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KC Crowell Relaunches ‘Chance’, Bear Boat #47

In Latitude 38‘s May issue we ran a story about KC Crowell’s dedicated effort to restore and relaunch Bear #47, Chance. Last week we received an email and photo from KC saying they’d gotten Chance underway for her first shakedown sail! The story on the restoration was finished and submitted a few months ago, so while we’ve been waiting to run the story, KC and her team have been hard at work.

Bear #47, Chance
Bear #47, Chance, has been given a second chance by KC Crowell, who now has her back where she should be — sailing San Francisco Bay.
© 2022 Paul Holl

KC wrote to fill us in, saying, “When Heather (author Heather Breaux) first talked to me we still had most of the deck off and Steve Hutchinson was working like mad to button her back up. But once we hit the water, my partner Sam and I have been spending most of our free time checking things off the to-do list (with some short breaks to go climbing in Pinnacles and Yosemite just to keep ourselves sane).”

KC Crowell and Latitude 38
The May issue showed the early phase of the story, while KC shows off the rebuilt Chance in the background.
© 2022 KC Crowell

“The final push was really in part due to John Hansen’s (who runs Pacific Rigging) involvement. His father was the one who rebuilt the boat in the ’60s, so not only was he game to help with the rigging but he has also filled in a lot of the gaps in her history. Having him step up for the job of sorting out our deck layout and running rigging was the last thing she needed to get back into sailing shape. He even has loaned me an album of photos from his dad’s rebuild of Chance in his yard, which I’m currently scanning and digitizing.”

KC at the helm
KC at the helm enjoying the fruits of her labor.
© 2022 Alejandro Dorazio

“I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to Karl Joost, who gifted me an almost-new suit of sails off Bear Boat #37. The whole Bear Boat Association has been AMAZING in the support of me and my restoration of Chance — I have lost track of all the association members who have reached out with offers of knowledge, hardware, and encouragement.”

KC filled us in on the timeline for the project. Chance was hauled right before Christmas, on Dec 22, and then relaunched on January 25. Since launch, KC has had her in the water on the Berkeley Marine Center docks, where Steve Hutchinson finished replacing the plywood over the cabin house. After that was finished, KC took over for refitting, deck paint, and gallons of varnish. She gave a shout-out to Alejandro Dorazio, another Bear boat owner, who works out of the BMC yard and was a huge resource for advice, loaned tools, etc. He was actually the one who helped get them underway for the shakedown sail, including coaching KC on getting Chance off and onto the dock again using only sail power!

KC says, “I’m not game for Master Mariners this year — I’m not stoked about working out the kinks on a newly refit boat on a course that long. I am going to try bringing her to the Wooden Boat Show at Corinthian this year (Sunday, June 26), but mostly I am just excited to get out sailing and enjoy the fruits of my labor! And I suppose I’ve got to teach my partner Sam to sail as well — he works over at Saildrone, but those boats are a little different than this old Bear.”

Remember, if you see the beautifully varnished Bear #37 on the Bay, it’s actually Bear #47 Chance. KC’s hoping to update the sail number soon.



  1. Beau Vrolyk 2 years ago

    I have wonderful memories of CHANCE, #47. From around ’72-’74 I served as crew aboard her numerous times. Then, she was owned by Jens Hansen, who may be John’s dad. I worked for Jens at Barient building winches and had a blast crewing for him aboard CHANCE. It is wonderful that you’ve brought her back to life. Thank you! Cheers, Beau

    • KC Crowell 2 years ago

      Hi Beau! Thanks so much for the comment, and for being a part of this boat’s history. Yes, Jens was John’s dad. The winches on this boat mostly seem to be Barient prototypes of Jens’ design, they are one of the many incredible things about this boat! Please say hello if you ever see me around.

  2. chuck nowak 2 years ago

    I enjoyed the article in the May issue. it’s nice to see Chance out sailing, boat looks great !!!

  3. Andy 2 years ago

    Berkeley Marine Center is a great place to restore a classic.

  4. Karl Joost 2 years ago

    I love a story with a good ending!
    Go KC and Sam, go Chance #47, thank you Patti for the gear from Patti Bear (RIP) and to Steve Hutchinson and BMC for your many years of history and experience with the Bear fleet (we count on you 🙂 ) Karl Joost, Trigger #20

  5. Ken Johnson 1 year ago

    When you shared your first encounter of Chance with me, I envisioned a vessel in terrible need of repair. Now? She’s simply stunning! I love your compassion and dedication to her revival. Kudos!!!!

  6. Karen morley 1 year ago

    I have great memories of Chance, 47. I crewed on her in the late 80s and 90s when Glenn Tresser had her. We won a lot of races. He sadly just passed away this week.

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