Wind blowing through my sails,
it feels like I’m gone
Leaving with the wind blowing
Through my sails...
When Young sailed away, Ragland was more than half a century old, and she needed work. Originally built of oak, she had closely spaced 6-by-6-inch (yes, inch!) ribs, but the topsides planking had taken a beating from years of hard toil. With royalties from the many successful CSNY albums and concerts, Young ordered a railroad car filled with 20,000 board feet of furniture-grade mahogany to replank the yacht.
Stand on her teak decks and you feel like you’re on a concrete sidewalk, because the quarter-sawn teak is as much as 4 inches thick! In an era when the wood veneering on modern yachts is paper-thin, Ragland is simply remarkable. The exterior teak is left to turn a pleasant silver, giving the decks, the enclosed pilothouse and the various rails and skylights a properly seaworthy glow. Maintenance is as straightforward as hosing the decks, using the high-pressure saltwater fire pump.
During Young’s time as the curator/owner of Ragland, he and his friends and family sailed the world, but she was loaned out for scientific expeditions as well. The political and ecological activist lent her to a marine-research organization for a two-year voyage to Hawaii and Alaska to study whales, and later, another crew of scientists sailed her to Hawaii with a cargo of nutrients to nourish a patch of ocean that they studied to look for a cure for global warming.
Though a previous reunion of CSNY had gone down in flames, the foursome couldn’t stay away from each other, and CSNY has produced several albums and concert tours in recent years. More impressive is Young’s long and flourishing solo career. Nevertheless, it was time for Ragland to find a new owner.
Young listed Ragland for sale with Walter Wallace of Wallace Yacht Co. in Port Townsend, Washington, not only because that was her home port, but also because Wallace has a passion for classic wooden yachts. Wallace found a buyer, but the deal fell through and Ragland languished in a yard while the attorneys fought it out.
Wallace, who owned both a 1926 65-foot tugboat plus a live-aboard trawler, couldn’t bear the thought of Ragland deteriorating and took it upon himself to haul the yacht and get her ready for listing again. When Young found out what Wallace had done, he was very appreciative and he also made an interesting suggestion.
“Why don’t you buy her?”
The offer startled Wallace, but he was hooked. He sold his two boats, bought Ragland, and moved aboard. At this point, he’s lived aboard for about three years, entertaining friends and family, sharing her with the public at wooden boat festivals, and even sailing in a few regattas.
And now Ragland is ready for her next benefactor. Wallace says she’s too nice “for just a dude and a dog,” referring to his Jack Russell terrier. “For me to go aboard and build a fire and watch TV and then go to work the next day, well, it just isn’t right. It’s a waste of a great boat!”