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  • Ward Fay

Another International One Design (IOD) Sloop Finds a Home in the San Juan Island

by Michael Douglas and Ward Fay

Ariel (IOD hull No. 85) arrives on Center Island

For years it’s been the dream of members of the Wooden Boat Society of the San Juan Islands (WBS) to establish a fleet of International One Design sailboats in the San Juan Islands, to campaign in races here and elsewhere. IOD’s, as they are known, were originally designed in 1936 in the Bjorne Aas Yard in Frederickstad, Norway. Cornelius Shields, then Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, commissioned the design to provide more affordable fleet racing that favored crew skill over an always changing design class. While in Bermuda for a Six-Meter regatta, Shields was inspired by the sight of Saga, a Six-Meter designed by Aas.

Shields wanted to have a fleet of boats that looked like Saga but were slightly smaller. As a result, each year in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, the Aas Yard in Norway built twelve or more IODs for club sailing fleets in Europe and the United States. Currently there are a dozen fleets located in Norway, Sweden, England, Nova Scotia and the East and West Coasts of the U.S. Today, over 200 IODs are still actively sailed, and in recent years the original wood IODs have been joined by fiberglass hulls strictly complying with class design requirements.

To many wooden boat enthusiasts, the IOD 33 is among the most beautiful sailboats ever made and are a joy to sail as well. Like many Scandinavian designs of that period, they excel at sailing upwind. Watching a group of them sailing is a grand spectacle, especially in our scenic island location.

Since interest in IOD’s appeared to be waning in the San Francisco Bay Area over the past decade, Mike Douglas, current president of the WBS and owner of the IOD Nutmeg (Hull No. 19), spearheaded an effort by the Society to bring three IOD’s up from the Bay area. The first was Prophet (Hull No. 81), which had her bow stove in by a buoy off San Francisco. Years of work by WBS board members and others brought her back into prime sailing condition. She was sailed here for a few years while Mike tried to find a buyer for her in this part of the country but was eventually sold to a gentleman in Sausalito.

The next acquisition was Quickstep (Hull No. 88) which needed much less work than Prophet to sail again. Quickstep was successfully relocated to West Sound on Orcas Island, where she is currently maintained, sailed and raced by Jennifer Walsh.

More recently, Mike was able to convince Christian Maas, of Center Island, to rescue Ariel (Hull No. 85) and bring her here to the San Juan Islands. Ariel was in danger of being scrapped for her lead keel, not because she was in bad shape but because she was unwanted. Ariel’s trip north began on San Francisco Bay with a breezy sail across the Bay to a yard in Sausalito where she was loaded onto a borrowed IOD trailer. That was followed by a 2-day drive north to the Anacortes ferry dock. Since Center Island is not serviced by the state ferry system, alternative plans were required for Ariel’s final delivery there. Chris Maas, Ariel’s new owner, built his own custom trailer and transferred Ariel from the loaner trailer. She then made the voyage, along with Chris and his dog, to Center Island as shown in the photo above.

The WBS looks forward to seeing Ariel racing with Nutmeg and Quickstep, not only in local races, but also at the annual Classic Mariners Regatta held in Port Townsend the first weekend in June. We also hope to see Flirt, the IOD kept at Deer Harbor Boatworks, someday joining in the fun.

Nutmeg and Prophet out for an afternoon sail out of Deer Harbor

Further IOD class information and history can be found on the class website

IOD Class Championships on San Francisco Bay, 2016

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