Thursday, November 04, 2010


Hi! Sorry I have been a little quiet on the skutsje/non-skutsje discussion - I actually didn't think it was one but I thought TQ probably had a picture that would settle the matter better. The Wikipedia article describes skutsjen as beginning at 12 meters, and I also ended up with the impression that although some of them get some serious makeovers, a good skutsje will always retain something of the spirit of a good, solid workboat.

I think that it was very hard to tell the size of the boat in Tuesday's picture - it's actually a small sailboat that was built for purely recreational purposes. Here's the picture I thought would help. The kayak is 16 feet long, or about 4.9 meters. I suspect that the most serious cargo this little leeboard yawl ever carried was something in the picnic dinner & champagne line!

Do we all at least agree she's pretty? :D

quick update before I run off to claymation workshop - I emailed Jane & John, who run the Life At an Angle site that my friend Anonymous (he really is a friend of mine, too) had said was one of the best sites on Dutch sailing barges around, asking them if they'd come over & give their opinion - well, I just checked email, they'd taken a look & here was their response:

>Hi Bonnie, thanks for your email, we've had a look at your photographs
>and we are 100% sure that the little boat with the lea boards is not a
>skutsje. The bow and stern shapes are entirely different to a skutsje.
>It looks as though it's a purpose built sailing boat which may have been
>built for shallow water so the builder put lea boards on instead of a
>keel? It looks similar to a Cornish shrimper?
>Hope this helps
>All the best
>Jane and John

Must run now, but Tillerman, you should have put down a wager on this one! The resemblance is due to the boatbuilding equivalent of convergent evolution - boats designed to address the same issues sometimes end up looking similar.


Tillerman said...

She's very pretty. I think she's a canoe yawl.

bonnie said...

Yes, that kind of sounds right, & the pictures that come up in an image search have a similar flavor to them, don't they?

Tillerman said...

Great minds think alike!

Yes, an image search on Canoe Yawls does turn up boats that look a lot like this one, but not exactly like it. I bet the rig has been changed from the original design.

Tillerman said...

It's always hard to win a bet against anonymouse. They never pay up!

doryman said...

Checking in to respond to your question on Doryman, Bonnie - your boat is a Cat Yawl, common to the waters around Cape Cod and north. I've sent requests out to the catboat folks in Delaware to see if anyone knows which one it is. Despite it's homey appearance, the Cat Yawl is a high performance boat, except downwind when that long boom tries to trip on the waves. (Ask Tillerman what happens when your boom becomes submerged). They come in various sizes, then there are the plain Cats and the Cat Ketch.

O Docker said...

Tugster has a photo of a similar boat, rigged as a ketch, at the end of this post.

doryman said...

Word from my source is that it's possible this boat is the Molly Rose. You could double check with the staff at Marshall Catboats. Haven't verified this for myself but as of today, this is our best guess.

bonnie said...

Ah, except that I know this anonymouse, I would vouch for him.

And HOORAY HOORAY! Doryman is here to save the day! I left a message over on his site - I put on a white robe & glued honey buns to my ears & said "Help me Doryman, you're my only hope.."

No I didn't, just still under the influence of the Robot Chicken Star Wars Special. Seriously, Michael, thank you so much for stopping by - this was such a unique-looking craft, and I just thought "If anyone would know what kind of boat that is, Doryman would!" Very, very cool!

doryman said...

Always glad to help, that's why they call me DoryMan!
(that doesn't sound quite right...)

Sorry O'Dock the only feature those two boats have in common are the leeboards. Tugster's photo is simply a ketch, the main mast is not far enough forward to be a Catboat. A Catboat by definition has the mast stepped in the forefoot.
If I haven't confused you enough, stop by for a drink someday and I'll treat you to more useless information.

Tillerman said...

OK. Now I'm really confused. Far be it from me to disagree with the Doryman, so please accept what follows in the spirit of inquiry and my wish to be educated on this matter. Pretty much all I know about types of boat I learned from the Google, so can a real expert please explain the following to me?

Michael says a catboat has the mast stepped in the forefoot.

And the definition of a cat yawl at says a cat yawl is "a yawl having the mainmast close to the stem and the after mast on the counter."

The boat in the picture does not have its mainmast very close to the bow at all. In fact the mast is so far back that there's room for a foresail. (Do catboats usually have foresails?) So why is it a Cat Yawl as opposed to just a regular yawl?

Just wondering...

Tillerman said...

There is a catboat in Massachusetts called the Molly Rose. #33 on the boats for sale at Picture at

But it's clearly not this boat.

doryman said...

T-man that's why you make the big bucks.
There are some discrepancies about this boat. Not only is the mast back farther than it should be (and I suspect as it was designed) but it has a full set of stays and spreaders which you will not find on most Cats. You will also notice that most old fashioned Cats don't have a bowsprit. The mast appears to be stepped on top of the cabin, too. Cats are usually designed with a heavy, solid mast stepped in the forefoot and un-stayed.

The boat design is clearly of the type, so my guess is that it's been re-rigged. My original inquiry has been forwarded around, so hopefully we'll hear more actual facts.
You are right on that the boat we see is more of a Yawl than a Catboat, judged by rig alone. There was no protest from my inquiries about calling it a Catboat however, so I still think we're on the right track. One problem I always have in researching traditional designs is that a lot of traditionalists aren't interested in the Internet. Google means nothing to them.

O Docker said...

Doryman, I think I said in my comment that it looked like it began life as a catboat but had been converted to a yawl. There's also something about the shape of the coachroof and coaming that look like a traditional catboat to me.

As you say, the rig looks like it's not original - and it almost certainly didn't start out with metal masts and a roller furler. If those leeboards could talk, I'll bet they'd have a tale to tell.

bonnie said...

I have to say that this has been one of the more educational set of comments I've read in a while. I can tell the difference between your basic types - schooner, yawl, ketch, sloop, etc. - but I never had any idea what a wealth of subtypes there are. Fascinating stuff.

bonnie said...

Oh, and O Docker, Michael may not have seen the more extensive discussion about the possibility that the rig was a conversion because I actually asked him to come over & take a look at this one because I thought that knowing the size might be helpful. The only reference to conversions in this post is Tillerman's "I bet the rig has been changed from the original design." I should have mentioned that there had already been a very lively discussion in the preceding post!

O Docker said...

Oops, did my last comment sound like I was miffed? Not intended - just trying to pull the two threads together.

bonnie said...

No, no, not at all - I was just trying to do the same thing!

Tillerman said...

Big bucks?

bonnie said...

There's one now!

Anonymous said...

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he,
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

John Godfrey Saxe's ( 1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend

Tillerman said...

Is a Laser a catboat?

Tillerman said...

What's wrong with a good prate?

doryman said...

Well Bonnie seems I've hit a dead end. I was referred to Geoff Marshall of Marshall Catboats

who's father reintroduced the historical catboat to the US in the sixties. Geoff seems to think this boat is "Calico" but a search brings up nothing conclusive. He says the boat you posted is not a Marshall Cat.
So frustrating when all you can find is what a thing isn't but nothing about what it is. I'm not blind, yet can not see.


bonnie said...

Well, it's been a fascinating discussion nevertheless & thanks for trying!

As I said, we may not have been able to get a positive ID for this one, I have learned about a whole bunch of different kinds of boats I didn't know about before.

doryman said...

That DoryMan is such a pest! The Catboat in question is indeed "Calico" owned by Bill McKay. For pictures of her racing in Padanaram last summer, visit:
"Bill McKay's Calico" on Fickr.

Photos courtesy of Wendy Byar while crewing on "Silent Maid"

Tillerman said...

Excellent sleuthing! Well done DoryMan. I see that in the results sheet, Calico is listed in the "Altered Cats" class. So I guess we were all right. It was built as a cat boat originally but now has an "altered" rig.

bonnie said...

Yezindeed! And DoryMan, may I post at least one of those pictures here? I do think an update post would be fun.

bonnie said...

ps - just adding a hot link for Wendy Byars' Flickr set.