Bill Luders FROLIC

Type: Luders 44

Bill Luders Frolic (Wood-Fiberglass) Specifications:

LOD: 44.00′ / 13.41m | 44’2″ / 13.46m
LWL: 30’10″ / 9.17m | 30’1″ / 9.16m
Beam: 11.0′ / 3.35m | 11’1″ / 3.37m
Draft: 6’0″ / 1.83m | 6’2″ / 1.87m
Displacement: 2340 lbs / 1061 kgs | 24,800 lbs / 11249kg
Ballast: 9.000 lbs / 4082kg | 9,850 lbs / 4467kg
Designer: Alfred Edward “Bill” Luders, Jr.
Original Owner:
Current Owner:
Year First Built: 1939
Built By: Peel Southcoast Boatyard, Maine
Hull Material: Wood Planked Construction
Sail Number:
Sail Area: 851.63 ft2 / 79.12 m2 | 1,050 sq ft / 476kg
No. (NA #5)



Bill Luders Frolic, designed by naval architect Bill Luders, is one of the first fleet of 12 matched 44 foot wooden yawls commissioned for the Naval Academy. After 25 years of hard service, they were replaced by 12 fiberglass Luders 44 foot yawls; designed with the same exterior lines as the original boats, but with an interior that accommodated an auxiliary engine and a navigation space with chart table.



  1. The Story of a First Date With My Wife To Be Aboard Frolic.
    I was skipper for three years while a midshipman USNA.

    This, by the way, is Debbie and Dave’s thirty-ninth year of marriage, which leads naturally to the question of how Dave did actually manage, long ago, to hook so snappy number as Debbie in the first place. We expect that most folks merely figure she had a weak moment.
    But no, again NO! That is like concluding that the entire Big Bang merely happened in a moment’s accidental inattention from The Omnipotent. No, in this case, as in the case of the Big Bang, the emergence of Debbie and Dave as a couple required at a minimum, complete suspension of all natural laws of probability. Here’s how it happened.

    HOW DAVID MET DEBBIE (Army/Navy competition reduced to its essence)

    One evening back in 1975, Dave was attending an oversized group Bible study in his Annapolis barracks (Bancroft Hall). An intoxicatingly flaming redheaded acquaintance of his (“Dee” Chandler) also attended that night, shuttling in from Washington DC, and she brought along her roommate, a raven maned beauty from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing where they matriculated together. This black haired bomb shell was one Debbie Tipton. Dee, aware that Debbie and Dave shared similarly bull-headed and opinionated mind sets, foresaw significant entertainment possibilities in their introduction.
    Her assessment was accurate.
    “From the git-go,” Debbie Tipton was, or at least acted toward Dave like, QUOTE “a stuck up little twerp who already KNEW she was a knockout, thank you very much,” UNQUOTE. Immediately upon introduction, Debbie’s opening line was, “Why should I talk to YOU?”
    Fair question.
    The room was full of good looking guys amongst whom David was hardly a shining star. Yet being an Annapolis man, generally a sought after commodity, he was not pre-armed to deal with this sort of instantly hostile reception. While he was mentally frantically flailing about for a conversational grip or toe hold, his mouth took charge and responded before his brain had a chance to get involved. He said “Because you were born on my birthday.”

    (NOTE: Folks, I have no idea why I said it. I had never heard of nor seen Debbie Tipton before that night. I realized my grave tactical error the moment it came out of my mouth. This game appeared doomed even before coin toss was complete. Yet I was irrevocably committed to playing it out to its quick, bitter and bloody end. We know what the next deadly question had to be.)

    Debbie haughtily sniffed and promptly inquired, “Oh really and what date was that?”
    Well bless her proverbial little heart.
    Bluff called, and doggedly exercising his previously mentioned bull-headedness, our sailor mentally grabbed the dice cup, rattled them bones, and slammed it inverted on the bar, going for all or nothing.
    Radiating the bravado that can be afforded only by the hopelessly damned, he looked Debbie dead in the eye and truthfully proclaimed his own birthdate, “February tenth.” A resounding silence instantly engulfed them. Debbie’s already mentally loaded response of derision evaporated like vapor from a dying steam whistle. Her mouth fell open. Witnessing this, Dave’s jaw also dropped, but he quickly snapped it back shut to mask his dizzying astonishment.
    Still taken aback, Debbie, no doubt feeling stalked, sputtered, “How did YOU know THAT?” (For the incurably incredulous, the tenth of February was indeed Debbie’s birthdate.) History does not record David’s response. Any reply would have been sufficient, for no reply would have been believed, least of all the truth. So from there it was smooth sailing. David had an insurmountable advantage. Having recklessly wagered all on a chance of only one in a few hundred, he had emerged victorious. He could, with impunity, devise or claim any story or justification that he might chose.
    In this at least, Luck was a lady that night even if Debbie was suspicious and grumpy. By the end of the evening Debbie had agreed to go sailing with the bold gambler she had just met, if for no other reason than to further investigate his apparently excessive knowledge of her personal details. They sailed to the eastern shore in the appointed weekend with a full crew aboard the Navy yawl Frolic, of which Dave had long been skipper. For the next thirty-six hours, this darlin’ little ship, her gentlemanly crew, the soft waves, cool breezes and moonlit night worked their magic.

    What a bunch of pirates.

    Before mooring back in home port, Dave had informed Debbie that he would be marrying her in due course. It is completely understandable that given his now solidly established record of clairvoyant insight, she had little choice but to accept this information as received truth. They were wed at Fort Leonard Wood in a remote little Army chapel a year and some months later. Yet Debbie to this day does not believe the truth of this tale. Who can blame her, really? After all, what are the odds?
    The odds are that this blither has gone on long enough. Debbie and Dave have scored another year together when the medical odds makers said it could not happen. So they now kick back to enjoy their time in leisure and “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

    These things remind us of you, and that make us smile.

    David and Debbie

    • admin

      February 14th – Naval Academy Class of 59′ Jack Shirreffs –

      Wonderful Story

  2. I sometimes wonder how many other romances were born aboard this sweet ship. My bride and I now fly a seventy year old aircraft, namesake of our darlin’ yawl, Frolic.

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