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Preview: A Good Boat, Up Close — The Nordic Folkboat LORRAINE
October 11, 2012
This video about Carol Hasse and her nordic Folkboat Lorraine is what we are aiming for at OffCenterHarbor.com. Combine an attainable and versatile boat, and a knowledgeable owner with plenty of specific techniques and understandings, and what you'll see is a perfect recipe for happiness afloat.
– [Eric] Today we get you aboard a Nordic folk boat. There have been over 4,000 folk boats built, and Lorraine is one of the sweetest we’ve come across. Lorraine’s owner, Carol Hasse, is a founding member of the Wooden Boat Foundation. She’s got a 100-ton captain’s license, and has logged over 45,000 miles at sea.
– So this is my folk boat. It’s a Nordic folk boat. It was built in 1959 in Denmark. When I bought it, it was school bus yellow. Some very wonderful things about a folk boat. So for example, if I want to sail into my slip, I’ve got the main sheet and the jib sheets right here. I could push this helmsbench all the way out, back, or if I want to sit down and steer, I can do that. I got my never-runs-out-of-air horn right here, bilge pump. There are no through holes in the boat, so when I use my gusher, I have to put this puppy over the side. It’s got these really cool drawers so I’ve got my flares and my ditch kit, my EPIRB, blocks and so on in there, and tools in this one, in my little, just necessities. The lead line is right here. Life sling and a bell, of course, which you must have, legally. The sound when you’re at anchor in a fog, and drop boards and so these are, you know, nice little cockpit lockers. The head. And then this is my battery box and got spare line for tying ashore and for additional towing lines and so on, and then, the solar charger which keeps my little gel cell cooking. Here, I should show you what’s in here too. Spare fenders, bilge pump handles, radar, reflectors, my collision mat, Bosun’s chair, kerosene for the lanterns and I have a little dive, some dive gear.
– This is amazing.
– Oh, thank you. She’s such a little sweetheart. So, I’ve got my dinghy here. This is an inflatable. This, my dear friend, Suzanne Abbott, no longer with us, says, it’s like rowing a down jacket, and it does row, and then, and the paddles are there. Spare tiller up here. And under the red bag is a Winslow life raft, police style. And those two bags are Cruising Spinnaker and the True Shoot. And then kind of a cool thing is that these backrests that I really wanted so I’d be comfortable on the boat make up a double bunk in here, so this is actually sitting headroom double bunk and these cushions kind of fill in the whole thing so when these are gone, it makes just a really nice, big, lovely double bunk, and get the wood stove going, and so, charts, nav gear, parallel rules, dividers, hand bearing compass of two kinds. I guess you stow a little food here and then, right in here is my dry bilge although you wouldn’t know it was dry with all the beer in there. Would you? She weeps a little bit, not so much, so, given our cold water, we can, that’s my refrigerator. And, this is kind of a cool thing. The electrical stuff, antique radio, tape cassette player. Who plays tapes? But anyway, that’s the electrical. Here’s the vanity and then of course, the water pump and then my plumbing system basically is just to have small, collapsible, 2 1/2-gallon jugs that I can bring ashore and fill and then I just swap those around to keep this going, and these are just stainless steel milking buckets and then dishes and so on are back there and I’ve had this boat so long and I’ve just collected a lot of fun things. For example, who’d a-thunk that you could have a bronze tool that would open your beer or open your wine? Now, isn’t that cool? So, things like this have come to be part of my little treasured things on Lorraine, and there’s a depth sounder in addition to the lead line, and the second hand bearing compass, hockey puck style, so, Lorraine’s really quite outfitted. She’s got a 13-pound Danforth on the bow which is pretty much the best anchor for these waters, an eight-pound Danforth in the cockpit for stern hook and then I’ve got a 25-pound CQR, just forward of the mast there, with anchor road for more serious conditions.
– This is an incredibly well-fit– How many years did you say you’ve…?
– Well, I’ve had it since January of ’79, so…
– Yeah. So there’s been a lot over the years, you know, she’s 59 years old and, and new keel bolts and floors and, and, and. It’s just what happens with an old wooden boat. They just, they never die if you keep replacing their parts
– It’s simple. And I just, you know what? I never imagined I would hang onto this boat as long as I have anymore than I imagined I’d be at the sail off, but I just kept falling in love with it. It just sails like a dream, and I don’t know if you know the history of folk boats but they were–
– Just a little, yeah. They were the outcome of a design contest held in the ’30s in Sweden, and the folk boat was supposed to be the boat of the common folk that would be affordable, would be a great way for kids to learn how to sail, families could cruise on them. Every year, some Scandinavian says, “Oh, yah, me and my six brothers and sisters, “ve would sail all over Scandinavia with our mother “and father,” and you know, they just, they camp and they just sail the heck out of these and then they became a very successful racing class. Most, most notably in San Francisco Bay, so they were shipped there and raced in, you know, some pretty big, big winds usually, you know, 20 knots are not uncommon, which isn’t a huge amount of wind but most boats are reefing then and folk boats who race don’t have reef points, you know? They just go for it in that kind of wind speed, and in fact, the very first trans-Atlantic race, three of the five entries were folk boats, the most famous one being Colonel “Blondie” Hasler’s Jester, and Val Howl sailed one as well, so, and the reason that they went was because it was the apprenticeship project of all the Scandinavian boat builders, so, there were lots of them available and they’re just amazing, amazing boats, and, I mean, to be, if I can get you up for a minute–
– There we go. So, the chart of charts, as I love to call it. We’re right here and this runs all the way up through British Columbia, so this is the Canadian Coast Guard chart guide, and we really are in, this is our Salish Sea, the Strait of Georgia, and all of that. From Port Townsend, the San Juans are sort of in our backyard. Victoria’s over here for Classic Boat Festival, it happens every year. Gulf Islands which are a continuation of this archipelago that the San Juans are part of but the water gets a little warmer up here. The Strait of Georgia which is like the Strait of Juan De Fuca, fairly gnarly body of water, depending on the tide and the wind and the time you’re crossing. Vancouver is, has a lovely classic boat festival. Then, once we get up in this area, this is where Princess Louisa Inlet is and it’s quite a journey. I was up there a couple times but most recently four years ago for my son’s 13th birthday, we went up and, and, I like about a month to get up here. Not that it takes that long, but, you know, you want a week to get up, a week to get back and you want a week to be there and the other week is for weather and unexpected adventures, so, so and then Desolation Sound, I’ve brought Lorraine up here a few times and I’ve gotten up Bute Inlet, Toba Inlet, those islands, it’s just some of the most beautiful cruising ground in the whole wide world, and so, right up in here, the tide exchange is not so great so the water is 70 degrees up there. You can swim and, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It’s just astonishing. You can hike, you can sail, you can swim, you can harvest seafood. You just feel like you’ve died and gone to Heaven. You can pick berries of every description, red huckleberries, blue huckleberries, blackberries, thimble berries, salmon berries, and then just, just to be there, just to be there in that beauty, let alone to be able to partake in it, in that way, it’s just really, really magical.
– I thought we had it pretty good in mid-coast Maine with all of our outer islands and so forth but this is just unreal.
– It really is amazing. The beauty of a folk boat is it answers the helm like a dinghy or a ship, depending on whatever you need it do, it always go where you point her and it doesn’t matter if it’s light air. You won’t be moving fast like a, like a T-bird or a J24, but you’ll be moving in the direction you want to go with some nice weigh on, and when the winds kick up and the seas kick up you’re leaving everybody else in the dust and you’re certainly far more comfortable, in this size range, so…
– Well, Lorraine is certainly a boat that seems like you could spend an awful lot of time in great comfort, in a very small package.
– I think so, too. I know, it’s not, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea to be on a boat without, you know, maybe even sitting headroom for you, but, but, I just feel so comfortable in this boat, so safe and cared for, and, it’s, you know, it feels manageable to me. And I can almost afford it
– I saw a photo of you sculling into the Victoria Boat Festival about 30 years ago. Do you use a sculling order propeller running around?
– This is a proper U-low. In a U-low, the loom and the blade are not in line, and we can actually, we can pop the oar in there and you can see how that works. Let me free the lanyard. It’s not light. My next one, you know, when I’m into my 70s it’s going to need to be carbon fiber I think, but, oops. So, this comes aft, and, that’s the hardest part about the sculling oar is just getting it in place, so there’s a little socket if you will, right here, and, that fits into here, there we go, all right. Okay, and then what I do is just secure this in place so this goes around this fair lead, snugs up around the little baby ballard, and then I just cleat it off here. It’s a little bit of Spectra leech line. Then there’s a thump line that goes with this, so this goes into the cockpit sole. This goes here. Now all I have to do is push this back and forth and we’re sculling, just like that. The only thing that’s not so good, in my mind, about the U-low is that I can’t go in reverse, whereas with my old sculling oar, I could reverse the motion, I could actually back up the boat with that, but with this, you know, when I’m, when I’m in my 80s, I’ll be able to do this. It’s just such a beautiful motion. And once she’s up to speed, she goes a couple knots. Somebody more vigorously sculling could probably get her to go faster And then there’s a little latch here so I could just secure it and get underway. So theoutboard really I only use when there’s no wind and there’s such a tide against me that the sculling oar isn’t going to do it, so, like, on the chart where I showed you, we went up to Princess Louisa Inlet, that’s a 40-mile reach with no anchorage and a tide at the end that you have to meet or you’re not going to get in there, so, in those situations, the outboard is a must but day sailing, we never use it, you know? And most of our cruising, so, you know, Lorraine’s a handy boat. Like your Prudence there, anchor on and off, or go on and off the hook, under sail, which is a great joy, and she’s named after my mom, who is not a sailor. She would come sailing with me, every time she would come to Port Townsend, she would want to go sailing with me and the whole time we’re out there, she’s just white knuckle, hanging onto the cockpit,, just, and I’m going, oh my, let’s just get back in, you know? And then as soon as we get back in, when are we going again? She just, she loved it, she was afraid of it but she was a woman who just encouraged all of us Hasse kids when we were young to just follow our hearts and do what we wanted to do and a lot of times that probably didn’t look very pretty to my mom and dad, but, but she was pretty happy when I named my boat after her and I’m pretty happy to have that, that memory of her as well, ’cause she’s no longer here. When I look at this boat that I love so much, I see my mentors, people like Patty Langley and Ben Hope and John Guzzwell, and Lin and Larry Pardey, and, the people that took me sailing to sea the first time, when I was in my 20s and their preparedness and their thoughtfulness, and my friend with a sister folk boat who called his a temple to the sea, and, you know, just that, it just brings all that back and I can point to so many different parts of her and say, oh, my friend Sam Conard did that hatch and my friends Ed Lee Shard and Steve Chapin built the house and my friend Ernie Baird did the decks and, and, and, and, and it’s just such a gift to carry that human energy, that has tried so hard to be seaworthy with me, whether they were sailors or boat builders or people who just loved the adventure of sailing and it’s such a joy to be able to have a boat like this and to sail it and to have it be in a community like this where it’s a, not only appreciated but that I can have it taken care of so I’m just so grateful to be able to have brought this boat which was an exquisite set of lines, a phenomenal design and a great pedigree, but pretty rough, you know? Like I said, school bus yellow, peeling up decks, you know, delaminating hatches and on and on and on, to be able to, to have, have the vision to do it because of all the beautiful boats I’ve been on, and all of the wonderful people who, who dedicated their lives to building those boats or outfitting them for sea. You never know where life’s going to take you but I’ve been able to kind of be pretty steady on the path which is such a blessing, and it speaks to the values of this community, the values of the northwest, the fact that we live in peace and plenty and that we can really pursue our dreams is just a gift beyond imagining really. That’s the thing I see when I see Lorraine.