Feed on

The long Winter and early Spring of our discontent has passed. The ice is gone from the Bay and sailing season beckons.

The mast is in the shop and almost ready to go. The sheave and a few bolts are among the missing but should not prove to be too big a problem. The cockpit sole work is coming along with some of the old cockpit sole teak reused. I had a recent consultation with Paul Smith about cockpit seat options. Looks like the seat slats will be made of Jersey cedar with oak framing, just like Sjogin’s hull.

If all goes according to plan, we should be sailing in May. (The operative word being should.)

Open water
Ice free and mares tails on a brisk spring day a few weeks ago. Sailing soon.

Spar work
The mast work is almost done. When I have the rest of the screws the mast track will be done. Then it’s on to the gooseneck and mast head fittings. Also a new topping lift is called for. And then the same process with the boom.

Sole cleats
Fitting supports for the end of the cockpit sole. The teak came from one of the original floor boards.

Something new
Who says things never change at Beaton’s. New flag pole repurposed from an old mast. Nice SW breeze.

Shadow , a classic Blackjack,almost ready for her close-up.

Myth, looking Beaton fresh.

That’s it for now. Perhaps a bit of more frequent posting now that heaving to off Swan Point gets closer.

Still Ice Bound

Signs of Spring are out there but you have to look under the snow. Sjogin’s still resting comfortably in her ice berth. There’s signs of open water but the Bay’s still frozen solid south of Curtis Point. Spar work begins next week with the assembling of the various bits and cleaning up the mast and boom tracks. And then on to the other long pending work.

Here are a few recent pics:

Reflective water

An inch of water over the ice makes for nice reflections. And just an inch or so of ice in the bilge.

Open water?

You can just make out a strip of open water over by the Mantoloking shore. It will take a while for the basin to open up. Maybe in time for stepping the mast.

Yet again

Yet another snow storm. I think this one was named Thor. Which I am from shoveling.

Hang in there fellow Northeasterners. The Osprey, crocuses and such harbingers of Spring are just around the corner.

Sjogin III News

As mentioned in the last post, there’s news of a Sjogin III being built in southwest Poland. I heard from the builder who wanted to know how the name is pronounced. When launched the owner will use her on local rivers and lakes. When confidence comes, the Baltic beckons. This the 19′ version of Sjogin designed by Paul Gartside. Details here.

This is the first one I know of where an actual build is taking place. Which is different from building her in ones head where most of us do it.

In comments to a prior post, there also appears to be a Sjogin “inspired” copy under way in Indonesia. If Roberto is reading this, please give us an update on your progress.

As for the original, she’s resting comfortably in the pit at Beaton’s for the most part. Apart from progress on the rigging, little else from this end. The January thaw looms and then it’s on to the cockpit sole.

Listing comfortably

Taking the ground. Brisk westerlies dropped Barnegat Bay by several feet in January. It’s been remarkably ice free this winter (for now) except for an occasional bitter patch. Even at normal water levels, there’s only a foot or so under her keel. No harm except to her dignity.


In mid January the upper Bay was covered with ice. A wind shift and then it was gone.

Normal again

Here she is with a bit more water in the bay. Still cold enough to preclude comfortable work.

Rigging progress

At least there’s some progress in the shop. Jeff Reid has been doing fine work on serving the rigging eyes and refinishing the blocks. This is the main halyard. It’s rigged as a burton? It has a rope part that’s fixed to the gooseneck band, up through the block, down to a turning block on the cabin, then aft to the cockpit.

All else is fine, just waiting out the cold and far too busy at work. These oldish fingers don’t work as well as they used to in this weather.

I’ll put together a Post of Beaton’s pics next.

Merry Christmas All

Greetings from Sjogin and Ourhouse on this cool and blustery Christmas Day. Little progress lately but the post Holiday period shows promise.

Enjoy slowly my friends.

Merry Christmas

I promise this will be the last time the swag is placed on the stem. Next Christmas it will be back on the mast, perhaps while hove to.

The weeping is down to 12 strokes a week. She’ll stay in the pit for the rest of the Winter. When the stove’s back in place she can be slid outside for a sizzle.

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012, six weeks or so after Sandy. We’ve come a long way since then.

Post Sandy

Taken by David Turton just after Sandy. Sjogin’s laying on her port side in the foreground with with the jib cover flapping away up the forestay. It’s amazing she survived.

Thanks all for following along. Hope to have a report on a Sjogin III build soon.

It’s been a month

with precious little to show for progress on Sjogin absent a perfectly varnished mast and boom courtesy of Paul Smith.

The mast is now stored in the spar shed, accessible when it’s time to rig. Jeff’s working on the rigging, serving the eyes with nylon seine twine. They may get a coat of varnish or “boat soup” before using.

Little progress down below but for the fitting of the bulkhead extension down into the bilge. One of my perennial problems with Sjogin’s stove was the puff backs on starboard tack in a good breeze. The original bulkhead was open at the bottom allowing the free passage of air. It also allowed air to leave the cabin, thus sucking smoke and occasionally flame out the stove vent. Quite exciting. By closing this off (mostly, there are still limber holes), the stove should draw better.

Sjogin’s still in the pit in the South Shed. Stop by and say hi to her.

Here are a few pics from the last month.

Resting comfortably
Looks like she’ll be here for the Winter. I expect the basin will freeze soon due to the cold November we’ve had. The rig’s still being worked on and will not be ready for a while. We’ve waited this long to go sailing so a bit more won’t hurt.

The bulkhead extension is fitted. The gap below the original one allowed air to get sucked out of the cabin encouraging puffbacks, sometimes with spectacular results. Fitting this extension should keep the excitement to a minimum.

Fifth coat
Here are the spars with their fifth coat of varnish. Paul Smith has put on the final (for now) coat. Very shiny. The mast and boom are now in storage awaiting rigging.

Sjogin’s fame continues to grow. This is from Paul Gartside’s just published book Plans and Dreams, available here. The plans are from a series of how-to-build articles for Water Craft, a british publications. The design shown is of Sjogin III, a 19′ version of the plans made by Mr. Gartside a few years ago. You can build these boats from the plans in the book. Very generous.

Better days
Paul included this photo taken by my son Jeff during Christmas years ago.

Small boat work
Here’s Paul Smith doing a bit of very small boat work. That’s a model of the Emma C. Berry with her later Schooner rig. The models getting a little TLC before she’s returned to the Bay Head Yacht Club.

The menagerie
Some of Jeff Reid’s handiwork. He’s becoming quite the carver. We have a Bufflehead in flight he carved for us last year. The cabinet is the one I made when working at Beaton’s those many years ago.


Slow but steady progress

Sjogin’s resting comfortably in the slip in the south shed. The keel still weeps in spot, with one persistent leak around an old keel bolt. It’ll take a while for the timbers to return to normal. For now it’s about ten pleasant hand pump strokes per day.

There’s been real progress on the spars. While your writer was comfortably ensconced in the hills of Tuscany in early October, Beaton’s again stepped into the breach and stripped and faired the spars. When we got back I finished the sanding and as of today, there are two sealer coats applied. First coat of varnish this weekend.

The cockpit sole is moving along at my usual pace. The oak sole beams have been fitted and the initial sole pieces have been milled by Paul. With any luck the stove may be in by Thanksgiving.

Speaking of which, we gave our own thanks last week for recovering from Sandy two years ago on October 29, 2012. Thankfully no hurricanes this year (so far) but old Mister Northeaster may have a few lessons to give us this Winter.

All sanded and ready for the first coat of Interlux sealer. No serious defects found after many years of varnish. The wood is close grained clear fir. Tough stuff.

After the first coat. It will get darker after another coat of sealer and a half dozen coats of Epifanes varnish. And endless sanding….

Resting comfortably
Slowly rehydrating. Nice to be able to deal with her weeping by hand pump. There’s a sump pump on board if needed.

Trimming plugs
All of the old rivet holes have been plugged and sanded. The ceiling will cover most of them.

Getting greener all the time. The rub rail and letters ageing nicely.

And now, something completely different:

Villa Iris
Our bit of Tuscan paradise. We stayed here with seven others, exploring Florence and San Gimignano which was a mile or so away. Terrific views of vineyards and distant hills. Bliss for a week.

San Gimignano
That’s San Gimignano on the next hill. Classic Etruscan hill town with lot’s of places for a glass of Vernaccia or dinner. We had fine dinner at a restaurant on the edge of the town walls with sweeping views of the countryside and full moon.

Some of the Gang
Here’s five of us wandering the streets of San Gimignano. The others were waylaid by shops and such.

Vineyard tour
Touring a local vineyard for a tasting and later consumption of their Vernaccia. Yes, that’s San G in the background.

Ste. Chappele
We spent two days in Paris at each end of the trip. (You have to change planes somewhere.) This was at a string concert of the Four Seasons at Saint Chapelle on the Isle de Cite.

Small boat heaven
Finally, a bit of Beaton’s activity. Paul Smith giving an old fiberglass dinghy a new life. The two new Duckboats are getting freshened up before storage.

She swims!

Sjogin was returned to her home waters last Saturday at 4:30 surrounded by a gathering of about 30 folks. It was a spectacular day filled with very late Summer light. Good food, good drinks and a verrrrry happy Skipper.

I was shocked at how little she leaked. After 23 months out of the water, I expected her to fill readily as the keel and stems have dried out. An hour after launch she had an inch of water over the keel. Almost a week on and what leaking there is noticeably less. The prospects for a dusty bilge look good.

Next up is refinishing and re-rigging the spars; building the new cockpit sole (mostly done); cockpit seats; reinstalling the cabin sole and most importantly, setting up the Sardine for my first sizzle.


Suitably decorated for the Launching Party. She’ll never look better. (Though maybe better when she’s hove to off Swan Point.)

The A-Team

Jeff reid, Paul’s helper is on the left. Paul Smith, Master Boatwright, is right. Without Paul’s decades long experience, unfailing good cheer and love of wooden boats, Sjogin would be in the back field at Beaton’s, suffering my attempts to bring her back from the grave.

The Toast of Thanks

Thanking all for their help making this day possible. Especially Julia.

The Blessing

Julia doing the honors. It’s not a new boat so the usual bottle breaking was replaced with a generous drizzle. Plus the rest of the very good Champagne will not go undrunk.

Resting comfortably

Floating on her own with the straps ready to catch her if she settles. Beautiful light, beautiful boat.

The Kids

Sjogin’s youngest fans. Their Mom Kathy took some of the above photos. Thanks.

Thanks all for a wonderful day. Other pics on the Flickr Sjogin Album, Instagram (search for Sjogin) and Facebook (Russ Manheimer).

Ready for her close up

Today’s the day. If you’re near Beaton’s this afternoon, come by and celebrate Sjogin’s return to her home waters. It’s been almost two years since she sank under Sandy’s waves.

She would not be ready (ready enough) for this day without the time honed skills of the Boatwrights at David Beaton and Sons. Particularly Paul Smith who used his long experience caring for tired old boats to bring about Sjogin’s renewal and second life. Also helping were Jeff Reid, Paul’s able assistant, John, Pete, Jim and the rest of the crew. Pete and Jim were the ones who patched the hole in her bow and recovered her from where she sank.

I want to particularly thank Tom Beaton, whose indulgence of passionate wooden boat owners is legendary.

And thanks to my dear readers whose comments and words of good cheer sustained me through this journey.

The final and deepest thanks go to my dear wife Julia for her unflagging enthusiasm and shared vision.



My first view of Sjogin after she was raised from the Barnegat Bay.



Ready for her not too close-up.

More later.

Julia and I spent a quick and very quiet week in Maine recently, staying at the Barn, about a mile or so from the Landing, our usual spot. No Eggomoggin Reach view, but quietly placed in the woods, at the edge of a meadow. At the top of the hill behind the Barn, there’s a view of the Camden Hills over a blueberry field. Very tranquil with no TV or wireless. Adequate 3G signal allowed contact with the outside world.

Our visit was timed to match the 40th Anniversary Celebration last weekend at WoodenBoat Magazine in Brooklin, Maine. After a boat yard tour and firemen’s barbeque on Friday, we went to a Lobster Dinner at the grounds of WB. The office, boatbuilding school and extensive meadows overlook Eggomoggin Reach and the Babsons. It was great to celebrate a long journey with Jon Wilson, Mike Murphy, Scott Bell and the rest of the WB staff and readers.

We went for a short sail on Monday in the harbor at WoodenBoat with Anne and Colin aboard Mimi Rose. She’s a 32′ Joel White sloop that’s near the top of my list for a perfect cruising boat. You can follow along with Anne, Colin and dog Maye at their blog, From Pine to Palm.

The Duckboat Worlds were a week ago, but the Easterlies were a bit much for this slow sailor. Last year I had a problem with what turned out to be a backwards mast step. The heel of the mast needs trimming as well. Now that Sjogin’s almost done, thoughts turn to more Duckboat sailing. A shallow draft rudder is next on the list for Speedwell.

Lots of recent progress on Sjogin. The first two of three primer coats is on and the planking looks better than expected. At this point she could pass a twenty foot test. There’s also varnish on the rails and the new teak hatch sealed and looking good.

Paul’s been busy installing a new deck prism, set between the mast and the mooring bit as well as reinstalling the vent plate forward. And there’s a new collar for the mast coat. Thens there’s Jeff’s work on the bottom. All the rivet heads have been cleaned and re-puttied and the bottom’s been painted. Very smooth. Progress on many fronts.

The Barn
Julia swatting gnats at our idyllic spot in the Maine woods. Very quiet. The outdoor shower in the back is enclosed only by the Maine woods. Private and delightful on a brisk morning.

Dave Tew
Dave Tew, WBF friend, at Brooklin Boat Yard along side a Frers 74. BBY was the first stop on the boatyard tour. The deadlights in the hull and deck are designed by Frank Gehry. Amazing effort by the crew at BBY. Extremely meticulous work.

John Brooks
John Brooks discussing his brilliant new Dragon Flyer design. She would be great on Stockton Lake.

Unique perspective
Here’s a Fisher’s Island 31 undergoing restoration at Brion Reiff’s yard.

R Boat
A new R Boat under construction at Reiff’s yard. The amount of boat building talent in the Brooklin area is incredible.

Harbor at WoodenBoat
Here’s the harbor at WoodenBoat, just off Eggomoggin Reach. Low tide with the Babson Islands in view. Ahhhhh…..

Thank you WoodenBoat for the boatyard tours, the hospitality, a great lobster dinnah’ and forty years of keeping the dream alive….

Sailing to Manto
On the way to MYC the day before the Worlds. The mast step issue seems resolved but still not sure how it would work in moderate winds. More testing needed.

New Duck!
One of the new Beaton Duckboats being launched for the first time. Where’s the Champagne?

The hull after two coats of Interlux sealer. This will help keep the moisture from the bare inside face of the plank from lifting the paint. We’ll see.

Second coat
Second coat of primer. After a bit of filing the worst spots a third coat will go on. Then the sanding, fairing and getting ready for the two finish coats begins.

Close up
Here’s a close-up showing the rediscovered waterline. A bit of creative tool use restored the groove that divides the colors. With a slight groove at the waterline it’s easy to get a crisp edge without relying on tape.

More soon. I promise Peter.

Save the date!

It looks like I’m running out of things to do. Not really but the end is in sight. Sealing, priming, filling all the thousand imperfections and then two coats of finish on the hull and installing the deck gear should take another month or so even at my glacial pace.

So for those who would like to share the return of Sjogin to the waters of Barnegat Bay (hopefully more benign that last time she was afloat), Saturday, September 20th is the date.

We’ll have drinks and snacks from three to six at David Beaton and Sons in Brick, New Jersey. The launching will be at four. If you’re near (or far) come by to share in Sjogin’s launching.

Here are a few pics from the last few weeks:

Rail down
Two coats of finish on the toe rails.

Seattle Gray deck color by Kirby. It was like painting sand paper and not easy under the rails. Don’t look too close.

The view aft. It will never look better than this.

Swelling the garboards
Starting the swelling process. Sjogin’s in a slightly bow down position which allows water to sit and soak in all along the garboard. She’s been out of the water for almost two years and will need time in the slings to return to normal. We hope the new normal will be dry bilges eventually.

As if I didn’t need more boat work. Speedwells deck is ready for a fresh coat of finish. The Duckboat Worlds are on August 22nd, a few short weeks away.

Duckboat Frenzy at Beaton’s.

New ones
Meanwhile, the new ones are being completed in the wood shop. A fine tradition going back almost sixty years.

Small craft
Interesting neighbors for Sjogin. Looks like a museum exhibit. The lapstrake skiff is the Herreshoff Columbia Model Dinghy that I helped Tom Beaton built about 30 years ago.

Irene and Serena
Irene Tasay and Serena dancing in a nice six knot Easterly.

Let me know if you can join us on September 20th.

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