New life for the Ranger, a 25-foot treasured wooden sailboat

Treasured wooden sailboatThe Ranger, one of Provincetown oldest wooden sailboats,  had been laying abandoned for years next to a dune shack near Race Point. The city most treasured wooden boat has been out of the water for the past 13 years and was slowly rotting: recently she has been taken to refit by Flyer’s Boatyard in the West End. The 25-foot sailboat, originally named the Omar, was built well over 100 years ago by C. C. Hanley’s boating business on Monument Beach. In the late 1800s, Hanley had started building very fast sailboats, known as catboats, which participated in the earliest sailboat races around Cape Cod in the 1870s. The Omar featured a different design, and she was one of only three sailboats known as the misfits created by Hanley.
Joe Andrews, a 96-year-old Provincetown native, has memories of the Omar being sailed by the Hannum family, her original owners, who kept it moored in front of their summer home, very close by the workshop where the boat is being refitted. Back in 1939, Andrews and the late Flyer Santos, John’s father, bought the boat for $18 from the original owner’s son. At that time, the boat had been stored out of the water for several years next to the Hannums’ dune shack near Hatches Harbor. “Leaving it out of the water is the worst thing for a wooden boat,” says Andrews.
Andrews and Santos renamed the boat the Ranger and added new sails and a new keel. They removed the canvas decking and the old gaff rig — a square mainsail with an upper and lower boom. When they relaunched Ranger, they did so with a triangular sail, known as a Marconi rig. They would modify the new rig once again before they were done, making the mast higher and the boom shorter in the process, resulting in what is known as a “tall rig” as opposed to the “mutton leg” they had tried before making this change. They also made changes to the centerboard, increasing its size from four to ultimately five and a half feet.
Two local boat builders, John Santos and Omar Smellie, are now restoring the boat for the third time in her life, and hope to have it back in the water by next June. With hard at work at Flyer’s Boatyard in the West End,  they are replacing all of the Ranger’s ribs and quite a few planks as well. All stainless steel fasteners will be installed before the boat is relaunched.

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