Tom Gallant has sailed Nova Scotia schooner Avenger on the ocean for more than forty years.
Nova Scotia is bound by the sea. This simple fact has caused generations of her hard-working craftsmen to create all manner of wonderful boats, from majestic Salt Bankers to the tough little dories they carried. Among the best of these were the “Cape Islanders”. They were the inshore fishing boats first designed and built on Cape Sable Island on Nova Scotia’s South Shore when motor boats first became practical. Like all of the province’s work boats, they were evolved — as much as designed — to be practical and safe to work on the harsh North Atlantic. An d like all the work boats of the era, they were beautiful.
Fishermen of the day would go to a boatbuilder with a simple set of desires. “A good sea boat, easily driven, able to carry a load. “Your perfect motor boat. Stanley Greenwood was one of Cape Sable’s best builders whose boats were coveted up and down the shore, which is why Scott Dagley, builder of the Cape Sable has named hull number 1 Stanley. This new boat is the result of conversations between Scott and John Steele, founder of Covey Island Boatworks. Unimpressed by the boats they see roaring around, guzzling fuel, leaving a huge wake and looking like nothing so much as a steam iron you’d buy at Walmart, both wondered if there’d be a market for a sensible cruising motor boat — sea worthy, easily driven, fuel eﬃcient with a long cruising range - and beautiful like the old Cape Islanders! They decided to build one.
A design based on two lives building boats and living out on the water in boats
Full disclosure. I sail a Nova Scotia schooner on the ocean and have for over forty years. I know Scott and John well. Scott recently did a big refit to my schooner and I couldn’t be happier. John and I have worked and sailed together. These guys know what they’re doing. It was their intention from the first to address all of the usual problems of boat ownership by smart design, integrity of build and attention to the hard-won lessons of two lives building boats and living out on the water in boats.
So, the Cape Sable has no exterior wood. Low maintenance. The interior wood was chosen and finished for little or no maintenance — the owner’s choice. The hull is based on one of the last, best wooden models which Scott ‘tweaked’ when he built his moulds. He added a bit of tumblehome to her stern quarter, flattened her buttock lines for a cleaner run, moved the stern post aft, tapered its trailing edge for eﬃciency and sweetened her sheer. Her sheer is stone perfect. Hundreds of hours went into long boarding the plug to ensure lovely, fair topsides. She has an ample engine room where you can easily get at the engine for servicing. The best soundproofing. Her systems compartment is organized so everything is to hand. Her interior is simple, elegant, practical. She’ll make a fine live-aboard.
She makes no fuss going through the water and at ten knots sips just over a gallon an hour, giving her a cruising range of nearly a thousand miles. You could steam to Bermuda. She’s the kind of boat a retired sailor would love. There’s nothing cranky about this boat.
The more experience you’ve had on the water, the more you’ll appreciate her virtues.
I'm still a schooner sailor, for my sins, but if it ever gets to be more than I can handle, I'll be looking for one of theses!