Hull No: HMCo. #818

1916 sailing dinghy

Length Water Line: 12' 8"
Draft: 1' 0"
Beam: 6' 0"
Rig: gaff sloop

As the final iteration of a “davit boat” designed for hoisting aboard a “mother ship” this boat was given side decks to better avoid flooding during a knockdown, while lead ballast keels on all four helped keep them “on their feet.”


EAGLET (HMCo. #818) was built for William Kissam Vanderbilt II (1878-1944), great grandson of railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. This was the fourth of four boats built to model no. 210, carved by Captain Nat in October 1914. The first, KATOURA JR., was unusual: unlike EAGLET’s centerboard/trunk arrangement for thin water sailing, KATOURA JR. had a removable fin keel and was intended to be carried on davits aboard Robert E. Tod’s great HMCo. schooner, KATOURA.


You might notice a similarity in hull shape between EAGLET and the 12 ½ . Despite the fact that their planking style and keel/centerboard arrangements are different, EAGLET and the 12 ½ hulls are almost identical in dimension and bear a family resemblance. While it was previously assumed that KATOURA JR. – the first boat built to EAGLET’s model – was a precursor to the 12 ½, recent transcription of correspondence between N.G.H. and Robert W. Emmons has helped us understand that the two designs evolved simultaneously in N.G.H.’s mind in the fall of 1914. N.G.H. described his work on both the 12 ½ and KATOURA JR.’s model (No. 210) in a letter to Emmons dated October 10, 1914:


“… I have made a model [Model 716] for the little boats [12 1/2-footer] in which I got quite interested. But you are not ‘in it’ as to beam! After I got at it I decided there would be an advantage in having considerable flair to the topsides and have kept the extreme breadth at 6 feet.

The model looks very nice and I am well pleased with it, and I think you will be. I have taken more draft, however, 30in, and I don’t think it any too much. Of course it can be reduced if really necessary, but it would take away from the weatherliness of the boat.

I have made another design [Model 210] for Mr. Tod [#742s Katoura Jr], [of] much lighter displacement to be better carried on his davits… I will get this thing sketched out in a few days…”



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