l2 US 6 Onawa
A Classic Beauty
Year Built: 1928
Yacht Designer: W. Starling Burgess
Yacht Builder: Abeking & Rasmussen Yard, Lemwerder Germany
Syndicate: W. Cameron Forbes
Onawa was designed by the renowned naval architect and pioneering aircraft designer, W. Star-ling Burgess. She was number 6 of 6 nearly identical Twelve Meter Class yachts built for prominent members of the New York Yacht Club in 1928 by the world famous Abeking & Rasmussen Shipyard of Lemwerder, Germany. Onawa was constructed for W. Cameron Forbes of Boston, who sailed out of Hadley Harbor at the North End of the Elizabeth Islands chain. The Forbes family had at that time, owned the Islands for generations. Remarkably, they still do today.
Mr. Forbes, also a member of the Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA campaigned Onawa vigorously for the 6 years of his ownership. He sold her to Horace F. Smith Jr. of Philadelphia who sailed her out of Jamestown, RI under the Conanicut Yacht Club burgee until the outbreak of WWII.
During the War she was sold and gave her keel to the war effort, where it was put to good use as submarine ballast. She changed hands and home ports over many years, gracing harbors from Annapolis to St. Croix in the Virgin Islands before falling on hard times. By 1991 she had fallen derelict, but was fortunately purchased by some Rhode Island Sailors and then trucked to New-port from City Island, NY. For nearly 10 years she languished here until a dedicated group was formed by McMillen Yachts to bring her back to life. In 1999-2000 they gave Onawa a complete stem to stern restoration, making her ready for the 2001 season and the 150th Anniversary of the America’s Cup in Cowes, England.
Since returning from Cowes in 2001, Onawa has been owned by a consortium who have raced and cruised the New England Coast. Recent racing successes include placing second in the vintage division of the 2019 Twelve Meter World Championship, second in class in the NYYC 175th Anniversary Regatta, and solid finishes in such events as the Opera House Cup and New-port Classics Regattas.
Meticulously restored, lovingly maintained, and a joy to the eye, Onawa is most of all a pleasure to sail. See for yourself and get on board!