The Merry Maiden  

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Concord Journal July 11, 1975 - 40 years ago!


Sailors home from the sea

Photo by Rich Dugas

After 2083 days and 37,000 miles at sea Ranny and Ann Gras are back in port broke, but happy. The seafaring residents sailed into Salem harbor July ll after leaving Lincoln nearly six years ago.

Their round the worId voyage took them around the Cape of Good Hope and into dozens of Pacific island ports of call. "Capt." and Mrs. Gras are shown aboard the 60-ft. ketch, the "Merry Maiden," with sons Seaton and Adrian, both of whom made the voyage. Their daughter, Robn, was married in February in Tahiti. The family expects to be harbored again on Laurel drive within a few weeks. The "Merry Maiden" is for sale.

Gras‘ dream of an around the world voyage was deferred by World War ll, he said, and haunted him since his first sail, at age l0.


"Versatility at Its Best" was how Richard R. Henderson described Merry Maiden in his book: Philip Rhodes and His Yacht Designs.

Merry Maiden was designed in 1946 by Philip Rhodes and built in New Bedford, Massachusetts by the Palmer Scott Boat Yard.

Irving Pratt was an avid sailor and a Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. Pratt kept the Merry Maiden on Long Island in Cold Spring Harbor. Her first eleven years were spent cruising and racing along the East Coast from New York to the Gulf of St. Lawrence as well as five Bermuda races. In the 1948 Bermuda race she won class B and was third in the race.

Mr. Maguire, the second owner, purchased Merry Maiden in 1958 and sailed her throughout the Great Lakes while keeping her moored at the Detroit Yacht Club.

Ranulf Gras, a mechanical engineer who worked at M.I.T., purchased the Merry Maiden in 1969 and sailed her around the world with his family, a cruise lasting five years and eight months.

In 1976, Ranulf's youngest son borrowed the Merry Maiden for a seven year cruise from Salem, MA to Seattle, WA, by way of Australia, thereby crossing the Pacific two more times.

We are not sure about this rough estimate of Merry Maiden's entire history ... but it might be fair to guess that she has sailed over 300,000 miles!