Hull No: HMCo. #405

1889 Catyawl

Length Over All: 29' 6"
Length Water Line: 26' 6"
Draft: 2' 8"
Beam: 11' 0"

ALICE is one of the oldest boats in the HMM collection, and only the 5th sailboat ever built by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. 


ALICE was built for N.G. and J.B.’s brother Charles F. Herreshoff Jr. on the molds of the 1876 catboat, GLEAM. The heavy unstayed masts and plumb stems of these early Herreshoff catboats – typical of the period – made them pitch unmercifully at times. Observing this, Captain Nat’s subsequent boats PELICAN and GANNET had masts further aft and overhanging bow profiles that made for a gentler ride through the waves, and would become characteristic of his design approach.


Though it may appear a derelict, ALICE provides an unusual opportunity to observe early Herreshoff construction techniques up close. You can see where the boat was re-rigged in two separate mast step locations forward, and the quadrant steering gear that was typical of early Herreshoff sailboat designs. You can also see evidence of the boat’s very long life:  note the number and proximity of the screws in the planking, which indicate that ALICE has been re-framed and re-fastened, probably more than once. It is a good reminder that these relatively lightly-built racing boats were not really intended to last more than about 30 years at the outside, and most that are still with us today have required major – and often multiple – restorations.

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