Penobscot 17 HANNA

19 Dec 16:

We were wandering through Facebook last week and saw an ad for a Penobscot 17 in one of the boating groups. We had actually seen the boat a few times during recent Florida 120 events, a raid that is held in our local waters each May. Her lines captured our attention back then and we decided to snap her up. We have not sailed a balanced lug rig and though she would be a fun boat for a mess about. The boat's name was Ransom II, her new name is Hanna because it is a beautiful name, belongs to a family member and for bonus it was close to the name of the first armed American naval vessel "Hannah".

Doug Engh and his wife were the sellers, he shared a few pictures of her sailing the Gulf Coast waters. She has a proud history of participation in Cedar Key, Florida Gulf Coast Small Craft and Florida 120 events.

Jumped in the Ford Edge "pickermobeel" and headed towards the Gainesville, Florida area. It was 38 degrees Fahrenheit when we left but warmed up nicely to 80F as we turned towards South Florida. Doug and I traded boat stories for a bit and he talked me through the balanced lug rigging. He has done a great job of personalizing the boat to suit his style, with the addition of some tufnol blocks and bronze rub strips. We hooked up Hanna for the road trip back to NW Florida and hit the road right as the cool front blew into town with heavy rain.

A few different lines to sort out, halyard for the gaff and downhaul and parrel for the boom.

Doug had some awesome oars made. Hannah also has a third mast step amidships, so you can sail with just one sail if desired. Or can we add a third? :)

Rain arrived, party had to move indoors.

Road trip. Trailer lights should have worked, but they didn't. We carry a set of lights with magnetic bases and I stuck those on the back trailer frame for the road. I also secure them with duct tape to keep them from getting jarred off and dragging behind the trailer.....lesson learned from pickin Roamer from Ft Pierce.

Just another big rig on the road again.

We plan to fiddle with Hanna a bit and mess about. We also hope that she gets involved with some photo shoots or film production, are you listening Outlander? She will come fully equipped with crew in period correct clothing.

20 Dec 16:

Spent some time today sorting out Hanna's balanced lug rig.

Hanna used to be know as Junie Jump Up when she was owned by Turner Matthews. Her hull was built by Turner and she was outfitted by Bob Pitt, 2014 Florida Folk Heritage Award recipient and Master Boat Builder. The paint colors were custom mixed by George Kirby Paint. JJU also had a ceramic mullet on the bow made by Turner's wife, a tribute to life. When she was Junie Jump Up she participated in the Small Reach Regatta and Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival.

Doug chose classic federal colors of a Captain's Gig from the Horatio Hornblower series. Done in latex, which has better mildew prevention in some enamel formulations. Enamels used to be the top choice, but current day offerings are not like they used to be. Research is required to make sure that we get our preferred balance of cost and benefit for the use intended. Boat builders we spoke to recently like Rust-Oleum Topside and AWLGRIP. We like Valspar Ultra for light use, color mix selection and we can get it mixed at our Lowes. We also have had great success with Pettit EasyPoxy and have used a lot of Interlux Brightside in the past. Many times the choice comes down to color selection and local availability. The key to all of these coatings is to read the directions, good prep and use the primer, which creates the bridge coat between whatever remains on the old surface and the new paint.

Hanna strikes a great pose!

24 Dec 16:

In an effort to simplify rigging of the balanced lug sails, we added a snap shackle to the yard end of the halyard. Now it can be snapped on quickly to an eye that is permanently seized to the yard. Also added a line of parrel beads to hold the yard close to the mast when on a tack that has the wind on the mast side of the sail. We tied a 1/8 inch line around the yard with a bowline, strung 7 parrel beads, then put a snap shackle on the tail end of the line, with enough line for the shackle to come around the yard and grab the parrel bead line.

We alternate the side of the foremast and mainmast that the sails are on to have at least one sail flowing free of the mast on each tack, per Doug's suggestion. Having the snap shackle on the end of the halyard will help us keep sorted out which side the yard is attached. It kind of doesn't matter for most conditions if it gets swapped, but there are more trim options if the downhaul is on the side of the mast that has the lower cleat.

The rudder can be removed by sliding it up to clear the top gudgeon off of the pintle and then rotating it 90 degrees to clear the lower gudgeon. We are experimenting with making the bridle long enough to allow the tiller to clear without having to remove the bridle, but that might be too much.

Our son wanted a photo of the boat so I photobombed. We discussed painting the end of the planks on the transom to give the boat a classic lapstrake transom look. The planks are 3/8 inch and we may bump them up to 1/2 inch when we paint

Brought the foresail inside to work on the rigging, clean up the outhauls and reef lines a bit. Merry Christmas!

07 Jan 17:

Cleaned up some rigging on the Penobscot 17 sails. New outhauls, new peak/throat/tack/clew lines and whipped sheet block eye loops. Used 1/8 inch New England Rope nylon for the outhauls and waxed whipping line.

This outhaul on the foresail clew had extra line for reefing. We took it off and will rig the reef line at a later date with something thinner.

Foresail sheet block eye loop whipping line was cleaned up.

Foresail clew outhaul line was removed.

Foresail peak outhaul redone with 1/8 inch nylon line from New England Rope. Outhaul and sail tie were tied separately.

Removed this old outhaul and replaced it with New England Rope 1/8 inch nylon line.

When we replaced the line we tied separate lines for the outhaul and the sail tie.

Removed this old sheet block eye loop whipping.

New FSE Robline waxed whipping twin over gaffers tape for the sheet block eye loop.

Mainsail boom clew outhaul with extra reefing line. We removed all that line and replaced it with New England Rope 1/8 inch nylon line.

New mainsail boom clew outhaul and sail tie using New England Rope 1/8 inch nylon line. Outhaul and sail tie are tied separate.

Old outhauls and whipping lines and maybe a few chocolate wrappers.

06 Feb 17:

Took Hanna out for a nice sail, she handled beautifully. Turns well and carried momentum with no effort. We rowed her a bit as well. She makes a great raid boat and we are offering her for sale for $2000 USD, with road ready trailer. Beautiful oars, 2 anchors, 4 fenders included. Check out Pensacola craigslist ad for more info.

10 Feb 17:

Hanna has a new Master and Commander Jon, the Change Of Command took place at the Pensacola Lighthouse. She will entertain her new family on the emerald waters of the Gulf Coast and may get involved with some special events at the Museum. We are excited that she is staying local and look forward to sailing with her.

(image: JH)

(image: JH)

to be continued...


  1. I have been building a Penobscot 17 and hope to have it in the water next summer. I have ordered the sails from Dabbler and am using faux hemp for the rigging. Your photos of the rigging are really helpful to me. (I am not experienced with rigging a balanced lugsail rig.) I cannot see how the halyards run at the top of the masts. Did you drill through the masts? Are there sheaves placed in the masts? Do you, or could you use blocks at the top of the masts? Thanks for sharing your history with Hanna. Soon I will send you greetings from the deck of Evergreen in the waters of the frozen northland.

  2. Hi Fred, There are sheaves at the top of the masts. You could use blocks. The halyard attached to the yard and ran through the sheave towards the bow, then down to a cleat near the base of the mast, forward side. On the aft side of the mast there was another cleat down low to tie the boom downhaul to. The boom is held close to the mast with a line parall. The yard at top can be held close to the mast with a parral. Or the halyard can be run through an eye on the yard, around the opposite side of the mast from the yard and tied at the head of the sail (4 corner sail Peak-Head-Tack-Clew). One one tack of course the yard is blown against the mast, on the other tack you'll want some system up top to keep the yard from flying away, as it is not hauled all the way to the sheave. Zoom in on some of the photos and that might become clear.