The Picaroon is a Hardin Sea Wolf, designed in the sixties by William Garden, and built in ’78 in Taiwan. She’s ketch-rigged; forty feet long from stem to stern, with a six-foot bowsprit. Her full keel draws six feet.
She’s not fast, but she’s sea-kindly and steers herself well, and is very comfortable. And she’s beautiful – that’s important, too.
We don’t know her early history, but she from 1998 to 2010 she was in the ownership of HB’s father and stepmonster, known hence as Bill & Stef.
Bill, being a rocket scientist, made his best attempt at turning Summerwind (as she was then named) into a sort of teak spaceship. By the time they set sail on her, bound for sunny Mexico, she was bristling with antennae and laser-turrets; adorable little robot crew did all the work of actually sailing her, while Bill & Stef kicked back in the cockpit and drank Mai Tais and smoked suspicious-looking herbs with umbrellas in them.
Sadly, Captain Bill’s technical skills outmatched his leadership qualities, and after five years patrolling the desert shores of the Sea of Cortez, the robot crew turned on their tyrannical captain. The treacherous mutiny was short but bloody/oily. The first wave of tiny automata were dispatched by the ship’s cat, but soon the organic crew found themselves marooned in Prescott, AZ, where they survive to this day by hunting and eating private-school children.
The robot crew beached the boat in San Carlos, Mexico and fled to start a dot-commune.
We bought the then-Summerwind in July of 2010 and shipped her overland to Annapolis, where we are now fitting her out for our own unlikely adventures.
What’s a Picaroon?
S.V. Picaroon is named after the Chesapeake picaroons, British loyalist privateers who targeted revolutionaries on the Chesapeake Bay during the War of Independence (or Secession, depending on whom you ask).
The first Picaroon was a Paceship PY26. She was built by AMF Alcort, who, amongst many other things, once made Harley Davidsons, and who now make bowling balls – which just goes to show that just because everything you make is fat, slow, and can only turn in a gentle arc, doesn’t mean you can’t diversify.
The boat was bought in 1980, shiny and new off the factory lot, by a retired naval officer named Unglebargler, or something similar, who, in a fit of pop fandom, named her ‘Genesis‘. Admiral Unglebargler was a kind and attentive owner; a proper seaman, who believed in the care and maintenance of his plastic bathtub flagship.
Unglebargler and Genesis spent many, no doubt enjoyable, years together in and around her home port of Herrington Harbor, before he got too old to sail her, whereupon she was laid up in on the hard. She sat in the boatyard for five years before a strange old codger, who went by the name of Salty Walter, bought her.
Salty was not quite as rigorous as the old Admiral, and given to making minor, but unusual, additions, like the outboard motor mount on the transom, despite a fully functioning, and indeed reliable, inboard diesel engine. Still, Salty wasn’t neglectful, and Genesis was back in the water again.
Salty had the boat for only two or three years before he decided she was a bit of a pain to single-hand and put her on the market.
Our chapter of her story began when we purchased her in January of 2006 for the princely sum of thirty-five hundred dollars, along with the usual diverse selection of equipment that comes with a second-hand boat, and renamed her the Picaroon. Our adventures began here.
In August of 2010, having bought the second Picaroon we put the original on the market. She was bought from us shortly thereafter by Alan, an old colleague of HB’s, who will have to write his own story.
Tender to the first Picaroon, the Goblin was our passport to the shorelines and shallow creeks that would ground the bigger boat, and a shuttle to and from land when we were in a foreign port.
The Goblin was a Dyer Dhow – a popular small general-purpose dinghy that is one of the few things made in Rhode Island, along with famous Rhode Island wine, which I hear you can actually drink without going blind, and those ungrateful little punks who kicked off the ‘Revolutionary War’. She was 9 foot long, with a 4 foot beam, and would comfortably hold three adults – four, if you don’t mind sinking occasionally. Her principle mode of propulsion was rowing, and she did this nicely. However, she also came with a sail kit, which converted her into rather cramped, but very fun small sailboat.
I have no idea when the Goblin was built – probably a couple of decades ago, judging by the general state of disrepair. When we bought her, she was just about fit for the water, so we dumped her straight in off the dock without doing any work on her at all – or putting a bung in the drain-hole either, for that matter, but that wouldn’t be the last time she sank.
She did well for the first season, allowing us to fish in the creeks and visit the shore for the first time. She periodically sank, if it rained too much during the week, but no harm was done, and she seemed happy to be tagging along behind the Picaroon like a baby elephant.
That first winter, we hauled her onto the top of the car and took her home to spend the off-season in the back yard, where she would undergo a slow, but satisfactory, renovation. Her damaged glass was repaired, she got new thwarts, and a new coat of paint – emerging from the process with a shiny dark green interior that gave her her name.