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1941, 37 ft. Sedan Cruiser
According to a 1938 copy of Chapman’s Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling
which was aboard the vessel when we purchased it in 1972, HEIDI was first named
EVELYN FRANCES and was owned by W.K. Vaughan a toy manufacturer. Her home
port was Newport News,VA. HEIDI, her name when we bought her at Sodus Point, NY
on Lake Ontario, is a 1941, 37’ Richardson sedan cruiser. She was designed by Sparkman
and Stephens of New York City. Hull #3704, it displaces 11,500 lbs.
The boat followed typical construction of the day, with white oak one-piece sawed to
shape keel, white oak keelson, full length fir bilge and sheer clamps. It is carvel planked
on white oak steam bent frames with clear cedar topsides and Philippine mahogany
bottom. Originally the trunk and cabin were canvas covered but now (I was swept up in
the modern materials mania of the 70’S and 80’S) are polyester and fiberglass and epoxy
and Dynel respectively. I’ve humbly and happily done penance, however, by replacing
the linoleum on the cabin and cockpit soles with inch and a half wide mahogany boards
with black caulked seams.
The messin’ about in the old wood boat didn’t end there however. Standing amidships on
the starboard deck is a jigger boom made from a sixty year old iceboat mast. (The top
was cut off to make the boom.) With a block and tackle it makes a fairly simple task of
raising and lowering the 8 foot dinghy. On the portside, adjacent to the helm, is a sliding
door. This was not original equipment but an innovation that grew out of necessity and
has really paid off. Often with just two of us aboard, coming into a dock or locking was
made more difficult because the helmsman’s assistance was limited to reaching out a
small, shoulder high sliding window. The window’d already been broken once before and
a framing member had rot at the deck. The scrap-built sliding door from roof to deck
remedied it all!
One of the enclosed pictures shows a radio controlled model of HEIDI which was
constructed over a number of winters. The hull plans were obtained from Sparkman &
Stephens and were scaled an inch to a foot. The mothership, HEIDI, behind her is having
her roof recovered so it was nice to have another boat to play with.
The spacious and comfortable interior provides sleeping for seven (with one bunk in the
cockpit) and in wet weather and evenings the large deckhouse becomes an all-purpose
room in addition to being the wheelhouse. Our longest cruise was for three weeks and
took us from Sodus Bay to Oswego, South on the Oswego River to the Erie Canal at
Three Rivers, East on the Erie to Albany on the Hudson River, North on the Hudson to
the Champlain Canal, Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River to Sorel on the St.
Lawrence River, the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario and across the lake to Sodus Bay.
The most memorable trip, however, was in 1986 when we joined three other Richardsons
to attend the birthday celebration of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. Anchored
in the harbor for three days with thousands of other craft, we watched tall ships of the
world sailing in from the ocean, huge naval warships, dozens of helicopters, planes in
formation, blimps and all topped off with laser and stupendous fireworks shows. Goose
bumps from beginning to end!
HEIDI just received an invitation to participate in Sparkman & Stephens 75th year as a
design and brokerage firm to take place at the Mystic Seaport Museum this coming
summer. Unfortunately, we’ll not attend. HEIDI’s engine, an M-318 B Chrysler V-8 with
over 22 hundred hours, has a heating/cooling problem which we’ve been unable to solve.
This engine, which replaced the original Gray 6-121 in 1963 has given truly fine service
but may now need to be retired. That will be for the next owner to decide because HEIDI
is now on the market. As the old sailor said, “Its time for somebody else to have all this
fun.” And it surely has been that!