Photo courtesy of Concordia Boatyard
Stuart MacGregor isn’t sure he knows what to call this year's gathering of Concordia Yawls in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The boats are so lauded and loved by their owners that it seems there is a reunion every five years of these yachts around the country, and MacGregor, president of Concordia Boats, is worried that the excitement might wear thin. His fear, however, seems to be unjustified as the organizers expect another strong turn out this August in Padanaram Harbor at New Bedford Yacht Club.
The Concordia Yawl, at 39 feet, is known for her sleek lines and timeless look, a hardy boat that handles beautifully. Laid out in a traditional manner, the Concordia is equally fun for racing as she is for leisure. Owners often race their boats in distance races, citing the way they handle the ocean like a thoroughbred
Llewellyn Howland established Concordia Company, Inc. in 1926, and in 1932, transferred the operation of the company to his son, Waldo and Marblehead racing celebrity C. Raymond Hunt. In 1938, 80 years ago, C. Raymond Hunt designed the first Concordia Yawl Java, a sailboat that could be used for both racing and cruising while withstanding the rough conditions that Buzzard’s Bay consistently delivers.
From there the class grew, and 103 boats and 80 years later, the yawls make up one of the largest wooden one-design classes. The first four were built in Massachusetts, while the next 99 were commissioned by Concordia to the Abeking and Rasmussen shipyard in Lemwerder, Germany. Remarkably, nearly all of the hulls produced still exist.
Although production of the Concordia yawl was halted with the advent of fiberglass, most boats are being restored in their original likeness with oak frames and mahogany planking. Many owners are dedicated to their upkeep and strive to keep the fleet as authentic as possible. The Concordia website is currently in the process of updating to allow owner information.
This year's anniversary reunion is planned for August 24th through the 26th in Concordia’s home waters of Padanaram. The event will include a cocktail reception on Friday, the 24th, a day of racing and a gala dinner Saturday evening featuring awards for racing and enthusiasm. The weekend will conclude with a wrap-up brunch Sunday morning.
CYOA and Panerai have extended a special invitation for owners who are bringing their yawls to the reunion to participate in some of the classic yacht regattas before the reunion. We hope they’ll join us as it would be wonderful to see a large group of these fine yachts sailing together!