Tropical Shields Cruising, 80's Style


Well I asked Dwyer for more details his Shields "cruising experiences in the British Virgin Islands and he sent along some more tidbits. So I will pass them along. Enjoy and thanks Dwyer.
Well, all this was 20+ years ago. I named the Shields for my young daughter.
The cuddy cabin was rebuilt with teak sides and a painted top with a sliding hatch.
I planted a 40 lb danforth near the top of Westend harbour ( Tortola, BVI ) with 10-15' of heavy chain and 1"line and mooring on top. Stuff taken from SY Sirocco, Errol Flynn's old yacht ( 75' Alden designed 1929 Lawley ketch built in Neponset MA on which the supposed statutary rape took place in 1942. ) which I was restoring for my brother. The mooring was about 150' offshore from Pusser's landing which was the perfect place to dock my Boston Whaler. Twas a two minutes walk to my apartment. Atop the cabin were anchored two 6" bronse winches, one on either side, which made the handling of Jessie W a dream, could go racing with two people and singlehanding a snap.

Once the cabin was rebuilt and the mast re-stepped towed the boat to my new mooring and proceed to play. Considering the trade winds were pretty constant, I dropped the small outboard overboard, got rid of all the electric and electronics guages except the compass and running lights and started sailing. Soon could sail off and onto the mooring without problem. Then discovered the roller self-furling jib was junk...the harsh Caribbean sun had carroded the inards or something...replaced with a jib with hanks sewn on, piece of cake to hook up and use.. proceeded to daysail everywhere around Tortola.

Entered a round Tortola race with Sirocco's captain and myself as crew. To our happy surprise, we won our class...

The inside of the cabin was never finished out as it was extremely cramped and I didn't want to get into it, but it looked great from the outside...

Had my daughter out for a visit ( then age 9 ) and sailed over to one of the local islands to lunch and went aground. Jessie W. had a 3000 lb lead keel I think and drew about 3 1/2'. After pondering it for a bit got out of the boat into the water which was up to my chest and took the halyard and pulled the boat over just enough to free her, she floated back into the channel and got aboard and staying in the channel this time, sailed on to our lunch. Was exciting for a minute.

The boat was a fun foundation for flying both sails and flags, many flags. She was Tortola registered so flew the red duster. I still have two large bags with maybe 60 flags plus a bag with all the international signal flags. Sometime will have to get either another boat or a large flagpole and start using them again.

Then one day the Jessie W disappeared ? ! ? When looking for her in a helicopter but nought has ben seen or heard of her form that day to this.

**Original Post**

So apparently the idea of "cruising" in a Shields Class one design is not completely new. But reading about Shields #44 has sparked my interest in maybe trailering Bolero someday, somewhere...

The following two articles appeared in two 1980's editions of the Shields Masthead, the official publication of the Shield National Class Association.
Boat #44 in the Virgin Islands
Shields Masthead - August 1981

Many will remember Frank Scully's boat, Aeoulus, #44. It is now owned by George Prince who writes; "When in Tortola (British Virgin Islands) I was so dissatisfied with the sailboats I could charter, I decided to have my Shields there. Flatbed truck to West Palm Beach and then deck freight to Tortola. I have rechristened her Charade. I was quite overwhelmed with the amount of attention she attracted wherever I went. People would ask what she was and exclaim over her beauty... an experience that all owners of Shields must experience, though as a one of a kind in the Virgin Island, I got more than my share."
And a follow on article in 87 give way more details.
"Cruising Shields" Lives in Paradise
Shields Masthead - March 1987

Toughing It Out in Tortola...

Dwyer Wedvick, our Caribbean Connection, recently dropped a note to Kelli McSweeney outlining happenings so far and future plans for Jessie W., Shields #44, which he keeps in Tortola, BVI

In his letter, Dwyer notes that Jessie W. is at the Wood Works, West End, for under the deck mast partners consisting of three layers of 1/4" plywood, epoxied using the West System, from chainplate to chainplate approximately 18" wide with fiberglassed hanging knees extending down the insides of the hull approximately one foot. She will also get a teak chock around the mast.

Dwyer notes that he is unsure if such modifications are "heresy" but "the whole shebang looks wobbly and potentially dangerous to me with some messy prior repairs."

Other modifications include plans to raise the cuddy cabin by 6" (teak) and install a folding sliding hatch (also teak). She will get two small port lights, one on each side, a la IOD, plus "the floorboard immediately abaft the mast is going for smaller deck boards (teak) to fit approximately 2" higher than the bilge so one has a place for feet while inside the cabin."

Existing equipment includes VHF radio, tricolor lights atop the mast, depth sounder, knotmeter, compass and windex. When the cabin is finished the halyards will exit the mast above the deck through stoppers to winches on top of the cuddy on each side of the hatch confluent to the cockpit, which is self bailing." The four original winches are reported to be excellent shape and will remain on board.

Dwyer has also ordered up a new vinyl rub rail from Cape Cod Shipbuilding which will complement the new 1" by 1" teak toe rail.

"As you can imagine, this Shields will cruise as well as race. Who knows how far she can go. We'll just have to see ... He adds, "If all this heresy doesn't absolutely kill, I'd love to hear from some people."

Kelli McSweeny is closely guarding Dwyer's address. Contact her if you'd like to drop him a note. She has volunteered to personally deliver all correspondence.
I would love to know more about how this story turned out.