53ft Philip Rhodes Kirawan

Scroll down to view photos: Phase I, Phase II, Phase III
Scroll down to read Excerpt from the book “Philip Rhodes and his Yacht Designs”

Kirawan is LMI’s latest and current occupier of our refit bay. She’s a 53 foot, 1936 Philip Rhodes design. A month after her launch she competed and won the 1936 Bermuda Race, which was a heavy weather race, interestingly the “acorn” of the Storm Trysail Club began that year.

She returned to California for decades of coastwise and Transpac racing. We believe during the nineties she received a new deck, engine and interior before returning to the East Coast in the year 2000, this Bermuda Race was not as successful as the 1936 venture. Apparently, though generally well prepared, she was plagued by some quite serious leaking issues requiring the crew to hang over the side in a bosun’s chair attempting to caulk her plank seams underway tack to tack!

Post race, she was nursed back to Newport RI to then embark upon a serious reframe and re-planking project, carried out by Tom Potter and crew in Quonset RI, but with the serious complication (per the then owner) insisting leaving her “new” 90’s interior IN PLACE.

Logistics and funding went awry after a few years, and her refit came to a grinding halt. She sat forlorn, forgotten for about 14 years.

In 2017, keeping a keen eye out for the right “classic racer project”, and deciding against the S&S Chubasco, an experienced local sailor, struck upon Kirawan and said “this is the one for me”. Thus her story begins anew, with the hull and lead ballast separated, two trucks brought her to LMI to complete a serious restoration. Getting the top Skylark, Dorade, and Santana “band” back together we are deep into her rebuild. Our client wanted to start with a clean sheet of paper, discarding the interior, bunged deck, old spars and existing engine from the get go.

As you scroll thru the photo gallery you will catch snapshots of her significant restoration to his brief of all around top level, structurally and raising the bar, yet faithfully to her 1936 classic looks and roots.

Scroll down to view photos: Phase I, Phase II, Phase III
Scroll down to read Excerpt from the book “Philip Rhodes and his Yacht Designs”

Phase I
Phase II
Phase III
Photos by Billy Black

Excerpt from the book “Philip Rhodes and his Yacht Designs”

The first ocean racer to bring Phil Rhodes considerable international fame was the cutter Kirawan, which won the 1936 Bermuda Race. This was a rugged, heavy-weather contest, with winds sometimes on the nose and gusting up to 45 m.p.h. Kirawan reveled in the conditions and was the third boat in a fleet of 44 to finish. She finished only one hour and 18 minutes after the 72-foot Vamarie, the elapsed time winner, and she beat the famous, higher-rated Stormy Weather boat-for-boat. Kirawan was by, no means among the largest boats in the fleet. In fact, at 53 feet overall, she was given time by 27 yachts. Her success was due to her being pushed harder than the rest of the fleet and to her weatherliness, which allowed her to hold high and not be driven off to leeward in the blustery conditions, as was much of the fleet. Also, Phil Rhodes was aboard for the race, and it was suggested that his presence was a decisive factor in keeping her going, for he knew how hard she could be driven.

Kirawan was designed for Robert P. Baruch of the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club on Long Island Sound. She was built by Jakobson and Peterson in Brooklyn, New York (later Jakobson Shipyard of Oyster Bay), and launched only a month before the start of the Bermuda Race. Although designed with the Bermuda Race in mind (her owner had specified that she have a favorable rating and that she rate at the top of Class B), she was also meant to be suitable for weekend cruising on Long Island Sound. For this reason, she was given a generous sail plan to push her along in the Sound’s gentle breezes.