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Motor Sailers by Philip Rhodes & John Alden

Discussion in 'General Sailing Discussion' started by brian eiland, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    As one might discern from my numerous postings on the subject, I am an unabashed fan of motorsailers:cool:

    I’ve written in the past;
    “One particular design has haunted me for years. It was I think a Phil Rhodes design somewhere around 60'~70', a ketch, with a sizable twin engine room, over which was located a grand main saloon with portlights above deck level. This main saloon had great comfort and expansive vista's, and opened onto a sizable aft deck with a fishing chair at its center. There was even a mini-flybridge helm station and a crow's nest. What a great all-around design to liveaboard and travel the world. She could do anything and everything!! I have in 30 years only seen one or two comparable designs, and sadly I lost those clippings and the pictures of the original design, but the concept has remained with me all these years.”

    Just recently I was given some old issues of RUDDER magazine from the 1959-‘63 era. As I paged thru these issues I couldn’t help but notice the numerous times the term motor sailer came up. No wonder this term stuck in my head

    In this same era, 59-61, there appeared on TV a wonderful new series called “Adventures in Paradise” written by noted author James Mitchener and starring Garner McKay as the ex-Korean vet Adam Troy who bought an old sailing schooner Tiki and set up a trading business among the South Sea Islands.
    http://capitainetroy.free.fr/eng/home.html
    http://www.fiftiesweb.com/tv/adventures-in-paradise.htm

    This was truly adventure inspiration, and certainly a big spark to my interest in cruising the world upon the sea.

    As if that wasn’t enough, in 1963 the actor Sterling Hayden published his book Wanderer;
    “They never taught wandering in any school I attended. They never taught the art of sailing a vessel, either. Or that of writing a book. It's all so mysterious and – yes – enchanting. And that is what I suppose this book is all about.”

    Since its first publication in 1963, controversy has surrounded Wanderer, the autobiography of Sterling Hayden. Just as he approached the peak of his career as a movie star, Hayden suddenly abandoned Hollywood, walked out on a shattered marriage, defied the courts, and set sail with his four children aboard the schooner WANDERER. A broke outlaw, he escaped to the South Seas.

    Wanderer is the inspirational story of a complex and contradictory man; a rebel and a seeker, undefeated by failure to find himself in love, adventure, drink, or escape
    .
    http://www.sheridanhouse.com/catalog/travel/wanderer.html

    So this was the era I began to get interested in boats. You can see the influences I was under; get on a sailing vessel and take off somewhere. Motor Sailers seemed to offer the best of all worlds for this adventure. And those designs by Rhodes & Alden were my favorites.

    This subject thread is dedicated to those designs by these two gentleman. I will begin with a clipping I found in one of those old Rudder issues that most closely resembles the one in my old memory. The issue was Feb 1964 Show issue. The vessel is Rhodes 70’ Sharelle, and there was a sister ship Kanaloa. (attached dwg)

    I still have not found the cutaway, perspective dwg I remember seeing in a full or two page advertisement for such a vessel. Anyone help??

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  2. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    Dragger Lady

    Here is the other Rhodes design I may be thinking of from long ago. She was a steel vessel built by Gerb Dolman in Holland in 1959 for W.A. Parker. She had twin Mercedes Benz diesels and only a 4.5 foot draft, yet she carried a more sizable rig than some of the others.

    I'm thinking this is the vessel that someone here in the USA was intending to import and market to the USA, and thus placed a big 'perspective view' advertisement in an American mag (maybe Yachting, or Skipper, or ??). Any HELP:confused:

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  3. revdcs

    revdcs Senior Member

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    Motor Sailers

    Hi Brian,

    I'm a new member and enjoying the forum. I am glad to hear of your passion for motor sailers - or 50/50's as I know them.

    I am trying to trace the whereabouts of a 50 footer called Estrellita. She was built in Scotland, would be about 70+ years old now and was sold in St. Thomas, U S Virgin Islands about 10 - 15 years ago. I have a simple charter brochure for her and a couple of polaroids which I will dig out and add when I have a little more time. But in the mean time, I wondered if - by some small chance - you had come across her?

    I'l be back again soon with more info.

    With all good wishes,

    David.
  4. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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  5. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Hi gang:

    The boats that Brian begins with early in this thread sound an awful lot like the Cheoy Lee motorsailers that I am quite familiar with.
    These came from the boards of Steve Seaton and Chuck Neville; first the 63 ketch ( the 65 Hatteras killer ), followed by the 53 sloops and the three 78 ketches.
    Interestingly, Cheoy Lee also built some Rhodes-designed boats, as well as some from John Alden and others. They all have "that look".
  6. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    I used to captain a 63 Cheoy Lee Motorsailor, and while at first look not the prettiest boat out there, it does grow on you after a while. And they are wicked comfy.
  7. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    Do you have some photos or "ads' for those vessels?? You might be right, it could have been a California group importing an Asian built Rhodes like design. But I'm not so sure there was a significant Asian boat industry in the late 50's, very early 60's??

    I seem to remember steel, and that was Holland's forte.
  8. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    I love this motorsailor
  9. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    That's an 84 foot Rhodes
  10. MaxResolution

    MaxResolution Senior Member

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    Looks like a job for a CAT

    This one's my favorite:;)

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  11. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    the Virginia Reels, 44

    I always considered these 44 footers as the begining of his motorsailer designs

    Among the better known of Philip Rhodes’ many motorsailer designs are the Virginia Reels, two seagoing, sloop-rigged, cruiser-fishermen designed for Arthur M. Stoner of Madison, Connecticut. These boats might be considered 30/70 types, with roughly 30 percent of their propulsion sail and about 70 percent, power.

    The first Virginia Reel was designed in 1954 to Stoner’s requirements for a comfortable fishing boat sufficiently seaworthy to stay out and take it in heavy weather. She was built of welded steel by Gebr. Dolman in Holland, and her measurements are 44 feet by 40 feet by 13 feet 1 inch by 4 feet 6 inches. You might call her a moderately heavy, highly modified trawler-type yacht, with high freeboard and a sweeping sheer. She has a raised flush deck forward, while aft, she has a fairly low deckhouse and a sunken after deck, with two fighting chairs and a transom door for boating large fish.

    Unlike many trawler-yachts, Virginia Reel has twin engines, which ensure power reliability and good maneuverability. Fuel consumption is high, but Virginia Reel has a tank capacity of 700 gallons, and she can save fuel by sailing some of the time.

    Virginia Reel’s basic hull form is very possibly a development of that of an offshore cruiser and sport-fisherman that Phil designed for Luis Puig of Santiago, Cuba, in 1927. The dimensions of the earlier boat are 45 feet by 42 feet by 11 feet 3 inches by 5 feet. With her narrower beam, deeper draft, and single screw, Puig’s boat seems to be based more on the idea of an old-style displacement powerboat than is Virginia Reel. Her sails are merely for steadying and trolling.

    Virginia Reel could by no stretch of the imagination be called a smart sailer, but Phil Rhodes made the point that she really can sail. This brings to mind Dr. Samuel Johnson’s remark about the dancing bear. He said, in effect, that it is not how well the bear dances, but a wonder that it can dance at all. Virginia Reel might be somewhat like that bear when beating, but with 546 square feet of sail, she can reach remarkably well in a decent breeze. The sails are also very effective in steadying the boat when she is rolling to beam seas.

    The deckhouse, sunken quite far below the main deck level, contains a galley and dinette, which can also be used for navigation. Farther forward and at a lower level there are an enclosed head and a stateroom with two berths and a seat.

    Seven of the boats were built. The early ones had no shelters over the helmsman’s station abaft the deckhouse, but evidently the owners felt the need for better protection in foul weather, because Phil Rhodes wrote in an article for Motor Boating and Sail, “Every single one of the owners installed a shelter before he had the boat very long.” In the same article, Phil also made the interesting general comment that many prospective owners of motorsailers wanted steering stations inside the main deckhouse, for use in bad weather, but that he felt this was undesirable. He expressed his reasoning as follows: “Now, I consider this [an inside steering position a considerable mistake in a small boat: the simple reason is that on a motorsailer type, with any given amount of sheer, you can’t see forward out of the house well enough to steer safely. I have found at not a single one of those owners of boats so equipped that I have ever done has ever used the inside steering. It’s a little added expense, and it also takes up room. The real answer to it is that when it’s nice, you want to be outside to steer; and when it’s nasty, you’ve **** well got to be outside.”

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  12. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    the Virginia Reels, 65

    After Arthur Stoner had used Virginia Reel for about four years, he decided he wanted a larger version of the boat. Phil Rhodes and his organization drafted plans for an offshore fishing cruiser that measured 65 feet 1 inch overall, 59 feet on the waterline, with a beam of 17 feet 2 1/2 inches and a draft of 5 feet. In many respects this boat, also named Virginia Reel, was similar to the 44-footer, except she was larger, roomier, and more comfortable. This satisfied Stoner’s request that the new boat be as close as possible to the first one in every way except size. She was built of steel by the Amsterdam shipyard G. DeVriesLentsch, and was launched in 1960.

    The main difference between this boat and her predecessor is that she has an elaborate pilothouse, the deckhouse is much roomier and has a U-shaped galley (better for offshore work), and there is another stateroom and another head. A nice feature is the sliding partition between the off-center guest stateroom and the passageway, which allows a large, open cabin when there are no guests aboard but provides privacy when the stateroom is occupied. The heads are arranged so that no guest or crew need ever use the owner’s head, and even the W.C. in the fo’c’s’le is enclosed.

    She, too, has a fishing cockpit aft with fighting chairs and a sunken bait box, but unlike her smaller sister, she has a curved taffrail in way of each chair to provide a good foot brace for fighting the big ones. She has a hinged transom door for boating fish, and it folds down in a manner that forms a step and lower platform that is also handy for swimming and dinghy boarding. (Incidentally, there are davits for ward that can handle a Boston Whaler.) Her functionalism for fishing is capped off by her spreader mounted lookout stations, from which fish can be spotted.

    The second Virginia Reel is not as good a sailer as is the first, and she probably could be considered to be a powerboat with steadying sails. But even so, her longer waterline and greater sail area (887 square feet) make her faster than her little sister on a broad reach in fresh winds. In conjunction with bilge keels, her sails have an excellent steadying effect on the boat’s motion.

    A fair amount of efficiency in the sail plan is traded off for ease of handling. The mainsail is boomless so that it need not be manhandled when taking it in. The original plans show that the main was brailed to the mast, but later it was set on a roller-furling drum mounted a couple of feet abaft the mast. This leaves a wide gap between the luff and mast, but it helps assure that the sail will not bang against the spar when it is furled. The jib likewise is roller furled.

    Arthur Stoner evidently was pleased with both of his Virginia Reels, especially the larger version. Some of his comments to Phil Rhodes about the latter include: “A wonderful boat — superb at sea. Everyone comments about the spaciousness. . . and comfort. They all say it is the last word in an offshore fishing boat. This is practically perfection.”

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  13. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    I have to agree with you there Max, but I've spoken of this often. Just thought I would look back at what got me to this point....those lovely motorsailers of the past
  14. revdcs

    revdcs Senior Member

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    Hi,

    I'm back with line drawings and Polaroids of Estrellita - any idea where she might be now?

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  15. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Here's a 63 CL that was called "Blackship". I have a 78-ft. version ( framed photo ) hanging on my wall which was called "Don Quixote".
    Somewhere in my office are the sales brochures for the 53-63-78.

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  16. YachtForum

    YachtForum YachtForums Publisher

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    I think YF member MedRascal has one of the larger Cheoy Lee MotorSloopers. Hopefully he'll see this thread and chime in...
  17. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    But please Carl, what is a MotorSlooper;)
  18. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    One stick = "motorslooper"

    Two sticks = "ketcherslooper"

    Right proper nautical terminology!
  19. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Or is that a "motorketcher"?
  20. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    Alden 57 Motor Sailer

    Okay, its time for a beautiful Alden design, although a little short on sailing potential. But look at the lines of this vessel, and the very comfortable living space. I almost bought one of these recently.

    From Rudder mag;
    Mr. Brandt of Massachusetts, is a man who wants to go places, safely and comfortably Alden was commissioned to design the vessel to do this, and the result is shown here. The Lazy Lady is Alden’s idea a modern, oceangoing power cruiser.

    She was built by the Bass Harbor Boat Shop of Bernard, Maine and thus far has lived up to her owners expectations. Powered by a 220 hp. Cummins diesel engine, she can cruise continually at better than 10 knots. Corten steel fuel tanks holding 1,060 gallons provide a cruising range of 2,000 miles.

    Below, she has three staterooms sleeping six plus crews quarters for two. Mr. Brandt specified a large saloon, and this one fills the bill. It opens directly into a deep after cockpit that is, in effect, a continuation of the saloon.

    The sails are strictly secondary propulsion. 613 square feet in area, they are to be used for steadying, emergencies, and for helping out the engines on long passages. She is not to be considered a motor sailer, but rather a cruiser capable of handling long distances on bumpy oceans

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