Sea Lark History
Sea Lark was built by Richard Bennet 1949-1951, registry first shows 1953. William Garden (the designer) and a shipwright came to assist Bennet in the construction. Bennet and his wife were school teachers and took a trip to Alaska on Sea Lark.
For seven years Sea Lark lay neglected in Lake Union while the Bennet’s thought of selling her.
Sold in 1964 to Frosty Bates of West Seattle, an airline pilot. Frosty covered rotten frames at ballast level by adding cement. Frosty modified the interior for an alcohol stove and a fiberglass icebox. He purchased the Dacron jib and foresail. Frosty hired Nelson & Hansen (one of the best shipwrights on the Duwamish) to sister many frames in the area of the foremast.
1967: Frosty agreed to sell Sea Lark for $4750 subject to survey. Surveyor Capt. Tom Clark reported much work needed to be done (knew the broken frames had been covered over with cement from looking at the boat during a previous survey. Sea Lark was sold to Dick Baila and RodBergem of Seattle’s Mt, Baker neighborhood. Dick was 21 and Rod 25 year old. 1968 Dick sold his half to Rod with the option to buy back.
1969: Dick bought Sea Lark back from Rod for $2600, quit Seattle Community College and stated tearing into Sea Lark’s rot.
Dick removed covering boards and center strip of fir decking. Removed cement ballast along with 2000lbs of iron sash. Made a pattern and had a lead shoe cast (1200lbs) to fit Sea Lark’s keel. Shoe was cut into 3 pieces and bolted thru keel with bronze , Irish felt in between. Dick saw no evidence of deterioration in the keel. Added 5500 lbs more lead and returned ballast to original level. Sistered frames at floor level with oak, fastened thru planking. Replaced 9 or 10 frames in pinkie stern where exposed tops let to rot. Installed diesel engine. Remade exhaust system.
Dick and Susan Baila sold Sea Lark to Tom and Celest Gotchy Sept. 1 1979 for $26,000. Tom replaced all the iron chain plates, iron exhaust system, and iron rudder plates with stainless steel. She was always weeping rust on my fresh paint. Removed engine and painted. Pulled foremast and repainted. Installed radio box, cassette rack, wooden cockpit grate, box for bucket head, Bruce anchor, Lyle Hess Fatty Knees dingy, Large Danforth “storm anchor, jib, Diesel cook stove. My real positive input was preventive maintenance all the years we owned her. Paint and varnish was always kept up to a high standard.
Sea Lark was sold March 9, 1990 for $25,000 to Stephen Schultz. Steve was a fisherman who I believe ended up with little time for a pleasure boat. I’m not sure how many years he owned Sea Lark. Steve sold Sea Lark to a couple of individuals who had the intention of doing extended ocean sailing. I don’t know how long they owned her before deciding that they needed a simpler rig.
Sea Lark was sold in 1997 to Gerry White for $20,000. Gerry had her aging engine replaced with a new Yanmar 3GM30F, replaced the mainsail, and had a new drifter built. During the time Gerry owned Sea Lark he also had the decks redone. Several deck boards were replaced, the entire deck was re-caulked and he made a decision to paint the decks rather than remaining with the brightwork decks she had before. This work was done by John Zimmer at Baird Boat Yard in Port Townsend (now called "Haven Boatworks" since Ernie Baird retired, btw) Gerry participated in at least two CRISR races in 2000 and 2001.
In 2003 Sea Lark was purchased by Derek Jacoby for $22,500. She was surveyed by Lee Erheart (available on request) and the deficiencies in the survey corrected. Most notably, John Zimmer once again worked on her to replace a weak garboard plank on the starboard side. Other work completed during my ownership of Sea Lark is noted on the work completed page.