Preview: The Closest Thing to Magic, Of Boats and Boathouses

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When Harry Bryan designed and built the little sloop KATIE, he had no idea the magic she would keep bringing to him and his family.

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48 Responses So Far to “The Closest Thing to Magic, Of Boats and Boathouses

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    Lansing Hays says:

    Finally found the explanation for the string and the red spool in the comments. I imagine the peaceful vibe picks up a bit when it’s suddenly “fish on” and Harry has to reel in as well as sail. So far I love everything about this man and his likes and preferences.

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    Floyd Graves says:

    I love seeing this video over and over again. I’d also like to see pics or a video of what the inside looks like and how they use it, cooking, sleeping, etc.

    Thank you again for reposting.

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    Daniel Palmer says:

    Love it, the simple ways have a magic all there own

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    Leonard Sinowitz says:

    This video of Katie is what convinced me to buy a smaller , shallow draft Catboat after selling my 40 ft.11 ton cutter Mary Loring, designed by Winthrup Warner,three years back. I bought Charles Wittholz Prudence Class Catboat ( can be viewed on page 108 of the International Marine ‘s Catboat Book). “Kocka” is rigged as a Noank Sloop.

    I love her and she sails just like I invisioned “Katie” sails.

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    Terry Smith says:

    Another absolute gem of a video. Thanks very much for the ride, Harry. Nothing like tagging along on a lovely small sailing craft to restore one’s peace of mind.

    And Benjamin Mendlowitz — why haven’t we Wooden Boat Calendar patrons seen that magnificent still that comes up at 3:10 near the end of the video? Zounds! What a magnificent image!. Please, find room for it in 2019!

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      Ben Mendlowitz says:

      Thanks Terry, that is one of my favorite images too. The reverse angle, bow on, was used in the 2010 Calendar of Wooden Boats and on its cover. I have been thinking that enough time has passed to consider another angle of Katie for the Calendar. Not in 2019 since it has just been printed, but perhaps you will see it in another future year. As with all my images, custom prints can be ordered, you can find some information here:

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    Ry Cavanaugh says:

    So, I have one of these boats in Penobscot Bay. Built by Great Lakes Boatbuilding. If anyone has an interest in co-owning – its generally going to be available August 1 through the end of the season. Get in touch – rycavanaugh at me dot com

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    steve schwartz says:

    A beautiful tribute and wonderful video. Simplicity at it’s finest.

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    Bruce Richards says:

    Magical. Captures the essence of small boat sailing.

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    Ken Burt says:

    Awesome video and what a wonderful tribute this boat is. That magic that you feel when the puff of wind starts the boat moving is a blessing. It is the magic that was the boat’s namesake.

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    Royal Declerck says:

    You can never explain the magic to a nonsailer, beautiful story.

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    Mark Sailer says:

    Pure magic. God Bless. What a glorious video Harry has put together.

    Would like to know more about the dingy, using the oars as handles and a wheel, wheel barrel style, to move about.

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    Dean Wilson says:

    Great story and I am also guilty of talking to my boat…… :)

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    Stewart Simpkins says:

    This is what I was looking for when I joined.
    I hope you guys keep up the fine work.
    Stu Simpkins

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    Richard MacKinnon says:

    I admit, I talk to my Crocker sloop, Boomerang, all the time. Thank you for this wonderful depiction of something most folks do not understand. Please keep it up!

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    David Satter says:

    Sailing with a tiller and no engine has a sort of special feeling that few people understand , especially on a wooden boat you have a connection to. Harry has a good way of expressing it here. Great job.

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    Todd Griner says:

    That was a wonderful and touching story. I truly enjoyed this film as I have every film I’ve seen with Harry Bryan. Thank you for sharing it.

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    Ned Truartha says:

    A lovely story, video, boat and dedication. Thank you for sharing it.

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    Steve Cormack says:

    This one really strikes a chord. Thank you.

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    Tony Arkwright says:

    My last 3 boats were plastic, but the ones I best remember were the wooden boats. I miss the connection to the sounds, touch, smell and the link to being alive.

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    Eigil Rothe says:

    God bless you Harry. Incredibly powerful video on that hard to define “bond” between God and man. The feeling of Love and the dignity of all that is good in the human spirit comes through loud and clear. What a tribute to all the individuals involved.

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    Dennis Lancaster says:

    What a wonderful tribute. Thank you for that gift.

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    Anne Bridgman says:

    I also talk to my catboat, and she talks to me. Lovely video.

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    Bill Montgomery says:

    I just viewed Harry Bryan’s lovely story of the sloop, “Katie” and the details of her naming. An absolutely charming tale of a beautiful little craft told by the perfect man to own such a boat. I’ll look forward to Harry’s next contribution in whatever format he may choose.

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    Frances Elliott says:

    Beautiful video…Thank you! Fair winds!

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    Gus Cartledge says:

    Katie is a beautiful vessel as I am sure her name sake was a beautiful young person.I have friends who I sailed with sixty years ago that have moved in to plastic fantastic flying machines.They can,t understand me still fiddling about with the same wooden boats I was given by my boatbuilder father over fifty years ago.As Harry says , that first puff of wind is just magic.Gus .Cheers from downunder.

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    John Supan says:

    Great video, music & story of a pretty boat. Magical indeed. Thanks Harry Bryan & OCH.

  • David Tew

    David Tew says:

    The name KATIE will stick with me now for a long time.

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    Rick Robinson says:

    Your video comes as close as anything to presenting the magic of all things nautical…including the simple pleasures found in rowing, sailing, a rocky tree-lined coast blessed with a gentle breeze, a boat house, and of course, Mr. Bryan himself. The soul Harry has given this sailboat makes it as comforting as a pleasant dream under a warm blanket.

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    John Mark Connolly says:

    In just under 4:00, you encapsulated the reason I sail. While I have not had the loss the Bryan’s experienced, I strongly identify with the magic lift that occurs when the sails fill and the boat comes to life on the water. Everything I do on my project/sailboat is designed with that lift and the ensuing quiet forward motion in mind. Thank you for all you do.

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    John Buchbinder says:

    Simply lovely, Harry’s description of how the unseen wind lifts the boat, and the dialogue between the boat and the sailor is the magic that will keep me sailing to the end of my days.

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    Larry Ward says:

    Great video. I sail an Old World 18 day-sailer, gaff rig with a 7′ beam. You said it all.

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    Ted Walsh says:

    Wonderful video.
    I have fond memories of Warren and Katie sailing with us in the Passamaquoddy, and remember seeing the boat Katie (then un-named) just after she had been planked up and thinking she was pure magic then.
    The boat is a truly special tribute to a wonderful person. You and Martha are an inspiration Harry, keep up the great work.

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    Chubba Kane says:

    Nice video! Traditional craft, dedication, a personal touch, a connection; add a smile and you got it all!

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    Bart Heil says:

    What a great video! I love the Katie design and often stop by the Great Lakes Boat building school to look at the one they have built (I hope to someday get a sail on it). This video makes me love the design that much more. Thank you!

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    alex lemon says:

    excellent! whats that string he’s holding at ~3:10?

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      Hi Alex. Harry threw a line over and was doing some fishing. You’ll see the spool of line in a couple of shots.

      • Avatar

        alex lemon says:

        I suspected as much but you never know what sort of gadget Harry might think up!


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