Our Aleutian 51 Ketch (Tulum V) has finally started to slowly reveal some of her secrets-

I’m not sure as I sit down to write this post if it will really be about the secrets that Tulum V has finally started to reveal or more of an ode to her designer, Mr. Stan Huntingford….

Stan Huntingford was a Canadian Naval Architect with credit for designing over 30 production boats, most of them built in the 70’s and 80’s.  Honestly, the information on him as a person and a designer is fairly sparse on the internet, but I have at least one reliable Canadian source who’s regaled me with a few tales of Stan Huntingfords boats, and at least one story of the man himself.  I don’t think the boat information on the sail data.com site is complete, but it may be that way on purpose for business or legal reasons.  Like I said, there’s little to find on the man himself, but I wish I could.  From the time I’ve spent on our “new to us” Aleutian 51 Ketch, I’m impressed.  She needs some TLC and lots of love, but overall she seems very seaworthy and well thought through.

Before I forget,,,,,I need to pass on a sea story told to me by one of our family friends and someone who’s a lover of all things wooden and classic boats.  “A friend of his pulled into a lovely bay one afternoon just above Seattle (US border with Canada) and was looking for a wonderful sunset and cocktails for the evening before continuing their island hopping adventures.  They dropped the hook and set it, making sure the boat was well founded and in place before starting dinner and cocktails.  As they were sitting there in afternoon peace, a small rowboat pulled from the shore, coming in their direction.  In the rowboat was an older man, who seemed to row strongly and know what he was doing.  As he pulled alongside, the man in the rowboat asked the couple if they liked their boat.  They loved their boat and told him how sea kindly she was and how they had been cruising the Pacific Northwest in her for some time.  A short conversation was struck up, but in the end, the old man in the rowboat thanked them and told them how glad he was that they liked the boat.  As he made ready to depart, he commented again how appreciative he was,,,,,because he had designed the boat.  The gentlemen in the rowboat was Mr. Stan Huntingford”. 

I think of most boats as having some sort of living soul and I think the boat has to learn to get to know you to figure out if it trusts you.  I think that in spite of the chaos and disorganization that me and my family have brought, she’s finally starting to trust us.  We properly denamed, renamed and christened her, we’re putting in the time to give her the TLC she needs and we’re cleaning out the clutter that isn’t needed.   She giving us hard life lessons every once in a while, but slowly revealing her secrets.  I’m appreciative of Stan Huntingford as our boat’s designer because some weeks ago while poking through hard to reach storage areas and places where most don’t go (you know, the ones you’ve got to find by getting upside down or slithering through on your belly); Tulum finally started to reveal some of her secrets.  I believe that while poking-through and cleaning out those areas, I may have found original, hand-drawn Stan Huntingford Aleutian 51 Ketch pencil sketches and plans.  Although they may be specific to our boat, I’m 99% sure they will be very near the other 10 Aleutian 51’s that were built.  There may be variations because some were built in Canada and some were built in Taiwan, but the plans look real and very accurate to our boat.  I did pull them out of their hiding tube and they looked like they were a bit faded but in good shape, and at least in one instance, I found what looks like a signature on the bottom of one of the pages.  I’m quite sure they’re actual pencil drawings, because it came off on my fingers.  I was pretty stunned to find these plans still on the boat and in such good shape, you don’t get original hand-drawn plans when you buy a boat anymore, so this is a rare kind of find.  Take a look at the picture below:

After I found the plans above, I wondered what else that deep and hard to reach back area of the locker would reveal, so I had to go back in there to find out.  What I found isn’t that valuable in a monetary sense, but to a sailor its pure GOLD.  In the back of the locker, properly wrapped in thick plastic binders and laid flat; was the paper charts for most of the classic cruising routes and places throughout the world.  Again, it was my turn to be stunned.  I know the value of paper charts no matter how old they are and I’m really thrilled to have found these charts.  After taking a look, I reverently wrapped them back up and laid them flat in their resting place, eager to start using them when the time  comes.  See below:

Finally, you’ve already seen these ladies in another post, but what a surprise it was on haul out day to find the ladies sitting under the rear transom, looking pretty well-endowed and happy.  It’s nice to find little surprises like them, it’s my goal to find them another mermaid friend to sit on the bow as our figurehead, watching the miles tick away as we sail on.

The original, hand-drawn plans for a boat by the designer are often not seen by many so I think these plans might be rare,,,,or perhaps all 11 Aleutian 51’s came with these hand-drawn plans and they’re not rare at all?  I looked at the designs for several other boats by Stan Huntingford like the the Explorer 45 and the Mapleleaf 54,,,and I can see lots of aspects of the Aleutian 51 in those sailboats.  Now, in case you ever want to see plans for an Aleutian 51 or you’re a Stan Huntingford historian or for any myriad of other reasons; I’m having the plans copied for safekeeping and I’m going to digitize the plans with the intent of putting them here on my website as a PDF file, so anyone can access them as needed.  Hope you can use them if you find this post.

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5 Responses

  1. That is indeed a score of great significance. I also have the original blueprints of the boat I am selling as of now. I feel any connection to the originality of the boat is a prime source of provenance that lends an air of magic, a gift to the beauty of it’s original design. All hail the designers and their skill at capturing our dreams!

  2. HI
    I own and 1979 Explorer 45 and was wondering a few things more on the designer of the boat, history of the boat, the production number as I know 22 were made between 1977 and 1980, and plans would be fantastic all if could be found or known. Any information is helpful. Thanks

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