© 2019 HBYC

GITANA DELIVERY

Built in 1936, Gitana is a classic wooden beauty.  

She was designed by naval architect John G. Alden (Alden design number 630) for Richard S. Danforth.
Sailors will recognize the name Danforth because of the now famous Danforth anchor. Gitana was the boat that Mr. Danforth sailed and used to test his prototype anchors. She currently houses several original prototype Danforth anchors and they work very well even to this day.  You can find a link to Gitana listed on the MIT museum website here.

In 1948, Gitana raced a TransPac race to Hawaii.  And in 1955 she was shipped east and was re-rigged as a yawl for cruising and racing in Annapolis and Maine.  
 

In 2015 a group of wooden boat enthusiasts from New York City bought Gitana and sailed her down from Maine to her current home in New Rochelle, New York.

 

Gitana's hull is built of mahogany planks on white oak frames. Inside of her salon, Gitana is fitted with a Kerosene lamp and a wood-burning stove (yes, on a wooden boat).  Everyone who gets a chance to sail at Gitana's helm always agrees that she's a one-of-a-kind.

Below - is our detailed trip blog from our journey of Gitana's delivery.

Picking up Our Baby

5/23/2015

We started our morning in the quaint little town of Boothbay, Maine. The sun rises early and a beautiful sunrise it was.  That said, it's quite chilly in Maine, even in late May. 

After breakfast we drove over the bridge to Southport. We were told Gitana was on a mooring ball at a marina near the Methodist church.  So just after we got over the bridge we saw a sign for the church and I pulled over to see the direction notation on the sign since it was obscured.  
A little further down the road a pickup truck was pulled over on the side of the road.  
The driver hopped out of his truck and stopped us. He was an older gentleman with a white beard wearing blue jeans, suspenders and a heavy flannel.  

We rolled down the window to see how we could help him and to our surprise he asked us with a smile: "are you the Gitana crew?"  
We answered yes and he introduced himself as Steve Burt, Gitana's previous owner.  
Steve led us down the street to Hodgdon Marina.  
 

As we walked down to the boats we could see Gitana in the distance.  She was hanging out on a mooring ball waiting there just for us.  

It was low tide at the time and Gitana draws about 6'3" so she wasn't going to be able to come to the marina.  We went out to board Gitana via a skiff and pulled up to see her in all her glory.  

We were all very excited.  

We had purchased her back in September and only now, 8 months later, was this becoming a reality.  

As we set foot onto Gitana's wooden deck I felt transported back in time.  She's a magical sailing time machine just filled with history.  

Even though she was built in 1936, she's only had two owners: Richard Danforth, and the Burt family.  The Burts had owned her longer than Danforth.   

So it was Steve Burt's father, who was the last owner.  Steve's family had sailed Gitana over the years and he was incredibly helpful by briefing us on the boat.  

Gitana's interior is filled with stories.  There are manual pumps for everything:  For the sink, the bilge, the head.  There is a kerosene lamp and even a wood burning stove - yes a wood burning stove... On a wooden boat.  

Gitana shows her age.  She's got character.  She's like a great grandmother who you have to respect the hell out of because she's come so far and seen so much.  

So we had a few things to learn and figure out and Steve helped us along the way where he could.  

We decided to take Gitana over to Boothbay marina where we could get a slip and provision the boat for a week of sailing.  

On the trip over included a drawbridge passage, so we had to radio to the Southport bridge operator. The operator runs the drawbridge on the half hour when a boat requests permission to pass.  We were able to have the bridge opened for us at 1:30p and we motored the rest of the way in.  This was one of the spinning bridges that spins on its access.  

We tied up to the docks at the Tugboat marina and that would be Gitana's new home for the evening.  

Anastacia and Ben took care of provisioning the boat and Jeff had lunch with his sister.  Meanwhile I began bending on the sails.  

At first it was a little tricky... Trying to figure out exactly how Gitana was to be rigged.  Then the more I puttered around with everything, the more the rigging made sense.  

Soon the main sail was on.  Not long after I got the main on, Jeff had made his way back and Steve Burt had also come to join us to pass along to us more of Gitana's old gear.  

Steve was such a huge help to us.  He really wanted to leave Gitana in good hands.  It was his father's boat and I could tell he loved her.  I also sensed that he was happy that Gitana was going to be well taken care of.  

Anastacia and Ben returned with the provisions and once things were in good order it was time for a cocktail on the deck of Gitana. Dark 'n Stormies it was - an appropriate sailors drink for Gitana's crew.  

I flew the drone to get some nice sunset shots of the Marina and our new boat.  Then it was time for dinner and some shut eye.  

Tomorrow will be Gitana's first true test.  It will be her first sail with her new owners as we head to New Castle, Portsmouth.  

Jeff at the helm as the sun was setting. Pulling in to Portland, Maine

Where danforth Slept

5/26/2015

Sunday morning we woke up at 4:30a for a 5a departure.  We were looking at a long sail (71nm) to Portsmouth, NH. 

It was a beautiful morning as we headed out.  The sun was out and glistening on the water.

We motored about 15/20 minutes in the harbor and just before we hit open water Ben noticed some form of smoke coming from the engine room.  

We couldn't immediately identify the problem so we turned around and went back to the dock.  

It was Sunday and a holiday weekend so we thought it would be tough to find a mechanic.  We thought right.  

We opened up the engine room to start sniffing around.  Smoke could be a lot of things.  

We checked the oil and the coolant.  We checked to make sure the sea cocks were open. We emptied the sea water strainer - it did have some debris but it seemed to be brining in water just fine. 

Then we noticed that a lower belt on the engine was flapping about loosely.  Ben and I were able to tighten it up a bit.  

After a bit of tinkering and not seeing any further smoke, we decided to give it a go.  
 

After a bit of tinkering and not seeing any further smoke, we decided to give it a go.  

We were finally under way at 12:30p.  

We decided to change our destination to a closer one.  We headed 35nm to Portland, ME.  Our marina there has a mechanic who is going to check out our engine in the morning. 

When we were finally sailing, it was a beautiful ride.  The sun was out and we had all three of Gitana's sails up.  The Mizzen was fun to get accustomed to - it was interesting to see the stability that it provides.  

The entry to Portland was stunning. Lighthouses perched atop dramatic cliffs with green trees topping the coastline.  

We pulled in at sunset and it was majestic.  You could hear the song of the bouys and it harmonized with the horn of the lighthouse.  It was like the sea has it's own jamband.  

Ben and Jeff grabbed burgers from town and they grabbed one for me as I cleaned up the salon.  The burgers I will mention were delicious. I got a chance to briefly stroll around town.  Being night time on a holiday weekend, I noticed Portland is quite the party town.  Loud music, rowdy youngsters, bars, booze and restive-ness.  

Not one of them was having as good of a time as we are though.  

Bed time at around 11p.  

A long sail the next day.  

As I lay in the Vberth thinking about Gitana. I realized I was sleeping where Danforth slept.  

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon