2007-09-13 / News

Rare SS class sailboat on display at marina

The 1924 SS class sailboat plies the waters in the East Passage. The 1924 SS class sailboat plies the waters in the East Passage. Thanks to the kind folks at Conanicut Marina, an unusual antique sailboat is on display behind Spinnaker's at the East Ferry Wharf. The boat is an SS class sloop from the east end of Long Island, New York.

Designed in 1908 and built over the course of many years, the SS class is the oldest continually active racing class in North America. The centennial celebration will take place next July at the Westhampton Yacht Club.

The local boat was built in 1924 and has been in the same family ever since. There are eight different kinds of wood in the boat including a white oak duck's head tiller that was hand carved by Ansel Tuthill in 1938, when he was 20 years old. The frames or ribs are made of hackmatac - a deciduous conifer similar to larch. In order to have the grain run straight through a curve, stumps were dug up and laboriously hand sawn into slices. The pattern was then traced onto a spot where the root was turning, and carved to shape.

SS59 is planked with Atlantic white cedar, and decked with western red cedar- the centerboard trunk, centerboard, and rudder are cypress, while the spars are all made of old growth Douglas fir.

There is a display board adjacent to the back patio of Spinnaker's with drawings, photos, and a history of the SS class. Everyone is invited to take a look at this rare beauty while it is on display.

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