This Goose Is Golden

Here is an excerpt from an excellent 1979 article from Yachting magazine.


It was the summer of 1976 when Gordon Lightfoot decided it was time to have the halyards quieted down on his stock 39-footer. The cacaphony they raised when they whacked against the aluminum spar was a bit too much for the ears of this Canadian folksinger, who said he was tired of fiddling around with his old boat. So the people at his marina steered Lightfoot to Victor Carpenter, the designer and master craftsman behind Superior Sailboats, a unique and nearly self-sufficient one-off wooden boatyard in the quiet town of Port McNicoll, Ontario.

Once he'd seen for himself the calibre of Sitka spruce masts produced by this Canadian outfit, Lightfoot considered a new stick for his yacht, Sundown, instead of alterations on his aluminum mast. But Carpenter suggested that he foam the aluminum mast's interior, and Lightfoot went along with the suggestion.

With the halyard slapping problem out of the way, the two decided that a test between Sundown and O-Race, Carpenter's latest creation, would be in order. It only took one sail for Lightfoot to become a lifetime fan of Carpenter's work. He was so impressed with O-Race's 28-foot natural mahogany hull that he hailed the praise to Carpenter while the two boats were sailing side by side.

"She's absolutely beautiful," Lightfoot called over. "Whattaya say to a big cruiser that'll still come through in the Macks?"

Once ashore, Carpenter pulled out plans and a mahogany model to just such a boat - a 45-foot hull that he had drawn up in 1970, but never developed beyond the drawing board. As he and Lightfoot hashed out the boat's potential, strength and cost, the subject of wood kept cropping up.

"You wouldn't buy a fiberglass guitar, would you," he asked Lightfoot.

"I've played fiberglass backed guitars," Lightfoot replied, "but mine is an all-wood 12-string. But I'm no wood freak," he added, perhaps wary of the cost of building with wood.

Even so, it took only one day for Lightfoot to talk himself into ordering the 45-footer in wood, at an undisclosed cost. She was to be Golden Goose, a custom gold-plater of a cruising sloop. Lightfoot laid down his requirements and then gave Carpenter the unbridled hand he deserved. The main cabin was to have plush upholstery, plenty of seating space for entertaining, and a couple of bunks. Lightfoot wanted a queen-sized bunk in the skipper's cabin aft, along with a head with shower, navigation bench
and a passageway to the main cabin. The forward stateroom would have private head access, substantial cabinet space and another queen-sized bunk. These requirements were filled, and the boat was launched last season (1978), in time for the Macks.

The navigation station, just to the port of helm, is so well endowed that Lightfoot titled his last album "Endless Wire," after seeing the task before the electrician.