Whoever would have thought a hurricane would bring about the design of one of the world's most renowned and classic yawls? Certainly not me. It is one of the more surprising - and perhaps lesser known - quirks in the story of the Concordia Yawl.
Waldo Howland, owner of Concordia from 1932 to 1969, lost his family's Escape - a circa 1890 Norwegian pilot boat - to the Great Hurricane of 1938. Waldo had Concordia Company design something to replace his much-loved boat - he wanted a racing/cruiser daysailer that could handle the choppy seas of Buzzards Bay.
Concordia Inc was established in 1926 by Waldo's dad, Llewelyn, and named for the Howland family's whaling vessel. The company started designing frostbite dinghies and eventually moved on to larger 28-foot boats and from there Concordia began to establish itself as a company which produced well-designed, high-quality wooden craft. At Waldo's request came "design number fourteen". Nobody knew at the time #14 would become the classic Concordia yawl - one of the most successful racer/cruisers of all time. And perhaps the most famous and beloved production wooden yacht of all time.
Between 1938 and 1966 Concordia Company commissioned 103 Concordia yawls to be constructed. All but the first four were built in Germany, at the shipyard Abeking & Rasmussen; and all but one are with us today – clearly demonstrating the incredible quality of the yawls. Such a close and trusting relationship developed between the two companies, that Abeking & Rasmussen would often produce and ship completed yawls to Concordia in the USA before payment was made, trusting that Concordia would honour the debt (which, of course, they always did).
Since 1966 Concordia Company has continued to design and build different boats, however none have surpassed the fame of the Concordia Yawl.
In 1959 Concordia Yawl #73 was built and shipped to the USA. Since her first owner, Allen Chamberlin, she has had a few names changes: from Windemere, to Ygerne (A.T. Klotts), to Tynaje (P. Ross) and finally to Tosca in 1977 (R & A Harrison). In 1979 Drs. Gerald & Mary Fitzgerald purchased Tosca and she has remained with them cruising extensively in Newfoundland and Cape Breton ever since.
In 2015 Dr. Gerald Fitzgerald came to Lunenburg to take part in one of our dory building classes. In his spare time, he visited a few different boatyards in and around Lunenburg, but ultimately he liked the look and the feel of the Dory Shop. A small wooden boat yard with 100 years of experience under their belt. He spoke with his family, and together they decided the Dory Shop would be the place that should look after Tosca. While in remarkably good shape for being a 56-year old wooden boat, the time had come for some tender and somewhat invasive care. The stories of which will follow right here pretty soon.