1952 George Stadel Ketch "Lark"

by Craig Murray
(New Durham, NH. USA)

Restoration and repair of "Lark" , a 41' 1952 George Stadel Ketch, built by Herbert Baum in KennyBunkport Maine.

Lark is oak framed with mahogany planking.

She has two sitka spruce masts, nine sails.

She also has a 40 hp Grey Marine engine.

Lark survived being hove-to off the coast of New England during the Hurricane "Jane", I believe in 1964.

I do have the full set of Blue prints of "Lark".

"Lark" was sailed between Maine and Maryland.

My wife and I bought/rescued Lark in 2003, from certain demise of a chain saw.

Shortly after, my wife was diagnosed with cancer.

We put the boat project on hold.

I did some work on her, but had to put the boat last on the list.

My wife lost her battle with cancer May of 2011.

She made me promise to continue with the boat project.

So far the I have removed the interior of the boat.

I have repaired some of the frames.

I saved the interior.

There are several planks to replace still.

The fore foot of the stem at the water line has some rot which is in the repair list.

The ballast is Iron, I would like to change that to lead. Yikes!

"Lark" may also require replacement of the keel timbers as they have dried out considerably.

The masts both have dried out and both have some long, wide checks in them.

Not sure how or what to do there yet.

The rigging is in fairly good shape.

All of the systems need up dating.

I want to bring the tanks down lower in the bilge.

The deck house coaming has been rebuilt and the deck house is removed for repair.

The engine is to be replaced with a rebuilt diesel.

The sails are a mixed bag, but salvageable.

Comments for 1952 George Stadel Ketch "Lark"

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Apr 10, 2023
by: Craig Murray

Hello:. Well, the boat has been on hold for a few years now. But, there is renewed interest to move forward with the repairs and maintenance.
I have been working to get help with the project.
There is five friends wanting to help.
So, I have to go back a few steps and revisit a couple of repairs / work, but, this is the re - beginning of the journey... Lark will sail again!

Aug 28, 2020
Looking for an update
by: Luther

Mr. Murray! I hope all is well you old Irish buggar!
It seems you have not posted in a few years!
Where have you been you larve?
I drove by recently and waived but all you did was stare at me with a big salty scowl.
Looking forward to hearing your next post.
If you are planning to resume boat work, let me know and I will come over, toss you out of your house, and we will laugh and work together like a couple of old blokes!

Nov 28, 2016
News of the Lark 12/16
by: C. Murray

So , some of the projects got worked on.

I found , in removing the parts of the bathroom .
some more structure to work on.

Rot has become the enemy.

Also , which I knew, the toilet was cracked, and the sink.

But the bulk head on both fwd and aft are repairable, mostly.

The toilet was an old porcelin and so was the sink.

I decided to repair the bulk heads, I also made all knew lamminated knees (there are six so far).

They were previously installed with galvinized iron bolts which are attached to the deck structure.

I cut off the nut with a cut off wheel.

I used a punch to drive the old bolt up a bit.

I used an driven hack saw to cut off the head
(Carrage bolt).

Then I pushed down the head bit and used a puller to just pull them out.

The hole is over sized, so I cleaned it up and drove a dowel in with some glue.

When dry, I cleaned up the surface.

I drilled a new hole for each one.

Not all of them cooperated.

Oh, if you take out a lot of structure, as I did, you have to support the boat.

I installed cross members and some angled pieces.

I can remove them if they get in the way.

I also have a few temp half bulk heads installed as most of the interior supports are removed.

I did this to install new tanks, wiring, gas lines for the stove, plumbing , and new charging system.

Oh as a side note, the area where the Batteries were installed, ROT.... more rot...nice.

I changed their location and am installing new charging systems as well.

So, the big thing here is, if you remove lots of bulk heads in the boat it is good to put in temp structure.

I'm an aircraft Mechanic, if we take large structure out we have to put the aircraft on cradles as well as support the shape inside.

Boats are the same, wood boats will bend or the planks will go bong!

I had to put s plank on the out side on the port and starboard side with supports to the cradle which are 6x6 pressure treated wood.

The interior has been a challenge.

Oh, also, when and if you consider changing locations of large heavy items, you have to measure from a point fwd to the item.

This is to find the moment from the CG.

This is to help in figuring the ballast, very important... It is good to consult a naval designer .


Jun 23, 2016
Let's work Craig
by: Luther

Hey old friend.

Saw the old green tarp wrapped tightly around your Lark.

When do you want to peel those tarps off so that we can bring back what once was.

Let me help you friend.

It will make me happy to give you the hands you need.

My knees are a little rubbery but I can still do the finishing work while you carry the loads.

As long as you stay out of my way, we will get along just fine friend.

As my Uncle Cuss used to say, go sailing!!!!!!!

May 09, 2016
Next work and the old
by: Craig Murray

Hi; well , I have had some set backs . ended up in the hospital last year .
But still here.

No mind, I have done some more to the structure of the hull.

I continued to repair the frames where they have broken.

I laminated oak strips in the shape where the break was, having cut back the frame to a 8-1 slope.
I fit , and then fit some more until the repair piece fits right, then glue it in.
Sounds simple, it is , and is not.
But it works and when done looks great, as well as being functional.

The frames are near done.

Still looking for a diesel to replace the Gray marine ...

Then the rest of the deck beams will need some attention.

Some of the deck has been damaged due to water getting in the cover.... It happens... This year the weather was better. I did more to the boat.
I had to rebuild the forward coaming.
I had a time with it as I did it off the boat.
I had to build a fixture first.
It fits and is fair but not installed until some of the deck beams are replaced.

I am also changing my mind regarding the two masts.
Due to the large checks, which some have said they would be fine, I am building two new masts using the fish-mouth method.
So far I have found enough wood for one mast. I will need to scarf pieces together. I am using spruce.
That is one of the spring projects.

The next thing to do is the planking repairs and replacing the garboard planks.

I am also fabricating new tanks ... The old ones were made from welded monel shaped like a barrel. They take up too much space and were mounted up high in the stern. Not so good for the CG of the boat.

Well , at least I have a list to choose from and the will to still do it.

C. Murray

Apr 30, 2015
New work 2015
by: Craig M.

Well, What a winter. Lark survived with snow blowing in , in a couple of places.
Go Figure!

Limited is the time and funds , like no one has ever heard that?

But there are "lists" and like I read recently in an article by Christine Smith co owner of David B., she writes " When I feel overwhelmed. I like to step back, pour another strong cup of coffee, find a pen and paper, write down the list-- then pick something, and simply do it"

Thanks Christine, that pretty much sums up what I am doing , what most of us , in boat repair/owners-ship/and making it sea-worthy, are doing, we pick something and do it.

I have some of those on the "list" , the new things which were done , but need renewed attention. Due , in part to the weather this year.

Hope , is still alive here in New Durham, so far.


Craig M.

Aug 21, 2014
by: Michael

Wonderful work, it is so good to such progress and dedication.

Aug 21, 2014
The repairs continue
by: Criag Murray

The repair of the stem was far easier than I had first thought, due in part , to the processes I learned at the Wooden Boat School.

Even though the damage spanned the upper and lower stem joint.

I was able to perform the repair in place .

The interior is back in but with a few changes.

The lav was in need of upgrades to today's standards.

I replaced the sink and toilet with used ones from a salvage store.

The shower is tiled as well as the lav with a drain the the floor.

The lighting, has bee upgraded as well to LED lights.

I have two new batteries and a new charging system.

The Galley is in repair/refit and redesign mode.

I am trying to keep the old galley but incorporate newer designs.

I want a modular approach to the cooler / and as much as I like the old wood stove, a new gas stove / oven.

I have the old stainless steel sink but am moving all the items locations to have a better fit.

All of this and still keeping the old trim intact.

There is a new floor of white cedar planks.

The bulkhead will be of white cedar trimmed with mahogany.

There have been many other changes too numerous to list.
Some structural, some systems (new Tanks, & Plumbing).

The through hulls were all changed.

The floor was raised 4 inches.

The deck house was repaired & raised 4 inches.

This was to allow moving the water and other tanks lower in the bilge.

This gave way to put more storage and equipment aft where the barrel tanks had been.

The "new " diesel (used rebuilt) Perkins was way more affordable than the Westerbeke.

I have had limited time to work on the boat and of course limited funds, as always .

Lark will be afloat again soon....

Cheers for now.

Aug 03, 2013
The work on Lark
by: Craig Murray

Hi, I have not gotten as far along as I would have liked this year.

No real excuses , but , life gets in the way.

Meanwhile, work continues , with the prep for the keel repair under way. ( and there is much to do in the way of prepping.)

We are moving a 5500lb iron ballast out from under a 24,0000lb boat , you need a really good plan.

We also need to have thought it through carefully.

The rest of the frames have been repaired, replaced.
( the sister frames have been removed ).

The butt blocks are being removed and scarfed joints made in the planks.

The lower plank seams will be splined with cedar, while the seams above the water line are caulked.

There is much to do in the way of cosmetics and interior installs.

Slow and steady, as it goes.

Funds are now coming into play, but not a big issue.

Weather is always a problem.

But we have new information on the history of Lark. This helps make it worth while.


Jul 30, 2013
Craig, Murray is a Stadel family name
by: Chris

Craig, give me a holler.

George Stadel was my grandfather, and I seem to be the only surviving grandson who can handle a sailboat!

I would love to see "Lark." chroconn@cisco.com

Jul 29, 2013
by: Richard Spencer

Hi Craig, I was amazed to see your description of your Lark project on the internet.

She was built by the Baum yard in Kennebunkport for my father Samuel Spencer and my uncle Richard Aldrich in 1953.

In 1954 when I was 10 years old we were caught on board in Hurricane Carol off Harpswell Maine.

I was so sure that we would all be killed that I have felt ever since that I was living on borrowed time.

I am sorry to hear about your wife's death but inspired by her wish that you continue the project.

I co-founded a land conservation group in Rangeley Maine and have worked on land conservation in that area based on a similar request.

As a child and teenager we used to sail the Lark from New England to the Chesapeake every year or so.

She was kept at Nonquit Mass. and Point Judith R.I.in New England and at Galesville MD. in the Chesapeake.

Many of my happiest childhood memories are of sailing the Lark with my parents, my brother and sister, my friends, my college room-mate and my fiancée.

Shortly after we were married in 1968,my wife and I lived on board the Lark for a summer in Kennebunkport.

She was without doubt the most beautiful boat in every harbor that we ever went into and she always always got rave reviews.

The more people knew about boats, the more they loved her.

We always thought that the design was sort of a cross between a Nova Scotia fishing schooner and a Maine lobster boat.

I still have many old photographs and a half hull model of her.

We now live in Portland Maine and I would die to see her again.

I can be reached at my office at 207 772 1941 during the day or at home at 207 773 5874 in the evenings.

My email address is rspencer@dwmlaw.com .

I tried to call you but your number was unlisted.

I would be very interested in hearing more about your project and, if you would consider it, perhaps chartering her once she is back in the water.

You are one of my heroes for making the effort to rescue her and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Best, Dick Spencer

May 13, 2013
The next phase!
by: Craig Murray

Well like so many projects, mine was on hold for the winter.

I needed money, so of to work a contract on modifying aircraft in Colorado.

Mean while, I intend to tackle the ballast and keel bolt replacement this summer.

I have a rebuilt Westerbeke engine to replace the old 40 hp Grey Marine engine.
( I have two of them if any one is looking for a replacement ) cheap.....

The sails are also on the repair list as well as the painting chores.

The hull has new life. I splined the planks, repaired the frames.

The new tanks are part installed.

I have rewired and re-plumbed the systems.

I have kept the rigging original with all of the repaired oak and bronze shell block pulleys.

I am replacing most of the lines, and halyards.

I have upgraded the electrical system to include a windmill gen. with improved lighting.

I am keeping the fabricated marker light setup.

All of the bronze hardware is going back on after paint and varnish.

Cheers Craig. ( And thatnks for the nice comments)

Dec 08, 2012
lending a hand
by: Matthew Wright

What a beautiful ship!

I have a little experience with small craft construction, an infatuation with Stadel's boats, and a somewhat flexible schedule.

I live in Brattleboro, VT which is not impossibly far from you.

If you are stuck in need of an extra pair of hands, let me know at sweetwerke@gmail dot com.

If I'm free I'll see if I can't help kick it along.

Good luck.


Sep 26, 2012
Progress 09/2012
by: Craig Murray

Hi , The time has come for a decision.

Cover for the winter / or cover to keep working over the winter.

I am going to try to continue working over the winter.

It is much harder up in the North East.

We can have some big snow and other weather.

So my friends and I are creating a pole barn.

I want to put a metal roof on it. Depends on the budget.

Sanding has taken over a lot of time.

Also has any one seen the cost of bronze hardware? Ridiculous!

The keel still has not been touched , as other things have taken longer to do, and normal life outside of boat repair world takes front stage.

The frames are all done.

There are measurements being taken to fabricate new tanks.

I have some round /barrel shaped tanks, which were removed.

They don't use the space very well.

I want to lower the CG as well for the water , and waste tanks.

The interior had been removed a while ago.

I am looking at the bulkheads and where the hanging knees fit.

Also I need to acquire new bathroom fixtures/hardware.

This is to get my head around where to put them and the associated electrical, plumbing, and structure to support the new stuff.

Of course more money for that stuff, I'm looking for used stuff first, I have found it just takes a few extra visits to other boat yards.
They have stuff they are tiered of looking at.

So that is it .( I think its plenty )

Cheers, Craig

Sep 26, 2012
Beautiful boat, beautiful story
by: Jerry

Thanks for saving such a beautiful sailboat.

So sorry for your loss.

Sep 05, 2012
Congrats on your tenacity
by: Wayne BartowAnonymous

I just completed a restoration on my S&S Lawley Built "Weekender Sloop, "Windsong".

Can relate to your issues and want to give you all the courage to keep on the project.

The end result is so rewarding and you have many folks out here rooting for you who also understand what's at stake.

Hang in there and do not hesitate to ask for advice from those who give it freely.

Aug 26, 2012
Progress on Lark
by: Craig Murray

Well. I went to a "repair a classic" class at the Wooden Boat School in Brooklyn , Maine.

I can not say enough about the school and the staff , it was more like boat repair "camp" for adults.

I had Eric Blake for an instructor.

He was very informative , and restored my hope for my project, " Lark ".

I have found out the checks in the masts are of no concern.

They should not be filled with any epoxy or filler that would harden.

Maybe a wax or some tar.

But Eric said to leave them alone and Maynard Bray concurred.

That is enough for me.

I have moved the masts over to custom saw horses that are at a working height.

They are stripped down of all their bits which were labeled and stored.

The cabin house top is removed and being repaired.

The plan for the Iron ballast is simple , I'm keeping it.

According to Eric Blake , I should remove it , sand blast it , and immediately seal it with epoxy .
Then paint it.

As far as the frames and the stem.

The stem has gotten a lay up of oak veneer repair.

After planning back to good wood.

The bronze bolts at the joint were removed to facilitate access.

They will be reinstalled.

The frames have been numbered and are being repaired in pairs, Port/ starboard.

I am planning the damaged area back to a 8-1 scope and laying in oak veneer.
Trimming to fit.

The planks will have their butt blocks removed and there are several dutchmean to remove.

So I see a hopeful progress.

Lark will be in the water next summer if all goes well.

Thanks Craig.

May 04, 2012
by: Dan - San Diego

I was touched to see your restoration project.

I have one myself and am humbled to see yours.

Keep restoring, I like what the other commentor said.

One step at a time!

I'll be checking back and working on mine too.

Apr 21, 2012
Restoring a George Stadel Ketch
by: Mike

"Lark" was clearly a magnificent lady in her heyday and I'm sure she will be again.

Restoration can be overwhelming with so many jobs to be done.

Just tackle one at a time, starting with the hull.

I know that is easier said than done but keep at it and one day you will get there.

Restore in the same order as you would build, starting from the backbone timbers, then the planking etc.

The first priority of any boat is that she should float.

Timbers that have dried out should, as long as there is no rot, ‘take up’ again when she ‘gets her bottom wet’.

‘Shakes’ in the masts might not be a problem, it depends on how wide they are.

The main thing for now is that you have her under cover and away from those trees.

Best wishes to you and "Lark"

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