2023 October 1

Schooner fever leads a sailor to a boat he can’t help but love

Some boats just get under your skin and won’t shake you from their grasp. 

That’s how Ed Manzano feels about schooners. He owned a 22-foot gaff-headed schooner from 1987 until he donated it in 2011, but missed Danaiad terribly. He started the hunt for another boat, but was only interested in schooners.

“I’m a schooner lover,” Manzano said. “We are a small, friendly and diverse group of sailors and admirers, and I’m privileged to be among them.”

In 2017 he saw an ad for a Ted Brewer-designed 32-foot schooner.

“She was bigger than my first schooner, more spacious and the price was right. I was hooked,” he said.

The much-beloved Humble enjoys a perfect sailing day. 
The schooner, named Humble, was built in 1978 and in generally good shape, but in need of a few replacements to update old systems. 

That is, until a 2018 storm when a 40-foot trawler broke free of its mooring and dragged Humble 200 yards before the trawler broke free and ended up on the rocks. Humble’s port shrouds were lost and there was damage to the caprail, rubrail, bowsprit and starboard shrouds.

“Her hull was sound, and the motor and propulsion were intact,” Manzano said. “She was too good to lose so I had Humble repaired, and the additions and changes I had planned for the future were put on hold.”

But that hasn’t hampered Manzano’s enjoyment of his boat, which he sails with his wife Anna and often with close friends. Humble is a cruiser, not a racer, he says, and she’s at her best when sailing long legs, where the boat settles into holding a steady course with a few tweaks of the sails.

Unsurprisingly, Humble is not an upwind warrior, but take her off the wind and she shines, Manzano said.

“On a downwind run, I smile as she goes wing-on-wing-on-wing when all the other boats around me only sail wing-on-wing,” he said.

Manzano discovered the joys of Humble early on in his ownership of her. During the delivery sail from Rockland, Maine, to its new home port north of Boston, Massachusetts, he stood a night watch at the helm of his new boat.

“Very early on in my watch I began to absorb the wind on my quarter, the sound of the sails, the lapping of the water as we made way, the glow of the running lights, and, in the distance, the city lights from the coastal towns we were passing,” he said. “I know it sounds trite, but it felt as if Humble was introducing and sharing her element with me.”

Ed and Anna enjoy sailing Humble to a variety of destinations, many of which are a half-day’s sail, but longer passages to places like Block Island, Mystic Seaport, Maine and New Hampshire are equally of interest, he said. In fact, sometimes the perfect day with Humble involves a couple sandwiches and a cooler and sails set for ports close to home.

The boat has been restored following damage in a storm, when a trawler dragged its mooring and ran into the Ted Brewer-designed schooner, causing significant damage, including to her sprit and pulpit. 
Owning a schooner like Humble is often more of a caretaker role than a boat-owner role, and Manzano clearly thinks of it that way for now, and the future.

“I will sail Humble until Anna and I can no longer safely sail or voyage,” he said. “I will maintain her and make modest improvements to her as finances allow, and I will seek another caretaker who will cherish and care for her and take her on other voyages.”

Finding another caretaker for Humble, whenever that may be, may not be a difficult task. Like her predecessor Danaiad, Humble draws admiring glances in harbors wherever she goes.

“Danaiad and Humble have taught me so much about how to sail and about becoming a part of the sailing community,” Manzano said. “Schooners have changed me as a person. I think for the better.”

Do you love your boat? We want to hear about it. Send email to to be considered for future stories.

Also in For the love of a boat