by Nicolas Wallinder (4/19/12)
Clara Brown is a 62 year old wooden sloop. She was designed by John G Alden , a famous Naval Architect. Her designed water length (DWL) is 22.5 feet; length over all (LOA) 34.3 feet, draft is 4’ 11’’and the beam is 7 feet making her a narrow long and shallow sailboat. Her mast is 36 feet 11 inches tall making the sail area for this sloop massive. Total sail area is 456 ftsq divided amongst two sail one mail sail at 311 ftsq and a jib at 146 ftsq (JGA 872A & 872B).
To steer this vessel there is a 3.5 foot tiller attached to an inline rudder which is attached to the full body keel. Propulsion for when there is no wind is a hand built gasoline, inboard, inline four-cylinder engine in the aft-mid section underneath the step into the cabin. Powering the cabin lights and running navigable lights is a marine battery connected to a switch board. She has a cabin with two adjacent side berths/couches and aft forward double berth. She comfortable seats 6 people but her max capacity is 9 persons. (JGA 872B)
John G Alden is the Naval Architect that designed her on the 7th of March 1950. He published these drawings at 131 State St. Boston Massachusetts classified as an AUX Sloop the 872nd drawing he had completed (JGA Drawings). Alden is most well-known for his design of the ocean racer class “Malabar.” He also established his own Alden Designs a yacht design company. Early in his life he worked under Edward Burgess and his son Starling Burgess, both designers for the America’s Cup. Malabar VI, Malabar VII and Malabar X won the Newport to Bermuda race.” His designs have been donated by his company to MIT’s Hart Nautical Collection”. (Alden design)
A sloop is a sailboat design in which Clara Brown is labeled. She is a classic being 62 years old and made completely out of oak with cedar finish. A sloop by definition is a sail boat that’s mast is placed bow forward. This is the reason the foresail otherwise known as the jib is so much smaller that the mainsail. Part of the shape can also be attributed to the classic sloop design and how it flares up in both the bow and stern (See pictures 2 & 3) hence the difference between DWL and LOA.
The way this sail boat specifically likes to sail is at an angle giving the shape of the hull a purpose. When the boat gets 10-20 degrees of heel the LOA of 34 feet become the leeward water line. This increase in water displacement gives added stability and speed through any chop. Since she was designed to be a finger lake day cruiser her freeboard is very low to the water which eventually does submerge when this happens it’s a good indicator that the skipper is pushing the boat to hard and at 62 years old should not be pushed that hard” Never whip an old horse.” Another trick to sailing this design is to beam reach and broach reach to keep the force displacement balanced on the rig. Given her large main sail area of 311ftsq putting the wind behind is in most conditions the fastest. The fastest I have ever sailed her was approximately 10 knots and that was on a broad reach in a steady 15 knots of breeze.
Weighing in at 10,000 pounds Clara Brown is relatively unresponsive given her size however once moving she sails very smoothly almost unaffected by waves and changes in pressure. When puffs do come the main sail automatically rounds the boat up over healing over.
Although this sail boat is a complex mechanism she serves only one purpose to sail. Sailing can get complicated depending on how in depth you want to take it. Clara Brown has a bow stern port and starboard like every boat. She has standing and running rigging. Part of the standing rigging is the mast boom fore stay back stay and the two shrouds. Then on to stability and control with the keel and rudder which connects to a tiller located in the cockpit used to steer. Then the sails main, jib, and spinnaker all of which have their own individual lines called halyards to hoist and lower the sails. Sheets for the jib and spinnaker are on both sides of the rigging and the main sails connected to a traveler bar with a system of pulleys to give added power when trimming. On the sail there are three sides the Leech, Luff and Foot with a respective Head, Clew and Tack. All of which have their own lines like the Cunningham, Outhaul, and Boomvang that control sail shape for the variable wind conditions. Each line has their own designated system of pulleys wenches and cleats to secure the sails. (Sailboat Diagram)
The physics behind sailing is by utilizing the wind by maximizing air flow over the sails by using telltales on the sails. Let’s take beam reach as an example. When the wind hits the sails and the sails are pulled in all the way they act as wall. However, when they ease the sails out the wind can flow over them and be forced back behind the boat because the bot is being held in place in the water by the keel and rudder to prevent the boat by side slipping. This ultimately creates force and with a boat that’s afloat it does not take much force to get it moving.
Then comes her name, Clara Brown, she is named after a former slave from Virginia who became a community leader, philanthropist and aided settlement of former slaves during the time of Colorado’s Gold Rush.
Clara Brown was born in Virginia in 1800. She married another slave when she was eighteen and together they had four children. In 1835, Brown’s family was broken apart when they were all sold to different slave owners. (Clara Brown) Clara was sold to a plantation owner in Kentucky. When Brown was 56 years old, she received her freedom and worked her way west as a cook and laundress to Denver, Colorado. Brown died in 1885. Before her death she was made a member of the Society of Colorado Pioneers for her role in the Colorado gold rush. Brown’s kindness touched so many people in the Denver area.
- “Alden Designs.” Alden Designs. Niels Helleberg Yacht Design. Web. 22 Mar. 2012.(http://www.aldendesigns.com/)
- “Artemis (ex Salperton).” Dubois. Dubois Naval Architects Ltd. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. (http://www.duboisyachts.com/design/yachts/launched/artemis-ex-salperton-design/)
- Carrick, Robert W. “John G. Alden and His Yacht Designs.” Barnes & Noble. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/john-g-alden-and-his-yacht-designs-robert-w-carrick/1001527776)
- ” Clara Brown.” 2012. Biography.com 22 Mar 2012, 12:22 (http://www.biography.com/people/clara-brown-206526awns)
- Gougeon, Meade, and Ty Knoy. The Evolution of Modern Sailboat Design. Winchester, 1973. Google Books. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. (http://books.google.com/books?id=lRoJAQAAMAAJ)
- JOHN G. ALDEN, AUX Keel Sloop No 872A, published March 7th 1950, Advanced Boat Particulars
- JOHN G. ALDEN, No 872B, Publishes March 7th 1950, Basic boat particulars
- All Clara Brown pictures were taken by myself or my dad.
- Photos: http://l-36.com/boatlay.gif
- Photos: http://www.blackpast.org/files/blackpast_images/brown_clara.jpg