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1905 LAWLEY SLOOP 49' -- VEGA
 OVER 100 YEARS OLD!




PHOTO ABOVE: COURTESY MIT MUSEUM



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FREE BOAT: 1905 LAWLEY SLOOP 49'

30' LWL. 12'2" beam. 5'6" draft. Cast lead ballast keel. 62' wooden mast.

On April 1, 2011, I received an email from Ron Peaslee with the subject line "A Lawley Classic of 1905", and a message succinctly stating: "Still looking for a buyer and a person to restore it. Once owned by J Malcolm Forbes and kept at his Island (Naushon) in Massachusetts." Ron knew how to grab my attention. In fact, he had me with the subject line.

Well, I came across the photo above of the 1905 Lawley one day recently. Wondering what had become of her, I reached out to Ron to ask that very question. The answer: not much. This is one of those glass-half-full / glass-half-empty kinds of things. Sure, a great answer would have been that she was undergoing a first class restoration. But hey, at least she is still with us and available. We just need one hearty soul who is ready, willing, and able to take on the project of bringing her back. As Ron put it, "The object is to have her saved and restored. She needs a lot of work, but the end result would be non replaceable."

"We are getting down to the last straw as far as she is concerned. A lot of of work, but the end result would give some one a lot of pride to own a boat with her history." - Ron

Back in the Spring of 2011, Ron was hoping to get $10,000 for the boat to recoup some of his expenses.  VEGA is now FREE TO A GOOD HOME.

Owner says, "It was our father's dream to finish this boat and spend his retirement sailing around the world. He did a lot of work on it, but it was too much and he died before he could finish. We would like to see his work finished and the boat sailing again. The main issue is to find someone with the care and interest that will restore this boat and put her back in the water. We did have a lot of interest in her after the article in WoodenBoat and we had someone to take her, but the recession took care of that."


1905 LAWLEY SLOOP 49' -- VEGA

Image above: as she appeared in Spring 2013 BYB newsletter


VEGA was designed by F.D. Lawley as Hull #551 and built in South Boston in 1905 by Geo. Lawley & Son at their City Point yard for a man named Stone. Her original name seems to have been URSULA II, and an owner by the name of Jones renamed her ASHUMET II according to Maynard Bray's "Save a Classic" article that appeared in the February 2007 issue (#194) of WoodenBoat. Forbes had Lawley add the marconi rig, renamed the sloop DUNA, and sailed her for over 20 years. The Peaslee family acquired the boat 60 years ago in 1952 and named her VEGA, as she is still known today. Ron told me that his father worked diligently on the boat for years replacing ribs, refastening, etc. Her hull is planked in longleaf pine, and her design is keel-centerboard. She has a Herreshoff capstan, a rounded trunk cabin, and reportedly has leaded glass cabinetry. She has been out of the water since the early 1960's and sits on the Peaslee's property in CT. Her mast is stored separately. It is believed that plans for Lawley #551 are available at MIT's Hart Nautical Collections.


UPDATE 9/12/2013:  I had heard through the old wooden boat grapevine that a well-known restoration shop was interested in taking on VEGA as a project.  I was able to confirm with the owner of the shop that he was, indeed, planning to "adopt" the vessel.  I checked in with the owner to see if things were firmed up enough for him to declare that VEGA had been 'spoken for' and was officially off the market.

Ron replied, "Dave, it was spoken for twice before and didn't go, so let's see what happens. We are getting ready to move her on the 16th.  Looks good, and I will keep you informed. - Ron"

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed and will hopefully be updating the Bone Yard Boats community very soon with news of the successful move of VEGA and the beginning stages of that first class restoration I mentioned above.  If things don't work out, we'll still be looking for a new owner for this classic sailboat.


UPDATE 9/27/2013:  SAVED!  Pictured below, the 1905 Lawley 49' sloop sits still on the lowboy outside of Redd's Pond Boatworks shortly after her arrival Tuesday morning, September 25th.  The 180-mile trip from the Connecticut yard that has been her home for over 60 years to the Marblehead, MA, wooden boat shop represents the first giant step in the long journey back to the waters where she was first splashed 108 years ago.  I took dozens of new photos that I will get onto the BYB website over the weekend. 


1905 LAWLEY SLOOP IN 2013

Photo Above: VEGA on 09/25/2013 at the REDD'S POND SHOP


PHOTO CREDIT: I would like to thank the MIT Museum's Hart Nautical Collection for granting BYB permission to use the photo of VEGA above, taken shortly after launch. The photographer, Willard B. Jackson (1871-1940), prowled the waters north of Boston in his powerboat ALISON hunting for subjects such as URSULA II/VEGA to capture on his glass plate negatives. This photo is part of the Foster Collection that was donated to MIT in 1957 by the estate of yachtsman Charles H.W. Foster. The collection includes 4300 photographs by Stebbins, Jackson, and Peabody of yachts and commercial vessels taken between the years 1885 and 1930. In 2006, WoodenBoat magazine editor Matt Murphy published a book of Jackson's photographic work titled Glass Plates & Wooden Boats.


UPDATE 10/31/2013:  The following appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of the Bone Yard Boats newsletter:

SAVED! The 1905 LAWLEY 49' sloop VEGA (originally URSULA II) listed first in the Spring 2011 issue of BYB and most recently free to a good home in Spring 2013 now rests alongside the barn at Redd's Pond Boatworks in Marblehead, MA, after the 180-mile trip on 9/25/13 from the Connecticut yard that had been her home for over 60 years. That trip represents the first giant step in her long journey back to the waters where she was first splashed 108 years ago. While VEGA was still on the truck, co-owner Doug Park told me, "Yeah, I'm really glad it has made it this far, but will be really relieved when it’s sitting on blocks firmly on the ground. This afternoon it should be parked next to the shop for the start of a very long restoration." As you can see in the photo, the stern of the boat needed some bracing before she could travel. This is not the first Bone Yard Boats’ boat scored by the Redd’s Pond crew. Co-owner David Redero scooped up the free 1936 Yonkers Custom Cabin 36’ that appeared on the cover of the Summer 2012 issue. I will get lots of current photos of VEGA onto the BYB website.


Click here for 65 new photos taken on September 25th & 26th, 2013:

          <1905 LAWLEY: 65 MORE PHOTOS>


 

 
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