard as we could. we loved to sail in a hard blow. woodboats 'work' in a breeze and we work it hard many many times. in hind site, we never broke the boat from pushing it that hard. she took it all.
dad's rules: " i don't care if a meteor hits you, if you hurt my boat, you will never use it again" - "there is so much deep water out there, why would you sail in the shallows" - "if you get into trouble, drive her straight up on the beach and you and the others walk home. it will be easier to salvage there" where i sailed it as all sand beaches. in all my years of sailing sailboats, i have never run aground and have never smacked a dock. dad would have been disappointed in me.
getting to sail that boat as a boy was akin to getting a 1920's indy race car for your driver when your sixteen. it was a hoot. dad bought aeolus when i was 20. he asked me to bring her from Conn. back to western lake erie. i was fully skilled by that time to do such. i thought of aeolus as such a fat cruiser when i first saw her. the seller was starteled when i, a long haired young pup was there to bring her home. but after a day of sailing to show us the workings of the boat he said he felt i would do just fine. :)

ours was black hull with a light tint of grey deck. very sleek looking.

however, wood boats should never be painted black unless you sail daily as the hull will dry out quicker.
all wood boat leak, you pump every sail. with all bronze fittings and no plywood, leaking doesn't hurt anything, sorta :)
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