Spirit 23 - NA23 (North American) 23' Sloop Resource Page

check out Riccardo's video of his NA23 doing up to 6.4 knots! click here
see Riccardo's boat below (NA23 in Italy)

The old forum is below. I have added a new forum with no limitations.

Here is the link: NA23 / Spirit 23 Forum

A forum for Spirit 23/NA 23 (North American 23) enthusiasts to discuss issues.

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I have established this page as a focal point for other Spirit 23/NA 23 (North American 23) enthusiasts to find and contribute information and resources so that we all may better understand and enjoy our 23s.

The Name
When I bought my boat, it was listed in the classifieds as a North American 23. There were 3 other NA 23s on my pier at the time. Now there is only one besides mine. All the folks on the pier referred to the boats as North Americans. In my research, I usually encounter the name Spirit. The two boats are essentially the same boat, and their names are a result of when they were manufactured, as explained in the following history.

More Information About the Name

I just found your site and it helped shape up my resolve to keep the boat another year and pay the slip rental.  I bought my NA23 new in the spring of 1977 and it was built in 1976.  This might make me one of the longest original owners around?  Anyway, for the record, I believe the "North American" name was dropped around 1978 under threat of a law suit by the owners/builders of the North American 40 which was an entirely different company who claimed to have name well before North American/Glastron Yachts.  That has always been my understanding from the literature of the time and I only pass it on for what it is worth. 
Incidentally, I bought my NA23 and trailer for $8,000 plus tax.  An Evinrude 6 hp. motor (now replaced with a 6 hp. Sail Drive outboard) was another $600.00 so the whole package in the spring of 1977 was $9,000 brand new.  Back then a 23' sailboat was large on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin and I guess I really thought I/we were something!  It still has the original main and jib and sails fine.  I have "tarred" (VC TAR) the bottom to take care of the fiberglass bubbles and taken care of the usual maintenance.  For many years the boat was named the JAPA-JOAA, the meaning of which was wind and water, wine and women, or whatever flashed through my mind at the moment of inquiry. It actually stood for the first two letters of me, my wife and two sons (at least until the proverbial divorce when I removed the name.)  Two years ago I had a dodger and camper top made for it so it is really quite capable of being a weekend home.

Jim Zitzelsberger

The North American 23 foot sloop was manufactured under that name from 1976 into 1978, and then became the Spirit 23 from 1978 through 1981.

Jim Brown (Texas) gave me a little info in an e-mail: "I do know that they were made in Austin, Texas at one time. Someone told me that the design was originally an Oday design, then Spirit took over making the boat, then North American [Ed. note: chronology does not seem to be correct]." Incidentally, Jim makes a fine anchoring sail for about half the price of one from the major vendors and made a new mainsail for me using a kit from Sail Rite. He is an excellent sail maker.

Richard Gollin and wife Jo of the UK and Southwest Florida attempted to rebuid an NA/Spirit that was abandoned. Richard contacted Glastron and sent me the results of his research: "As far as I can gather talking to Glastron, NA were set up by three guys and had their hulls made by Glastron who were based in the same city at the time. After 2 years Glastron bought the company and renamed the boat 'Spirit', though Spirit was just a name to allow Glastron to get into Sailboats." Richard and Jo were forced to destroy the boat when legal authorities told them that there was no legal way for them to own the boat.

The NADA (National Auto Dealers Association?) web site provides current values for used vehicles, boats, etc., and lists the following:

9108 Reid Drive, Austin, TX 78759
1978 - 1981 (see related links below)

looking for a website related to another kind of "Spirit" sailboat?
A "Spirit" line of boats m ade in Europe by Van de Stadt can be found a :
See links for other Spirit models at the bottom of this page.

    Cap'n Bill on his '78 North American 23

   Fall 2001 - Barnett Reservoir

A brand new NA23 in Germany!

Spirit - North American Owner's Manual

I scanned a photo copy of the owners manual from 1977 and converted the scans to text and images. Click on the link above to access the pdf file (right click and choose save as to download to your computer)

Spirit - North American Literature
Curt Williams from Houston, Texas emailed me:
I have a 1978 Spirit 23K and live in Houston, Texas. While doing some research on the boat I contacted Glastron in Little Falls, Minnesota and they mailed me some interesting fact sheets, original spec sheets and even some old promotional materials. I have the rare fin keel "racing" model and this has proven to be some valuable material. If you are interested in adding any of this to the website I can fax it (I do not
have real good copies so they may not fax well) or with an address I can send you better qualitity copies. Let me know.

Curt Williams

I have scanned the photocopies of the literature that Curt sent me. Click on the link above to access.

                                                                  Safety / Performance Figures for NA23/Spirit 23                                                                  

Take a lookat my cabin :
Jim Brown's NA23 "Hotspur" on Stillhouse Hollow Lake near Temple, Texas

Jim's cabin (click to see enlarged view)
Greg Best on his Spirit 23 on a hot August day with his lab Misty and a friend under motor power near Kansas City, Kansas
Ed Lanier's Spirit 23

Ed Stone's Spirit 23

NA/Spirit 23 "Facts" from the Web - click on this link to read information gathered from the world wide web

Visitors from the Netherlands - August 2000
I received the following email from J. Rook on August 4, 2000:
I was surprised to find pictures and information from other owners of North American 23's.  We live in The Netherlands and there are still a few of these boats sailing around the many lakes and canals of this country although we haven't seen them very often. Ours is from 1977 and the original small wooden sign on the side says it was made in Austin, Texas. Otherwise we have never known much about the origins of these boats. We have our boat about 10 years and recently had a vacation in both the fresh and salt waters around The Netherlands traveling about 400 nautical miles. Usually we sail every year a total of 800-900 nautical miles. The boat is very practical for us allowing us to sail in both deeper and shallow waters. We still have the original main sail with the NA symbol on it. The front sail has been renewed and replaced with a rol sail. I do not know the names of these parts in English. We consider the inside of the boat to be very practical especially since our boys used to always sail with us when they were small. We recently bought a new Yamaha 8 HP 4-stroke electrical start outboard engine. On our recent vacation in the boat we met another North American owner who gave us the tip to look at this internet site. We enjoyed looking at the site.

A Message from Guatemala - July 2002
I am Ricardo Cordon and live in Guatemala, I own a Spirit 23K, hull #354 since 1991 and her name is Paciencia. I bought the boat here, and it was sailed here from Miami but the original owner hit a reef in front of Belize and it caused some damage to the hull. I fixed it and have been sailing it for the last 10 years in Rio Dulce, Guatemala. I also hit a rock while sailing fast, the boat is strong but I have repaired several times the bilge. I have some extras in the boat like a Harken unit Furling, Boom kicker etc. I am interested to know if any one has had trouble with the pop-top . I think I will re-do it again with core mat instead of wood. Please let me know where can I send some pictures. Again, thanks for the page.         Ricardo
If you have any information about the pop-top, email to William Eaton at the email address below and I will pass it on to Ricardo. WE
Update from Guatemala - December 2004

Hello Bill, Ricardo Cordon from Guatemala. Just touching bases with you. I moved my boat (Paciencia) to a new place around here, it is lake Amatitlan about 20 minutes from Guatemala City. The average wind blows at 12KN during the afternoons. The temperature is confortable, about 80° all year long. I hope you like the picture attached. I kept the boat for about 10 years in Rio Dulce Guatemala, close to Belize, about 5 hours away from Guatemala City. It was the smallest boat in there. In Amatitlán it is called "The Ship" because it is the biggest. I need a trailer for the boat, any suggestion?

Hi from England (January 2003)
       I have just been looking on the web about North American Spirit 23! Roy and myself (Wendy) have a spirit 23 which we keep in Poole Harbour, Dorset, on the lovely south coast of England. We have had her ( Despirit ) for a year, having purchased her from another Poole Yacht Club member, he always raced her and did very well. We are dinghy racing sailors and bought Despirit to cruise and we love her. I will put some information and some pictures together and send them to you in the near future. Have enjoyed looking at your website.

       Kind regards and Best Wishes, Wendy Davies, Ferndown, Dorset

Greetings from Rhode Island - March 2003

I picked up a Spirit 23 really, really cheap from a want ad in the newspaper. It's in beautiful shape; just a little spit and polish was all that was needed. Its our first boat and we're very excited. I sailed as a child, but my wife and kids are learning for the first time. Looks like a good, solid, family boat. Of course, we have a slightly shorter season up here in the north than you enjoy in Mississippi. May 1st, the marinas open and we'll start our second season on the "Infinity" .

Sean Reilly
Kinfston, RI
                                       An NA23 in Iowa
    I am glad to find your site.  A few years ago I purchased my first sailboat.  A 1978 North American 23.  I have found the information on your page a tremendous help.  I have attached a couple of images of my 23.  Some general information on my boat.  I bought the boat in Knoxville Iowa in 2001 for $3,100.  The boat had been sitting for about 4 years.  It needed a great deal of TLC.  I have rewired the whole boat, had the interior cushions rebuilt and reupholstered, reworked all of the teak, and just generally cleaned and waxed it up.  I love the boat and have no complaints with it.  I have been sailing the boat on Rathbun Lake in Centerville Iowa for the past 2 years.
   Thanks again,   Destry

                    Kansas NA23

Here is a photo of our NA23 on Lake Clinton. Thanks for your help with the drawing of the chainplate attachment. Our port side attachment failed, and I reinforced with a new support. I'm glad I found your web page. It has been very helpfull.

        Travis Martin, Lenexa, Kansas

NA23 in Scotland - December 2005

Hi William,
 My wife Sue and I have just bought a Spirit 23 at Inverkip Scotland and are waiting for it to be delivered to Sunderland near where we live (South Shields). Your website was the first we visited for more information about "Joanna " and I've made a point of putting it on our favourites list. We fell in love with the boat as soon as we saw her and can't wait to get out on her in the North Sea.  We also thought the pop top was a good idea (any photos). There is quite a history to her. She was brought over here by an American sailor who worked on submarines in the Firth of Fourth. He was called Jo and his wife Anna, hence JOANNA. The boat was sold because they  unfortunately divorced and it was part of the settlement. It was then bought by a lovely couple called Cameron and Alana who have had her for 18yrs sailing the beautiful west coast of Scotland. We have not met, but Cameron has been good enough to send us lots of info about her.
    Love the site
         Allan & Sue


check out Riccardo's video of his NA23 doing up to 6.4 knots! click here
check out another of Riccardo's NA23 videos click here

NA23 in Italy - January 2006

hi my name is Riccardo, I'm 57 years old, my disappoint (editor's note: probably meant "joy") seeing a link dedicated to my sail boat NA23 was very big. I bought my boat in 1987 in Maggiore's Lake in north Italy and payed it 6.500 dollars. now my sail is Andora's arbour in Ligure sea. it is a very fast sail boat, and it doesn't fear the sea, it's very comfortable, safe, most of all beautiful. I had a very big problem: water came in from the windows, and so the bulkhead near the washstand has been roted, because of the listing of the boat water came in also in the cockpit, the mast has broken at the base of the cross. but the real big problem is that after 4 years of lake without protection now there is a problem of osmose. so I send you a photo so you can see the situation (editor's note: removed the photo showing the blisters on the hull at Riccardo's request and replaced it with the photo to the left). great hugs for all of you, happy owners of NA23.
                                          An NA23 in Maryland

We "bought" our Spirit 23 from a friend for $1.00 back in 2002. It came from Lake Lanier, Georgia. "Missing Piece" is now sailed on the Severn River in Maryland, several miles north of Annapolis. Her hull was in decent shape, but much of the deck hardware needed rebedding. The starboard jib-block track was the worst. I had to completely remove the soggy plywood coring from below and replace it with new wood that I sealed with epoxy before installing. I rebedded the track and it hasn't leaked since. The windows also leaked every time it rained. A previous owner had tried to seal them with polysulfide, which had dried out and degraded the plastic frames. After removing and cleaning them up, I rebedded them with Dow Corning 795 silicone, which has worked well. She still has the original main and also came with a working jib, genoa, and asymmetrical spinnaker. Reaching with the chute is a great ride. Concerning the boat name, the hull has "Spirit23" detailing on the rear quarters and the maker's plate mounted inside the cabin says "North American." She was built in 1979.

Cheers, Jeff and Jenelle Piepmeier

                       Here's one from Washington state

Attached are a few pictures of my boat. The two of me standing on the boat were taken in the harbor of Victoria, BC with their Parliament Building in the background. I've owned the boat for 3 years and kept it at the Boston Harbor Marina in Olympia, WA. In the summer of 2004 I took a trip up the full length of the Puget Sound in Washington State, over to Victoria and then back to Olympia. I have moved and now keep the boat in the Kirkland, WA marina, across from Seattle on Lake Washington.

Thanks, Dave Schmidt

1976 NA23 in Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin

Attached are two pictures of my 1976 NA-23 with dodger and sail bag, etc. It is still a good looking boat after all these years. Thanks again for the site--I just passed it on to a friend of mine which brought me back to it once more....

Jim Zitzelsberger
Oshkosh, WI

An NA23 in Long Island

Rick Mannoia sent some pics of  "Paradise" in Sayville, Long Island, NY. His website is www.AdventuresInParadise.7P.com

Jorge Ojeda's NA23 on the coast of the Yucatán peninsula

Hi everyone,

This page has been very useful for bringing back my 23 in shape, I expend many hours in the boat and still need a thousand hours more, but that’s it´s the fun part. Since I have this 23, my first, I and my friends sailing all the peninsula Yucatán shore, have many adventures and fun. We compete in local regattas and in this year we have first place. I hope someday can have in shape like others In this page.

    Regards and good wind, Jorge Ojeda
Forward Hatches
The inverted-hull-shaped forward hatch of the NA/Spirit 23 is the one main problem with the vessel. The original hatches were plexiglas or some other form of tinted transparent material (Lexan?). They became brittle with the years and were easy to break should one step on them. They could also blow off if raised while underway. As you can see from the picture at the top of this page, my hatch has been replaced by a strong fiberglass replacement. The original hatch from my boat was removed and a fiberglass mold was made from it. Hatches were made from the mold for my boat and two others at my marina. The owner of the marine center that made the hatches has decided not to make them any longer. I removed my hatch, made a mold, and made one hatch for Greg Best (see picture above [before hatch was made]). 

I have given my hatch mold to a sailboat repair specialist, James Alspaugh. He can make hatches out of the smoked Lexan material that the original hatches were made from as well as fiberglass hatches. You may contact him directly:

James Alspaugh
Sailors Valet
Oklahoma City, OK

This is a picture of an acrylic hatch Jim made in the summer of 2003.
   (these offers have been here for some time)

  click here for details

And another one:

Hi William,

I continue to look at the web site and see how it is developing. We have had some really good sailing with Despirit over the last 2 seasons. We have however decided that we would like to undertake longer trips with more time away so unfortunately Despirit is not really big enough to cross the English Channel comfortably. We are putting her up for sale, I don't know if you get any other people contacting you from England but would appreciate you passing on our e-mail address to them. When we do sell her we will put the new owner in touch with you. I shall continue to watch your web site with interest. We have loved Despirit and she has been a wonderful first boat for us, she sails so well and we have had some great trips with her. Thank you William for the web site which has kept us in touch.

Best Wishes, Roy and Wendy

If anyone is interested in Roy and Wendy's spirit (see the picture above), email me and I'll put you in contact with them by email.

If you can contribute anything to this page, please e-mail me 

Related Links
Good Old Boat  
 Blue Water Boat Services


Southside Yacht Club

   South Side "Yacht Club" - my former pier on Barnette Reservoir. It's been torn down and I now have a floating pier.

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