UNA is a double-ended yawl built by Eddie Breeden in his garage in Midlothian, Virginia. The project took him 10 months, and after he launched UNA in mid-July this year at Mattaponi River at West Point, Virginia, he was often asked: “How long did it take you to build it?” He’d logged his time so had a precise answer—567 hours—but he often felt the question was really “Where did you find the time?” He had an answer, of sorts, for that too: “How much television do you watch each week?” Average Americans watch between 24 and 50 hours of TV per week, so he has a good point: Not watching TV adds up to enough time in 10 months to build two or three boats like UNA.
Iain Oughtred estimates 600 hours for building his Sooty Tern design, the most recent development in a line of sail/oar faerings that includes the Ness yawl, Caledonia yawl, Whilly Tern, Tirrik, and Arctic Tern. These designs have options for sloop or yawl, gunter or lug rigs; UNA carries a balance-lug main and Bermudan mizzen.
The Sooty Tern has a length of 19′8″, a beam of 5′4 ½″, and a depth of 21″. The hull weighs around 300 lbs, 400 lbs fully rigged. The planking is 8mm okoume marine plywood, the gunwales ash. The thwarts and knees are white oak; the spars, floors, floorboards, foils, and side seats Douglas-fir; and the rudderhead, centerboard case cap, and deck hatches are cherry. Eddie built everything from scratch except for a few chandlery items such as blocks and deck cleats. His sails were made by Douglas Fowler Sailmakers of Ithaca, New York.
Eddie didn’t log the time he spent pondering: “Thinking through the boat’s systems became a compulsion. There were times I had to walk away from the project, either out of frustration or other life demands, but I can attest that the process and resulting boat were more than worth it.” His “obsessive daydreaming” led to a multitude of details that make his Sooty Tern like no other. While he was building UNA he documented his progress on his blog and found valuable support by participating in the WoodenBoat Forum. He has taken UNA on a couple of overnight cruises and won some informal races. “She has simply performed wonderfully. I’m enchanted by Iain’s designs, and hooked on boatbuilding.”
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