We have some exciting news to share: Bob and Paul have been reunited with an old friend – s/y Zingara. And like any new boat owners, they couldn’t be more excited! We thought we’d share this re-acquaintance story with readers, giving a little background on Zingara herself, what makes her unique, and why those characteristics are as relevant to the sailing Bob and Paul want to do today as they were when Zingara was first conceived more than 30 years ago.
Bob and Paul, let’s start with an obvious question – after an unexpected year and an even more unconventional sailing season, why buy a boat now?
Well, one thing this year has done is encourage many people, ourselves included, to reflect on what’s most important to them. How can we spend more time with family and close friends? How can we sail in the places and with the people that mean the most to us? We were clear on the answers, but had only a vague idea of how to get there. Then late this summer, Zingara came on the market and the pieces all began to fall into place.
Take us back to the beginning, how did you guys first meet Zingara and how were you involved in her creation?
We were first introduced to Zingara in the mid-1990’s and immediately we recognized that she was exceptionally well built and had a wonderful high performance shape.
She was originally designed by Bill Peterson, conceived to participate in the 1990 BOC-British Oxygen Company Challenge, a solo event ‘round-the-world yacht race – what later would become known as Around Alone – but her owner’s project fell apart. By the time we met her, the yacht was a long way from finished, the designer was out of the picture, the striking but wildly impractical rotating wing mast had disappeared into the dusty corners of some Rhode Island boat shed, and her original owner had passed away. It was 2000, and her new owner was ready to remodel and redesign Zingara to fit his needs more aptly and selected our team at Brooklin Boat Yard as the guys to manage the project. It was during the summer months of 2000 where we attended to the completion of the design and began working plans to extensively reshape the yacht over 8 months. It was a total gut-rehab project of a boat that had never yet been used, just barely conceived.
Her new owner envisioned a solid, practical boat for cruising with no plan for racing. We translated these goals with a vision that made the best use of her potential as a solid sailing yacht: the thoughtful design of the sailing platform, deck arrangement, and cockpit were to be functional in blue water; and down below her interior was to be spacious and comfortable, safe and relatively simple. This ‘less-is-more’ approach was quickly embraced by all of us.
Zingara was launched in 2001 as a very capable, seaworthy cruising boat with moderately high performance which met all of her owner’s needs. He was able to enjoy long distance, short-handed cruising together with his spouse exploring up and down the Northeast coasts of Maine and Nova Scotia.
The boat eventually was sold to southern New England, to her longest-term owner who enjoyed a moderate calendar of racing and light cruising with friends and family. He also used her as a summer home on the water in Nantucket for more than a decade. It takes a good breeze to get her going but Zingara performs well in a wide range of conditions. This makes her a quick and comfortable cruising yacht. In talking with him during the purchasing process, the only regret her last owner had in selling her was not doing the Newport to Bermuda race.
Let’s get technical for a minute: Zingara has a yawl rig. Why?
The yawl rig was important to her second owner, who valued the classic touch as well as the flexibility and maneuverability the sail plan offers. In original BOC Race configuration, the rig designed for the yacht was intended to employ a complex, highly-tuned and cutting edge rig design: a free-standing wing mast design with rotational actuation of mast and headstay. This was a highly experimental design for the time and was never implemented on the boat.
The yawl is not our first choice go-to when thinking of sail plan, but the arrangement enjoys solid appreciation by cruising sailors. The mizzen is a great place to mount electronics and radar antennae, and can also serve more practical “cruising” uses like hanging laundry and shower heads, etc. The small mizzen sail, sheeted tight amidships, can give good stability while riding on anchor in a tight spot, while if properly sized it also allows easy shortening sail by dropping mainsail and going “jib-and-jigger”. Against that are the cost and windage of a second mast and rigging, and the clutter of the afterdeck with chainplates, sheet, boom vang, etc.
We designed the sail area geometry and rig arrangement to meet conservative level of horsepower; with her SA/D set around 19, the sail plan is not grand prix but amply capable and very user-friendly at sea.
What else stands out in the design of this boat?
While Zingara is 30-plus years old, her design is still considered contemporary yacht design, yet it is unique to see double-ended hull shapes in any modern design. To our minds, this feature also happens to be well-executed by her designer– it shows a successful mix of elements that achieve both aesthetic beauty and modern hull shape not usually associated with the double-ender paradigm. She is not only a great looking hull, but her hull lines describe a powerful modern shape: the success in keeping a light displacement with fast shapes helps make her a nimble and very easily sailed vessel that happens to be great to look at.
Zingara appears designed with double-handed sailing in mind, why has this gained in popularity over the last few years?
Before Covid, it was getting too complex and expensive to manage a large crew. Who gets paid, who doesn’t. The social aspects of it are challenging. Each party gets tired of that relationship.
Covid has only accelerated this reduction in fully-crewed racing. Large groups aren’t feasible when you’re trying to stay in a safe “bubble” socially. Groups require lots of trust and so the smaller the crew, the easier it is to maintain everyone’s safety. And of course for family cruising, a boat that’s easily-handled short-handed is a huge asset.
Do you have any improvements or modifications that you’re planning on making to Zingara right away?
At some point we may increase the sail area and make some tweaks like increasing mast height and modifying chainplate locations. We’d like to move away from using any overlapping headsails. At the moment, very few things need to be fixed immediately. This coming season, we’ll spend time getting to know the boat, settle in and use her, then we’ll have a better idea of what we may want to tackle.
What are your sail plans for the boat?
This season we’ll aim to do a couple regattas, but mostly each of us wants to enjoy time cruising Maine waters with each other, but also with our families.
This year we’ll of course be at The Camden Classics Cup, the regatta we sponsor annually last weekend of July. We’ll participate in the classic series during the week following that, which leads to the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta on the first weekend of every August. In years to come we may campaign her in southern New England, Narragansett Bay, or look at offshore events like Newport to Bermuda and others.
Beyond typical crewed regattas, we’re also considering some double-handed racing when there’s opportunity. It’s an essential distillation of going off-shore and when you crew in small numbers, there’s a close bond of trust that’s formed. When you coordinate your efforts and manage to pull it off safely and enjoyably — its not so much about winning, but more about answering the call to adventure.
Lastly, why not another boat – why Zingara specifically?
We’ve been talking about building one of our own designs, or buying a pre-owned boat for a number of years. Recently, it was the seriousness of Covid that gave us the time to reflect and refocus our priorities.
Each of us has an interest in taking our families cruising, and as partners we also want the ability to do events with a boat we own. The idea that we can share this with our families and also with our professional lives seems like a good balance to sailing. We will always have time sailing with our clients and friends, but this decision gives us additional resources and flexibility to get on the water on our agenda. There’s nothing like a global pandemic to sharpen the focus.
Zingara comes as an interesting option because of our deep involvement in creating her — that link to something we designed can showcase our design work, but owning her also recalls our history and lineage that we enjoy remaining connected with. Zingara checks a number of boxes, like this; we couldn’t own just any boat, and she happens to be a beautiful wooden boat with modern clean lines. So, it feels like a great opportunity for us– the fact that Zingara came up for sale now is very lucky.
Congratulations on Zingara! She has come full circle and we look forward to hearing about your adventures as her latest owners’.
Readers, we hope you enjoyed this special feature. Stay tuned for regular updates, race reports and more photos of Zingara in future newsletters. Keep warm and keep the faith – sailing weather will be here eventually!