Boat Name: Madcap (For Sale)
Sail: US 21
Year Built: 1924
Designer: Frederick M. Hoyt (Titanic survivor)
Builder: Henry B. Nevins, Inc. City Island, NY
Owner: Hugh Jones
Madcap was built for Mr. Harry T. Maxwell of New York City, to try for the 4- boat U.S. Team to race in England. She was not selected, but continued racing in the Long Island Sound 6 Meter Fleet with a modified keel and rudder and adjustments to the mast position and rake. She won the Larchmont Race Week in 1924. After three years she was sold to Mr. Emil G. Schmidt in Put In Bay, Ohio and then went to Buffalo, NY for a short time. In 1932 she was sold to Dr. Paul J. Kuebler in Toledo, Ohio. Dr. Kuebler raced her in Lake Erie. Madcap is the only boat to win Toledo Yacht Club's Merrill B. Mills Perpetual Trophy three times. From 1938 to 1949 she was in Detroit with several different owners, E.D. Morris, Lawrence F. Hope and Gale Beardsley. A cabin and self bailing cockpit were added by Ford Boat Works without disturbing the original construction design.
In 1949 she was purchased by my father and mother, Lew (Williams Lewis) and Helen Kershaw of Cleveland, Ohio. She was sailed from Detroit to Edgewater Yacht Club in Cleveland in mid-November of 1949. My parents told stories about their sail down the Detroit River and on to Cleveland with ice on the decks and cold, cold weather. From 1949 (when I was 9) to the early 1960s we sailed Madcap as a family and successfully raced in local Universal class races at Edgewater YC, Cleveland, Vermillion and Mentor Harbor YC regattas and won the ILYA Race Week at Put In Bay, Ohio numerous times. Madcap won Cleveland Yacht Club's Falcon Cup and Winton Trophy . During these years we went on many cruises around Lake Erie and Canada with another couple. My sleeping nest was the sailbags in the bow which was very soft since we had cotton sails. I can remember many spring weekends working on Madcap at Edgewater Yacht Club's boat yard where we hauled out each fall. There was a hand crank on the crane used for hauling the mast and the boat. Rollers were put under the cradles to roll the boat to and from her haul out location. Wooden frames and heavy canvas covers were put on to protect from winter snows. My Dad was a stern teacher as he taught me how to "properly" sand, paint and varnish. In 1954 the long boom that overhung the transom was shortened 3 feet so a permanent backstay could be installed and the double, running backstays changed to single, running backstays. About 1960, the canvas covering the white cedar strip deck (that was applied before 1949) was replaced with fiberglass.
In July of 1965 , because of a job transfer, my Dad and two friends sailed to Buffalo, outboard-powered through the N.Y. Canal to the Hudson River and sailed to Long Island Sound and to Greenwich, Ct. where she sailed for nineteen more years. During the late 60s and 70s there were many sixes sailing on Long Island Sound. My Dad says that five to eight would get together regularly at each other's ports for racing and socializing. He says they were known as LIS of ISMA(Long Island Sound group of International Six Meter Association. In 1987 the Six Meter Worlds was hosted by Sewanahka Corinthian YC off Oyster Bay in L.I. Sound. Dad talks about cheering on "Clytie" from their sailing group. She was one of two wooden sixes in the regatta. Madcap won the U.S.S. America Trophy, Old Greenwich Y.C., CT in 1976 and the Stamford-Denmark Friendship Race in Stamford, CT. By 1970 the fore triangle was raised 3 feet and the sail area increased to recover some of the area lost by the shortening of the boom. During 1965-84 Madcap was often seen cruising to various ports and anchorages on Long Island Sound. She survived hurricanes, storms while at anchor and always brought her crew home safely from their sails.
1984 brought a phone call from my Dad who asked, "Would you like to have Madcap in North Carolina.?" At this time he was seventy years old and maintaining Madcap as well as a C&C 35. Bob, my husband who had sailed on Madcap in the 60s and grown up sailing in Naragansset Bay, and I swallowed hard and said , "We would love to have her "retire" to North Carolina.." We trucked her to our "inland lake." For the past twenty years she has been on Lake Norman, a Duke Power 500+ mile shoreline lake north of Charlotte, North Carolina. We had her docked at Lake Norman Yacht Club for many years until we purchased lakefront property on the lake. Madcap survived Hurricane Hugo at the dock in our backyard. (Hurricane Hugo destroyed all but one boat at the Yacht Club. We were happy she was at our dock.) Every time we've gone out sailing someone has come up in their power or sailboat and asked about her. She's the only classic wooden sailboat on the lake and is a conversation piece. People are amazed that she is made of wood. The hull is double planked 3/8" cedar inner and ½" mahogany outer and is so smooth it looks like fiberglass. Over the years people have been amazed at her age. This year is her eightieth birthday year. . Madcap is one of the shorter sixes built to the six meter rule. She is 32" long and her beam is 6'11" and her water line length is 22'4". She has a 2 ton lead keel and displaces approximately 7,900 pounds. Next month (May 2004) we will haul her out for the bi-annual outfitting. The mast and boom (original from when my Dad purchased Madcap in 1949) , topsides, bottom and boot-stripe will all be given TLC. We have enjoyed having her here on the lake especially sailing in the spring and fall 10-12 mph breezes. It is unusual for one family to own, sail, race, cruise, care for and love a boat for fifty-five years. … and we are happy to have this "Special Lady" here in North Carolina.
04/17/04 Update: Madcap continues to find our dock at our home on Lake Norman north of Charlotte, NC her retirement from racing home. We are going to have a survey done by Mr. Hayley of Marblehead, MA who is the expert in classic wooden boats. She'll be out of the water in May for the biannual outfitting - bottom, boottop, topsides, mast & boom. Mr. Hayley will see her out of the water. I'll be taking pictures of the process as I have done for the last 9 haulouts. Can't believe we've had her that long. We had our first sail two weeks ago with our daughter and three grandchildren from Illinois.

Update - January 2008 - Marilyn Williams donated Madcap to the International Yacht Restoration School in 2006. The boat was purchased by Tom Fair who has underwritten the cost to have Madcap returned to racing configuration in time for the 2009 World Cup in Newport. The photos below show Madcap in the early stages of the project.

Update - April 2008 - Progress continues apace for Madcap at IYRS. She has new deck beams and is well under way with a new laid deck. With any luck Madcap will be relaunched on May 31, 2008.

Update - May 8, 2008 - The deck is complete and painted. The mast is being built. Launch plans are on schedule for May 31, 2008.

Update - June 1, 2008 - Madcap is relaunched.

Madcap at the 2009 World Cup in Newport

Madcap in 2008

Madcap in 1924



The photos below show Madcap on Lake Norman, North Carolina, which is where the boat stayed from 1984 - 2006.