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  #11  
Old 06-25-2011
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Interesting. I'm familiar with the history too. Friendships had a great reputation for seaworthiness, even back in the day. The one I know of that sank was an original I think, but racing in blustery conditions with topsails set iirc. I think the replicas that I've seen have about the same rig as the old ones, mine did.
You remember Schneider Pennant Sloops? My first keelboat was a 20' model built around 1961. I loved it.
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Old 06-25-2011
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Friendship type Sloops were originally "designed" for the Cod Fishing industry, many ballasted with pigs of iron secured under removable wooden slats. "Designed" is probably a misnomer as the design evolved as necessary for a working boat over an extended period. The low freeboard allowed as small crew to recover nets more easily and a Friendship Sloop with a belly full of fish was near impossible to capsize. The rigs were overlarge and low to provide the power necessary drag nets, hence the Gaff rig that provided an enormous sail area relative to the size of the boat. While Friendship's are enormously stable and would track like they were on rails once set up, unloaded they had horrible weather helm and tracked only with a "fisherman's reef" and lots'a rudder. Joe modified his boat to a "Bermudian Rig" in the mid-60's while living in Key Biscayne, a move he described as a "transformation", tho' that move horrified more traditional watermen. At one point he was challenged to a race by another owner of one of Princess's sister ships (with the traditional rig) and Joe proceeded to sail rings around that boat, literally, from Key Biscayne to Coconut Grove and back. (That event is described in his second book.)

Joe was always "rebuilding" Princess. (I doubt if at any time there was ever a stick of wood aboard that boat that was more than 30 years old after he finished his post WWII rebuild in '47 or '48.) I suspect even now he's in Heaven's boatyard fitting newly milled Mangrove ribs into Princess's spirit with his tools tied to strings so he doesn't loose them in the sand/sea. "Mangrove--perfect stuff, last a 1,000 years..."

FWIW...
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  #13  
Old 06-26-2011
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I've owned one Friendship and sailed on several. None were hard to handle. Mine balanced so well that light lashings on the helm allowed her to self steer.
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