Rozinante – A pictorial of the refit of our Herreschoff Rozinante canoe yawl, now owned by a friend.
Rozinante, the horse, was Don Quixote’s mule, whom he imagined a steed. Rozinante, the canoe yawl, was Francis Herreschoff’s idealized vision of the perfect, spartant, and beautiful cruiser, as described in his book, “The Compleat Cruiser” in the 1956. Like Quixote, the sailorman notes that his life and adventures aboard are about 7/8′s imagination.
View more for a short pictorial of the refit of our Herreschoff Rozinante canoe yawl, now owned by a friend.
By the way, the little first mate to port is Quixote’s squire Sancho Pancha.
A friend of mine who brokers boats found a trailer he wanted in Houston. But, it had a boat on it he didn’t want. The trailer, sure – it was nice – but all I saw was that little double-ender, recalling an old article in Woodenboat about a yacht called Red Head.
That’s all it took; next thing I knew she was here in Tulsa. The owner had been an old fella in Fort Worth who owned not only this old Rozinante, but also a 37′ Herreschoff Meadowlark auxiliary schooner, which I was lucky enough to sail one day.
Poor LFH; our boat is a glass hull, supposedly built by Kenner in Louisiana in 1970 and sold as a you-finish kit. The hull is in perfect, blister-free condition, with the deck a full one-inch teak over plywood – no rot we could find. The rig is aluminum with old-fashioned bronze fittings, with a (currently frozen) furling boom and roller-furling jib.
Further to LFH’s dismay, the sides has a pretty nice (but scratched) black Awlgrip paint job, and new black sunbrella covers all around. Everything was pretty cruddy-looking, but it was all there.
The interior and equipment were bare minimum, just running lights and bilge pump, a v-birth and a weird 5′ transverse birth underneath the companionway. LFH wouldn’t have even been able to enjoy his lentil stew. Our plan was to refit to a shiny, classy lake cruiser, so off we go.
The front edge of the keel had been pretty well crunched on something hard. I ground out the damage and filled with epoxy and West 403 microfibers, heavy mat and a 4-ounce glass fabric. It will "pooch" just a little, but the reinforcement is worth the effort, especially since the area is very hard to get to.
“We first sand-blasted a few years of old paint, plus some strange yellow material which could have been copperpoxy. All came off easily, leaving what appeared to be a harder red fairing coat directly on glass (no gel coat) and a hard grey primer of some sort - could have been a barrier coat. At this point, the hull looked absolutely great and fair - not a single blister. We went back with a few barrier coats of epoxy and grey West 422 additive.”
The wooden rudder had delaminating glass (probably polyester), but luckily no rot. I stripped and sanded, resealed with epoxy, faired with epoxy and microballoons, and glassed over with 2 layers of glass. I rolled the glass over the edges each time, so they are covered with four layers. Lastly, some barrier coats are added.
The bottom looked superb after the barrier coats and bottom paint were done.
We share a lake cabin with a burgeoning third generation, so our plan was to make Rozinante a cozy spot for two to find a weekend berth. (Plus, she's cigar-friendly!) So, into the deep bilge, we first installed a Mermaid 6000 btu water-cooled air conditioner.
After wrecking out the weird 5' transverse aft birth, I built cabinets for a sink/stove/storage port and a cooler starboard. The hull interior sides were rough (painted mat), so they received an oiled pine slat ceiling. Otherwise, new white paint went all around.
The deck was sanded and oiled with tung oil. Recessed into the hatch board went an etched-glass reproduction of Picasso's famous drawing of Rozinante, made on one of my plotter/cutters.
The starboard ice box was insulated with 3" of Dow blue foam and finished with a white formica top. An Adler-Barber Frostmate was installed in the box, with the compressor mounted forward under the V birth - a very nice little DC unit. A new ladder was built and installed. Note underneath the sliding shelf for a little butane cooker and the return air grill for the air condtioner.
Back on the port side, the 12 VDC electrical panel was installed, with 12 VDC and 115 VAC recepts. The sink is a s.s. mxing bowl; with water from 5 gallons jugs at present. Note on the right side is the single air-conditioning vent and storage underneath.
Heavy, with full-length keel and attached rudder, Rozinante moors rock-solid and offers a nice motion in waves. Her split rig is low, handy, and versatile, providing some surprising performance even though smallish, probably due to her full keel yet narrow beam. 6 knots is easy to see upwind in 10-12 knots of breeze, with 6.5 and spurts of 7 knots off the wind. Not bad at all. Of course, she won't turn with a racer with a spade keel and rudder, but she sails perfectly balanced regardless of heel. In short, pretty well leave her helm be and she tends herself.
We rigged and launched Rozinante having never seen one. A little imagination helps. She is heavy - we guessed 5500 or 6000 pounds.
The helm is more comfortable than it looks. Note the short backstay of the mizzen in way of the tiller - you lift it over in tacking and use it to steady the helm while attending something else. The only flaw in our copy is probably the added outboard well - it leaks on starboard tack in addition to being a complex thing to use. LFH planned on a long sweep and some zen. Rozinante experts will note we sit at deck level, and the coaming and house don't come to points. Clarifications and comments are welcome.
A real advantage of a split rig is the ease in creating an awning. We cut down and waterproofed a canvas dropcloth to set a peak between masts and the pitches to the shrouds.
Aside: We raced the J fleet on 21 Oct and had our hats handed to us in fluky wind. Windward angle was not too satisfying. Not aquitting the helm, we'll put it up baggy old sails, probably circa 1970... More on this later!
We also rigged our awning with reefing lines to roll up either or both sides. The peak and eaves were reinforced with a 1" nylon webbing front-to-back to take the grommets.