Preview: Following a Course, A Centennial Tour of GRAYLING

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GRAYLING was built 100 years ago as an elegant fishing boat.  When she was restored into a family cruising boat in the mid-90s both her owner Ted Okie and boatbuilder Doug Hylan managed the near-impossible task of maintaining her workboat pedigree while transforming her into a family boat of magical appeal.

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37 Responses So Far to “Following a Course, A Centennial Tour of GRAYLING

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    Brent Williams says:

    Wow, thanks for sharing another great story and boat. She is a beautiful vessel. It’s is so awesome to see and witness the magical waters ( rivers, oceans and lakes) that we encounter. One of the things I love about OCH are the videos you share, how it takes us through those magical moments being on the water.

    Thank you so much for these stories and your work.

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    Victoria Burdick says:

    Grayling & Burma were snugged in at the Mystic Seaport, many years ago. In the after-hours, under the cover, came a twinkling of sweet music and soft glow…there was light laughter and shadows of couples slow dancing…the Noank Sailing Club making the movie of life sweet…(Maynard & Ann, Angie & Don, Bob & Diana, Vic & Kathy) It set a romantic waypoint in my young heart that has guided me still in elder years. I look at Carol Connor’s beautiful painting of Grayling cruising past Noank, and am instantly transported back to that moment…how lovely to know her magic still thrives!

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    scott hitt says:

    Beautifully crafted video for a deserving vessel! Goodonyas!

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    John Wujack says:

    Thanks for the recycle. What a great start to a foggy, Pacific NW winter’s day. Really special. Congrats to everyone for this effort.

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    Doug Soderland says:

    This was excellent. I fished three seasons in the 1980s on the Helen McColl, a sardine carrier built in 1911 by Frank Rice. This video brought back a lot of memories. Great to Grayling restored, converted and good for decades more. The Helen McColl was not so lucky

    • Doug Hylan

      Doug Hylan says:

      Hi Doug,

      Yes, GRAYLING is a very lucky vessel — I don’t think there are five surviving carriers left of the hundreds that plied the coast of Maine.

      In an interesting comparison, the Tidewater area has done an impressive job preserving their Chesapeake buy boat fleet. These are similar boats in size and purpose — shame on Gulf of Maine yachtsmen for not stepping up to bat to save these beautiful craft.

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    Jon Reif says:

    Great video. I always admired this boat in the Benjamin River.

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    Jon Baldock says:

    The workmanship on this boat is absolutely fabulous, One can see all the painstaking efforts were taken in as preserving the originality. Thanks again for another brilliant share , Jon Baldock

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    Donald Stover says:

    Once again you have captured the emotional interface between boat, builder, owners and the experience on the water.

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    John Supan says:

    Once again, be still my heart. Beautiful boat, story, music and video. Brought tears to my eyes.

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    Richard Whiting says:

    Absolutely wonderful. What a great vessel! Thank you guys.

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    Patrick Beck says:

    Doug, any chance you could post the info on those super-clever sliding windows in the pilothouse? I would love to see the drawing by Bill Garden.

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    Warren Powers says:

    Dear Off Center Crew1:
    Our lives will have to change drastically if a shift to incorporate sailing is to occur;
    a membership in this site provides me with a delightful and challenging opportunity.
    I was born in the Pacific Northwest, but no where near a boating lifestyle.
    A very good friend of mine built his first sail boat well before his high school years were
    complete, (read “Mystic Harbor”).

    My brother also attached several of my heart strings to this topic by buying a small
    sail boat and taking me out, uttering such words as ‘wind, sails, tack, line, jib, main,
    cleat; but was considerate enough of me to intermingle our common swearing words so
    these strange utterances would not be so unsettling. Thanks is presented in part to him
    for the interest again in this topic.

    No one ever knows when this primal desire will present itself again in our long
    (apparently eternal) lives, but with the help of these videos, at least the slack v.s.
    tension is noticeable on these heart strings of mine. There are many people who navigate
    life with sails, to consider having my hands on them and consider actually spending time
    in literal contact with them again… well. We’ll see, won’t we.

    This time around I have given my life to the corporations (retired now) and I am not
    happy about that looking back, I must declare what I thought was a ‘safe’ passage
    through life had left me with memories, yes, but not many of them fun. I need fun, this
    site has a hold again of the fun line and it might just happen; thanks for this web
    site, and especially these videos.

    My brother (yes, the same one as above) tells me our roots (nine generations previous)
    are traceable to two people aboard the boat of all boats as life in America goes: “The
    Mayflower”. (I think he said: Ann Collins & Brewster Love)
    Warren Lewis Powers

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    Joe Coomer says:

    I once had the pleasure of joining Doug, Giffy Full and Don Roberts on a Grayling delivery from Benjamin River to Martha’s Vineyard, a late fall cruise in calm weather. Along the way, as we passed dozens of exposed points and rocks, Giffy would tell us of some boat that had fetched up, cracked up, splintered to toothpicks there. We were on a survivor, the luckiest boat of the last hundred years, and as we passed other, lesser boats, their crews would lift their open hands in awe and wonder and praise.

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    Robert Baird says:

    Grayling holds a special place in the hearts of our family. We are fortunate to be around her every summer. She helps ground us to place, and what we love about Brooklin Maine. We have come to love all those intimately involved in her restoration and her continued care and maintenance. She sets the standard and represents how we feel about caring for a classic wooden boat and the impact they can have on families. We are so grateful for the generosity of the both the former and presents owners that have so graciously shared her with so many. Well done OCH!

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    Michael Naumann says:

    “Grayling” was one of the reasons that made us move our sloop “Here and Now” into the capable hands of Doug Hylan & Associates – this sweet video explains why.

  • David Tew

    David Tew says:

    We made a swing through Benjamin River Harbor the day before the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta and saw an extended family sitting on the deck of GRAYLING enjoying the afternoon. (Or maybe it was on DELIVERANCE.) In any case, they looked relaxed and so happy. The video shows how to do it!

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    Conbert Benneck says:

    Lovely video. Thanks for the chance to be aboard and to learn about the vessel.

    A ship’s cabin is the greatest tool for having a cohesive family. We lived in Europe for 17 years and had to move from one country to another frequently (aviation business). As far as our then small children were concerned, our 29 foot sloop was their only permanent “real” home, and it remained so as long as we owned it (26 years)
    One time we were on board during a very rainy weekend -Friday night to late Sunday afternoon – and had a ball. The children learned to do fancy knot work; my wife made scherenschnitt designs; and I probably was puttering around making some small improvements on our boat. When we got home Sunday evening, our neighbor commiserated with us and felt sorry that we had spent such a miserable weekend cooped up in our boat. When we explained how enjoyable it was; all just sitting around talking; learning something new; enjoying good food and companionship, she could hardly believe us, but as a landlubber, she had no clue how cozy a nice warm cabin can be on a cold rainy day(s).
    Today our children are grown with grown children of their own, but when we get together the talk will always come back to our enjoyable life aboard our “real” home.

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    alex lemon says:

    Excellent video. Enjoyed the (very) brief appearance of the Jacob Pike as well!

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    R. Paul Smith says:

    Coming home on Friday after the week’s work, it is so relaxing and inspiring to just sit down to a video from OCH. This one is the epitome of those experiences. We really need to slow down as a culture. Thank you once again.

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    Robert De Leo says:

    What a family! What a boat!, What a song! A total inspiration. Once again…I salute the crew at OCH.

  • Dave Bruce

    Dave Bruce says:

    ThankYou ………. so much loving care and sweet lines …….. the good stories keep us all going strong! I remember similar beautiful stalwarts of our fishing industry in Alaska in the 70’s …

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    Dennis Lancaster says:

    I consider it an honor to come aboard Graying even if its only watching a video. Thanks for sharing such a gem and thank you for keeping her alive!



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    Jennifer Bunting says:

    Lovely video! Grayling is one of my all-time favorite boats. Thank you, Doug and Ted, for saving her.

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    Scott Sampson says:

    Families and boating, life’s simple pleasures.

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    ramon rodriguez says:

    Doug brought her to Mystic for the show and I visited. In his calm self-effacing way he gave me a tour. She was for sale. I wondered who would buy her, who would commit. What a joy for us who love boats made of wood to see again the coming together of a unique boat with a family to appreciate the wonder and work it takes to commit. May they enjoy the time together.
    Grayling is in good hands. Thank you for sharing this story.
    Humble presentation that gives me hope that these moving pieces of Art and Craft will continue into generations to come.

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    Walter Allan says:

    What a spectacular video, Steve. Makes you weep.

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    Chad Brown says:

    Thank you OCH crew once again. This video has all the elements of your great work! I have seen Grayling from afar, and now thanks to you up close.

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      steve johnson says:

      Oh thanks for saying so Chad.. the weeping part that is . The weaving of family,alongside years of hand craftsmanship into graceful lines,snug artistically articulated living spaces,yields a richness that call the heart,beckons deep into our past,and for some of us with perforated tear tucks,seem to go into overdrive with merely the slightest provocation . So thank you Mr.Benneck and Mr.Powers for nailing-it clearly as you did in your letter’s above . I’d be falling short of honesty,if not mentioning how well Eric conducts these walk-arounds,leaving just the right amount of room in the air for his estute 2Cents worth millions, plus the silence he leaves for a whole response. It all quite amazing a weaving .. then to add the frosting of lyrics and fine guitar playing by Walt Wilkins. Better then anything coming out of Hollywood thats for sure !

      • Avatar

        steve johnson says:

        … Sorry Chad, I was thinking of John Supan

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    John Mcalinden says:

    One of your most beautiful and fulfilling films. Thank you for it. I have a small question, though. Was “Grayling” built originally as a sailing boat, or is the spanker aft just for stability when she was being worked?

    • Doug Hylan

      Doug Hylan says:

      GRAYLING was built as a power boat, but In 1915, the reliability of the internal combustion engine was still suspect, and a careful skipper would want to be able to get home if the contraption acted up. In some of the early photos, you can see a furled jib, even after she had started her career as a carrier (5 years after her launch). With such a narrow hull, she would not have been a good sailing vessel, but the jib and mizzen would have helped steady her.

      The main gaff would have been used to help load herring from a weir or seine, at first to hoist dip nets full of fish over the hold hatch, and later to help handle the heavy pumping gear.

      Both Ted Okie and Mike Glasfeld have toyed with the idea of a main sail, but it is rather complicated to rig, and GRAYLING is so fast and economical under power that the effort seems questionable.

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    Denis Noble says:

    What a fabulous story, fabulous boat and wonderful workmanship in restoring and converting her.

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    Jerry Rose says:

    Just Great! Very moving to see Grayling’s new family so moved by the simple pleasure of being on her. Of course Walt’s music was the right choice for the background music. I hope people realize Walt recorded the song right there – sitting below on Grayling.

    Thank You Off Center Harbor for exposing us to these simple vignettes!


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