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Friday, March 16, 2012

More About Design 25 - Bosun Bird

Today we were working at the Maine Boatbuilders Show all day. Great venue. Here is design #25, the old Blue Heron, now called Bosun Bird. We have been discussing this boat within these pages: is she really design #25? Well we crawled all over this boat today, with the original plans and the general consensus is that yes she is. Portland Yacht Services was kind enough to bring her inside the show and we had a steady stream of people all day checking her out. It's an interesting old centerboarder design and one that has seen her share of modifications over the last 78 years...but this image gives a nice look at her shape.

She is going to be professionally surveyed in the coming weeks and will be undergoing a complete restoration by Portland Yacht Services. She will be a fantastic addition to the New England classic fleet. Kudos to her owner.


  1. I did a delivery aboard BLUE HERON (BOATSWAIN BIRD) for the Castine, ME S&S 2001 regatta. She is a beautiful and classic sailboat from the majestic '30'S era. I am both happy and proud that my Tabor classmate Matt Twomey is now the owner. He is the right owner for this beauty and is actively giving her the restoration that she deserves. She will continue to be a proud representative of the S&S name and fleet for years to come.

  2. Jim Williamson, July 2016.

    I sailed aboard an S&S design named Bosun Bird back in 1980 and 81. I don't know if this is the same boat but I believe the one I crewed on was built in 1939 by Hodgdon Bros. Like this vessel, she had a centerboard and was rigged as a double headsail yawl (staysail) with running backstays. The owner at that time was Chuck Quinlan, a retired SAC pilot who bought her and did a major refit. He spent summers around Portsmouth and winters doing day charters in the Virgin Islands.

    Chuck had her rebuilt before the first run south and I vividly recall he had double framed the boat. He also closed the centerboard slot up for the trip. He said he didn't like having an open hole in the boat when going offshore. This was greatly appreciated as we ran into a cat 1 hurricane on our way to the islands (either Oct or Nov 1980). This was not my first sail by any means but it was my first offshore trip and all I can say is, wow, what a ride that storm was! I vividly recall trying to catch some sleep in the forepeak and being thrown/smashed up against the inside of the deck when the boat fell off a couple of waves!

    I could go on and on about my experiences on her but I guess that would be boring. Chuck invited me along for the next ride south in November of 1981 and that trip was much more sedate.

    Bosun Bird is a beautiful vessel. I was a much younger man then and my memories of these trips are permanently etched in my mind. It isn't an overstatement to say the trips were highlights in my life. Gosh, it would be great to see her again.

    I was the regular crew for those two years though Chuck brought along 2 others for crew each time. If any of you guys read this, or if anyone has a question I might be able to answer, feel free to email me at :

    1. Jim Williamson:
      You may be pleased to learn the sister frames have long since been removed and replaced this year with new 1-7/8th inch steamed white oak as per the original design # 25 from late September, of 1933. It is fair to say that very close to 100 percent of the bronze fastenings in this hull have been replaced this year, including the 10, 3/4 inch threaded bronze through bolts that secure the 4.1 tons of lead ballast to the original oak keel. A new white oak forefoot, and a new stern post were installed this year, and they seem to marry well with the stem, keel, and deadwood pieces that remind us of the vessels true age. I was particularly pleased to see the garboards go back into position this year, while the new shear strakes had to be purchased and installed prior to the execution of our next phase being main deck fabrication. 99% of the bungs have been positioned and faired along with the closure of the hull.
      Lead builder Rick Barkhuff of the wood shop at Portland Yacht Services had turned the original builders plate over to me for safe keeping this month, and it reminds me of the strength that the Lemos Bros. of Riverside RI poured into this hull before she was first launched in May of 1934 at Riverside, Rhode Island. The centerboard box and associated floorings and bits of bronze are now fabricated from new materials, but the strength and lines are still there for us to enjoy as this S & S design prepares for future adventures. Best Regards, Matt Twomey