Owl is currently owned by Vidas Stukas.
Bob Grundison built Owl together with Redskin ( #643 ) side by side with Gordy Knickells in 1966. During his almost 30 years of ownership, he established Owl as one of the top boats in the Pacific NW. He won the Fleet 2 Championships 8 times in Owl, a Regionals and was second in the Worlds.
The boat was then sold out of Victoria, and ended up in Gibson's during the late 90's. Vidas bought Owl in 1998 with assurances to his wife, Hilary, that this was going to be just a slight fixup job and then sail casually! From previous rebuilding of Hocus, #1116, in 1984 and in 1992, this was perhaps an understatement. Curiosity to see whether Hocus was an anomaly in speed drove Vidas into a major rebuild.
"Red is Best"
The original wood cabin&deck were chopped off and replaced by an FRP one ( "Heinig Deck") made by Booth. The original glass covering was ground off and replaced with a new layer of epoxy/glass. ( picture is after the 1998-9 rebuild. Many people have been fooled into thinking that this is an FRP hull, not a 1966 woody).Since the keel had also been removed, a slightly different set of keel profiles to Hocus' was produced to see whether the performance band would be affected, and how so.
Owl can best be characterized as a light wind flier, especially downwind.
Photo by Andrew Madding.
In contrast, Hocus' strong suit - ie after the 1992 keel work - was great upwind strength, especially in the mid range, with good off wind performance. So, in part, Owl's current success is the boat itself. Interestingly enough, during the 1998 rebuild, the keel was ground down to dimensions close to her original fairing for about 75% of the area ( the paint could still be seen before the grinding was completed)! So, Owl basically had a good profile to begin with, but was fattened up in the late 80's when Kolus presented a new approach. Since 1999, she has won a couple of THRASH, Cow Bay ,Fleets as well as the NW Regionals in which the wind was on the lighter side. "Red may not be best" as we were called over early three times in those Regionals, which was held in Port Townsend. This was the same locale that Bob Grundison won the Regionals some 30 years earlier - perhaps the boat actually knew which way to go!
In 2008, Owl was temporarily fitted with an articulating bowsprit, and a chute from a J80 ( the first to do so). This experiment was to determine just how fast a 'Bird could go, as well as helping define which factors makes the current crop of sport boats fast. The J80 chute is about twice the size of the 'Birds. The performance was quite startling as the 'Bird will keep pace with a J80 up to the 10-12 knot range, wherein the lighter J80 begins to plane. What a great design by Ben Seaborn.
Owl with an articulted bowsprit cranked 20degrees to windward. J80 chute from Swish, whose owner, Mike Brewis is seen helming here. Vidas is flying the chute. Below, the lead after being together at the weather mark with Moores, J-24s and 'Birds.
Note: Several photos by Andrew Madding and others below.