Charles Mower

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Charles Drown Mower
Born 5 October 1875(1875-10-05)
Died 18 January 1942
Occupation Yacht Designer
Spouse(s) Francis Petriken Mower
Children Charles Petrican Mower

Charles Drown Mower of New York was a noted yacht designer and author, and was at one time design editor of the Rudder magazine and a contributing author to Motor Boating magazine.


He starting studying yacht design in 1895 with Arthur Binney and later Bowdoin B. Crowninshield, moving on to a partnership with Thomas D. Bowes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1911. During the first World War he served as a lieutenant commander in the Construction Corps, Naval Reserve.

After the war Mower worked either alone or in partnership as Mower and Humphries Ltd. He was also a chief naval architect at Henry B. Nevins, Inc., City Island, New York, and in 1937 was associated with the office of Nelson & Reid, Inc. He was also official measurer of the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club, the Cruising Club of America and the New York Yacht Club.


His wife was Francis Petriken Mower, who died in August 1967. His son, Charles Petriken Mower, (Born 12/28/1920 Died 7/31/01) married Jane Stilwell Mower (Born 4/18/1924 Died 1/8/2001), who was daughter of John Stilwell and niece of Joseph Stilwell, the noted WWII general. His grand children are Mildred Pastula 11/06/1954 to present and Charles Stilwell Mower 05/29/1950 to 1/1/1976.

Surviving Work

Most of his surviving designs are held in the Mystic Seaport Library, where a total of 433 sheets represent 107 designs.[1] A lot of his work was destroyed in the 1992 Noreaster and 1954 Hurricane Carol storms that attacked Connecticut. All of the surviving boat models once owned by Charles P. Mower (Mower's son) are with Mildred Mower Pastula, grand daughter of Mower, and her sons; David, Stephen and James Osler. At times models have been loaned to Yacht clubs in Greenwich CT.


Some Mower yachts designs that have been well publicized include The A-Cat, The R-Class, The Legendary and the Fishers Island Design.

The A-Cat

In 1922 Judge Charles McKeehan of Philadelphia hired Mower to design a new boat specifically to win the Toms River cup. Mower's design became the Mary Ann, a 28-foot (8.5 m) hull based on the traditional East Coast catboat lines. In place of the gaff-rigged catboat sail, the first A-cat was soon equipped with a powerful Marconi rig, a tall triangular sail on a 46-foot (14 m) tall mast and sweeping 28-foot (8.5 m) boom at its foot. After Mary Ann swept the race in July 1922, other racers started having their own versions built. The seven-boat fleet became a familiar sight during the 1920s, but the Great Depression put a damper on the race scene and no more A-cats were built. Mary Ann can still be found on Barnegat Bay[2].

Year 1922
Overall length 28 feet (8.5 m)
Waterline length 22 feet (6.7 m)
Beam 11 feet (3.4 m)
Draft 2 feet 6 inches (0.76 m)
Mast above Deck 46 feet (14 m)
Boom 28 feet (8.5 m)
Sail area 615 square feet (57.1 m2)
Construction Cedar on oak
Fastenings Bronze cooper
First Builder Morton Johnson, Bay Head

Fishers Island One Designs

Since they were built in 1923, the Fishers Island One Designs, as the Class A's were originally called, have been enthusiastically raced, day sailed and cruised on Fishers Island Sound. The fleet has anchored in only two harbors. Hay Harbor, Fishers Island, New York, from 1923–33 and then the Lagoon at Groton Long Point, Conn., from 1933 to the present. The original model of this boats is owned by Mildred Pastula (grand daughter of Mower) and is nearly identical to the Sidney or Charles Herreshoff models. The two designers were acquainted and both worked on the Fishers Island boats, so the similarity is not a surprise, but who should get the credit remains an area of contention.

The Mower model is in poor shape after years on neglect and flood damaged from the 1992 storm, much like many of the other half models that were stored in Charles P. Mower's basement.

Year ~1910
Overall length ~23 feet
First Builder City Island, New York or Dauntless Yard in Essex, Conn


R-Class racing sloops were built to the Universal Rule developed by Nathanael Herreshoff. They were widely raced in New England, on the Great Lakes, and in California. A few well noted R boats are still in existence. There are six such yachts at the Cleveland Yachting Club that continue to race against one another every summer. CYC yacht Ardette is a fully restored and updated 1931 Mower.


Ace is a 43-foot (13 m) R-Class Sloop built in 1926, and was four time winner of the San Francisco Pepetual Challenge Cup in her early years. More recently won the A Class Sloop "West Coast Boat of the Year Award" in 1998, and also won the A Class First Place in the Josh Slocum's Lyle Galloway Memorial Summer Series. She has had X owners, being first sold in 1944 to Jack DeMandel of Belvedere, California. In 1987 Jack Langton of Long Beach purchased her, selling her on in 1990 to Jim Squire who raced and extensively restored her. The deck was replaced and covered with epoxy resin and fiberglass. 68 deck beams were replaced and a new mast along with a diesel engine added. Garth Blair then purchased Ace in January 1998 and she is currently harbored in Wooden Hull Yacht Club. Newport Beach CA.[3]

Year 1926
Overall length 43 feet (13 m)
Waterline length 29 feet (8.8 m)
Beam 7 and a half feet
Draft 7 feet (2.1 m)
Mast above Deck
Builder Madden & Lewis, Sausalito


Penobscot is a custom built classic daysailer with teak decks, mahogany trim, Sitka spruce spars, and bronze hardware. Her Rig is that of a Fractional marconi sloop. She underwent a restoration in the late 80s that included the addition of a diesel engine.[4]. Currently harbored in Key Biscayne, Florida Keys.

Year 1923
Deck length 37 feet (11 m)
Waterline length 25 and a half feet
Beam 8 feet (2.4 m)
Draft 6 feet (1.8 m)
Displacement 11,000
Sail area
Construction Wood
Builder Hodgdon Brothers of Boothbay, Maine

Cutter Sailboat


Tops-O-Cotton won a number of races in her early years in Milwaukee, before being sold to a Chicago sailer and then to Bob Jacobsen and his father. Jacobsen sailed Tops-O-Cotton for over 30 years, making her a familiar sight in the Montrose Harbor, and Chicago sailing circles generally. In 1998 she was purchsed by Carl Hammer, who converted her to glass covered cypress planking. She is still harbored in Montrose Harbor, Chicago, Illinois[5]

Year 1934
Overall length 34 feet (10 m)
Waterline length 26 feet (7.9 m)
Beam 8 feet 2 inches (2.49 m)
Draft 5 feet 2 inches (1.57 m)
Ballast 3,300 lb (1,500 kg).
Displacement 5,600 lb (2,500 kg).
Construction one inch cypress carvel planking on oak frames with oak bow sprit and bumpkin.
Builder Ferdinand Nimphius

Other Notable Boats

Boat Type Size
Buster sailing dinghy 12-foot (3.7 m)
Caper auxiliary Cape Cod cat 22-foot (6.7 m)
Columbia Jr. hydroplane 151-cu. in.
Comfy RD cruiser, RB 32-foot (9.8 m)
Content DC cruiser 32-foot (9.8 m)
Dolores auxiliary cruising knockabout 24-foot (7.3 m)
Frances auxiliary cruising knockabout 18-foot (5.5 m)
Grace gaff-rigged Cape Cod cat 21-foot (6.4 m)
Marquita DC runabout 30-foot (9.1 m) VB
Pacer DC runabout 26-foot (7.9 m) VB
Pronto schooner-rigged motor sailer 40-foot (12 m) and 48-foot (15 m) version
Shorebird shoal-draft gaff-rigged CB sloop 21 feet (6.4 m)
Shorty RD cruiser 20-foot (6.1 m)
Slicque economical VB runabout 21-foot (6.4 m)
Smarty FB for sail or OB 14-footer
Snapper RB sailing dinghy 12-foot (3.7 m)
Transco clinker-built OB runabout 18-foot (5.5 m)
Uwhilna Teak Yawl 51-foot (16 m)
Whiz baby hydroplane 13½-foot
Whiz OB runabout 16-foot (4.9 m)

Vanity // round-bottom twenty foot knockabout//first round-bottom Chesapeake 20


The Plan Book of Cruisers, Runabouts, Auxiliaries and Outboard Motor Boats (Smartest and Most Up-To-Date Collection of Small Boat Designs, Volume IX) (Hardcover) Hardcover: 48 pages Publisher: Motor Boating (1927)

How to build a knockabout, (Rudder how-to series) (Unknown Binding) Unknown Binding: 58 pages Publisher: The Rudder Pub. Co (1902)

How to build a cruiser (Sea bird) (Unknown Binding) Publisher: The Rudder publishing company (1912)

How to build a racing sloop, (Unknown Binding) Publisher: Rudder Pub. Co (1920)

How to build a motor launch, (Rudder how-to series) (Unknown Binding) Unknown Binding: 42 pages Publisher: Rudder Pub. Co (1901)

Thirty Easy To Build Sail Boats With Auxiliary Power, IDEAL SERIES, VOLUME 15 (co authored) Hardcover Publisher: Motor Boating (1945)

Sailing Craft, Edwin J. Schoettle (editor), The Macmillan Co. New York (1928)


External links