SOLD!!! – 1969 John B. Clark designed plywood-planked 40′ ketch “Muse”


“Muse” at the dock following her restoration in 2005.

UPDATE 08/01/2014 – The “Muse” has a new owner and will be heading to North Carolina in Spring 2015!

The current owner brought the boat to Vermilion from northern Michigan in 2000.  The owner performed an extensive refit at our yard and launched the boat in 2005.  The boat is currently in the water in Huron, Ohio and I will be heading there in the very near future to take current photos of the boat and the interior.  We have a copy of a survey from 1988 and an addendum by the same surveyor prior to the current owner purchasing the boat in 1999.

The interior needs finishing and the exterior needs some cosmetic painting; however, the new Yanmar engine, updated 12V DC and 110V AC panels, new toilet and holding tank and updated electronics package provide a solid foundation for the boat as an extended cruiser or live-aboard.  The layout of the interior is not the same as shown the sketch in the 1957 issue of Yachting.


“Muse” at her dock today in Huron, Ohio.

The story of the “Muse” is below in the owner’s words…

The Muse was born in the imagination of the poet and writer Earl A. Karr.  The Muse was to be a 40-foot pilot house ketch capable of ocean sailing.  A 1957 issue of Yachting magazine found in Earl’s files suggests that such a ketch designed by John B. Clark of Bay Village, Ohio provided the starting point for Earl’s musings.  He had detailed construction plans drawn up by the naval architects Bijlouwer and Lee of Bath, Maine.


The page from a 1957 issue of Yachting magazine provided the inspiration for Earl Karr to build the “Muse”.

Earl built the ketch from these plans over the years 1962-69 in his farm yard outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Pictures of the construction in progress, taken from National Fisherman magazine, are available.  The keel and structural timbers of the boat are white oak and very heavy.  Earl reported that the power company was cutting a right of way through an oak forest near his farm.  They permitted him to designate which trees he would like to purchase for construction of the Muse.  Those white oak timbers provide a powerful frame.  Earl loved to tell of having approached a wharf under power without being able to stop the boat in time. He crashed into the wharf.  The wharf was damaged; the boat’s bow was not.


Earl Karl building the Muse.

The keel of the Muse runs the length of the boat and incorporates a 4000 pound piece of cast iron into the 6” by 24”(need to measure) oak timbers,  giving the Muse great stability. Three-quarter inch marine plywood, sheathed in fiberglass and epoxy, provides the skin of the hull, as well as the decks and the cabins.

During the nineteen seventies and early eighties,  Earl sailed the Muse in Lake Superior and down the Atlantic coast to Savannah, Ga.  By the mid- to late-nineteen eighties,  arthritis has taken a toll on Earl’s strength and agility.  He stored the Muse, as was his practice, on the property of the phone company, which also owned the Painted Rocks tourist boats and a mobil boat launcher.  Earl was too disabled to launch the next spring, and eventually (ten-plus years later) listed the Muse for sale in Soundings magazine.

Michael Kindred, a law teacher at Ohio State University, also had his dreams.  They included a 40-foot cruising sailboat.  The Soundings had lots of 40-foot sailboats listed, but none in a teacher’s price range.  Then came the Muse, listed at $35,000, and it was said to be in Michigan.  One thing led to another, and the Muse had a new owner full of dreams.  He hired a Florida boat hauler to transport the Muse from the upper peninsula of Michigan to Moes Marine Service in Vermilion, Ohio.

Considerable reconstruction was called for.  The years in dry dock, or not-so-dry dock, had taken a toll. There was significant separation of fiber glass from plywood and delamination of side and deck plywood sheets.  Electronics were outmoded, and the engine was frozen up beyond repair.  Several years of labor and many thousands of dollars restored the Muse to its original condition, with a new Yanmar 75 hp diesel engine, modern electronics, new toilet system, and much more. 

The following equipment is included:

  • 75 hp Yanmar diesel engine
  • GPS
  • depth finder
  • Boat speed guage
  • Wind direction and speed guage
  • Short-wave radio
  • Hailer
  • Sink
  • Refrigerator
  • Head
  • Large fuel tank
  • Water tanks(not currently in use)
  • Six sails(main, mizzen, jib, furling foresail, storm jib, storm trysail)
  • One huge anchor and several lighter ones
  • Anchor windlass
  • Inside wheel, outside wheel, and tiller
  • Steel cradle for shore use
  • Wooden frame for boat cover in winter
  • Complete canvas boat cover
  • Multiple life jackets

Please contact us if you are interested in the “Muse”.


About Mike

I pinch myself every day... I can't believe I'm back in Vermilion working at the boatyard! I grew up spending afternoons and summer days working at Moes Marine. I moved to Boston after college and met my wonderful wife, Maura, while living life in the big city and working at Boston BoatWorks. We traveled and volunteered abroad for 9 months in 2009 and then found our way back to our families in Ohio. We are now living in downtown Vermilion with our son, Owen, who visits the boatyard daily at coffee break!