Beckon

September 18, 2016

Richard and Jane Beck

Richard and Jane Beck

I am very lucky that as a wooden boat aficionado I live in the Northeast, so I have been able to see many famous boats built by famous builders — Herreshoff, Brooklin Boat Yard, Rockport Marine, Artisan Boatworks, Doug Hylan.  But I had to travel 3,000 miles to Port Townsend, WA, to admire the best I’ve ever seen — Beckon, built in Montana by Richard and Jane Beck.

I discovered Beckon some time ago surfing through boat-building sites, and she led me to Mark Smaalders..  I will forever be indebted to the Becks for a link to Mark’s site and my love-at-first-sight affair with his Olga 28 design, which has now become Tardis.  Literally, that’s how it happened — admiring Beckon, opening the link, a small Olga illustration on Mark’s home page, a light bulb turning on in my head:  “That’s the boat I will build.”

Beckon is perfect — a symphony of mahogany and bronze and brass.  Custom everything — louvered doors, hatch openers, hardware, furniture, stanchions.  Richard is by trade a cabinetmaker and there is not a joint that can be seen.  She gleams in Jane-applied paint and varnish.  I had trouble getting good pictures with light streaming through the ports, but there are a lot better ones in the Beck’s build journal, to the right of this post in the links section.  The rig is still in shake-down mode, but is also quite interesting in that it is set up very traditionally with dead-eyes and lanyards, laced-on sails and gaff rig, but all of these using the very latest in high-tech cordage.  The effect is stunning — a perfect, tough seagoing yacht from 80 years ago that was built yesterday using materials that should last another 100 years or more.

The Becks are the nicest, friendliest people.  We spent a lot of time on Beckon and went out to a wonderful dinner with others from the Festival.  I left energized and with beautiful visions of Beckon to get me through the home stretch on Tardis.

Also encouraging was a nice talk with Sam Devlin, my second-favorite boat designer and one of my teachers at WoodenBoat School.  He seemed very taken with the thought that someone he had taught to glue up a rowboat 20 years ago is still epoxy-addicted and working on a pretty good-sized project.

Also in this post are pictures of some of the many boats at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival that reflect what I’m trying to do with Tardis.

Beckon's custom hatch lifters.

Beckon’s custom hatch lifters.

Hand made louvered doors

Hand made louvered doors

Beckon's galley

Beckon’s galley

Galley area

Galley area

Deck beams -- mine look pretty good, but every one of these has a different camber to allow a subtle tapering of the house sides.

Deck beams — mine look pretty good, but every one of these has a different camber to allow a subtle tapering of the house sides.

A REAL butterfly hatch

A REAL butterfly hatch

Beckon particulars

Beckon particulars

pt-1 pt2 pt-3

Port Townsend -- Wooden boats as far as the eye can see

Port Townsend — Wooden boats as far as the eye can see

The inimitable Sam Devlin -- my teacher and inspiration

The inimitable Sam Devlin — my teacher and inspiration

 

 

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