This graceful 40-foot yacht is more than 100 years old! She has been plying the waters of Puget Sound since her launch in 1911 on Vashon Island. Lawana was designed by Otis Cutting, one of Lake Union Drydock Company's original principals, and is considered the prototype for the Lake Union Dreamboat production series. She was built by Taylor and Grandy.
Lawana Celebrates Her 100th Year
By Keith & Nicki Johnson, PNW Fleet members
40' 1911 Taylor & Grandy
"I remember LAWANA going up the Black River to Lake Washington before the Locks were finished in 1917."
Not many boats can make that claim today. Lawana, currently docked at Stimson Marina in Ballard, Seattle, is widely recognized as the prototype to the Lake Union Dreamboat and is the "grandmother" of the Classic Yacht Association’s Pacific Northwest fleet. She has seen a lot of local and world history in her time. To respect her age, we often fly a 46-star US ensign representing the number of states in existence when she was built.
Lawana was the vision of Otis Cutting, the co-founder of the Lake Union Drydock Company, who designed her in early 1910, long before the Lake Union Drydock Company existed (hence she is not a Lake
Union Drydock Dreamboat though was certainly a precursor). The plaque onboard is testament that Lawana was the first boat built by Charlie Taylor and Earl Grandy, Sr., in their Burton Boat Yard on Vashon Island in Puget Sound.
|Taylor & Grandy Crew, c1911|
Lawana was built with a fir keel, steam bent white oak frames, western red cedar planking, and Port Orford cedar transom. She was originally equipped with an eight horsepower Atlas gasoline engine and a stepped mast. Both the mast and the Atlas engine are long gone. Today, Lawana is powered by a 36 horsepower Perkins diesel engine cruising at a sedate seven knots burning less than a gallon of fuel per hour.
Lawana was initially christened Kingkole and was modeled after the Cutting designed 34-foot Klootchman that was regarded at the time as "one of the most convenient cruiser launches on the Sound." Sadly on February 9, 1910, Klootchman was destroyed in a collision with the Alaskan Steamship Company steamer Santa Anna. Cutting lost little time ordering an improved launch. Evidence suggests that this improved version was Kingkole, later to be renamed Lawana.
While Lawana’s exact launch date eludes us, articles on board suggest her first cruise was made to North Bay on July 2, 1911, just 100 years ago come this July, 2011. She has been a fixture in the Pacific Northwest, cruising extensively in the area. Taking advantage of her expansive aft salon and accommodations, she has been used as a live-aboard by many of her past caretakers. When her second owners, the Albins of Mercer Island, bought her they changed the name to Lawana in 1917. We have been unable to pinpoint the meaning of "lawana." Some evidence suggests an old Hawaiian word for "rejoicing." Other evidence points toward an Algonquian-Wakashian expression meaning "laughing water."
Lawana’s fourth owners, C.E. "Spud" and Lila Haasze, enjoyed a 20-year love affair with the boat
that included raucous jam sessions on Lila’s 64-key piano with their neighbors at the Queen City Yacht
Club in Seattle. During the Second World War, Lawana served as a Coast Guard Auxiliary patrol
boat in the Puget Sound.
In the Hiram Chittenden Locks, Seattle, 1926
For a period of time in the 1960's, Lawana languished and it has to be said that one of the main reasons this vessel is still here today to celebrate her 100th birthday is due to the efforts of Gene and Jean Spargo of Sequim. These owners began a love affair with the boat and gently restored her. It was the Spargos who cruised Lawana far and wide – from Olympia to Cape Sutil, over the Nawilti Bar, across Queen Charlotte Strait through Nakwakto Rapids, into Seymour Inlet and the wilds of Southeast Alaska – nowhere was too far afield for these live-aboard adventurers.
CYA members Malcolm and Connie Munsey took over Lawana and continued her travels throughout the Pacific Northwest also as live-aboards. They were similarly smitten by the boat's charms and devoted themselves to her well-being.
Lawana is 40' long, has a beam 11'8", and draws 3'6". Forward of the salon is the galley and head, forward of that is a stateroom with double bunk and dinette. The V-berths in the forepeak have been converted to hanging storage, a workbench, and tankage. She carries 100 gallons of water, 100 gallons of fuel, and 35 gallons of stove oil. The galley range keeps the boat cozy burning a little under 2 gallons of stove oil in 24 hours in freezing weather.
Lawana has been fortunate to find caretakers through the years beguiled by her unique charm and character who hold a deep respect for her history and desire to preserve her. This accounts for the fact that she is still going strong in her 100th year. Without question, Otis Cutting would be both stunned and pleased that his sturdy little launch is entering her second century.
Gene & Jean Spargo Connie & Malcolm Munsey