About the boat
This beautiful vessel is a diesel auxiliary gaff-rigged cruising ketch designed by renowned Southern California marine architect Hugh Angelman and built in 1944 at the Wilmington Boat Works ("Wilbo") in Wilmington, California. The Black Dolphin is white oak framed and mahogany planked, with teak decks and gum interior trim.
The Black Dolphin is identified as an "A-40 ketch" to differentiate the design from the prolific Angelman's other designs. It is unknown how many of the A-40 class were built, or how many still survive. It is thought that there were less than a dozen constructed and commissioned.
Although built in California, The Black Dolphin has sailed to New Zealand and Hawaii, and was one of the six original ships in the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) which is now the oldest and largest worldwide organization supporting liveaboard cruising.
The Black Dolphin is especially suitable for use as an outdoor classroom because of its ketch-rig, shallow draft, and flush deck.
Sailboats are classified by how their spars and sails are arranged. The Black Dolphin is ketch-rigged, meaning that it has two masts and hoists a component of three sails under normal conditions. A ketch's sail area is broken up into smaller sails than other kinds of boats making the sails easier for the students to handle.
The Black Dolphin's draft is only five feet four inches, which allows it to access many coves and harbours other deeper boats cannot enter. It also allows the boat to come in closer to beaches making access to shore-based educational activities easier.
The decks of most sailboats are obstructed by one or more "coach roofs", the portion of the deck raised to give increased headroom in the cabin. These structures take up a considerable amount of the useful space aboard a sailboat. The Black Dolphin has a flush deck from the companionway leading down into the cabin to the bow of the boat, making The Black Dolphin an ideal platform on which students may participate in small group lessons, observe their surroundings, view demonstrations and participate in hands-on activities.