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GEORGETOWN – Over the last two years a few of us have watched Alex Hadden and crew of Hadden Boat Co. in Georgetown build a 36-foot wooden boat to a classic de- sign. With the boat complete, a small group of well-wishers gathered in the light rain as she was launched and taken on her fi rst sea trials on 29 September. This order came to Alex in around about

way. He explained, “A friend of mine, Tom Wright, had me go to Portland and look at a Vinnie Cavanaugh boat that he was interested in buying, the J.J. He said, tell me what I should expect, so I looked it over one morning with him, and then I told him it needs this, it needs that and that was about it. He walked into the place that morning and bought it. Over the next year he fi xed it up and it worked out great. Basically I got lucky from that informal survey. That boat got written up in an article and this owner, who is originally from Pownel, spent time in Portland, knew all about Vinnie Cavanaugh and wanted one. He called up Tom to see if he could get a Vinnie Cavanaugh. Tom said, 'Don’t talk to me, talk to Alex.' So he called me about another Vinnie, SWELL. He gave me the survey, I read it then we talked about what it would cost to fi x that one up. He thought it was too much money. He had me go look at a completely different powerboat. I found a bunch of stuff wrong with that one too. He said which of these two boats should we buy? I said, “Neither one of them. What is it that you want?” He said, “I’ll tell you the truth I have always wanted a Vinnie Cavanaugh.” I said, “If you want a Vinnie Cavanaugh, I can just make you one. I’ll copy Tom’s.” They were both really amazed that somebody could just copy another boat. So that is how it got started.” J. J. was located in Freeport and Alex had good access to her. Alex added, “Mi- chael Start was going to do it with me and he is friends with Al Spaulding. He said if we are taking off her lines you should really get Al involved. I had never taken lines off so it was good to have Al’s help. We took the lines off of that boat in four hours and then Al went home with all of the measurements and did the lines, offsets and stations.” Once the lines were complete, he began lofting them on the fl oor of his shop two years ago. As for construction Alex said, “I went to J. J. and went through her. I looked at the scantlings, how big are the frames, how many of them, what is the size of the deck beams, where are they. I took measurements of the houses and windows. I made a whole bunch of notes. If I got confused or had any technical question I would just go to Free- port and look.

“I deviated from Vinnie’s construction, not in the scantlings necessarily, but any place the J. J. looked weak,” continued Alex. “That boat had laid decks and covering

boards and one of the problems on Tom’s boat is that whole structure. The transom has nothing fore and aft holding it together because the deck planks are on the inside of the covering board and the transom has fallen away. The sheer up forward was kind of falling away. Luckily Royal Lowell had written that book. I pretty much went with the Lowell method. I also used some of Pete Kass’ ideas. As for fl oor timbers, I deviated from Vinnie method. He had real short ones and they were spaced pretty far apart aft of the main bulkhead, back under the motor. His boat had problems at the turn of the bilge with some of the frames coming away. I made the fl oor timbers high and I extended them as far out as I could, like Royal Lowell. Today it was nice to see her fl oating because all along I added a whole lot of weight back aft, and combined with the house, she fl oated on her lines perfectly.”

As for dimensions she is 36 feet in length with a 10-foot beam. Her oak keel is 4½-inches, the oak frames are 1 x 2-inches and the cedar planking is one-inch. Alex added, “Phil Sheldon helped me with the planking. We ended up with fewer strakes and it was more eye pleasing to us. An- other big difference is that I got rid of the stern post. Vinnie had a traditional stern post going right up through the boat and it stopped underneath the platform. It was bolted directly to a fl oor timber so it was stiff and I am assuming that was to keep the skeg from going side to side. I did away with that and did the Pete Kass method where you just extend the shaft log. The construction is simpler and then I made a regular horn timber, because the stern post isn’t cutting it in half, going up through the boat.” Her interior is simple, and designed for two. Forward is the head and as you move aft there are two berths, one to port and the other to starboard. At the bulkhead is the galley, which is on both sides.

The next hurdle was the platform and height of the engine. Alex explained, “The diesels are taller and the gas motors now are even taller. I kept that same height when loft- ing in order to fi t the Yanmar. I got rid of their reverse gear and I dropped the motor two inches lower and the deck just squeezes over it. I still had to raise the house top because the owner is 6 foot 1. J. J.’s overall height is more, the trunk is a different width and I think the variable is who drew the sheer line. I fooled around with the sheer line until I got what I wanted. I raised up the stem higher to get rid of some of the powder horn. I also dropped it down through the middle. I would really like to see them together to see where the differences are." JUDY SUE is powered with a 265-hp

Yanmar and during her sea trials she turned 3,850 rpms and was going 20 knots. She is supposed to have another 150 rpms so they

need to work on the propeller. JUDY SUE should be heading south to the Chesapeake and her new home by mid-October. Alex has a couple of small jobs this fall. There is a boat down the road that needs toe rails. There is a lake boat that needs to be reframed. Another person has a Rangeley that needs some repairs. During

the middle of winter Alex will head south to help replank ELIZABETH II. Is there another Vinnie Cavanaugh boat

to build in Alex’s future? He was surprised that more people did not know about this one, but now that she has been launched he hopes someone will want a classic design, even if it is not a Vinnie Cavanaugh.



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