Basic Boat Info
Between 1927 – 1930 The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company designed and built 14 FISHER ISLAND 31s in Bristol R.I. The design originated from the lines and half hull of the famous Alerion that Nathanael Green Herreshoff designed and built for his personal sailing pleasure.
Her original name was SURPRISE and she was purchased by E.H. Cooper. Over the course of her history she was renamed FOLMAR, then BAGATELLE, then ______ then _______ then PATAPSCO II then WIZARD. She was one of five Fishers Island 31s delivered with the special teak-trimmed package.
Of the 14 original boats built, we know nine are still in existence KESTREL, CIRRUS, SPINDRIFT, WILD GOOSE, _________,__________,__________,are privately owned. Torch is part of the Herreshoff Marine Museum's collection in Bristol, R.I.
A LOOK AT THE CLASS
Reprinted from WoodenBoat/34 written around 1980
A great shift in the manner in which yachtsmen sailed and raced was taking place in the early 1930’s and the Fishers Island sloops got caught right in the middle of it. Like other similarly sized one-design classes, some going back even before the turn of the century, these boats were laid out for a paid hand who took care of the boat on more or less a full-time basis and who had his living quarters in the forward part of her. Herreshoff had a rather standard arrangement for boats of this size, and the Fishers Island sloops were outfitted with it – a cabin for the owner with a couple of berths, a galley to starboard up near the mast, an enclosed toilet room opposite, and a fo’c’s’le forward of the mast for the paid hand, access to which could be gained through a hatch in the foredeck. In 1926, when these craft were designed, there was no reason to vary this arrangement from what had been successful in the past.
But then came the stock market crash of late 1929 and the hard times which followed. No longer could boats carry paid professionals as a matter of course – that was to be the exception – and for day racing around the buoys and an occasional yacht club cruise, these boats became too expensive to keep up.
Thus CIRRUS (then KELPIE) wasn’t the only boat of the class to change hands soon after she was built. After only about five years of one-design racing, the class broke up and the boats were sold. In 1932, there was a move to smaller boats without the expense of a paid hand. These were the Fishers Island 23 Footers (34’ overall), also a Herreshoff product. In time, under subsequent owners, many of the 31 footers were converted for family cruising just as Alan Bemis did with CIRRUS.
It has been as cruisers and handicap racers that these wonderful boats have spent most of their lives. For this use they were ideal --- Seakindly, fast under a wide range of measurement rules, sleeping six in reasonable comfort, affording standing headroom, and being strikingly handsome to look at in spite of changing styles. Of the 13 or so boats built to this model, nearly all are still in use. CIRRUS, trimmed and decked with teak and somewhat more refined because she was the 11th boat in the series, may be the most elegant, but there are others which also look nearly new after a half century. KESTREL, SPINDRIFT, and TORCH are three that I’m familiar with and if these three boats journey to Brooklin this summer to celebrate CIRRUS’ 50th anniversary as is now being planned, the harbor will really be something to see. Of the others, two are on the Great Lakes, one is on the West Coast, and at least one is on the Chesapeake. I believe PATAPSCO II is which Dr. Robert Murray sailed around the world in 1960-1962, is still around, and I know that WILD GOOSE is being restored in ESSEX, Connecticut………
There is no question that WIZARD is now the queen of the fleet.
From 1960 – 1962 Dr. Robert Murray sailed PATAPSCO II (WIZARD) Around the World.
In 1989 she PATAPSCO II (WIZARD) was in Patchogue, New York lying afloat. She was bought by John Dunbar and Doug Hylan with the idea of restoration, but that never came to fruition. She stayed at Benjamin River Marine in an indoor shed until she was purchased by David Graham.
PATAPSCO II turns into WIZARD
Complete restoration 42 Months 2014-2017
Brion Rieff & David Graham full restoration. Sails and Rigging by Jacob Vargish
New steam bent frames – New floor timers – New transom - New White Oak backbone (including stem)
Renewed garboards and planks (longleaf pine) – Topsides refastened.
New Rig and sail plan (Developed by Rieff and Jacob Vargish) Spars are made of Sitka Spruce
Both sails have more leading edge than previously enhancing windward performance.
Running backstays remained and a backstay was added
Cabin sides and ends including coamings and skylights are all teak and original – They were removed, stripped and expertly put back together.
Deck is a four layer sandwich glued together in place with epoxy. It began with ¼ marine plywood, butted on the beams and v-grooved and painted on their undersides to simulate the original deck, followed by a second layer of ½ plywood, with its joints staggered. This layer was sheathed with fiberglass, followed by a final layer consisting of 3/8” teak strips sprung to follow the sheer. Viewed from either above or below the deck looks original, but the plywood and fiberglass structure in intended to give the hull more rigidity and assure there will be fewer leaks.
All new interior
WIZARD's bulkheads now connect directly to her hull frames, making them structural are to some degree.
The restoration is well documented with a 10 part video series. To view, contact Peter Sterrett
THE MAIN CABIN: is gorgeous and exquisitely proportioned, with raised panel bulkheads and partitions painted off-white and bordered by varnished mahogany trim, She retains her original 1930’s ambiance and same basic galley-forward arrangement. The cabin was slightly altered by eliminating the fold down backrests in favor of more comfortable seating, and storage lockers were added against the hull.
Exposed deck beams and hull frames (Part of the boats structure) add a wonderful seafaring appearance to the entire interior.
A portside quarter berth has been added.
THE GALLEY is perfectly functional like the original and has the added convenience of a propane stove and oven.
THE HEAD is the same size and general layout as the original, but more elegant. A holding tank has been added.
The mainsheet system is beautifully designed with bronze track and fittings mounted on a varnished teak deck, The mainsheet track is mounted above the deck allowing the aft hatch to remain in its original location
4 beautiful Bronze self-tailing winches in the cockpit to complement the teak deck and coamings
Companionway dropboards are stored in the grooves in which they slide, so they are always at hand.
Companionway is off centered providing for an engine room below and a hatch above.
2 self tailing winches on the mast control the jib halyard and main halyard.
4 beautiful bronze self-tailing winches in the cockpit to complement the teak deck and coamings
Fisher Island 31’s were originally built as a one-design racing class and were the result of years of careful study to develop a model which was exceptionally sturdy, seaworthly and dry in rough going without sacrificing speed. The forward section is sharp enough to prevent pounding under any conditions and is sufficiently flared to prevent the boat from throwing water even when being driven hard to windward in rough weather.
After their winning history of racing these beautiful boats have now transitioned into cruising yachts.
WIZARD Ex PATAPSCO II did not have her rig intact when the rebuild began in 2014. New spars and rigging were designed and built, allowing Brion Reiff and Jacob Vargish to follow a trend seen by many older vessels being restored, by developing a longer mast, taller headsail, with shorter booms, increasing the leading edge and providing more performance upwind. This change seems to have resulted in a perfect combination to provide easier handling and increased speed.
The mainsheet is controlled by the winch on the portside on the house, and the full length bronze traveler is just aft of the tiller.
The self-tacking jib overlaps just abit and it’s foot is cut high for great visibility. They are easily controlled by two new bronze self-tailing winches in the cockpit.
The two smaller bronze self-tailing winches control the runners and asymmetrical spinnaker.
The halyards for the main and jib are raised with the help of self tailing winches on the mast.
The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.