Double Eagle

Historical Summary:

Excerpted from June 2012 CYA Newsletter, "Classic Yachting":

Canadian Fleet Report .. the nurturing of an Eagle
by Randall Olafson, CAN Fleet Director

While attending the CYA Board meetings this past January in Mystic, Connecticut, we were treated like royalty. Shannon McKenzie, of Mystic Seaport Museum, arranged a myriad of activities that were all outstanding. Just to be able to get a close up look at the fantastic selection of yachts and maritime memorabilia they have was very special. I also had the opportunity to go to Solomon Island, Maryland, to see where our own yacht was actually built. Thus I cannot think of anything more appropriate than to give a little history of our "eastern" bred yacht Double Eagle now berthed quite happily in the west.

Where to begin .. Josephine and I sat down and retraced our steps that brought this all about. It was 2003 and we had enjoyed many years of sailing about on our 51' Beneteau Havelock and prior to that a 34' Chris-Craft that our children grew up on. Our brood of grandchildren was now growing quickly so we made a decision to return to wood to provide us the gracious yet antiquated method of getting us around the coast that we missed with our sailboat. After a year and a half of searching for the right fit, I spotted Double Eagle in an ad in the San Diego boat classifieds. I went to have a look and was hooked immediately. The dickering on the price, surveys, and back and forth travel from Vancouver took some time .. no surprise!

The vessel was exquisite and had been very well maintained, needing only a few mechanical upgrades. Just about everything was original or 'new' old parts or had been overhauled, including its air-actuated controls and it's Detroit Diesel 6-110 engine. Double Eagle has now had her lines noticed locally by achieving recognition and awards in several of the boat shows and regattas we have attended. Her origin is something of a curiosity as well. She was designed by J. Barnes Lusby and was the last of the custom yachts built by the M. M. Davis & Son yard on Solomon Island, Chesapeake Bay. She was commissioned by George Marshall Jones Jr., a prominent member of Massachusetts society and a direct descendant of John Alden of the Mayflower. Following completion, she was launched as Jupiter and she can be found listed in many New England maritime publications and in the book "Last Generation" a history of the Chesapeake Bay shipbuilding family Davis and Sons by Geoffrey Footner. Jones and his extended family cruised the yacht for nearly 30 years. After that she changed hands a few times, making her way down to Texas and through the Panama Canal and finally up to San Diego, California. It was there that we found her and brought her up to her new home port of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Constructed of Douglas fir planking and sawn white oak frames, Double Eagle's exterior has held up well, with only a few planks replaced over the years and few changes. The rub rail (gunnel moulding) seen on the right was replaced and strengthened to survive the vessel being lifted out of the water in slings (if the need arose). We were fortunate the last owner was very meticulous and had the bottom refastened and did some major engine work in the 'early 90's at quite a substantial cost.

As seen here the teak decking from the mid-section of the main deck was removed to make way for some deck planking work that needed to be attended to. Once replaced, they were then caulked with cotton, then oakum, and finally hot tar was poured into the seam. Once that was ground smooth, the new teak decking (milled from 3/4" thick teak) was installed right up to the bow. One of my friends who offered to help out hates the word "bunk" to this day. I think this was around the 900th he had put in.

We removed the 40" bronze 4 blade propeller and had a new cutless bearing installed. The propeller was then balanced and tuned and replaced on the shaft. The result was a substantial improvement in performance and a complete loss of the previous vibration from the stern tube.

All went well for the next few years until the inconceivable happened while cruising in Desolation sound. Josephine felt a drip on the top of her head while sitting at the bar looking at the fireplace crackling away. The result of this persistent and single drip was evident requiring complete upper deck repair including custom planking and replacement of the port upper coaming. The drip came from a small crack close to the funnel in a deck plank that the duck cloth had opened up on. While having the upper deck removed we then replaced any problems that were evident at the same time. There was not much work to do, but to remove all the decking and cloth to get to one little leak was exasperating to say the least.

Inside, we refinished the mahogany detailing that embellishes each stateroom. The boat offers an owner's stateroom, a guest stateroom, and additional crew quarters in the forepeak. The pantry and storage lockers are easily accessible and the layout for the crew was very comfortable as designed. There's plenty of room to entertain with seating in the main saloon and aft lounge for sit down dinners of 10. As a lifelong boater and a member of several yacht clubs and associations we did find ourselves short of room at times!

My wife Josephine became an active boater almost the moment we met. Since
having the privilege of acquiring her (I mean the boat) we have spent a substantial portion of our time cruising and commissioning our classic for those who wish to appreciate boating in a way few people ever get a chance to. I grew up on a Fairmile and my father would encourage me to appreciate the ride as opposed to the arrival.

Like most things in life it took me years to appreciate that. We have now had many fresh and enjoyable memories doing just that, stopping for a few days here and there to explore a cove or an island. Sometimes just steaming along gives me that sensation cultivated many years ago of being part of something rare like having your own cruise ship. We still have to pinch ourselves every once in a while because everywhere we go, as soon as we dock or drop anchor, we are inundated with dinghies and people heading in our direction for a look. Josephine thinks the actual attraction of the yacht is the charm it conjures up while looking at her and thinking of the voyages and stories that only Double Eagle can tell.