The Tartan TOCK
Profile and Perspective
Although she may not be commonly known by many as a Tartan classic, the Tartan Offshore Cruising Ketch represents an interesting chapter in the company's history. The TOCK first took shape on the drawing boards of Sparkman and Stephens in 1974 as design no. 2184 followed by a production run of 30 of these "Passagemakers" during 1976 and 1977.
Drawing inspiration from Irving Johnson's 1959 ketch "Yankee", the TOCK has several unique features which distinguish her among the Tartan line. Perhaps the most apparent among these is her midships cockpit and high bulwarks, but it is below that the designer's intent fully unfolds. Purpose designed as a liveaboard for couples, her layout includes a "great cabin" aft measuring a full 22 feet long by 13 feet wide spanning half the yacht's length, a fully outfitted galley with over 10 feet of counter space, a head with a separate walk-in shower, a pullman style stateroom forward opposite a second head and vanity, and a convertible vee-berth/utility area in the forepeak.
Well equipped even by today's standards, she featured an 80 HP diesel, 12/110v refrigeration, hot and cold pressurized water and optionally included an electric anchor windlass and 3kw generator.
Design and Reference Data
courtesy Chad Huffman
courtesy Fairport Yachts
Photo Gallery and Owner Comments
Pirate's Den by Chad Huffman
I purchased Pirate's Den last December in Beaufort, NC and intend to live on her in Jacksonville, FL. I graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2001 (Naval Architecture major) and am a submarine officer in the Navy. I will be stationed at King's Bay Naval Submarine Base, GA for the next three years.
Imagine my surprise, when I learned that Pirate's Den was the same boat that was featured in Tartan's 1976 brochures and publicity photographs! Over the years, many modifications had been made by her original owner, Robert Rodecker, who is a great source of information on the design. In fact, he actually visited the factory several times when the mock design was being built. He purchased the boat as a home, international and weekend cruiser. He lived on it for 10 years and single-handed it from California to North Carolina. In addition, he carefully documented all changes and upgrades in a separate owners manual he provided.
Pirate's Den (hull no. 8) then and now...
A vintage publicity photo and a more recent one
Bottom painting in a North Carolina snowstorm
Among her modifications, she features an S&S designed 30" bowsprit plus 1000lbs of lead added to keel to help reduce weather helm and balance the rig. Her original fuel tanks were replaced due to old age with two separate tanks and a day tank to keep any sludge in the main tanks from reaching the engine. There is also a comprehensive fuel filter system (5 filters in total) to prevent any possible fuel contamination problems.
In addition to being awlgripped with boot and shear stripes, a 3" thick rubstrake was added to her topsides along the aft quarters, providing protection as well as softening her look.
The original factory engine installation left it very difficult to reach the drain plug to drain the oil and not produce a mess. Now, a rubber hose connected to the oil sump drain leads to the bilge and has a pipe cap on the valve. This allows the oil to drain directly to a container with no spillage or messy hand pumps. A good idea for anyone with similar problems in their boat.
She is surprisingly spacious down below. The aft head has it's own dedicated shower stall with hot and cold pressurized water. The dining table in the great aft cabin seats eight and there is a small work bench and good size storage area all the way forward.
Although the boat is now some 27 years old (older than I am!) a marine survey at time of purchase says Pirate's Den appears to be conscientiously maintained and is considered to be in above average condition. I am planning to sail to the Bahamas for 12 days in early March with a group of friends. Can't wait!
Sidebar - Irving Johnson's Ketch Yankee
- Both the S&S design notes and the Tartan Marine builder's comments make reference to Irving Johnson's "Yankee" as a source of the TOCK's design features, in particular the "great cabin" aft. This arrangement places the main social and living space in the stern, where an owners stateroom might commonly be found aboard a cruising yacht of the same length drawn today. Although unusual, there is no denying the unbroken space created below, or the deck expanse above. As S&S put it,"it's big enough to hold a dance on".
- Captain Irving Johnson and his wife Electa are famous for their seven circumnavigations (three aboard the Schooner "Yankee" and four aboard the Brigantine of the same name) as well as their many books and magazine articles, including several in National Geographic.
- In 1959 their Ketch "Yankee" was built in Holland and designed to be able to pass through the extensive canal systems and rivers of Europe. The masts could be lowered onto the deck to clear all the bridges, and the steel hull could run aground at high speed without sustaining damage.
- More information about the ketch and the Johnson's can be viewed at the Yankee website.