One of the highlights of every new boating season is spotting boats fresh out of the yard with gleaming topsides, new rigging and neatly sanded decks. The sights are even more special when those boats are older hulls that have been brought back to their original beauty. Seeing the proper restoration of a classic hull can actually take a boater’s breath away. Right now, there are a few interesting projects in the works at leading Maine shipyards. Here’s a look at three interesting refits being done at Lyman-Morse, Front Street Shipyard and Brooklin Boat Yard.
Reimagine & Zemphira
Back in the mid-1990s, Lyman-Morse built a 90-foot motoryacht that C. Raymond Hunt Associates designed. That boat is Reimagine, which recently got a new owner who is putting her through a projected three-year refit at the yard. The refit is happening in stages with the owner using the boat in between yard periods—a smart idea, according to project manager Chet Mayo, and an unusual production schedule for this yard, and others.
“She bought the boat without having stayed on it, so this process is sort of easing the owner into changes she may want to make after using the boat for a while,” Mayo says. “It makes a lot of sense on her end to be able to use the boat throughout this process. It’s helping her to understand what she wants to do.”
So far, the job has included rebuilding the 40-kW Northern Lights generator, replacing about 90 percent of the black- and gray-water hoses, opening and cleaning the tanks (a fuel tank was converted back to its original use as a black-water tank) and replacing all the toilets to make sure they work.
“We just finished sandblasting the entire bottom so we could give it a really thorough inspection,” Mayo told Soundings in November. “We’re going to remove the struts and reconstitute the fastenings and have them professionally inspected. Then we’ll put ev erything back together. We’re also painting the hull this year, just the topsides, from the caprail down.”
By the end of year three, he says, the team at Lyman-Morse will have gone through and touched every part of Reimagine. “We’re a full-service yacht yard. We pride ourselves on quality,” he says. “We’re certainly delivering that here. It shows. She brought the boat back for year two. If we hadn’t done a good job in year one, there wouldn’t have been a year two.”
Another interesting boat in restoration mode at Lyman-More is Zemphira, a 76-foot Spirit of Tradition stunner that arrived at the yard about a year ago and is in the process of an extensive overhaul, taking its cue from modern race boats. Systems and cosmetics have been remade. This year, the team at the yard in Camden will work the refit below the waterline. That work includes grafting a composite skin onto the wooden hull for the new keel, which will absorb potential impact with minimal damage to the yacht itself.
Front Street Shipyard:
Szel is a Sundeer 64 that splashed in 1994. Her original owner would store her at Front Street Shipyard while doing his own work on her. Pretty much all the yard crew knew about her was that they’d shrink-wrap her for the winter and launch her in the spring. Then, in 2019, a man from England bought Szel sight unseen—when it was so cold outside that a sea trial wasn’t even possible. He asked the yard to go through the boat and do repairs based on surveys.
“The project continued to grow as we got into the boat,” says project manager Paul Lamoureux. “And the new owner had his own version of what he wanted this boat to be able to do, and what it would have on it, so he continuously added to the work scope. It quickly went beyond the initial survey report.”
The refit just ended this past November. It included a lot of attention to the mechanical systems—including fuel, water, refrigeration and more—all new instrumentation for navigation, new standing rigging for the mast, new rigging hydraulics and painting the deck. One of the biggest jobs, Lamoureux says, was switching out the electrical, battery-control and air-conditioning systems.
“The owner wanted to minimize what we call power management, which means you’ve only got so much power, so if you want to run equipment A, you have to turn off B and C,” Lamoureux says. “He wanted to be able to run air conditioning on the boat without having to run a generator. To do that, you have to have a battery bank that’s big enough, and inverters that are big enough to turn 12 volts into 110/220-volt power.”
Szel had older lead-acid batteries in her keel, where their weight was part of the ballast. “We ended up taking those old lead-acid batteries out, and we put a new set of AGM batteries in the same spot, to try and maximize the same amount of battery power that the boat had,” he says. “Then, we installed two 5,000-watt inverters. That allows the battery bank to—for a time—run equipment on the boat without the owner having to turn the generator on.”
This winter, Szel is expected to be cruising around the Caribbean. “All disciplines of the yard played a part in this boat,” Lamoureux says. “It showed that we can rebuild a boat with all dimensions, and with everything happening here, on our property—even in the middle of Covid and the dead of winter.”
Brooklin Boat Yard:
Brooklin Boat Yard is no stranger to classic-yacht restorations: This is where the 74-foot commuter yacht Aphrodite, built in 1937, was reborn, and where the 85-foot Trumpy Enticer, built in 1935, got a new lease on life. Today, the team is working on bringing back Djinn, a 65-foot F&F
motorsailor designed by Sparkman &
Stephens. She was built in the 1960s for Henry Morgan (yes, of the famous Morgan family) and then used as a committee boat for racing when he was commodore of the New York Yacht Club.
The current owner pulled Djinn from the brink of destruction in Florida, where she had ended up sitting unused. The boat arrived at Brooklin Boat Yard in winter 2020 and went into storage until the work of rebuilding her could begin in summer 2021. “She’s far enough gone that I’d call it a restoration,” says General Manager Brian Larkin. “We’re estimating it at 22,000 to 23,000 hours. We’re trying to get her out by summer 2022, but there’s the supply chain and the labor shortages—a lot of things have to happen.”
Djinn’s backbone and framing are still intact, he says. Her interior was taken out by previous owners who started a restoration, so it’s sitting in storage for possible reinstallation. How much will end up back inside the boat is still a question mark, he says, but all the original hardware is there and can be incorporated into the rebuild.
Plans also include changing Djinn’s ergonomics for easier sailing, installing new teak decking, redoing all the onboard systems, installing a new rig and replanking the bottom. “It’s pretty typical for us to take a boat like this and rebuild it,” Larkin says. “We still have traditional carpenters. We still take care of 150 antique boats. We still have guys who know how to plank. I just taught a whole new generation of kids how to do so.”
This article was originally published in the January 2022 issue.