Foggy, Brooklin Boat Yard builds an artful automated sloop

FOGGY_at_BBY_6-2015_cPanbo.jpgMaine is rightfully well known for boatbuilding but the craft was largely dormant when I got here in the early 70’s, and it stayed that way for quite a while. In the late 80’s many of the talented builders I worked with at WoodenBoat School were doing repairs and restorations. A commission for most anything larger than a sailing skiff was a big deal. But wow, did that change. It’s been wonderful to witness remarkably crafted custom vessels launch at yards like Lyman Morse (now also in Camden!), Rockport Marine, and Hodgdon Yachts to name a few. In fact, I only learned on June 20th that Brooklin Boat Yard — already masters at composite “Spirit of Tradition” beauties — was working on the extraordinary sloop above…

FOGGY_2_at_BBY_6-2015_cPanbo.jpgMeet Foggy, just launched on June 15th and still being finished out. What you can’t see in my photos is how the 74 foot yacht’s red carbon mast towers about 104 feet above the water while her 19,000 pound bulb keel draws nearly 12.5 feet. What’s obvious, though, is the huge foam-cored and cambered teak deck and the bright topsides layer of her Western Larch, Western Cedar, and carbon fiber composite hull. Not to mention the, um, random-seeming clusters of embedded glass in both those surfaces…

FOGGY_skylight_daylight_cPanbo.jpgIndeed, Foggy has some 862 embedded chunks of carbon-reinforced glass forming two skylights and eight “daylights” (as apparently dubbed by the builders). Note how at least the top layer of the deck and topsides has often been bent or sawn to flow with the glass designs. And that, I suspect, is only one aspect of the boatbuilding challenges BBY encountered in this project. Are you beginning to think, as I do, that this is possibly the most unusual new sailboat anywhere?

Flipping_Foggy_courtesy_Autoliterate_aPanbo.jpgSo how did a boatnut who only lives about 25 miles away (by water) not hear about this project? It’s not just that remarkable boatbuilding has become nearly commonplace around here; Foggy also seems veiled in secrecy. The otherwise informative Brooklin Boat Yard site doesn’t mention her, and the most detailed specifications I’ve found so far were in the local Ellsworth American‘s launch coverage, which also noted that BBY could not identify the owner. But it’s hard to keep secrets in the days of blogs, social media, and Google (not to mention the free press). Autoliterate, for instance, truly is a literate blog mostly about great old cars and trucks, but the Brooklin-based author also neatly captured the June 2014 flipping of Foggy’s hull (his photo above).

Flipping_Foggy_interior_courtesy_Autoliterate_aPanbo.JPGThis is another autoliterate image from flipping day, but I flipped the photo so as to more easily imagine what the daylight will feel like on the finished yacht. I’m pretty sure that this area is what reporter Stephen Rappaport described as the “large master stateroom forward” so there’s also a large skylight above (as seen in the top photo). I’m picturing water dancing by the lower glass in feisty sailing conditions and light dancing around the cabin in all sorts of conditions. Then at night, when Foggy is lit on the inside, there will be that arty jack-o-lantern effect Rappaport mentioned in the Ellsworth paper. Note, too, how the hull is mostly a finished visible surface inside as well as out (the deck, too) so there are few places to hide cables, plumbing, etc. Challenging!

Foggy_Frers_74_courtesy_dwhatty_Trawler_Forum_aPanbo.jpgThe light effects will be similar in the huge main cabin shown here under construction in a photo posted in the Trawler Forum, and I imagine they will be spectacular. And no wonder, given that the stellar architect Frank Gehry apparently designed the embedded glass details though German Frers is credited with the overall boat design. What’s less obvious is that Gehry was apparently designing spaces he himself hopes to sail in, but then again Foggy is also the name of the Benetau First 44.7 owned by Frank Owen Gehry (FOG) back in 2009 according to this sharp NYT piece on sailing architects.

Rendering_of_Frers_74_Yacht_Foggy_aPanbo.jpgIn that Times article Gehry said, “I love the sails. They make an architectural space. The Disney Hall is wing-in-wing.” I sure hope to see Foggy sailing in Maine this summer and many of you may also get to if she does indeed sail around via Panama to her home port of Playa Del Rey, CA (as Rappaport also reported).

Foggy_rendering_courtesy_Autoliterate_aPanbo.jpgI’d also like to know more about her systems. According to MegaYacht News, those batteries seen in the main cabin photo above are part of Li-Ion 10 pack that will be charged by a 10kW gen set, and purportedly many of the sail controls are hydraulic. In the rendering above (thanks again, autoliterate) the clean deck theme is paramount…

FOGGY_at_BBY_6-2015_cockpit_detail_cPanbo.jpg…and you can see some of the push button panels in this cockpit photo, as well as how many control lines are run somewhere under the deck. Incidentally, I took these photos from Gizmo during my annual one day WBS nav class job; I was more than willing to stop by Center Harbor to have a look once Jane Ahfeld and the students gushed about the launching. But I remain reluctant to bug the good folks at BBY for more info on the boat’s gear until it seems like they are free to discuss her. I did, though, come across this terrific video covering Foggy’s early construction. Steve White says the project took BBY’s (already stunning) craftsmanship “up to another notch” and who can doubt that?


At any rate, it feels right to honor Maine boatbuilding on this Fourth of July celebration of our country’s independence, but of course I wish Panbo readers all across this land a great holiday. I assure you that Gizmo is showing the flag(s).


PS 8/6: Cool! Foggy’s very interesting electronics setup is becoming public. It was announced that those are three 10-inch SailMon MM104 instrument displays mounted on the mast and it looks like they were even able to match the font color to the spars. The announcement also revealed that local electronics hero Winsor “Kim” Baker did the project and he’s posted a lot of interesting photos in his 2015 Gallery. Besides SailMon, Foggy seems to have extensive systems from GOST, Maretron, and B&G, including Zeus2 MFDs that pop out of the teak deck. And check the deck plank runs below. Damn! I’m hoping to have a chat with Kim about how all this went together.


Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

17 Responses

  1. Laurent (crazy french...) says:

    Thank you for that beautiful boat, with one like this I might go back to monohulls 😉
    Best regards

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    The four fastest boats entered in the Transatlantic 2015 race just started today but Comanche — launched by Hodgdon Yachts last year — is already calculated to take line honors. Meanwhile a 100-year old schooner is in the actual lead, and more than halfway across! It’s a wonderfully mixed fleet well covered and YB tracked here:
    Note that the Class 40 fleet includes the Aklaria RC3 named Amhas, which was finished out at the Maine Yacht Center:
    Also note that the free (Android and iOS) YB Races app is great for following TR 2015.

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Good to hear from you, Laurent! A funny thing about Foggy is that a lot folks around traditional-boat-loving Brooklin are not crazy about her looks.
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say.
    But Foggy does promise to be wicked light and fast (if all the systems work) and I notice that the French-built Mod 70 trimaran Phaedo has taken over as predicted TR 2015 line honors winner:

  4. Tom Young says:

    I think that is a very cool boat. It’s quite spare compared to the norm(traditional-even contemporary boats). It looks well designed and executed for the use the owner has in mind and it’s added an artistic side I haven’t seen.
    It will tick more than a few old salts, off. Oh well.

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I was mostly joking about possible difficulties with Foggy’s automated sail controls, but darned if the superyacht Nomad IV didn’t lose all hydraulics half way across the Atlantic and apparently would be fairly crippled if there weren’t an army of crew aboard:
    Meanwhile the really fast big boats fell in a hole and Nomad may be 2nd over the line in style:

  6. Anonymous says:

    Re that overhead deck light scheme…what’s going to happen with the boat rolling in daylight with someone inside who is on the edge of seasick? Or someone outside at night? Love to know if someone has studied or addressed this.

  7. AT says:

    WOW. Foggy just went by. Stunning.

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Now Foggy seems to be in Newport and sporting wild new steering wheels, binnacles and bowsprit thingy:
    Please come back to Maine, Foggy!

  9. Chris L-S s/v/ Pelican says:

    Yeah.. we’re here in Newport right now, cruising through, and have enjoyed seeing Foggy go in and out the past several days. Today, however, it appears as if her boom furling main broke as there was a guy riding her boom as she re-entered the harbor, tying a bunched up sail to it. Very unique boat. Can’t figure out if I like her yet or not.

  10. Sue from Narragansett Bay says:

    My husband and I were putt-putting around Newport harbor July 29th when we cast our eyes upon this masterpiece of a boat FOGGY just pulling into a slip. I knew immediately I had to find out about this work of art and couldn’t wait to get home and search the internet. Ben, thanks so much for the detail and pics. AWESOME!! Thrilled to have been up close and personal with it (well, sort of).

  11. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks for writing, Sue! I just found some photos of Foggy sailing. Jet black sails with red trim that matches the spar color. Damn!

  12. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Cool! I just found out a whole more about Foggy’s electronics and they look fascinating. See the new PS above.

  13. thomas says:

    Beautiful yacht. There are tons more pictures of the boat electronics in the installer’s gallery.
    Start here and click to the left:

  14. Anonymous says:

    She won the Opera House Cup in Nantucket this weekend.
    She looked very strange going out through the Rainbow Fleet (Beetle cats and replicas) and certainly stretches the definition of “wooden boat” as usually conceived, but she came in first overall and first corrected.
    She looked to me from 150m away like something from an aquatic “Mad Max” — cool but very strange. Your closeups show her better than she looks from a distance, but then I suppose Donald MacKaye’s first clippers looked just as strange in their day.

  15. Sue Reid says:

    Are there any pictures of the inside of Foggy? I was the seamstress for the sheep skin cushions for the main salon and the bedding. I would love to see how it all looks.

  16. That beauty is now in Key West

  17. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Cool. BBY has put up some photos of Foggy finished (Sue, your fine cushions are shown):
    And Charlie Doane found some more new Foggy pics, besides offering a chance to vote on the goofiest sailboat of 2015:,-sailing-yacht-a,-surfari-44

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