During the Lk. Union Wooden boat Festival at South Lk. Union in July 2000, the CWB Pirate Committee built and manned a display for the Pirate restoration project and featured the 39' Pirate model pond sailors. The eight boats built by the students at Alternative School No. 1 were on display in the booth. Races for the models were held featuring a riotous running commentary by CWB Executive Director, Bob Perkins.
During the show Michael Murray ably demonstrated the building of these great little vessels using his partially completed boat as an example. We were assisted in the booth by John Kelly, Joe Cable and model makers Nevin Root and Djaerick Rudolph-Peck.
On the final day of the festival, we had the good fortune of meeting model yacht builder/collector Hank DeMeerleer of Woodinville who seemed more than slightly excited when he saw the model sailors. "I have one of these!" he told us and started poring over the kids' boats very carefully. We gave Hank a model drawing and asked him to measure and compare his boat carefully and then call us if it matched.
The Pirate committee has been looking for an original version of Ted Geary's 1927 design since we first discovered the drawings in early 1999. By 1929, over 300 of them had been built by schoolboys in Los Angeles (we started girls building them in 1999). Our contacts in southern California have been looking for the little craft in junk stores, estate sales and antique auctions.
In early September, Hank called to report that his boat matched the drawings very closely. On the 16th, Scott & Karen Rohrer went to Hank & Nancy's house to see the model. The photographs here show the distinctive profile of this great design. Hank had found the boat at a hobby store and was told that she had been built "by a doctor in Ballard" whose son had built another one although it had disappeared.
What Hank got was a Pirate hull (ca. 1927) with no rig. The hull, rudder and keel are closely faithful to the plans. Lacking original plans, he rigged her to sail with a masthead rig of his own design although he got the boom length, mast position and foretriangle base all very close to original.
An interesting feature of this boat, not on the Geary drawings, is the sliding beam on the foredeck which allows the sailor to move the whole rig for and aft without changing the relationship between main and jib. This was on the boat when Hank found her and allows fine tuning of balance in varying conditions.
Hank DeMeerleer's model measures:
37 7/8" length overall
8 ½" beam
2 ½" freeboard forward end of w.l
1 ¾" freeboard aft end of w.l.
She has a single hatch measuring 1 7/8" square, the aft end 4 1/8" fwd of the rudder post.
Hank is an avid modeler and collector with numerous fine radio-controlled craft in his collection. He wanted to R/C his Pirate and installed at 2-channel unit in the existing hatch to do it. By carefully forming the mechanism into a tidy little module, he has made it possible to remove the R/C gear and return th emodel to original in a matter of minutes.
We hope to have Hank and his lovely old Pirate at future Pirate model regattas.