( photo by Jeff Smith)

Owner: Robert & Roberta Pulsch, Port Monmouth NJ
Home Port: Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Designer: B.B. Crowninshield
Builder: R.J. Green Co. Chelsea, MA
Launched: 1911
Restoration: Robert Pulsch - 1996-2002


LOD 45'6"; LOA 53'; LWL 33'
Beam 9'2"; Draft 6'3"
Rig: Gaff Schooner; sail area 900
Construction: Frames: white oak; Plank/hull: white cedar, Garboard Planks: Honduras Maghogany; Fastenings: silicon bronze
Power: Westerbeke 35B

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Heron History and Design

Tucker Daland one of the founders of the North Haven Maine summer colony, commissioned BB Crowninshield to design a schooner primarily for day sailing. In this design, Crowninshield may have had in mind the lines of his 1906 Dark Harbor 17. Heron was built in Chelsea, Massachusetts in 1911 by R T.Green and Co. and sailed out of North Haven for many years. Horace Pettit, MD bought Heron in 1934 and sailed her over a period of 56 years. When I bought Heron, Dr. Pettit was still alive and I was able visit him in a long term care facility. He told me many interesting facts about the boat and recounted some of his experiences sailing her.

1911-1934 Tucker Daland North Haven, Maine (Capt. Burgess took care of Her)
1934-1940 Horace Pettit North Haven, Maine (Dr. Pettit sold Heron on account of the war and lost track of her.)

1940-1942 Record Lost Long Island Sound
1942-1946 H.K. Legare Dundalk, Maryland (Pettit told me a friend of his reported seeing the Heron in Baltimore and he was able to track her down and purchase his old boat back.)

1946-1948 Kenneth Scott & Horace Pettit Georgetown, Maryland & Essex, Connecticut
1948-1989 Horace Pettit North Haven, Maine
- in 1989 she was found to be unseaworthy and sold to Frank Folscher

1989-1995 Frank Folscher Red Bank, N.J
1995-to present Robert H.Pulsch Port Monmouth, N.J. (complete rebuild-new hull.
- Relaunched June 2000, interior finished 2004

Additonal Historical and Design Details

1918 listing in Lloyds Registry:

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An Article From The Rudder - January 1912

HERON THIS little schooner was designed by Mr. B. B. Crowninshield, of Boston, Mass., for Mr. Tucker Daland, of Brookline, Mass., who desired a boat that could be easily handled by two pairs of hands, and at the same time a craft that would prove comfortable and moderately fast for family use.

The designer writes of her as follows: "She was built early last Spring by the Richard T. Green Company, of Chelsea, Mass., and was equipped with a 12- h.p., two-cylinder, horizontal-opposed Brennan engine. Under power alone she goes a little better than 5 miles, and Mr. Daland assures me she is very fast in moderate to heavy weather and will easily sail within four points of the wind. He took her out purposely two or three times under strenuous conditions and states that she is very stiff. He further assures me he went a nautical mile in six minutes with beam wind under sail alone. "If so, the boat sails faster than I should suppose, as I think that 9 nautical miles per hour would be pretty nearly her limit; however, she is really fast.

She has 6,000 lb of iron on her keel, and 2,500 lb of lead inside; and as you will see by consulting her accommodation plan, there is full 6 feet headroom in both after cabin and the forward cabin. "Her arrangement is somewhat unusual, the galley on the starboard side and the toilet room on the port side both being located between the two cabins.
General dimensions are as follows:
Length o. a. 45 feet 6 inches
Length w. 1. 33 " 0 "
Breadth 9 " 2 "
Draught 6 " 3 "

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Horace Pettit’s Notes on Heron

(among the papers found on the boat)

- Horace Pettit, M.D.
Heron is a gaff-rigged schooner 45’ 6" overall, 33’ 0" waterline, 9’2" beam, 6'3" depth, and 954 sq. ft. sail area. Heron was designed by B.B. Crowninshield and built by R. T. Green & Co., Chelsea, Massachusetts, in 1911 for Tucker Da1and. (see Rudder Magazine for January, 1912). Mr. Daland, of Brookline, Massachusetts, was one of the founders of the North Haven, Maine, summer co1ony. He commissioned B.B. Crowninshie1d to design a schooner primarily for day sailing. She has a long cockpit. There are two bunks in the main cabin, an enclosed head to port and a galley to starboard between the main cabin and the forecastle which has two bunks. Each cabin can be curtained off from the other. Heron was designed for coastwise, sailing, not for ocean passage.

She is fast and responsive under sail or power. Her working sails are mainsail, foresail and jib. She has a main topsail on a spar and a fisherman’s staysail. She had a spinnaker but it was seldom used and eventually discarded. In a strong NW wind she sailed 10 nautical miles, in 1 hour in Eggemoggin Reach, under full working sails. For going to windward in winds over 20 knots a double-reefed main and a storm jib are the best combination. Off such winds she stands up and goes under foresai1, alone. We are talking about usual summer winds not thunderstorms.

Heron came in third in the schooner class of the Off Soundings Race in 1953. Barlovento, Pierre S. du Pont, was first and another large schooner was second. This was due to the skill of Bill Ames at Heron's tiller and the efficient crewmanship of Eileen Ames, Jane Pettit and Robert Gilbert. I have no record of the number of schooners of our size in the race but there must have been ,six or more.

She points a bit higher than most schooners and she keeps moving in light breezes. Her sails were canvass untill 1977 when a new set of working sails were made of Dacron by E.S.Bhondell of Rockport, Maine. She was sailed single-handed in fair weather on occasion. Her sheets and backstays are in reach of the helmsman as are her throttle and gearshift lever. Jane and I spent may cacations with jsut the two of us aboard most of the time. Jane is a good navigator.

The original engine was a 2 cylinder Brennan with horizontal opposed cylinders. Ignition was make and break. The engine was started by turning the large heavy fly wheel; There were no gears. To go forward the fly-wheel was turned to your left, to go astern it was rolled to the right. Direction could be changed with the engine running by cutting the ignition until the flywheel reversed itself then making immediate contact. The Brennan was replaced in 1936 with a 4 cylinder 25 HP Gray which had a gear-box. New Grays were installed in 1951 and 1973.

The gasoline tank hods 20 gallons. Regular gas is used. The engine burns about 1 ½ gallons per hour at a cruising speed of 5 knots. There are two water tanks: 20 gallons aft and 50 gallons forward. The latter was put in in the early 50s. The cabin lamps, anchor light and running lights burn kerosene. There was an alcohol stove. The refrigerator holds 2 - 50lb cakes of ice which last about 5 days in Maine waters. The basin and sink have pump handles.

Navigation was by chart, adjusted compass, taff-rail log and a watch. A lead line marked in fathoms measured depth. She also had a brass bell and a sound signal. Heron towed a wooden rowboat made by Lester Greenlaw of North Haven.

The following is the list of owners, years of ownership and homeports: Tucker Daland 1911-1934 North Haven, Maine; Horace Pettit 1934-1940, North Haven, Maine; Record lost, 1940-1942, Long Island Sound; H. K. Legare, 1942-1946, Dunda1k, Maryland; Kenneth Scott-Horace Pettit '1946-1948, GeorgetoWn, Maryland - Essex, ,Connecticut; Horace Pettit 1948-1989, North Haven, Maine, and Camden, Maine.

There were two intervals in this last span of years: She was hauled 'out at Kelly’s yard in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, in the winters of 1951-1952 and 1952-1953 when she was in joint use with Bill and Eileen Ames of Mystic, Connecticut and 1980-84 when she was having 26 frames replaced by Nick Apollonio, and refastened below the waterline by Lehtinen's Boat Shop, at Tenants Harbor, Maine. She spent the winter of 1983-1984 at Spruce Head Marine. She sailed back to North Haven at the end of the summer of 1984.

During the next 3 summers she was sailed in July out of Pulpit Harbor by Norman Pettit, son of Dr. Pettit, and out of Rockport by Horace Pettit and. Nick Apollonio in August and September. During this period she did not leak excessively. Even during Hurricane Gloria on September 27, 1985, at her mooring and anchors in Rockport harbor she did not leak alarmingly. The small fiberglass motor-cruiser Francis Dee dragged alongside Heron’s starboard side chaffing it badly and was still there in the morning.

She was behaving so well I was unpleasantly surprised at the resu1t of the survey made in April 1988, by Stephen Olsen of Samuel E. Slaymaker, Inc. He found her unseaworthy due to rot in her keel. Since she was 77 and I was 85 and my son was about to buy a Stonehorse sloop she was towed to Wayfarer Marine to be handy to Cannell, Payne& Page, yacht brokers. On September 12, 1989, "This beautiful classic vessel", as Stephen Olsen described her, was sold to Frank E. Fo1scher,of Red Bank, New Jersey, who will restore her himself.

Heron sailed to Newport in 1937 to see the America's Cup Races when she was Flagship of the North Haven Yacht Club. Appreciation goes to the many people whose interest and skill kept Heron sailing over many years. Among those not already mentioned were Captain Burgess who took care of her for Mr. Daland, Neal Burgess, Maynard Greenlaw, Ossie Brown and his son and grandsons, Pete Peterson, Malcolm Brewer, Mac MacMullen, Freeman Brewer and Stuart Farnham.

Heron's Restoration

I first spotted Heron at the Belford Marine Railway in the early nineties where I kept my steel hull ketch "Kathleen Mary", which I had built over a ten year period. I joined the American Schooner Association at this time. I loved the wooden schooners so much I thought I would try my hand at building one. The gentleman who had owned Heron wanted too much money for it. In the meantime I put the "Kathleen Mary" on the market and it sold.

In 1995 I was back in touch with the owner of Heron and at this time he was willing to sell it for a reasonable price. It was hogged and twisted. When I got into it I found most of the wood was rotten and mushrooms were growing on the frames. I ended up building a completely new hull during the period from 1996 to 2002. I also replaced the interior exactly as noted on the plans. I re-launched the boat in 2002 and completed the interior in 2004. I initially thought I would re-use the deck and deck beams but they were also rotted. I did salvage the cabin trunk, all the spars and the ballast.

The story of the restoration of Heron:

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01 Planning

I had Heron trucked to my home in Port Monmouth, N.J. It was close and convenient and I was able to sit in her and plan the best approach to restore her. Noting that not much of the hull could be saved because it was hogged, twisted and rotted, I began to think about building a completely new hull. It shouldn’t take as much time as removal of each board and replacing it one at a time. I started to take the measurements of the hull.

Measuring and taking the lines.

The boat came with a copy of the full set of plans but no table of offsets. Mystic Seaport Library had a full set of plans on file and some history but and still no table of offsets. A short time later I read in Wooden Boat Magazine the Peabody Museum in Salem, Mass had a collection of BB Crowninshield Designs.

On a snowy cold night my wife and I braved the weather and drove to Salem, Mass. At the Peabody Museum we hit the jackpot. They had the original ink on linen drawings and the prized table of offsets. At this time I decided to build a new hull because I now had the table of offsets. In 1996, after removing the iron ballast, I began lofting the boat on a lofting floor I built in my yard.

Lofting from the original table of offsets.

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02 Obtaining Wood and Knowledge

I had made a material list while in the planning stage. Looking for and acquiring the needed white oak and white cedar was an enjoyable part of the reconstruction. At this time I was also volunteering on the construction of the Schooner AJ Meerwald in Bivalve, N.J. This was a great experience. Talking to others in the field was interesting and informative and gave me leads to sources for most of the wood in North Carolina. It was fun traveling to the saw mills in North Carolina to obtain the wood. I also purchased some of the AJ Meerwald' s white oak.

White Oak

White Cedar

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03 Stripping Old Hull

I began by removing the iron ballast to be refurbished.

Next, I got into the cockpit and backbone area. I found that the entire hull was originally iron fastened with nails. I did not find one screw.

I found the stainless steel lag bolts that had been used were in very good condition . This disputes articles about the deterioration of stainless steel in closed areas.

During the construction I continually referred to how it was originally built. I initially thought I would re-use the deck and deck beams but they were also rotted. I did salvage the cabin trunk and all the spars.

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04 Ballast

Removing the old iron keel bolts was quite a chore. I had to drill one completely out.

I reconditioned the iron ballast which also showed deterioration. I had it sandblasted and coated with west system using lead shot mixed with epoxy to fill in eroded areas.

The external iron ballast weighs 6ooo pounds. I also have 1600 pounds of internal lead ballast.

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05 Backbone

Fitting pattern to white oak timber:

Trimming timber to match another:

Drilling keel for keel bolts:

Assembling the iron ballast, deadwood and backbone together:

Laying keel:

Keel laying party:

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06 Frames

Heron had double sawn frames on station:

Two steam bent ribs in between stations.

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07 Deck

I used the original dead eyes and some of the hardware. Deadeye straps had to be replaced. I have two layers of 3/8" plywood decking. This was the only material I changed from the original.

Honduras mahogany sheerstrake decking and dead eyes with the new strapping:

Bilge stringers, clamp, shelf and picture deck beams:

Installing canvas on the deck:

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08 Planking

1 ¼" white cedar planks:

1 ¼" Honduras Mahogany garboard plank:

Shutterplank party:

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09 Fairing

Fairing the hull by hand. First planning, then sanding with a long board and finishing with a scraper:

I built the hull traditionally with cotton caulking and payed seams:

Patterns for gudgeons, pintles and casting:

Finishing the staving in the cockpit area -- I duplicated the beaded board and the cockpit staves:

Installing new Westerbeke 35 HP diesel:

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10 Re-Launch

I re-launched the boat in 2002 and completed the interior in 2004.

Heron on way to relaunching:

Sam Hoyt speaking at relaunching with family and friends:

Susan Pulsch rechristening Heron:

I replaced the interior exactly as noted on the plans:

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The Heron Logbook is organized by year:

2004 Logbook


We started our season on July l0 at the Classic Boat Regatta at Larchmont, N.Y. This was Heron’s first race since being re-launched in 2002. There were about 12 boats and Heron was the only gaff-rigged Schooner. On the second race, with Bob Wilson's expertise as tactician, we were the first boat over the line along with Ticonderoga. We did not win and we were not last. I did win an award for taking seven years getting Heron ready for their Regatta. After we rafted up with Ticonderoga in front of the yacht club and visited their boat and they in-turn visited ours. I was greatly impressed with the Larchmont Yacht Club and the friendly people.

Heron and Ticonderoga at Larchmont:

On July 20 Roberta and I left for the Antique and Classic Boat Rendezvous at Mystic, Ct. To our surprise and delight, we sailed in company of The USCG Eagle from Nyantic to New London where she was headed for a Tall Ship Rendezvous . She was a beautiful sight (even in the fog) on the Sound.

At the Antique and Classic Boat Rendezvous in Mystic, Heron received an award for best Owner Restored and Maintained Large Sail boat and to our amazement, our dory received an award for Best Tender. We were astonished because we had not thought to enter her in the meet. The judges saw her tethered to Heron and thought otherwise. (Thankfully) The rendezvous ended with a parade of classic boats from the Seaport to the Sound and back.

Cruise To Maine: On July 28 Walter and Sue Sodon and family took over Heron and sailed her to Camden, Me.

Heron in Camden: photo by Al Bezanson

On August 4th I picked up Heron and with my trusty Crew (Walter Sodon, Bill Carton, Bill Comella and Frank Johnson) entered the Feeder Race from Camden, Me to Brooklin, Me. Due to lack of wind we had to motor.

While in Brooklin, Me. Mr. Olin Stevens (of Sparkman and Stevens), came to visit us and wanted to find out about the boat. In his younger years he and his brother had sailed a small B.B. Crowinshield schooner. I was very honored with his visit.

At Brooklin, we entered the Eggomoggin Reach Regatta. We did not win. We sailed great and had a great time. On the last leg of the race flying the fisherman, asymmetrical and topsail we were doing about 7 ~ knots and as we got closer to the finish line we noted that the majority of the fleet sailed into a hole and we had enough momentum to go around many of the boats. As the breeze picked up and after 5 ~ hours most of us came in within minutes of each other. This was exciting, our timing was good but no cigar.

Cruise To Gloucester: After this I sailed to Gloucester with my son-in-law and granddaughter Bill and Ann Marie Carton. On our trip to Gloucester I stopped at North Haven which is on Fox Island thoroughfare in Maine. We went to the North Haven Casino, (this is the yacht club that Heron was originally from.) I met the original owner's grandnephew. The following morning the nephew of BB Crowninshield visited Heron. He had sailed on Heron many times.

One of the most exciting aspects of the trip was the revelation of joy from many New Englanders who approached us on the water and asked if it was a Crowinshield design or if it was the original Heron from their area. They usually got excited, some clapped and some asked to come aboard.

On August 12 we left Heron on a mooring at the Gloucester Heritage Museum in Gloucester Harbor and came home.

On September 3rd I returned to Heron with our crew to attend the Gloucester Schooner Festival. It was exciting to see twenty schooners all in one harbor. We also party'd hardy with other schooner friends from the American Schooner Association and the Nova Scotia Schooner Association.

The first race was Saturday and we took a second. On Sunday we had a parade of sails of the twenty schooners in front of the famous Gloucester monument for fisherman lost at sea. Then we went back to racing in six foot seas and a good breeze. Heron and crew performed great and we placed first. I received The Betty Ramsey Award for first place. This was exciting because I had known Betty Ramsey. She had been a great friend and help to guest boats in Gloucester Harbor. I also received a plaque from the American Schooner Association for the restoration of Heron.

Cruise to Baltimore: On October 6th Roberta and I along with Bill Comella sailed Heron from Atlantic Highlands, N.J. to Cape May at which time Bill left and returned home. We then continued on to Baltimore for the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race which began on October 14th.This is a grand affair with great parties at both ends of the race. (Baltimore, Md and Portsmith, Va.) Lots of oysters and crabs and even a pig roast. My crew arrived on October 13t and Roberta drove the car home . The day of the race start was perfect. We were at the start of class B &C and we were the first on the line. During the night the weather came around to the south with 20 knots right on our nose. On Friday it blew harder on our nose and the seas got steeper. We passed the first finish line and called in out time. Eventually we had to head to shelter. We dropped anchor in Reedsville, Va.

The crew in Reedsville, Va.:

It was noted that there were 33 schooners in the race and more than 3/4's did not make it to Portsmith. There were a few casualties; broken stays, ripped sails, etc. On Saturday we received a call that we had won. We had the best time crossing the first finish line, where they decided to end the race. We were so excited we had won our class (B) and we were very disappointed that we did not make the pig roast in Portsmith.

The following week I moved the boat from Reedsville, Va. to Langford Bay Marina, Rockhall Md. Heron’s home for the winter.

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2005 Logbook

some of the following is still a work in progress

Red Grant Regatta 2005

Wooden Boat Show At Newport Rhode Island, August 2005 see Wing & Wing Volume XLI, Number 3 - Winter 05 - Page 5

The Gloucester Schooner Festival 2005 see Wing & Wing Volume XLI, Number 3 - Winter 05 - Page 4

Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race 2005

2006 Logbook

Heron - 2006 Logbook and Plans

7/17-21 Atlantic Highlands to Mystic, CT

7/21-7/23 Antique and Classic Boat Show in Mystic

7/24-8/3 Mystic Seaport to Camden, Maine

8/4 - Feeder Race from Camden to Brooklyn, Me.

8/5 - Eggemoggin Reach Regatta.

8/7-8/13 - Brooklyn, Me. to Gloucester.

9/1-9/3 - Gloucester Schooner Festival

9/4 - Gloucester to Provincetown

9/8-9/10 The Great Provincetown Schooner Regatta

9/11-9/15 Provincetown - New York

9/16 - Mayor’s Cup Race - from South Street Seaport

9/17 - New York to Atlantic Highlands

10/07 - Delaware Bay Schooner Rendezvous.

10/9 - Baltimore Inner Harbor

10/11 - 10/15 The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race


Heron Girls - (Grandchildren):

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