John G. Hanna

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For other people named John Hanna, see John Hanna (disambiguation).

John Griffin Hanna was a sailboat designer, famous for designing the Tahiti ketch. Hanna was born in Galveston, Texas, on October 12, 1889. During his childhood he was afflicted with deafness following scarlet fever, and lost a foot in a traffic accident. Around 1917, he settled in Dunedin, Florida, and was greatly influenced by the Greek double-ended sponge boats found in nearby Tarpon Springs, Florida. Shortly after his move to Dunedin, Hanna purchased a double-ended ketch-rigged sponge boat that had been built in Apalachicola, Florida by a Greek-American shipwright named Demo George. This vessel, and others that Hanna studied, would inspire the design of Hanna's famous Tahiti ketch.[1] Hanna died in 1948.

At least two boats of Hanna's design have circumnavigated the world twice. Jean Gau in the Atom; and Tom Steele in the Adios. (Don Holm, The Circumnavigators page 355).

Hanna originally wrote of his Tahiti ketch as a 30-foot deap-sea auxiliary cruiser. The design is described and illustrated in detail in the 1935 new edition of How to build 20 boats, pp. 118–133.[2]

Hanna also designed and built the "Wyomi" (Seminole for whiskey) in 1925 in Dunedin. Wyomi was used as a rum runner through prohibition and is featured with a picture from the 40's in the book "A Ketch called Tahiti". Wyomi was owned by guy named Bill Thomas who donated her to the Apalachicola Maritime Museum upon his death and his ashes were scattered into the bilge. She was not being cared for properly by the museum and after threats to make it public, Wyomi was sold to Rusty Davidson in 1999 who transported her to Orange Beach,AL where Wil Kinsey purchased her. Wil restored, lived on, and sailed her almost daily until Rusty's father, Jerry Davidson purchased the vessel from Wil in 2003. Jerry Davidson is the current owner and sails her with his wife Monica regularly in and around the back bays of coastal Alabama.


  1. ^ John Stephen Doherty, A Ketch Called Tahiti: John G. Hanna and His Yacht Designs, International Marine, 1987.
  2. ^ "How to build 20 boats, Modern Mechanix Publishing Co., 1935.". Naval Marine Archive. Retrieved 2013-08-24.