This Chinese junk, mushing across western Long Island Sound in marvelous disarray with holes in her baggy sails and a bathing-suited girl waving from the cabin top, is the sort of boat in which most speed-conscious American yachtsmen would not be caught dead. Fat, ungainly, hopeless to windward, a sure loser in any race, she—and some of the other cheerful anachronisms on the following pages—were once relegated to boating's boneyard. But today they are being revived and dearly loved by a coterie of easygoing sailors who think old things are more fun than fast things and who themselves would not be caught dead wrestling with racing sails at midnight in the Gulf Stream, There is an added bit of family strategy involved in buying these old designs. The average wife, who finds few things more revolting than a red-hot beat to windward on a Class E scow, can be quite happy lolling in the big, dry cockpit of a slow-moving Chesapeake skipjack. And there are few children who can resist the chance to go to sea for the afternoon on a genuine Chinese junk.
This particular junk is 30 feet long and is built of Borneo ironwood by Cathay Crafts, Ltd., one of several Hong Kong companies now busily shipping boats of all kinds to the U.S. She comes equipped with three sails dipped in oxblood (real oxblood!) for weather-proofing. She also has deck awnings, a hand pump, an anchor and bamboo fenders. Down below deck, her obliging Chinese builders have intensified the aura of the East by providing the broad cabin (see drawing at left) with chop-stick service for 10, an opium lamp, a hibachi and a small porcelain statue of the god of the boat, a Chinese deity who is supposed to look after everyone on the boat. Outboard powering is an optional extra. The price of this boat, china god and all, is $4,700 f.o.b. New York. This is an extraordinarily low price for a 30-foot boat. However, there is an impressive number of sailors who think any price is too much to pay for a junk. They are invited to turn the page for a sampling of other old designs, less exotic than the junk, perhaps, but no less fun to own and sail.
About 150 years ago a breed of fast, tough government craft called packets carried mail and passengers on local runs along sheltered coastal waters. A descendant of these boats, a tight little sloop, has now been redesigned in fiberglass, purely as a pleasure boat. Only 18 feet long, with a draft of 3½ feet, the packet can be ordered from the Hudson River Boat Company of Costa Mesa, Calif., as a sliding-gunter rigged sailboat (left) or as a powerboat with a 30-hp inboard. The builder also offers the sailing version with the motor, but 30 horses seems a bit much for a sailboat this size. For a racing man, the packet may look a bit too tubby and short-rigged, but for the easy-going traditionalist, the price of $4,400 is just right.
A hybrid of three or four designs, the 40-foot ketch at right is called the Mayflower. Basically, she has the look of a Newporter, a roomy motor sailer introduced by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED five years ago. But with the addition of a poop deck, wooden railings, voluptuous clipper bow, multiple headsails and Quaker gun-ports, she takes on a charming—if somewhat confused—look of age. A yardarm is available as an optional extra. Whatever rig you choose, however, this boat is a superb idea for a family man whose main sailing problems are keeping the kids amused and the wife dry and comfortable. The price is quite high—$43,500 at Newport Yacht Landing, Calif.—but by no means out of line for a cruising boat this size.
November 6, 1961
NORTH SEA TRAWLER
The 45-foot Torsk class boat (left) is a Norwegian commercial fisherman, adapted for long-distance cruising. Solidly built of Norway fir, she has a single 71-hp diesel, a set of steadying sails for her stubby masts and a crow's nest for spotting fish or conning the boat into strange harbors. Above-deck she looks about as graceful and aristocratic as a Mack truck, but below she is pure luxury. There is a paneled stateroom complete with a polar-bear rug, a galley that could win a Good Housekeeping award and a deckhouse saloon for cock-tailing and general ease. More important, there is no other cruising powerboat her size that can give a steadier, safer ride on the open ocean. Cost is $43,000, at Lido Yacht Sales, Newport, Calif.
As they have for generations, a few boatyards along the Eastern Shore of Maryland still hand-make the skipjack (right) to work the oyster bars. A typical builder like James B. Richardson of Cambridge operates without blueprints, using the general lines laid down by his father and grandfather. For the pleasure-boat version of the skipjack, however, he makes a few minor changes—higher topsides, larger cabin and lighter rig than the workboats. But the boat still retains the comfortable 12-foot beam and the distinctive raked masts of her ancestors. Thirty-four feet overall, the skipjack is a bargain—only $7,000—in an era when an ocean racer costs upward of $1,000 a foot.
A CHINESE JUNK FOR U.S. SAILORS
Cabin of junk has full headroom, two double bunks, head, galley and space for a collapsible dining table. There are no hanging lockers in the cabin, but there is adequate storage space below deck forward and beneath bunks. Engine wells under poop deck take two 10-hp outboards.