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jacktargypsy 01-09-2006 05:53 AM

Kenner Privateer
I have looked at a 1975 Kenner Privatee 35'' center cockpit schooner as a liveaboard/cruiser. I have found no information regarding the quality of construction, maintenance problems, handling, good points, bad points, etc. Any comments would be appreciated.

Jeff_H 01-09-2006 11:25 AM

Kenner Privateer
Kenner was a builder of moderate cost ''character boats''. I believe that the Privateer was their largest model. For the most part these boats were charactures of traditional sailing boats rather than truely accurate replicas.

Kenner had a tendancy to miniaturize their interiors to get the appearance of offering a lot of boat for the size. As a result the berths and other aspects of the accomodations were quite cramped.

Build quality of the basic hull and deck structure was quite good. I helped rebuild a smaller Kenner and items like the rigging work, cabinetry and electrical components seemed a little shoddy.

I have not sailed on a Privateer 35 but I have sailed on similar staysail schooner rigged boats. While the schooner rig used on the Privateer is an aesthetically attractive rig, by any objective standard they are complex rigs that require a lot more work and skill to sail well than a more modern sloop rig.

Schooner rigs are higher maintenance rigs with significantly more rigging and sails to wear out and replace. Sailmakers who are familiar with properly cutting sails for schooners are getting far between, and badly cut sails really hurt the sailing ability and seaworthiness of a rig that is already a compromise in terms of seaworthiness and sailing ability.

To me these boats would make fun daysailers in an area with predominantly stready 10 to 15 knot breezes. They would not be a particularly good choice for cruising boat or a passage maker.


jacktargypsy 01-10-2006 10:55 AM

Kenner Privateer
Thanks for the reply. The cramped quarters were the first negitive I saw. For a 35 foot boat it is only about 26 AWL, very snug inside. The other big negitive was the "fisherman" rigged on the mizzen. It struck me as being a very difficult boat to single hand. It is a beautiful boat, but you have confirmed my apprehensions.

sailrunner 03-02-2007 12:14 PM

I'm looking for a Kenner Privateer
Hi folks,

Does anyone know where there is one of these boats, preferably with a diesel inboard, for sale?


Thomas Ryan Nelson
2570 Lakeshore Circle
Port Charlotte, FL 33952

Sailormann 03-03-2007 01:44 PM

Kenner built some of the "Pearson" Tritons, most of which seem to still be floating around somewhere...their hulls were quite sound. As far as a schooner rig goes...there is no disputing the fact that they are a lot of work, more expensive to maintain and don't point as well as a bermudan sloop. However, as far as being seaworthy, they are about as good as it gets. I owned, cruised and raced a Tancook schooner for years, off the coast of Nova Scotia and New England. When more modern designs were heading for shore, we dropped a couple of sails and carried on, safely with a good turn of speed. When the winds were light, we flew all our canvas and looked like a postcard. To each their own, a schooner is a niche boat, and there are bigger, easier, more comfortable options out there, but as far as versatility and beauty go, they cannot be beaten. That said - you'll note that we are now sailing a bermudan sloop with standing headroom and a shower...

Goodnewsboy 03-04-2007 01:22 AM

Schooners were built to make passages with minimum crew. (Check the history of Maine coasters to learn how large a vessel was sailed by three or four crew.)
They maintain a balanced sail plan when reefed. Their sails are of smaller, more manageable size than single masted rigs, and total center of effort is (vertically) lower too.
Not everyone's cup of tea, but they do have some advantages.

Jeff_H 03-05-2007 12:52 PM


Did you have a Tancock Whaler or one of the later schooners?


Sailormann 03-05-2007 07:25 PM

The boat I have now is a CS. (moved to Ontario - went native).

The schooner I had when I lived in Nova Scotia (we're talking 20 years ago) was a bit of an anomaly. It was designed by a man named Gerald Stevens, and built by an independent builder using "West System" strip planks. Composit construction was just becoming popular then. There is a small group of these boats on the East Coast, some built in fibreglass, a few in composite wood/epoxy, but most of them are wooden.

Their sole purpose in life is to go as fast as the schooner rig can go. They are called Tancook schooners - primarily because they are full-keeled boats with the same springy sheer and fairly prominent spoon bow, and secondarily because Tancook Island is about a half mile from the (late) designer's drawing board - but they are not perfect replicas of the fishing schooners. They are narrower, lighter, and a lot of them are smaller than the working schooners were.

The Whaler is an actual workboat, with higher freeboard, much more beamy and usually open, occasionally they were built with small cuddies. They tend to be just under 30 feet in length and had very shallow keels with centreboards. They were the basic design used for many lifeboats from about 1910 to the mid-eighties, and are still seen today.

The Tancook prefix is used to describe a whaler that has a prettier than normal sheer. It comes from the style of boat that developed on Tancook Island, in Chester and to some degree in Lunenberg in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The primary characteristics of a 'Tancook' are low freeboard with a fairly prominent, spoon bow line and a springy counter. The Whalers tend to be symmetrical bow and stern.

I have seen some designs on the Internet over the years labelled "Tancook" this or that. Some of them approach the graceful shape, but I have yet to see anyone draw as pretty (or quick) a schooner as Gerald Stevens did.

Chadlawie 03-21-2007 12:17 PM

The Privateer 26 and Privateer 35 were designed by Thomas Gillmer. He designed big schooners. The pride of Baltimore 1 and 2, Lady Maryland. I believe the Privateers were his only ventures into personal boats.

They are small inside. The privateer 35 has about as much space inside as a modern 30' boat would have. The main reason for this is both the privateer 26 and 35 are about 2 feet narrower when compared to other boats of similar length.

As for sail setup... All the privateers were sent from the factory with a normal ketch or cutter rig sail plan. Just as easy to sail as any other boat. I sail my privateer single handed 99% of the time. An owner of a privateer 35 I know sails single handed much of his time on the boat.

winddancer88 03-21-2007 02:37 PM

My parents had a 26' (31' LOA) Kenner Privateer ketch years ago. I remember it being a slow boat, with little space, but tons of character. Biggest problem for me we was lack of headroom and small berths. Pretty boat, but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone much over average height.

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