Klang II continues to turn heads wherever she
Not only are her looks distinctive, but the bluff-bowed 46-foot
wooden yawl with the high, broad foredeck has a venerable history,
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
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.