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Old 24-06-2020, 09:14   #1
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37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

I've been following boats-for-sale, with an eye to buying a live-aboard.

I recently found a 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch for sale. It's very different from what I've been looking for, very shallow draft with leeboards, masts on tabernacles, etc.

Seems ideal for gunk-holing around Florida or the Bahamas.

The question is, how would she do crossing from one to the other? Is she a purely shallow-water boat, or could she manage open-water crossings?
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Old 24-06-2020, 10:49   #2
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

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Originally Posted by Jdege View Post
I've been following boats-for-sale, with an eye to buying a live-aboard.

I recently found a 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch for sale. It's very different from what I've been looking for, very shallow draft with leeboards, masts on tabernacles, etc.

Seems ideal for gunk-holing around Florida or the Bahamas.

The question is, how would she do crossing from one to the other? Is she a purely shallow-water boat, or could she manage open-water crossings?
My brother in law had one of these very interesting vessels. I was never aboard but he was extremely happy with its capabilities for the Keys and The Bahamas. He used to beach it to clean and paint the bottom. Try that with most keel vessels. He said the boat was surprisingly stiff. Also with leeboards not inside the vessel, you are not having a centerboard trunk in the cabin. Service to the boards is facilitated with their accessibility.
Make sure the interior will meet your requirements. I know of a couple that did the Loop in one a couple of years ago. They did the loop in a year’s time. They could drop the masts without help from a marina. I believe they had put in a new engine prior to their departure and had a pretty much trouble free trip. I would think one of these is an ideal choice for skinny water sailing. You just might get closer to the insects along the shore, however.
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Old 24-06-2020, 10:59   #3
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

Odd boat but would be fine if you ask me, and a dream ship for gunkholing the Bahamas! I always wanted to explore south/west of Georgetown toward Cuba. A ton of shallow water and a ton of lobsters under those coral heads I heard. No one there.
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Old 24-06-2020, 11:10   #4
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

I don't have my copy with me but I am quite sure that the Meadowlark is in L. Francis Herreshoff's book "Sensible Cruising Designs". This is a wonderful book full of the original drawings and his thoughts about each boat and cruising on them. Be sure to get the original hardcover (even if it's a bit beat up) rather than a xerox copy.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-list...3021766&sr=8-1
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Old 24-06-2020, 14:36   #5
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

If you are not a skilled boatbuilder hire the best wood boat surveyor you can find. They were primarily home built. They are getting long in the tooth for a wood boat and like all boats require skilled regular maintenance to remain seaworthy. When I was a kid I saw a few wonderful examples but the last ones I’ve seen were near derelict. They are ideal for skinny water and are lovely under sail. Good luck.
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Old 24-06-2020, 14:41   #6
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

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If you are not a skilled boatbuilder hire the best wood boat surveyor you can find. They were primarily home built. They are getting long in the tooth for a wood boat and like all boats require skilled regular maintenance to remain seaworthy. When I was a kid I saw a few wonderful examples but the last ones I’ve seen were near derelict. They are ideal for skinny water and are lovely under sail. Good luck.
I'll second this. Assuming it's one of the older ones made of wood I see, I doubt I would buy it for much $. An oddball wood boat like that, unless it's a modern epoxy wood technique, isn't worth much.... and certainly not $20k IMHO.
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Old 24-06-2020, 14:52   #7
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

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If you are not a skilled boatbuilder hire the best wood boat surveyor you can find. They were primarily home built. They are getting long in the tooth for a wood boat and like all boats require skilled regular maintenance to remain seaworthy. When I was a kid I saw a few wonderful examples but the last ones I’ve seen were near derelict. They are ideal for skinny water and are lovely under sail. Good luck.
The one I ran across is listed fiberglass over foam core. And I'd still want someone competent to examine the hull and deck.
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Old 25-06-2020, 09:34   #8
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

If you’ve made the decision to buy a mono-hull, a meadowlark will be a great boat for the Bahamas-you can get into some real secure spots that you’ll have to yourself, unless someone rolls in in a shoal draft multi-hull or another meadowlark (unlikely).
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Old 25-06-2020, 09:53   #9
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

CarlF is correct: it is in that book. As is my H28.
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Old 25-06-2020, 10:10   #10
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

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If you’ve made the decision to buy a mono-hull, a meadowlark will be a great boat for the Bahamas-you can get into some real secure spots that you’ll have to yourself, unless someone rolls in in a shoal draft multi-hull or another meadowlark (unlikely).
I've been looking for more traditional monohulls, but I'll certainly take a look at this, if it's still on the market when I'm able to schedule a visit.
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Old 25-06-2020, 10:26   #11
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

An L. Francis Herreschoff designed boat is the very essence of traditional. Previous posters have mentioned the book “Sensible Cruising Designs”: I’ll ditto their recommendations to put the grip on a copy-good stuff.
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Old 25-06-2020, 12:05   #12
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

I have coveted owning one for 50 years.
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Old 25-06-2020, 12:51   #13
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

Great boat. I have owned her big sister a “Golden Ball” for nine years running charters. I can go places no one else can drawing only 1’8”. But it’s time to sell her in August when the season is over.
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Old 25-06-2020, 13:43   #14
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

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Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
I don't have my copy with me but I am quite sure that the Meadowlark is in L. Francis Herreshoff's book "Sensible Cruising Designs". This is a wonderful book full of the original drawings and his thoughts about each boat and cruising on them. Be sure to get the original hardcover (even if it's a bit beat up) rather than a xerox copy.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-list...3021766&sr=8-1

IIRC, that was LFH's original 33' version in the book - complete with dual 5HP gas inboards!
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Old 25-06-2020, 14:36   #15
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Re: 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch?

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Originally Posted by Jdege View Post
I've been following boats-for-sale, with an eye to buying a live-aboard.

I recently found a 37' Herreshoff Meadowlark Ketch for sale. It's very different from what I've been looking for, very shallow draft with leeboards, masts on tabernacles, etc.

Seems ideal for gunk-holing around Florida or the Bahamas.

The question is, how would she do crossing from one to the other? Is she a purely shallow-water boat, or could she manage open-water crossings?
I owned an '87 built by Allen Vaites in Matapoisette, MA, from 2000-'07 in Panama City, FL. It had his patented cored hull with a 1" thick "W" pattern waffle-like core enclosed in heavy glass - making her theoretically unsinkable - and with glass over plywood decks. The rig was traditional Marconi rather than the orig. gaff-top main & mizzen, and small club-footed jib. 25HP Westerbeake that is offset about 1' to Stbd. for a protected prop aside the long full skeg. Interesting handling under power, requiring a bow thruster - a 16' oak pole with a stout bronze boathook hung from the main spreader!

She has had considerable sea miles - mainly coastal Gulf, but a Feb. crossing of the Gulf from Tarpon Springs on FL mid-W.coast to Panama City, about 150nm's, I recall. We had bit of a norther blow up to est. 20kn, but she handled very nicely, including an unexpectedly dry cockpit without dodger. Believe it or not, she's a fast hull design with only 7.5' WL beam that flares to I think about 8.25', and a 34' WL.

My boat partner and I ditched the club jib and found a Catalina 25 150 genny that fit perfectly to masthead, on a small furler, giving about 120% overlap, that transformed her performance. In club races (Tindall AFB Yacht Club), with conventional sloops to about 38' with small crews, she set the course elapsed time record on blustery Feb. day, and broke it the next in similar 20-25kn winds - about half close hauled. The deep asymmetrical leeboards obviously work very well!

Sailed hard and frequently, she had no structural problems except for spotty rot of the 1/2" ply glassed-over decks. Being open below, after fixing the leak source topsides, I excavated to dry wood and filled the void below with several layers of mat/epoxy/glass.

We've been on many local cruises as long as 2 wks. with 2-4 crew, and it's been very livable.
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