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Old 14-11-2019, 15:47   #1
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wrena's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Puget Sound, WA
Boat: 1974 Miller 28, hull #10
Posts: 12
Miller 28 Sloops by Earl Miller in WA

Earlier this year, with no prior ownership experience, I rescued a dilapidated, gutted 1974 "Miller 29" sloop, one of what I believe to be no more than 8 small Millers still around.

Clearly I am not particularly wise, though I make up for it with heart.

With the internet hivemind failing to deliver the information I wanted (even doesn't have it listed) I visited our state's only sailboat specific salvage yard in Lynden, WA (SAILBOAT WRECKING YARD | REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE) to look around and ask about another "Miller 29" that recently came through there. To my dismay it was already scrapped by the time I arrived, but I did get information from the yardmaster which was worth the trip alone.

According to Jeff, there were only 8 Miller 28s built by Miller Marine on Bainbridge Island in the early 70s. Though unless they skipped a few this can't be right as I personally have hull #10. He said they were ALL branded Miller 28s despite being longer overall. As I said mine was called a Miller 29, but it's also obviously different from the other 28s I've seen as I will get into later. Perhaps 29 was in fact a legit variant. In any case, four of these Millers were scrapped by Jeff himself at Lynden.

Around the time I was looking for my boat, I saw another Miller 28 in great condition offered for sale in Brinnon, and a project 28 with a trailer. I haven't follow up with the other sellers, but according to Jeff shortly after I rescued mine in June, a Miller 28 showed up at an auction (near Everett?) with no buyers. He told me that a few days before he was about to pick it up someone swooped in and took it for $50. My guess is that was the project boat with trailer.

Mine also barely survived. After I agreed to take it (did I say it was "free?"), the previous owner being in a bind was prepared to give it to another interested party within a week if I couldn't move it. Personally I believe that party was Jeff himself as he already knew of my boat, where it was moored previously, where I found it, and told me it almost fell into his yard 2 times before I saved it.

I did manage to secure a short outboard (late-70s Honda 100) which I thought was sufficient as the previous owner told me he used a short shaft to move it, but I found nearly too late that it didn't quite reach deep enough in the water with the way the kicker was mounted and how little the boat displaced at the time. It still has no inboard, no tanks, no electrical, not much of an interior at all honestly. At the time it was basically just a hull with a mast.

So I spent all night loading her up with about a ton of roofing shingles we had lying around as additional ballast. It was a long night, but we finally displaced enough to get the outboard's cavitation plate underwater and had a grand time motoring/motorsailing to our home port. Until the old Honda blew up. Still got us to a port though, just under 2kt with no compression. After an attempted repair and another short trip with nearly no power, I finally got a long shaft variant, same model but a few years younger, completely rebuilt it, and with that managed to finally make it home and later get her hauled out for the winter. Our fully rebuilt mid-80s Honda 4-stroke runs like a clock.

Also after about 100 nautical miles the boat hasn't taken on an ounce of water... well except for about a gallon that came in through an above water line thru-hull in some chop. Needless to say, always check all the thru-hulls and check them all again, especially if the seller assures you they are all sealed. It did give me a bit of a scare in the middle of the Sound with no bilge pump after the boat had been dry for so long before then.

Besides the fun long-winded story, the point of this thread is to compile as much information about the Miller fleet as possible. So far this is all the information I've been able to gather myself:

??? (#1)?
??? (#2)?
??? (#3)?
(At least three unknown vessels, possibly scrapped)

"S/V Marenneito" (#??) Scrapped Lynden, WA
Jeff graciously gave me the manual book with some info. As Jeff tells it, the last owner tried sailing it before fixing it. A known weakness with the deck and chainplates had already taken hold in a bad way and the owner, not seeing the red flags, kept tightening the shrouds as they continued to loosen until he practically ripped the chainplates through the deck.

"Syrinx" (#??) Unknown condition, location
video of walkthrough available on YouTube

"dawn treader" 1972 (#6) On the water in Anacortes, WA
Sold Oct. 7 '19 to liveaboard owner. Earliest known owner was a woman who reportedly broke her arm and was no longer able or willing to sail it.

Project Vessel (#??) Unknown condition, location
Posted on CL with trailer in June '19, somebody bought it for $50 after auction (Everett?)

"Colleen" 1974 (#8) last seen in Brinnon, WA, June '19
Posted for sale on Craigslist, bought or auctioned?

"Alyeska" (#??) Unconfirmed but possibly still on the water in John Wayne Marina, Sequim, WA

(Mine) 1974 (#10) Hauled out
Previously moored in Lake Union, almost scrapped at least twice before. Custom? flat bottom hull, fin keel, retrousse stern, rudder on skeg. Beam is wider than the deck. All the other Millers I've seen have a different hull with bilge keel and spade rudder like the project vessel above. As relayed to me, this one was scuttled piece by piece by a previous owner who squatted in the vessel until there was practically nothing left of value. Rigging needs an overhaul, sails technically usable.

??? 1974 (#11)

"Dandy Lion" 1974 (#12) Unknown condition, location
Sold as bare hull to a HS shop teacher who finished rigging and did interior with teak. Previously moored in Lake Union, owned by Dick Wightman then "Brent (Wightman?)" Webpage and photos here (dandylion). Unknown length of ownership but photos are dated 2004. Possibly sold in San Franscisco in 2010 to unknown buyer.

There was one was sold in California in 2010 but I couldn't find any further information beyond this listing: As it specifies a teak interior, I suspect this was Dandy Lion.

A bit more history:!to...ts/1LZBlkGTFLE

Any further information about the Miller 28 sailboats, the builders, or known owners of these ships is cordially requested and deeply appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 07-06-2020, 09:43   #2
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Re: Miller 28 Sloops by Earl Miller in WA

My husband and I have just acquired a 1978 29' Miller Marine, hull number 11. Her name is Talisman. She was in Alameda,California, and we have moved her to Stockton, Ca. Her interior is fitted with teak, and she is a complete vessel. We sailed her out of SF bay to Susuin Bay, where we hit a shoal, and had to get a tow into Stocton. We are very excited to have her and would love to have any information on the Miller Marine company.
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Old 30-07-2020, 04:55   #3
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Re: Miller 28 Sloops by Earl Miller in WA

Hi -- I'm the owner of the Miller 28 (CA -- sold in 2010) that you mentioned. She's currently at Richmond Marina Bay. I've been sailing her around the bay for nearly a decade.

I'm pretty sure mine is not 'Dandy Lion,' though no name was painted on the stern when I bought her. Mine does have a custom interior of Alaskan Yellow Cedar that was clearly created by a talented woodworker. I was told mine was a '74. Unfortunately, I don't have the hull number on hand -- perhaps I'll post it later.

I've done quite a bit of work on her, topside and below deck. Happy to answer questions if I can.

For the owners of Talisman: unfortunately Miller marine went out of the sailboat business long before the age of the internet, so information is really quite scant. I personally have no original documentation from the manufacturer. Even finding general data on these boats is quite hard to do. I do get something of a kick out of owning a great sailboat that nobody has heard of, though.

For wrena: My '74 also has the skeg hung rudder. But, there are interesting differences vs the blue one in the photo. I've attached a picture of mine on the hard in '10 before I started the restoration.
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Old 30-07-2020, 06:15   #4
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Re: Miller 28 Sloops by Earl Miller in WA

Wrena, perhaps you should talk to this guy.

Sound Boat Works - Biography
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Old 19-08-2020, 01:52   #5
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Re: Miller 28 Sloops by Earl Miller in WA

If anyone knows what became of the trailer pictured in wrena's post, please let me know. I'm looking to move my miller 28, and am having a hard time finding a trailer.
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Old 20-08-2020, 02:25   #6
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Re: Miller 28 Sloops by Earl Miller in WA

Pretty sure my previous boat was right next to a miller, don't have any direct pictures of it but I have partial shots from some of my old boat. Last I checked it was still in central marina in Everett, think D dock.
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Old 20-08-2020, 02:59   #7
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Re: Miller 28 Sloops by Earl Miller in WA

Alyeska is for sale
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Old 22-08-2020, 07:49   #8
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Re: Miller 28 Sloops by Earl Miller in WA

Here's a question for the other Miller 28 owners: Are all of your masts deck-stepped? I noticed in the interior shots of Alyeska that there is no mast extending through the deck near the door to the head. Perhaps mine is the only one that was modified to have a keel stepped mast?

I've attached an interior shot showing the mast extending through the deck and down to the keel.
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miller, sloop, Washington

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