You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘wooden yachts’ tag.

Wel . . . for starters, it’s beautiful.

Paquet V (1982) would not look quite the same if the same form were in fiberglass.  Make sure you look through the gallery here.

She was southbound here.

Shirean looks like she was built almost a century ago, because she was, 1930 by Morton Johnson of Bayhead NJ.  Click here for another Morton Johnson beauty.


Rumrunner has a 1949 Hacker design, but

I believe this one was launched in 2006.

But she is beautiful.

In the Erie Canal, I encountered Dolphin, and it turns out that tug44

who claims he went aboard and drank up all her wine.  Whether that’s exaggeration or not, he did take a lot of cool photos.  Thanks, Fred.

Seriously, she’s the real deal, an immaculately maintained 1929 Consolidated Commuter yacht.

I hope you enjoyed this warm look at summer past, summers past, as the temperatures begin to drop.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who thinks . . . cooler temps equals clearer air and sharper pics.  But if you stay inside when it’s cold, here’s a set of wooden yachts associated with City Island rich enough to take you until the spring to go through.


All ports November” has become “antique/classic December.”   Defining these terms is not clear cut with vessels.   The Antique and Classic Boating Society defines “antique” as built between 1919 and 1942, “classic” between 1943 and 1975,  and “contemporary, are boats built from 1976 and on.  Does that make a vessel built before 1919 . . . a restoration project?  antediluvian?

If you take automobiles, you get another definition:  25 years old or more is antique.    And for The great race, here were the rules for 2015:  “Vehicle entries must have been manufactured in 1972 or before.”

According to a friend who is a lawyer and knows these things, the US Customs sets a higher standard for antiques:  they must be over 100 years old,  can be refinished or restored,  but cannot have their “essential character” changed;  nor can the restoration exceed 50% of the value. [Vague!]  The counselor goes on:  “So does a steamship which has been converted to diesel have its “essential character” changed?   Does adding an engine to a sail training ship destroy the essential character?  Customs has also wrestled with the issue of essential character vis a vis what is an American ship?  Does sticking a new mid-body into a vessel in a foreign country make the ship a “foreign” ship?  These are the things -trivial and boring as they may be-Customs lawyers wrestle with.”

So my NEW very accommodating definition is  . . . built before 1975.  Or if younger, must have already had at least five owners, and may or may not still be intact.

I stumbled upon Kensington while up in Clayton earlier this month, and she’s a stunner from 1924.  The 57’4″ x 11’4″ yacht is a product of Smith and Williams Company Marine Railway in Salisbury MD.   She spent most of the 20th century in the Puget Sound, but in 2003 she was trucked back to the East Coast.




The separate “rear cabin” reminds me of separation between driver and passengers in this limo of the same era.




I hope next summer to see this unique yacht plying the waters of the St. Lawrence.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Here, here,  and here are posts devoted to equally stunning vintage wooden yachts.

Back in November 2009, I did this post and I’ll repost two of my fotos from then, showing a 1940 Chris Craft and a 1939 ACF, slightly tweaked here


and here.


Earlier this week, Darrin Rice got these followup pics.


I find these poignant, yet there is some buoyancy in that


it appears this old vessel is being taken apart with care so that


planks and sections of them can be recycled, evoking what’s happening nearby.   You couldn’t do this with old fiberglass.





Many thanks to Darrin Rice for these fotos.

Here’s a site dedicated to antique and classic wooden boats in varying states of repair.

Here are some tugster posts on projects and collections.

Rust never sleeps; nor do fungi.  My first and second posts on this yard are here as one and two;  I’d love to imagine these boats could be restored like this ACF J’Ador III, but mosses and mushrooms are powerful and mahogany though beautiful is vulnerable, and


with neglect,  hardwood turn soft and planks split apart at the seams once so tight.  Wood that began life in Central America or Southern Asia might turn to dust in North America.


Beams and structures lose their strength, their integrity . . .  and


this fleet (1940 Chris Craft 33′ and 1939 ACF)  might never again ride


or be ridden upon, unless love and dollars get lavished upon them.  Some like


this Owens get reprieved and


others (like this 1963 Century Raven) hang in the balance


although once the wood turns fertile for new life, the


old one is lost.  These vessels may be preserved only on old photographs, which themselves are at risk of


leading nowhere if no identifying info is written on the back.  I wonder sometimes as we steer madly into the digital future what will


become of digital images like mine once computers update so much the old files no longer compatible  are as undecipherable as hieroglphics.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp at Miller’s Marina in Lyons, New York.  Telephone number available on google.

Note: the 1940 ChrisCraft in the second foto above has twin K 6-cylinder Hercules.  There’s also a 1964 ChrisCraft Challenger for sale, last in the water three years ago.  $3000.  I’m just the messenger.

For more boats of this type, check boneyard boats.

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March 2023