Bolero: Refit of a classic

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A crowd of more than 350 - including invited guests, staff, crew and members of the boatbuilding and local communities - gathered May 15 for the noon launching of the classic Sparkman & Stephens racing yawl Bolero following an 18-month restoration and refit at Rockport Marine in Maine.

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The 73-footer was originally built for John Nicholas Brown, commodore of the New York Yacht Club, by the Henry B. Nevins yard of City Island, N.Y. She was launched in 1949 and finished first in several Bermuda races.

At Rockport Marine, shipwright John England and a crew of up to 20 people performed a complete restoration of the vessel, as well as a significant systems upgrade. Rockport Marine notes that Bolero came to it with many broken frames and further inspection found the horn timber and deck beams also were ready for replacement.
Her new frames are laminated oak and her hull is now double-planked with sipo (African mahogany) over cedar with epoxy between the layers. Her original cedar deck was replaced with Alaskan yellow cedar veneer over composite construction. In addition, the main and mizzen masts were overhauled and the interior was largely redone.
Rockport Marine was founded in 1962 and specializes in restoration and new construction of traditional and contemporary wooden vessels. It is currently restoring Adventuress, an 83-foot Fife schooner to launch in 2011, and Tradewind, a 1938 Alden motorsailer, which is set to launch this year.

This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters section of the July 2010 issue.