Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Old Ads

I work in advertising so I love vintage ads.  Here's one for Sovereign.


So I know it's bad luck to rename a boat but we decided to do it anyway. We had a little ceremony asking Poseidon to erase all record of previous names and protect our boat, now named "Little Gypsy." My father in-law had a sailboat named "Gitana" (gypsy in Spanish) so I named this one Little Gypsy in his honor.

Here's the new letters on the boat.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Some history from a previous owner

One of the things I obtained with my Sovereign 7M sailboat was a 3-ring binder with a bunch of documentation in it. Through this documentation I've been able to identify at least 7 previous owners. I was able to contact Stepen W., the owner before the one who sold it to me. He's the one who brought the boat to Miami after it spent all its life in Louisiana, but not before a stop in Wisconsin.

Here's what he told me.

In 2009 I lived in Louisiana. The Sovereign 7 was a Katrina survivor. She was a mess. Full of wasps, mossy, moldy an the sou soul was rotted out. I asked the owner if I cleaned it, if may sail it and he was agreeable. So I did and he gave it to me.  She sailed in Lake Ponchartrain for two years. Then I trailered her to Sturgeon bay, WI. And sailed her there and cruised Door County for two years. There I replaced the sou soul, pulled the head and painted the deck and bottom. 

Then I moved to Miami Beach and kept her at the Crandon Park Marina at anchor for two years until Brian picked her up. The trailer I bought in Wisconsin and retrofitted it to fit the boat which cost me , trailer and fit, $2300. The trailer was worth as much as the boat. Before I sold to Brian I replaced the Genoa. The Main is original. The Johnson needs to be serviced once a year. 

The boat's original name was Drifter which I changed to Katie's Drifter after my mother. I loved the boat and did what I could for her until I moved to my present boat. She's near indescribable. Keep the bottom clean and she'll go up to 7 knots with the right wind.

Enjoy. And she'll be perfect to sail the bay with that shallow draft.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

More Sovereign History Notes

Here's another item from the Sovereign Yahoo group.

Excerpt from an e-mail from Dan Steeg, founder and former owner of Sovereign Yachts:
MODELS -Sovereign 17, A&B interiors, Sovereign  5M, 18, and Antares 17, we never built a 19' but Custom Fiberglass products built a 20', it was the Montego 19 with a stretched Sov. 17 deck.

Sovereign 7M, Sov 23' & 24', and the Antares 24 all the same hull but two different decks (formerly the S2 -23’) and finally the Sov 28 Center-cockpit (formerly the S-2   -26' Center Cockpit), we lengthened the hull by 2' and added a house forward and aft, changed the keel and the rudder.  

CLOSED DOWN- When the stock market crashed in 1987-1988 we had 28 boats on order and everyone cancelled. I Had about 15 dealers at this time and I didn't want to lose them so I gave back all the deposits. Finally, I had to go Bankrupt. The Bankruptcy Courts awarded the molds to Custom Fiberglass Products (Robie Bowen Owner) They did most of my glass work. I don’t know how many boats that he built he came out with the Sovereign 20. He later sold the molds to Sovereign America Inc., they didn't build many boats. BOATS BUILT-Estimate-600 boats over 10 years. The Sovereign 7M was the first boat built (S2 23') next the Sovereign 5M, we scaled down the 23 hull to 17’ Jim Smith (Employee) built the first hull.

Sovereign History Notes

I found this on a small and inactive Yahoo group for Sovereign sailboat owners. I can't vouch for its accuracy but have no reason to doubt it either.

Hi Everyone,

I found someone connected to the manufacturing of the Sovereign. I am posting what he wrote to me.  

Fred: In 1976 I was line foreman for the Buccaneer line of sailboats built by Bayliner in Valdosta, GA. We were building the Buccaneer 20, 24 and 27. I was so ashamed of the boat I was building I moved to The Tampa/St. Pete area of Florida in 1977, and started looking for a better quality boat to build. I hooked up with the three owners of Southern Sails of Largo, Florida who wanted to begin construction of the Skipper 20, but had no boat building experience. I built their prototype boat so they could start marketing it, and proceeded to hire the folks needed and set up the assembly line so we could start turning out the Skipper 20's.

After about a year the Skipper 20's were moving down the line smoothly and were selling well. The owners (I can't remember their names, it's been a while!) wanted to build a larger boat, but starting a hull from scratch was going to be very expensive. They acquired a set (deck and hull) of old S-2/ 7.3 meter molds and modified them to create the Sovereign 7.0. The start-up of this model caused disagreements among the three owners and cash got very tight, so then there were two companies. That is when the Sovereign Yacht Company was formed. We started production of the Sovereign 7.0 and worked on getting the bugs out of the assembly line. The owners wanted to build a solid boat and quality control was good. For a while the Skipper 20 and the Sovereign 7.0 were built at the same facility in Largo, Florida; and then Southern Sails moved out as Sovereign Yachts started expanding.

By this time, I has been in a fiberglass production environment for a number of years and kept thinking this had to be bad for my health long term, so I started looking for other areas of the marine trade that I would like. I became interested in selling boats instead of building them and left the company. So I was with them for the Sovereign 7.0 start-up, but had left by the time they introduced the 5.0. I do not know what eventually happened to the company and molds. The three original owners were all sailors. One had a naval architect background, one had a sales background, and the third had the capital. The relationship between the three was pretty good, and even the division and forming two companies was amicable. By the time they started building the 27' model I was out of touch with them as I had moved back to New England.

The connection with S-2 was simply the purchase of the molds. There was much swapping and selling of molds back then as boat companies kept going out of business and their molds would be up for grabs. I hope all this helps you. I'm pretty sure I have on original brochure for the Sovereign 7.0, although it would take some looking to get my hands on it. I could probably scan it and send it to you if you like. Let me know if I can do anything else for you.

Rob Lawnsby

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What's in a name?

Sailors are superstitious. One of their superstitions has to do with changing the name of a vessel. It's considered bad luck. There even are ceremonies for removing an old name from a boat and christening it with a new name. I'm not superstitious but I may conduct one of the ceremonies anyway. What could it hurt?

So as far as I can tell my Sovereign 7M has had several names. The boat spend most of its life on lakes in Louisiana. The first name I encountered was "Drifter", which it had during the 80s.

Then an owner that also owns a Tea Shop near Hammond Louisiana, renamed her "Tea Time".

A subsequent owner, this one in Miami, changed it again, this time to "Katie's Drifter". From his Facebook page it looks like he wanted to honor his mother and also return to its previous name.

The guy I bought it from in Miami named it "Savannah" but never put a name on the boat during the year he owned it.

And now that I own it, I am naming it "Little Gypsy".  The name  is a tribute to my late father in-law. He had a large sailboat named "Gitana" which means "Gypsy" in Spanish. So as a gift to my wife, I named this one "Little Gypsy" in English.

I designed the name at the top of this blog bought the vinyl letters to apply to the hull on one side. Still haven't decided which side. I'm thinking starboard.

Here she is!

My Sovereign 7M Sailboat.

How I came to own a Sovereign 7.0 Sailboat

Hi, I'm Henry and I'll be your guide on this adventure/misadventure. If you're reading this it's probably because you were searching for information about Sovereign Sailboats. There will be plenty of posts about Sovereign, its history and the surviving boats later but for my first post I want to talk a bit about myself and how I ended up with a Sovereign.

It’s a really stupid reason. I grew up on motorboats in Miami, Florida. My dad owned these boats. As a teenager he got me my own 15' Boston Whaler. That's the closest I ever came to actually owning a boat. Now, 47 years old, I had never considered a sailboat before. Then my children went to a summer camp where they do a lot of boating and sailing and my wife and I attended their family night. While we were being taken on a short pleasure ride on one of their boats I struck up a conversation with the guide and e mentioned the anchorage near their dock where people live on their sailboats or just park them there for free. It was kind of a revelation. I thought maybe I could buy a cheap sailboat and leave it there.

I began looking at boats on craigslist and found one that was very cheap but that was in the middle of several projects that I’d have to complete. In any case, it was sold by the time I called. Then another one was listed and I jumped on it. It’s 7M Sovereign from 1980. It’s in very good condition for its age and it came with a 9.9HP Johnson outboard. The seller listed it for $3500 and I got it for $2900 including the trailer.

The seller had it in the water at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club and after investigating it, it’s pretty reasonable to keep it there. It’s more secure and there’s 24/7 water taxi to and from the boats. I have been out on it a few times already, mostly just putting around with the outboard but I am signed up for a basic keelboat class in early September and looking forward to learning how to sail.

 Stay tuned. Pics and more posts to come.