Klang II - 1924 English Yawl - click for home page (Photo Credit: Peter Barlow)

From "Soundings Online" http://www.soundingsonline.com/archive.story/846.html, also printed in the October 2000 issue of Soundings Magazine 

Under Way
At 76, wooden yawl Klang begins another chapter

By William Sisson, Editor

Klang II continues to turn heads wherever she goes.

Not only are her looks distinctive, but the bluff-bowed 46-foot wooden yawl with the high, broad foredeck has a venerable history, as well.

Built in 1924 at the W.E. Thomas shipyard in Falmouth, England, Klang II took part in the evacuation of 338,000 British and Allied troops from the French seacoast town of Dunkirk 60 years ago during World War II.

Operation Dynamo, as the evacuation was called, involved about 800 vessels, both commercial and pleasure. Thus, in her small way, Klang — named after a town in Malaysia by her first owner, a British colonel — played a key role in one of the watershed events of the 20th century.

Klang made her way across the Atlantic in the mid-1960s and spent nearly 30 years in and around the tidal waters of the lower Connecticut River, where we got to know her. She left her adopted estuary this summer bound for New York Harbor. It was with some sadness that we watched her new owners ready Klang for the trip down Long Island Sound.

With its strong chop and tidal currents, New York Harbor is not an easy draw for any vessel, let alone a 76-year-old in need of some work. In England, Klang wintered in a mud slip, which for a wooden vessel is probably about as close to heaven as you can get. It certainly contributed to Klang’s longevity.

Her former owners still worry over her a bit.

“I look at the pictures of her, and I get a funny feeling in here,” says Jack Rogers, patting his chest. Rogers, 68, of East Haddam, Conn., owned Klang for about 15 years. “I miss her, but not enough to go through the anguish of taking care of her again.”

I recently spoke to her new skipper, Rip Hayman, a longtime sailor and a member of the New York City community association that was formed especially to purchase the vessel.

“You have Klang,” I said.

“Klang has us,” he answered.

Initially, she was being kept on a mooring off Pier 25 and Hudson River Park, but the wakes from a nearby ferry terminal proved too much. “It’s a rough harbor for her,” Hayman says.

Earlier this summer, she was on the hard having her rudder post rebuilt. Hayman says he intends to find a more protected berth for Klang once she is back in the water. He also plans to have her winter in the water in the Chesapeake.

Hayman is confident the association will prove to be a good, responsible owner. “Klang is fortunate,” says Hayman, 49, who has worked in the commercial shipping industry. “She has a group of people who want to keep her alive.”

Klang’s working-boat roots are part of what makes her special. Although she never worked commercially, she is a somewhat larger version of a Falmouth quay (pronounced “kee”) punt, according to Klang’s third owner, Keith Taylor, a Kiwi who bought the vessel in 1967 and brought her to Essex, Conn., when he took over as editor of Soundings. (Taylor purchased Klang from former Sail editor and Cruising World founder Murray Davis, who sailed her here from England.)

In their day, these working vessels, often ketch-rigged, stayed on station at the mouth of the English Channel, where they would meet the inbound bulk-laden sailing vessels waiting for the final word as to their discharging port or ports. Taylor says the Falmouth quay punts usually carried shipping agents, who would receive a vessel’s manifest and then sail it to Falmouth where it would be rushed by riders to London, which allowed the cargo to be sold before the ship berthed.

What Klang needs more than anything is regular maintenance and upkeep. Properly refitted and maintained, she will weather the rigors of New York Harbor in the 21st century. We wish her well.


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326 Spring St. NYC 10013  914-263-6716

Last Modified: May 27, 2010