Utopia was designed and built by Peterson Builders in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in 1946. She is a 77' stays'l schooner that served as a private yacht for the owners of a shipbuilding firm that did well building minesweepers for the war effort. In 2016, the vessel was donated by the family to Inland Seas Education Association, a sailing-based environmental education program in Northern Michigan.
Utopia might seem to be a standard carvel schooner at first glance, but she is exceptionally unique in her construction. Her hull above the waterline is yellow pine on steamed oak frames, but below the waterline the hull transitions to conventional steel construction. The intersection between the wood and steel hull had destroyed both materials, and a very interesting project ensued to repair this area. New frame ends were scarfed on and faired in, while new steel floors were welded in place. The steel angle rabbet was bent in to place and fitted to the new frame ends and welded in place. After the framing had been repaired, it became a conventional planking job.
This project was shared with boatbuilders Eric Seefeld and Adam Burkes, both of whom were an absolute delight to work with and a great source for those seeking boat carpenters in the Midwest.
From Fred Sitkins, Executive Director, Inland Seas Education Association:
"Inland Seas Education Association was extremely fortunate to have found Garett Eisele for our renovation of the 77' Schooner Utopia. Garett's primary responsibility was caulking the new planking we were installing, but with Garett's exceptional knowledge, skills, and work ethic being apparent immediately, he ended up being involved in the completion of the planking work and a great deal of the problem solving that went into to finalizing this complicated project. One of the things that impressed me most about Garett was how well he worked with the variety of professionals we had engaged with this project. Everyone appreciated Garett's knowledge and flexibility and I appreciated the level of productivity that occurred as soon as Garett arrived on the job site. I can't say enough good things about Garett and the skills he brings to the table."