Dear Plank-on-Frame sailors in the Opera House Cup,

We are writing to you for two reasons. First, we’d like to encourage you to register for this year’s Opera House Cup on Sunday, August 16. Registration is now open at Most of you have been with us in recent years, but some of you have been away, and we would love to have you back. The soul of the race is with the owners such as you, and we want to keep that flame bright.


Lark (pictured before restoration at Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway in Vineyard Haven, MA commenced) is a 45-foot Alden gaff cutter built in 1932 by Geo Lawley for the Forbes family of Naushon Island as a racer cruiser.


Secondly, we are writing because this year some of us on Nantucket with plank-on-frame boats are getting together to have a reception for those like us who are registered for the race. It will be at Great Harbor Yacht Club on Friday, August 14 at 6 pm. We thought it was long overdue to celebrate the class of boats that started this race 48 years ago.

Nat Benjamin, noted designer and builder of plank-on-frame boats (and for most of you needs no introduction), will be our guest speaker. Nat will describe for us, with pictures, the incredible work Gannon & Benjamin has been doing this winter. Of note is the complete restoration of Lark, John Kerry’s 45-foot Alden gaff cutter built in 1932 She is getting the works – all new frames, floors, stern post, horn timber, fore keel, keel plank and spars. The boat entered their shop in mid-September. Their goal is to have her sailing on July 4. Nat will also discuss the specific needs of wooden boats as they reach the half-century mark.

Given the unique challenges of keeping our boats going, we felt it was time to get acquainted and raise our glasses to a bond that others on the starting line cannot fathom. And, without question, it is our boats that get the second looks!

In addition to the plank-on-frame owners and skippers, we welcome your spouses and significant others. Dress is casual, and if you happen to come directly ashore in foul weather gear, you’ll fit right in. We hope you can join us, both on the starting line and Friday evening.

Phil Smith
(Annie) and Tom Darling (Dolphin)


Sailmakers Re-tooling to help with crisis.

As shortages of healthcare supplies continue to hamper the fight against Covid-19, UK Sailmakers continues to do what we can to make personal protective equipment available for doctors and nurses across North America and Europe.

has been designated a “non-critical” industry (we can debate that down the road!), so UK Sailmakers has “retooled” from producing racing and cruising sails to stitching together protective isolation gowns. Non-porous materials ranging from spinnaker cloth to Tyvek can be seen running under the feet of UK Sailmakers’ sewing machines around the world.

We’ve already shipped hundreds of gowns and masks to local hospitals and clinics in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Norway, Spain, and Ukraine with our Chicago loft actually cutting gowns and masks that a local sewing club is finishing; but that’s just a drop in the bucket. We know other sailmakers have similar efforts going on. If any other businesses would like to join us in this fight, contact UK Sailmakers at and we’ll send you the isolation gown cutter file. ■


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