May 14, 2020
Color Your Own 12 ½
Print this page at home and color your own 12½!
The Herreshoff 12½ (also called the “Buzzards Bay Boys Boat” was designed by Captain Nat in 1914 to be a good boat for kids to learn to sail in even though the winds and currents were pretty strong and things can get kind of rough in and around Buzzards Bay and Bristol. They’re a lot of fun to sail, and we have a whole fleet of them at HMM that we use for our summer sailing camp and sailing classes.
What colors were most traditional for old Herreshoff boats, you might wonder? Well, it’s a little hard to do color research from black and white photos, so all that we do know comes from written descriptions from the time, paintings that were done at the time, older painted models, and layers of paint off the historic boats themselves. We do know that Captain Nat loved a certain green color that we now call “Herreshoff Green” or sometimes “ALERION green” after the color he painted his own boat. But all of these sources leave a lot to be interpreted, which means you should color your own 12½ whatever color you want! Take a little inspiration from the historic Kirby Paint company color palette (which was in business at the same time as HMCo.!) or go with whatever you have for colored pencils, watercolors or crayons at home. Think about the topsides and trim, design yourself a sail number or logo, and don’t forget to color below the waterline too! Historically, working boats were painted red below the waterline, while yachts were green. Both of these colors were easy to make with a high copper content, which is naturally a little bit toxic and keeps algae and barnacles from sticking to the bottom of your boat and slowing you down.