- Boat Name: Madcap
- Sail: US 21
- Year Built: 1924
- Designer: Frederick M. Hoyt
- Builder: Henry B. Nevins, Inc. City Island, NY
- Owner: Tom Fair
Madcap was built for Mr. Harry T. Maxwell of New
York City, to try for the 4- boat U.S. Team to race in England.
She was not selected, but continued racing in the Long Island
Sound 6 Meter Fleet with a modified keel and rudder and adjustments
to the mast position and rake. She won the Larchmont Race Week
in 1924. After three years she was sold to Mr. Emil G. Schmidt
in Put In Bay, Ohio and then went to Buffalo, NY for a short
time. In 1932 she was sold to Dr. Paul J. Kuebler in Toledo,
Ohio. Dr. Kuebler raced her in Lake Erie. Madcap is the only
boat to win Toledo Yacht Club's Merrill B. Mills Perpetual Trophy
three times. From 1938 to 1949 she was in Detroit with several
different owners, E.D. Morris, Lawrence F. Hope and Gale Beardsley.
A cabin and self bailing cockpit were added by Ford Boat Works
without disturbing the original construction design.
- In 1949 she was purchased by my father and mother, Lew (Williams
Lewis) and Helen Kershaw of Cleveland, Ohio. She was sailed from
Detroit to Edgewater Yacht Club in Cleveland in mid-November
of 1949. My parents told stories about their sail down the Detroit
River and on to Cleveland with ice on the decks and cold, cold
weather. From 1949 (when I was 9) to the early 1960s we sailed
Madcap as a family and successfully raced in local Universal
class races at Edgewater YC, Cleveland, Vermillion and Mentor
Harbor YC regattas and won the ILYA Race Week at Put In Bay,
Ohio numerous times. Madcap won Cleveland Yacht Club's Falcon
Cup and Winton Trophy . During these years we went on many cruises
around Lake Erie and Canada with another couple. My sleeping
nest was the sailbags in the bow which was very soft since we
had cotton sails. I can remember many spring weekends working
on Madcap at Edgewater Yacht Club's boat yard where we hauled
out each fall. There was a hand crank on the crane used for hauling
the mast and the boat. Rollers were put under the cradles to
roll the boat to and from her haul out location. Wooden frames
and heavy canvas covers were put on to protect from winter snows.
My Dad was a stern teacher as he taught me how to "properly"
sand, paint and varnish. In 1954 the long boom that overhung
the transom was shortened 3 feet so a permanent backstay could
be installed and the double, running backstays changed to single,
running backstays. About 1960, the canvas covering the white
cedar strip deck (that was applied before 1949) was replaced
- In July of 1965 , because of a job transfer, my Dad and two
friends sailed to Buffalo, outboard-powered through the N.Y.
Canal to the Hudson River and sailed to Long Island Sound and
to Greenwich, Ct. where she sailed for nineteen more years. During
the late 60s and 70s there were many sixes sailing on Long Island
Sound. My Dad says that five to eight would get together regularly
at each other's ports for racing and socializing. He says they
were known as LIS of ISMA(Long Island Sound group of International
Six Meter Association. In 1987 the Six Meter Worlds was hosted
by Sewanahka Corinthian YC off Oyster Bay in L.I. Sound. Dad
talks about cheering on "Clytie" from their sailing
group. She was one of two wooden sixes in the regatta. Madcap
won the U.S.S. America Trophy, Old Greenwich Y.C., CT in 1976
and the Stamford-Denmark Friendship Race in Stamford, CT. By
1970 the fore triangle was raised 3 feet and the sail area increased
to recover some of the area lost by the shortening of the boom.
During 1965-84 Madcap was often seen cruising to various ports
and anchorages on Long Island Sound. She survived hurricanes,
storms while at anchor and always brought her crew home safely
from their sails.
- 1984 brought a phone call from my Dad who asked, "Would
you like to have Madcap in North Carolina.?" At this time
he was seventy years old and maintaining Madcap as well as a
C&C 35. Bob, my husband who had sailed on Madcap in the 60s
and grown up sailing in Naragansset Bay, and I swallowed hard
and said , "We would love to have her "retire"
to North Carolina.." We trucked her to our "inland
lake." For the past twenty years she has been on Lake Norman,
a Duke Power 500+ mile shoreline lake north of Charlotte, North
Carolina. We had her docked at Lake Norman Yacht Club for many
years until we purchased lakefront property on the lake. Madcap
survived Hurricane Hugo at the dock in our backyard. (Hurricane Hugo destroyed
all but one boat at the Yacht Club. We were happy she was at
our dock.) Every time we've gone out sailing someone has come
up in their power or sailboat and asked about her. She's the
only classic wooden sailboat on the lake and is a conversation
piece. People are amazed that she is made of wood. The hull is
double planked 3/8" cedar inner and ½" mahogany
outer and is so smooth it looks like fiberglass. Over the years
people have been amazed at her age. This year is her eightieth birthday year. . Madcap is one of
the shorter sixes built to the six meter rule. She is 32"
long and her beam is 6'11" and her water line length is
22'4". She has a 2 ton lead keel and displaces approximately
7,900 pounds. Next month (May 2004) we will haul her out for
the bi-annual outfitting. The mast and boom (original from when
my Dad purchased Madcap in 1949) , topsides, bottom and boot-stripe
will all be given TLC. We have enjoyed having her here on the
lake especially sailing in the spring and fall 10-12 mph breezes.
It is unusual for one family to own, sail, race, cruise, care
for and love a boat for fifty-five years. … and we are happy
to have this "Special Lady" here in North Carolina.
- 04/17/04 Update: Madcap continues to find our dock at our
home on Lake Norman north of Charlotte, NC her retirement from
racing home. We are going to have a survey done by Mr. Hayley
of Marblehead, MA who is the expert in classic wooden boats.
She'll be out of the water in May for the biannual outfitting
- bottom, boottop, topsides, mast & boom. Mr. Hayley will
see her out of the water. I'll be taking pictures of the process
as I have done for the last 9 haulouts. Can't believe we've had
her that long. We had our first sail two weeks ago with our daughter
and three grandchildren from Illinois.
Update - January 2008 - Marilyn Williams donated Madcap to the International Yacht Restoration School in 2006. The boat was purchased by Tom Fair who has underwritten the cost to have Madcap returned to racing configuration in time for the 2009 World Cup in Newport. The photos below show Madcap in the early stages of the project.
Update - April 2008 - Progress continues apace for Madcap at IYRS. She has new deck beams and is well under way with a new laid deck. With any luck Madcap will be relaunched on May 31, 2008.
Update - May 8, 2008 - The deck is complete and painted. The mast is being built. Launch plans are on schedule for May 31, 2008.
Update - June 1, 2008 - Madcap is relaunched.
Madcap at the 2009 World Cup in Newport
The photos below show Madcap on Lake Norman, North Carolina, which is where the boat stayed from 1984 - 2006.