Tom and Carol Donlan found Spirit in 2005 after spending about three decades on the water together. Spirit is a lobster boat designed by Ralph Stanley that features a deck by Jarvis Newman associated with Southwest Harbor, Maine, and a pilothouse with flybridge conceived by Lee S. Wilbur. Wilbur went on to finish the boat as a yacht in 1980. That’s one reason why Tom likes to call his boat a Newman 32. He likes to differentiate it from the version introduced years after the original.
The couple started dating in 1971, when they were both working as journalists at the Bergen Record in Hackensack, New Jersey. They shared an appreciation for the water. “Tom and I crewed on a Tartan 34 near Nyack, New York. That’s where our love regarding boating began, ” Carol says. “We were married for just eight weeks when we bought our first boat, a Sandy Douglas-designed Highlander racing dinghy. ”
They eventually moved to Philadelphia, where they continued racing—first sailing a Comet on the Delaware River, then graduating in order to Lightnings. After a move to be able to Washington, D. C., these people bought a J-24. Eventually, the couple purchased the J-30, which they raced for over a decade.
“In the summers, we chartered boats in Maine for a bit of cruising, ” Tom says. “We’d pick up Soundings magazine and find advertisements with regard to a business called The Yankee Trader, whose owner had 60 or 70 classic wooden sailboats in good shape that were offered for charter. ”
Cruising inside Maine waters exposed the particular Donlans to Downeast workboat-inspired designs finished as weekend cruisers. Although they bought Spirit in 2005, it was built in Maine found in 1980 for an proprietor who likely used it on Narragansett Bay. A subsequent owner moved this to the Chesapeake Bay, where the couple ultimately found it in a new boatyard in Denton, Maryland.
“When I stepped aboard plus into the pilothouse, I knew it was the one, ” Carol says. “I could see myself bringing coffee up to the bridge and sharing it with Tom. It was only the second boat we looked at. The broker thought we were crazy. ”
“Some people take months to find the perfect boat, ” Tom says. “Even though this one is hardly perfect, it’s darned beautiful. At virtually every marina we’ve visited, people on the dock stop and remark how attractive the design is. ”
Typical of lobster-boat construction in the 1970s, Spirit is powered by some sort of single diesel—in this case, a good 300-hp, 6-cylinder Yanmar, which was not the original engine. Tom says they’ve run the boat regarding close to 1, 000 hours over the last 15 years, and that has performed and held up extremely well.
The Donlans executed a couple of big repairs early on. In preparation intended for an Imron coating, their yard found a few small spots of water intrusion that caused damage to typically the hull. Sometime after that, they will discovered some leaky windows had caused extensive damage to the pilothouse walls. Those were replaced by a yard on Virginia’s Northern Neck.
“There’s always something to work on, but we enjoy visiting the boat regularly, having a bit of lunch in addition to making it more shipshape, ” Tom says. “And all of us enjoy having family and even friends aboard, including this former crew of our J-30. It’s a great way of life. ”
The Donlans have spent all of their own cruising time on often the Chesapeake Bay, overnighting in marinas as a rule, usually just the two of them and their Jack Russell Terrier. “We’ve been everywhere, from Havre de Grace to the north and your Rappahannock River to the exact south, ” Tom says. Carol likes the Wye River for its beauty, St . Michaels for its shops and restaurants, together with Oxford for its small-town charm, which is evident at places like the Cutts and Case Shipyard. There, she says, Morris and Stanley Rosenfeld’s photography is part of a historic collection worth seeing.
Tom has used the boat during Race Committee duty for the Annapolis Yacht Club, the Severn Sailing Association and the Sailing Club of the particular Chesapeake. The couple keeps Spirit in the protected waters of Whitehall Creek, which Carol calls your magic place. There, that they have quick and easy access to the waters around Annapolis, Kent Island, St. Michaels and Rock Hall.
With her high bow and flared forward sections, it is easy to discern that the Wilbur 32 was meant to run dry and stable in open water. The gently raked stem curves smoothly to a keel section placed far forward, which runs full length to a point beneath the cockpit. There, the idea protects the running gear. The overall length of typically the Wilbur 32 is thirty four feet when the anchor and swim platforms are included. Side decks connecting the compact foredeck towards the cockpit are somewhat narrow, but equipped with solid handholds on the deckhouse and a stainless steel bowrail.
The particular cockpit is wide and additionally deep, but not so deep that boating a fish is a chore. There’s plenty of room for a portable table and folding chairs to supplement this bench seat across often the transom.
The stainless steel ladder along with teak treads is set for you to port and provides entry to the flybridge. Two fixed benches provide seating to get four. The helm console is flat, with your bowthruster control and twin-lever binnacle to starboard. To port, there’s space pertaining to folded or bound navigation charts.
For access to help the cabin, there’s some door in the aft bulkhead. The pilothouse gets plenty of natural light not to mention ventilation from fixed and also opening glass windows. In order to port, a small dining table with fiddle rail is flanked by built-in, upholstered benches. The starboard helm has a raised seat for the driver, and there’s plenty connected with room between the seat as well as the vertical stainless steel destroyer wheel. Three steps down from the helm is a compact galley to port with ice box, sink and dedicated storage for dinnerware. The private head compartment is in order to starboard. A large V-berth for overnighting is ahead. Throughout the cabin, on both levels, Herreshoff-style wood trim and white panels are classic details.
Displ.: 16, 500 lbs.
Power: (1) 300-hp Yanmar diesel
Fuel: 100 gals.
Water: 40 gals.
This article was originally published within the January 2023 issue.