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Papa’s Pilar gets the green light for refit

The politically fraught effort to restore author Ernest Hemingway’s sportfishing boat should finally begin yielding tangible results. Dana Hewson, senior curator for Mystic (Conn.) Seaport Museum, and members of the Hemingway Preservation Foundation headed to Cuba in March to offer expertise on the restoration of Pilar, Hemingway’s 38-foot Wheeler Playmate.

Last year the U.S. Treasury Department reversed its stance and approved the foundation’s application to restore Hemingway’s estate, Finca Bigia, and Pilar, built in 1934 at the Wheeler Shipyard in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Hemingway hilltop home, which contains some 9,000 books, manuscripts and letters, is now a museum operated by the Cuban government.

Because of the U.S. government’s trade sanctions against Cuba, the team of restoration and preservation specialists can offer its expertise for the project but no funds. The Cuban government is paying for the restoration.

Hemingway’s black-hulled Pilar was built of cedar planking over black oak frames and cost $7,500. Last year the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the boat one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, despite its Cuban ownership.


Dubious list: top insurance claims

Seaworthy, the newsletter from BoatU.S. Marine Insurance, reviewed five years of its own claim files to find the most common causes for insurance claims. The list, published in the January issue, was compiled from both the individual number of claims as well as insurance-claim dollar amounts.

The top nine, in ascending order, are: theft of equipment, theft of boat, lightning, grounding, collision, wind and weather, fire and explosion, sinking, and striking a submerged object. Seaworthy also offers tips and advice on avoiding each of these mishaps.


These concrete boats had better float

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ National Concrete Canoe Competition tests the engineering and project management abilities of students preparing for careers as civil engineers. Winners from 18 regional events will compete for scholarship prizes June 15 to 17 at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla.

There are no restrictions on the length, beam, thickness or weight, and keels, ribs, gunwales, thwarts and bulkheads can be designed into the boats. Flotation is required in both the bow and stern. All canoes must first undergo a swamp test before racing. Points are deducted from vessels requiring additional flotation after testing.


Lauderdale show changes hands

Active Interest Media, a California publishing and event company, has acquired Yachting Promotions, producer of the 47-year-old Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Active Interest says it plans no changes, and Yachting Promotions’ 150 employees will remain. Also, agreements with various marine trade associations will be honored. Kaye Pearson, former Yachting Promotions president, says he will remain with the company as a consultant. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Yachting Promotions produces five major boat shows and other special events throughout the year. TheLauderdale show, owned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, is billed as the world’s largest boat show. The company also produces the Yacht and Brokerage Show in Miami Beach, Palm Beach Boat Show, Saint Petersburg Boat Show and Suncoast Boat Show. ;

— JoAnn W. Goddard