History & Other Javelins

Javelin Beginnings
There were only a few Javelins built. The last hull number was 23, but at this point I am not certain that all 23 were built. Before 1965, all Seafarer commissioned yachts were built in Holland. Many were built by DeVries Lentsch but they were also subcontracted to other builders. It is my understanding that in some cases, the fiberglass parts were molded at different facilities than where the boats were finished. Ted Jones, a salesman for William Tripp, Jr. at the time (since then, a noted author, magazine editor, etc.) remembered the Javelin hulls being molded by Werkspoor and then being assembled at various shipyards. "Jet Stream" was assembled by C. VanLent & Zonen in Kaag. That company is still in business and only could find records of building one or two Javelins.

The Javelin was designed by William Tripp, Jr. as design #164 for Brian Acworth of Seafarer Yachts. The design took place about early 1959. Tripp was a partner at the time with Bill Campbell in New York. Some of the Javelin drawing / design was done by Walter Bloemhard, a talented designer that ended up in Holland and died in 1978. He left the firm to work for Walter Dorwin Teague and was replaced by Alan Gurney who also did some of the drawings / design. There was also a great deal of confusion in that it appears there was a falling out between Seafarer and DeVries-Lentsch about the time that the Javelins were ordered. Some customers ordered them in 1959, expecting delivery in time for the 1960 Bermuda race. With about a year's delay, first boats were not delivered until spring of 1961. Even then, apparently the order of delivery did not match the consecutive hull numbers.

The Javelin's difficulties didn't stop there. The first Javelin to arrive in this country was hull #5 that was ordered by the Baker family for their two sons Toby and Nick to race. The Bakers named the boat "Souffle'" because of their name and the fact that the boat was "light and airy". After commissioning, the Bakers entered Souffle' in the Edlu race, the first race of the season for the Western Long Island Sound overnight series. That race is from Larchmont to 6-mile reef and back. Ted Jones, who was part of the crew, remembers it this way:

"We did well going east downwind and were well placed at the turning mark. But upwind, she was obviously very tender. As the sun came up, the northwest wind increased and we were soon reefed way down and still having a hard time. I suggested we tack in close to the Connecticut shore to get out of the seas, which we didn't have enough power to punch through efficiently, and we did, ending up close reaching down the Connecticut shoreline fairly comfortably. We ended up doing better in the race than we should have, given out inability to sail upwind."

"We had Derecktor put 900 pounds of lead in the bilge for the Block Island Race the following weekend, and Souffle was much stiffer. Again we did well going out to Block. Again, we had a strong northwester coming home. We rounded Block counter clockwise (one had an option then) and held a long port tack toward Watch Hill, going through Fisher's Island Sound to avoid unfavorable current in The Race."

"Once in Long Island Sound it began to blow harder and the air temperature got lower. Both eventually evened out at 40 -- 40-degrees F. and 40-knots wind speed. We had a great deal of difficulty changing headsails off Faulkner's Island and reluctantly gave up and ran back to Saybrook under reefed main. Had we been able to keep sailing, we would likely have won our class. The boat was fine and sailed very well and we had an experienced crew which, as I recall, consisted of Nick and Toby, Alan Gurney (yacht designer, then Bill Tripp's assistant), Stan Ogilvie (Star World Champion) Bill Seaman, Jack Wisner, and myself. Needless to say, we were very disappointed at having to drop out of the race. We were not alone, most did. From that experience I developed an axiom: that one should avoid sailing any time the wind strength and the temperature are the same number."

"We had some sort of minor gear failure resulting from this race, and that, together with the light keel sent Mrs. Baker into a tear. She decided that the boat was unsafe and unsuitable for her sons to be sailing and wanted to give it back. Souffle was hauled at Derecktors, and Bill Tripp had me cut two 4" square sections out of Souffle's hull so the laminate schedule could be checked. He was surprised that the hull was so thin, but when the samples were returned from the lab with the resin burned off, the laminate was exactly as specified. The yard in Holland (Werkspoor) apparently had more sophisticated laminating techniques than was common in the U.S. at that time, and Tripp was well satisfied that the hull was sound."

During the Edlu race, Souffle' was photographed by the noted marine photographer - Peter Barlow. This shot appears in his book " The Marine Photography of Peter Barlow"

Peter Barlow - Souffle'

The Bakers did end up selling Souffle'. She was purchased by Walter Dorwin Teague of Nyack, NY. Details of his ownership and the boat's further life are below.

It was also determined at this time through survey, that the keel ballast was light. Details about where the error lay, are sketchy. However, it appears that somehow the "volume" of the keel lead ballast was miscalculated and thus the boat was too tender. It appears that the calculation was off by about 900 pounds. However, there was 1500 pounds of lead added to Souffle' by Direcktor at the urging of her new owner. They added the lead to her water tanks just aft of the external lead. I don't know how the lead was secured in Souffle'. In "Jet Stream", William Heine added about 1200 pounds of lead shot mixed with polyester or epoxy, to the water tank just aft of the external ballast and then fiberglassed over it. I also found 350 pounds of lead pigs stacked in the sump tank just aft of the water tanks.

There is another interesting tidbit about the Javelin deliveries from Ted that I found amusing:
"It will likely never become an issue, but none of the Seafarer boats of this era have the required "Made in Holland" designation on their builder's plates. This was the source of a major flap with the custom's inspectors I dealt with in the Port of New York, they insisting that the boats had to be so identified in an indelible way as required by law since the 19th Century. No amount of pleading to Acworth resulted in this being done, the builders in Holland being reluctant to change their builder's plates which said "Built in Amsterdam" or whatever. Why wasn't that enough? I finally took matters into my own hands and embossed "Made in Holland" on a brass plate with two screw heads soldered onto each end. I made sure the plate remained well tarnished so as to appear that it had spent many days at sea on the deck of a freighter. When I'd get to the boat, I'd take the brass plate out of my pocket and stick it on the back-side of the cockpit with double-sided tape. Thereafter I had no problems with Customs, but after they'd been satisfied, I'd pull the plate off and put it in my pocket for the next time. Sometimes you do what you gotta do."


The Javelins that have been located or at least have some record (Much of this is courtesy of Ted Jones)

The Javelins were sold through three channels. Tripp/Campbell sold boats designed by Tripp. Seafarer sold boats designed for them. (They had boats designed by Sparkman Stephens and Phil Rhodes in addition to Tripp's designs.) And Seafarer had independent dealers that also sold Seafarer designs. All of the independent Seafarer dealers stopped advertising Seafarer yachts at the end of 1961 and apparently Seafarer began using their own network to sell the boats after that time.

Hull #2 Weather Vane
Last Update 6-1-03

Hull #5 Souffle'
Last Update 1-31-03

Hull #7 Hetaera
Last Update 1-20-04

Hull #8 Jet Stream
Last Update 1-31-03

Hull #9 Sinsonte II then Harpoen
Last Update 5-23-03

Hull #11 Javelin then Lively
Last Update 1-31-03

Hull #13 Javelin
Last Update 7-29-03

Hull #23 Majek
Last Update 1-31-03