Sep 15, 2009, 3:41 PM
Post #2 of 2
Thankyou Tim and Rich,
Re: [Curmudgeon] Bob Allan
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I can report the "dog and doe" story is true, and I distinctly remember seeing that wayward golf club belonging to Mrs. Shields. Life was like that for Bob Allan: he loved making connections, no matter how improbable.
One evening in 1953 Dad came home from work with a rolled up set of blue prints under his arm. Over the dinner table he told us he was thinking of getting a family boat, and we had a choice. With that he pulled out a black and white photo of a sleek 8 meter, all varnish and overhangs. My heart skipped a beat.
Before we got too enthralled, Dad then unrolled the blueprints. He said they were plans for a 36 foot sloop, the smallest (28' LWL) then allowed in the Honolulu Race. Dad also said this design was by a newcomer, Bill Lapworth, and that if we would order one, so would George Griffith. I looked at the stumpy little sloop on the blue print paper and cast my vote for the vivacious 8 meter in the photo.
But it was clear Dad had already made up his mind. And over the fall of 1953 and winter of 1954, the first two Lapworth 36's took shape at Carl Chapman and Rolly Kalayjian's boatshop in Costa Mesa. Griffith's was named CASSANDRA and ours was named HOLIDAY, because, as Dad liked to brag,"nothing goes faster."
HOLIDAY was launched first at Rosan's, and we kids were terribly impressed with the fresh paint, smell of varnish, red lead, and manilla. Mom swung the champagne, but the bottle didn't break until she really whacked it a second time. HOLIDAY then slid down the railway and floated, right on her lines. The second-hand grey marine engine started right up. But whoops, it only had reverse. So we motored stately down Newport Harbor stern first until we got the sails rigged and hoisted.
Between them, HOLIDAY and CASSANDRA won most every ocean race in S.CA during the mid-'50's and really did give impetus to launching Bill Lapworth as a credible yacht designer. Things were a bit simpler in those days: only two winches, and a third mounted on the mast for the jib halyard. You had to kneel to get into the head, and the knotmeter was a bronze spring loaded lever that protruded from under the hull.
Our crew on HOLIDAY was mostly family, Dick Sweet the NHYC Noncalm instructor, and local Sea Scouts including Rob Snyder's dad Bob. Mom fed us "Channel Goup," which was said to taste as good going down as coming up. She was a happy little ship.
One day Dad said he was mounting a used #4 winch on the aft deck of HOLIDAY so that my brother Scott and I could trim the spinnaker standing in the lazarette hatch. This was a big deal, your own personal winch, and I soon forgot all about that 8 meter in the photo.