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S/V Whisper Update

The “Whisper” is afloat!

WhisperIn September of 2013, during the annual Wooden Boat Festival we welcomed you aboard ‘Whisper’ a 35′ 1956 Knutson to view its restoration progress. Eight months later we are pleased to announce it has returned to the water just in time for the Summer season.

We have just lowered “Whisper,” a 1956, Knutson 35 wooden sloop, into the water for Jerry and Sandy Rogerson. It’s been 18 months since her restoration began at Sea Marine. Sandy christened Whisper with champagne: She must have worried about damaging the fresh paint because she hammered the bow five times before the bottle broke.

The first time I met Jerry and Sandy was at the 2012 Seattle Boat Show. They told me they wanted to repower their Knutson sailboat with a Beta engine, which we had on display and sell in our shop. We met again six months later during Port Townsend’s annual September Wooden Boat Festival held at Point Hudson, where our boatyard is located. They again looked at our Beta engines and talked with our crew. In November they committed to a repower.

The old engine was not operational, so Whisper was towed from Tacoma to Port Townsend for a repower and possibly some caulking below the waterline.Whisper

What began as a routine engine replacement became a total restoration project, as we, and Whisper’s owners, discovered problems with the boat that affected her integrity (i.e. she would sink if some of this work wasn’t done). All fasteners were replaced; all the planks were reamed and re-caulked. Several planks were replaced and some frames were sistered. Jerry and Sandy were heavily involved in most of the project and really deserve kudos for the tasks performed. They created lots of sawdust during most of the project. The boat has new hatches and a new toe-rail, while the original bronze hardware was shined up and reinstalled.

Sean Brown and Matt Gittingsreplaced the old, peeling canvas deck with new fiberglass decking. All of the electrical systems were replaced by Daniel Gillette and wired according to ABYC specifications. All fixtures and navigation lights are now LED.

The original box mast was sawn at the old glue joints and carefully restored by Bruce Tipton. That was some of the most impressive mast work I’ve ever seen.

The propulsion system was masterfully installed by Bob McMurray and includes a new tank, fuel supply and exhaust system. Engine data will always be available to Drew and Sandy on their new Maretron network.

Over the past 18 months, Sandy and Jerry, who rented rooms in Port Townsend so that they could work side by side with us for a week at a time, have become good friends with the Sea Marine crew. We’re sorry to see them leave our yard, but delighted to launch them, confident they’ll have smooth sailing from now on.

Eric Schouten


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