Tar Baby

At Portland Yacht Services prior to the long haul out for rebuilding.

Specific information to come in the new year.


Tar Baby Designed by John Alden, long considered the world's greatest schooner designer, and originally commissioned for Gilbert Hood, of Hood Daries in 1928, she was launched in 1929. Mr. Hood kept her until 1975, when he sold her to Carl Sherman, of Westbrook, CT. Now she has been purchased by Portland Yacht Services, for a much needed refit. ( Vintage wine needs new bottle)

Tar Baby is not only known for her beautiful design and balanced helm, but also for her stunning interior. There is a chapter on her in the book "Classic Yacht Interiors", published by W.W. Norton & Company, and also in the book "John G. Alden and His Yacht Designs", published by McGraw-Hill. Benjamin Mendlowitz, the world's premier marine photographer, has a chapter on Tar Baby in his popular book "Wood, Water & Light". She has been the subject of numerous magazine articles.

There were nine schooners built to her design (#390), Tar Baby being the first and now, sadly, the last survivor still in original condition. John Alden personally owned two sisterships to Tar Baby: the first right off the ways Venturer; then, in his retirement, he bought back Abenaki to be his personal cruiser. After purchasing his retirement yacht he wrote an article for Yachting Magazine stating that the 390 was his favorite design. He then went on to win second place in the 1950 Bermuda race in Abenaki. Another 390, Arcturus (extensively rebuilt, but still in service in New Zealand) was owned by General George S. Patton. He and his wife sailed it to Hawaii and back when he was stationed there prior to World War II. Arcturus was later owned by actor Gene Kelly.

These are Pictures given to me by Carl Sherman

TarBabyMoored.jpg46.67 KB
TarBabyCabinT.jpeg14.75 KB
TarBabyDeckT.jpeg14.68 KB
TarBabyFireplaceT.jpeg12.18 KB

past care taker of Tarbaby

I was very pleased to find that Tarbaby made her way east and is now surrounded by schooner loving folk. I had the plesure to maintain and run Tarbaby from 1980-1985, doing all the shows and as many races that time would allow.
Douglas J White
Stowe Vermont

documentary film about "Tar Baby"

With Phin's blessing I am posing a question to all schooner loving folk: what do you all feel would be interesting content for a film depicting the refitting of Tar Baby and, just as important, what might be some possible funding avenues for such a film?
Roger Pokey Amory
Falmouth, Maine

Tar Baby

I would suggest you contact Karen Loveland of Bay Meadows Productions. She may be able to give you advice about funding and other production matters. She is involved in filming for Schooner Alca i, which berthed briefly near Tar Baby two years ago. I have been interested in Tar Baby for years, and had the privilege of looking her over well while we were there. I had considered buying her, but I'm afraid she needs too much. Mention to Karen my name and interest, and ask her about construction of Alca i. Some ideas may come of the conversation.
Also, contact me at erikadey@gmail.com and I can suggest some things. I think the refit could be segwayed to modern uses of traditional designs, and their value to society. Also relates to comparison of building techniques and materials, and the merits of technology. Alca i was purpose built for arctic research, as was Schooner Bowdoin, and are both sturdy traditional design like Alden. Alden was influenced by Crowninshield and the Banks schooners, and my heritage, and that of Alca i's owner, are from Newfoundland. Love that spoon bow.