During 1937 the Palo Alto Boats Works, owned by John and Pete Gambetta constructed a National One-Design sloop for Professor Smith of Stanford University. The sloop, named Mab, displayed exceptional workmanship. The highly-finished joinery and unusual quality of care and craftsmanship earned the Mab an invitation to be a featured part of the 1939 yachting exhibit at the Golden Gate International Exhibition held on Treasure Island.
Around this same time, Pete Gambetta repurchased the Mab and spent the next 30 years sailing her on San Francisco Bay. His daughter, Barbara, sailed the sloop to victory in races sponsored by the Palo Alto Yacht Club in 1945 and the Sequoia Yacht Club in 1946.
As a National One-Design racing sloop, the Mab is 17 feet 5 inches in overall length with a waterline length of 10 feet 3 inches. Her extreme beam is 5 feet 8 inches and her draft is only 6 inches with the centerboard up and 3 feet with the board all the way down. She is constructed of cedar planking on oak sawn frames with Honduras mahogany on the cockpit coamings, thwarts, and transom. She carries two sails and her 137 square feet of sail area is divided between her mainsail (78 square feet) and her Genoa jib (59 square feet). Built with a roomy cockpit, side decks, and fore and aft decks, the Mab has a big boat feeling while offering adequate storage area and comfortable sailing for 6 adults. When racing, her simple sail design only required a crew of two adults.
The classic-rigged National One-Design offered families comfortable day sailing as well as competitive sailing for the hard core racers. Since 1937 the National One-Design class has been managed this class and its activities and promoted National One-Design sailing and racing in Europe and the United States.
In December 1987 members of the Gambetta family donated the Mab to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and the beautiful little sloop became a part of our small craft collection. In addition to the sloop, the family donated two trophies won by the Mab and a collection of family photographs.
Did You Know?
The 1895-built lumber schooner C. A. Thayer returned to Hyde Street Pier at San Francisco Maritime NHP in 2007 after an extended dry-docking to rebuild her hull. Twenty percent of her older timbers were saved and the rebuilding of her deckhouses is underway. More...