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Email This Page to a FriendPreview: A Three-Generation Dream Boat – The Herreshoff Fish Class Sloop – PERCH
April 15, 2015
We pass a significant milestone with this video — our 250th video for members of OffCenterHarbor.com.
We fantasize about owning lots of different boats we see in Center Harbor and along the coast of Maine, and each of us have our own dream boats. But a boat we all agree on, is the Herreshoff Fish class.
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– [Ben] These old boats are more than just a nice sail boat, it’s a story, it’s people, it’s art. This is a boat you can just get off and row away from and just admire it and enjoy the view of it all the way back to the float and walking back up the hill.
– [Speaker] Last summer when a fish boat name Perch took up a permanent mooring in Center Harbor, it was if Audrey Hepburn had moved to town. We fantasize about owning lots of different boats we see in Center Harbor, and along the coast of Maine, and each of us have our own dream boats. But a boat we all agree on, is the Herreshoff fish class. Simple, lovely from every angle, large enough to take a family across the bay in style and yet nimble enough to take off on the mere suggestion of a breeze. She is in every respect, a three generation family boat.
– I’ve been interested in the fish boat for years. Dad had one here in Center Harbor, sold it the year after I was born he always said it was the best boat he’d ever owned and wished he’d never sold it. Really the last 10 years I’ve been thinking about maybe having one.
– I love this boat. To be able to be surrounded by beauty. Not only of the ocean and the sky and the islands but to have this beautiful experience of looking at the boat while your also sailing it’s really quite remarkable.
– [Speaker] Nathaniel Herreshoff used the same half model for the fish, as for the elegant 12 and a half. But expanded it, and included a small cabin to accommodate gear, and a couple of settees for a cozy place to tuck in out of the weather. The fish turned out to be a seaworthy safe and fast boat, sort of like a poor man’s Alerion or Sadie, but much less expensive because of her smaller size, no center board trunk, and transom hung rudder instead of a counter stern. The first batch of fish boats came out in 1916, two years after the 12 and a half’s, and we all named for fish, like cod, bluefish, and shark. To keep their costs down they were painted all the way up to the rub rails. Later fishes were fancier, having molded varnish sheer strakes like the 12 and a half’s. All were gaff rigged at first. But from 1925 on were delivered with Marconi rigs. In all, 40 boats were built to this design. A cruising version, called the Marlin came out in the 1930s, but only four were built. In the Marlins, the cabins were enlarged so you could tuck in for the night on a coastal cruise. In the 1980s Joel White designed a centerboard version call the Flat Fish. Just as he’d done with the 12 and a half’s to create the Havens. The centerboard version made them more trailerable.
– [Ben] I think Herreshoff came up with really a remarkable boat. It’s about twice as heavy as a 12 and a half, and it feels like a bigger more powerful boat, and it is very good in light air. I think it’s gonna need to be raifed as the wind comes up, but it is just a delight to steer.
– [Dianna] I think caring for something like this is pretty important and we’ve taken some boats that’ve had pretty tough lives and given them something really great and different, and this boat hasn’t had a tough life, but I think we’ll still give a really nice one.
– [Speaker] We created the Off Center Harbor logo dreaming of a simple life with just a shack and a great boat. We thought, what more does a person really need? If we ever achieve that fantasy life, a fish boat might just be the dream boat hanging off the dock.