Francis MacLachlan Part 3

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The quote that follows is by Francis MacLachlan as an unedited note to go with the little schooner. A have been working with him over the the last year annotating photographs, curatorial style. He is now over 90, brimming with ideas and thinking of the future when five, ten, fifty years from now there will be an interest in a sailing vessel for youth training.

“While sitting around the wardroom of HMCS Cataraqui in Kingston we heard of a little cargo schooner, cheap that was available in New Brunswick. So we took the train in the fall of 1952 and had a look at the schooner on the beach on the Bay of Chaleur. Gordon Workman in the picture. She was in sad shape so we said to each other, do not buy her. Gordon tells me that on the way back on the train he got me to sketch a training vessel, I do not remember this but that is what he tells me. We immediately went to steel. I think I sketched a brigantine under the influence of Irving Johnston and his brigantine Yankee.
Outward Bound – climb mountains, go out in square riggers, these were approaches to youth leadership training. What we were not looking for was an old beaten up for and aft rigged wood schooner. This got me started thinking about designing our own training ship.
When I got back to Kingston I started talking to Mike Eames, a fellow naval architect about it. By the end of 1952, maybe early 1953 we had the design for what became the St. Lawrence 11 settled”.

It is this event in 1952 the gave birth to the Brigantines St. Lawrence 11, Pathfinder and Playfair.

About curiouslakescurator

Sailed professionally for thirteen years then went ashore to become a marine museum curator.
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2 Responses to Francis MacLachlan Part 3

  1. Amanda Slade says:

    All these years of sailing and I never knew how it all began with Pathfinder and Playfair until reading this article. Thanks for sharing these stories!

    • The success of St. Lawrence 11 was the inspiration for the Toronto donors to fund the Pathfinder project. I was a part of that first team that started knocking on Toronto doors for support. The team included Dr. Joslyn Rogers, Captain Len Stupart, John Connellan, and Karen Larsen (founder of Gam on Yachting). The funding started with Garf and Mary Lorriman and Mr. S. B. Playfair. Francis and Grant MacLachlan were the Kingston team who worked with Toronto Brigantine. As with many successful projects, it was a collaboration. Not always easy but with a defined goal.

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