Jack Tar R5

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Name:Jack Tar
Sail Number:R5
Designer:Tams, Lemoine & Crane
Builder:Wood & McClure
Year Built:1916
Class: R-Class
Current Condition:Sailing
Description of Condition:Restored in Maine
Location: Southwest Harbor, Maine


Draft:5' 6"


The 36’ R-class “Jack Tar” was built in 1916 by Wood & McClure, City Island, New York from designs by Tams, Lemoine & Crane (52 Pine Street, New York City) bought by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1920. “Jack Tar” may have been designed by Clinton H. Crane (1873-1958), the well-respected yacht designer and broker, a partner in the firm Tams, Lemoine & Crane. The company designed and built some of the best-known yachts of the time, including large ocean-worthy steam yachts. Crane’s specialty was the “race-about class” of boats, designed for speed in regattas and cup races. “In 1978, I got the job to rebuild an old R-class racing sloop for a member of the Rockefeller family. That was the “Jack Tar.” She was originally built in City Island, New York, in 1916 I believe, and the Rockefellers got her in 1920. That sloop stayed in the family for years, but finally sold her after they had a fiberglass boat built. The man who bought the “Jack Tar” took her to Portland and had her down there for awhile. He had quite a lot of work done on her from time to time. Then he got transferred to the West Coast, so he put her up for sale and the Rockefellers bought the boat back. They sailed her around that summer and then brought the sloop to me. By that time she really needed to be rebuilt, and that was quite a little job. Even the lead keel had to be melted down and recast. But she still sailed nice. You could take that boat when it was calm and just give her a push and she’d go forever. Every R-class sloop was a little different. Some had the mast stepped way aft. Some had the mast stepped way forward. And they were all sizes. That was fine, as long as they conformed to the rule that was written to rate these sailboats. Naturally, whenever somebody makes a rule like that, all the naval architects try to build a boat that will beat it. We didn’t have the original plans to go by but, of course, we had the old boat. When we saw her pulled apart, we took every other timber out and every other plank off. We put new timbers in, and then we replanked her. By doing it that way we could keep the shape about the way it was originally. The “Jack Tar” turned out pretty good.” - “Ralph Stanley : Tales of a Maine Boatbuilder” by Craig S. Milner and Ralph W. Stanley, published by Down East Books, Camden, Maine 2004, p. 99-100. "Father didn’t like sailing and rarely ventured out on the water. This was a great disappointment to Mother, who had been raised on Narragansett Bay among a family of sailors. Eventually Father bought a beautiful 36-foot racing sloop, an “R” boat named Jack Tar, undoubtedly as a concession to my older brothers. Being the youngest, I didn’t get much sailing time on it, although when I was 17 a friend and I sailed 100 miles east to Saint Andrews in New Brunswick, across the treacherous waters of Passamaquoddy Bay. Jack Tar had no engine, so Captain Oscar Bulger [Oscar Spurling Bulger (1872-1943)], who worked for the family for many years, followed along in his lobster boat in case we got into trouble." - From "Memoirs," by David Rockefeller, published by Random House, 2002. “…I think my wife [Margaret “Peggy” (McGrath) Rockefeller (1915-1996)] came to love [Mt. Desert] every bit as much as I did and we really learned to sail together. For many years we were allowed to use what was called the “Jack Tar,” which was a 36-foot sloop, with no engine, no head. A day-sailor. But she sailed beautifully, and fast, and we even did some racing in the August cruises…” – Interview with David Rockefeller by Kathleen W. Miller, “Chebacco: The Magazine of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society, Vol. XII 2011, p. 94.

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