In 1928, Captain Nathaniel Greene Herreshoff built a half-model of a "pleasure sailing keel boat to take the place of the Buzzard's Bay Boys Boat," which he had designed in 1914 and which became famous as the Herreshoff 12 1/2 -- one of the most popular daysailers of all time. The new design, however, languished unbuilt for over eighty years. Now, in a collaboration between Herreshoff Designs, Inc. (which includes Captain Nat's grandson, Halsey Herreshoff) and master builder Daniel W. Shea Jr. of Bristol Boat Company, the "new" design, named the H-20, is taking shape in the very buildings where the Herreshoffs built the original 12 1/2 (which was named for its waterline length).
The H-20, named for her overall length, is deeper, drier, and -- thanks to her longer waterline length (17' 10") -- faster than the Buzzard's Bay Boys Boat. Shea and his craftsmen are building the H-20 by cold-molding white cedar longitudinally under Spanish cedar laid diagonally, all over laminated Douglas fir backbone, framing, and floors, plus mahogany bulkheads and staving. The hull's exterior gets a vacuum-bagged covering of fiberglass cloth set in epoxy. The rest of the construction combines wood, modern adhesives and finishes, Sitka spruce spars, and bronze fittings to produce a traditional look, of which Captain Nat would surely approve. For lazy daysailing, the standard rig with 212 square feet of sail is plenty, but because Bristol Boat Company and Herreshoff Designs, Inc. have committed to developing a worldwide class association for the H-20, she will also be available with a spinnaker for one-design racing.
Base price for the Herreshoff H-20 with sails and custom trailer is $85,000. Bristol Boat Company, Bristol, R.I., 401-556-2464; www.bristolboatcompany.com.