Violet: under sail, internal views, working on the keel
Gary Maynard has sent us these photos from Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, where he and his wife keep Violet. I’m a little shy of opening another fifie, baldie or zulu discussion I’m sure Jay Cresswell will put us right as he has before – but I think we can agree that she’s an outstanding old vessel, and that we’re delighted that the Maynards are looking after her. Many thanks for the information Gary!
Here’s what Gary wrote:
‘Violet was built in 1911 by James Nobles of Fraserburgh for Alex Stephens, who named her after his newborn niece Violet. Her original cost was £199.
‘Rigged as a typical zulu, she was fished by her owner until his retirement, probably in the 1930s, when his sons converted her to power, adding the typical skeg and vertical rudder discussed in your blog. She had a big Gardner engine with a Thornycroft gearbox and a very small wheelhouse added. Oldest son John skippered her through the war, with both younger brothers as hands. The youngest, Georgie, never married, but instead took care of Violet until they sold her in 1975 and retired. She was known locally as the ”Grand Old Lady of Fraserburgh” and was kept in very good condition.
When I bought her in 1986, she was on her second American owner, and in semi-derelict condition, hauled but on an old marine railway in Vineyard Haven. My wife and I spent four years rebuilding her before relaunching Violet in 1991 when she was 80 years old. Since then, we have chartered her and sailed quite a bit, including through the Caribbean, Panama, the Galapagos, the Marquesas, Hawaii, British Columbia and Alaska.
‘With her big rig, she is a good sailor, and has made some remarkable passages, including 3000 miles across the Pacific in 21 days, comfortably averaging 165 miles a day, and 2100 miles to Hawaii in 14 days. She powers at 7 knots with an 80hp Ford driving an offset feathering propeller.
‘My wife and I can sail her ourselves, but she is great with four to six crew.
‘I always thought she could be stiffer, so I decided to remove all the inside ballast and cast a 10,000 lb ballast keel and bolting it to the wooden keel, adding about 12in of draft. That’s when we discovered the keel bolt issues and got into the project shown in the photos.’