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Marina combines luxury, practicality

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Stylish and swank, Newport’s latest upscale venue offers service and class in a restored resort

Stylish and swank, Newport’s latest upscale venue offers service and class in a restored resort

What happens when a philanthropist, a yacht restorer and a lawyer come together? In Newport, R.I., it’s Forty 1° North, a new upscale marina.

Two years ago, partners Dorrance Hamilton, Peter Borden and George W. Moore came together and bought a marina that had seen better days on 351 Thames Street with a vision for making it into something more.

“I got into the project because I wanted a high-end marina to come to Newport,” says Borden, a lifelong sailor and captain for Hinckley Yacht charters. “Most of the New England docks are older, and we wanted to bring something fresh and new to the scene.”

Borden is a resident of Newport and helped with the three-year, $6 million restoration of the SVF Foundation in town, which helps protect rare and endangered breeds of livestock. Hamilton is known for her philanthropic contributions in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, and Moore is a lawyer based in Philadelphia and a trustee of the SVF Foundation. Borden says because the boating season in the Northeast is so short, they wanted to create something that would keep people coming back all year. The property was purchased two years ago, and work began under the direction of DAS Architects of Philadelphia.

“It was a little rundown, so we splashed paint around, fixed the piers and added floating docks,” says Alex Keller, the dockmaster. “Newport’s coastal resources [council] approved the demolition of the old marina, and we got to work.”

Over the next two years the property, named after its location on a nautical chart, was transformed into a full-service marina with a 200-seat outdoor bar and The Grill restaurant, 9,000 feet of waterfront private event space, four rental suites and Christie’s, a casual dining restaurant open all year. Borden says since the original Christie’s had been in Newport since 1945, they wanted to hold onto a piece of history. The interior has a retro look and feel with chrome tabletops and pictures, of bathing beauties from the 1950s.

As for the marina, it features docks to accommodate vessels from 45 to 250 feet. There is 480-volt electric service and services such as onboard cleaning, VIP launch, washdowns and pumpouts. The Yacht Tender Program is geared to the owners of boats less than 36 feet and allows them extensive access to marina services.

“I think we are finding there is a call for small boat management,” says Borden. “Many boaters are downsizing, and we want smaller vessels to have the same high quality of options available to them as the bigger vessels.”

Borden says the marina opened July 2007 with great success. Their opening on May 10 marks Forty 1° North’s first full boating season.

“We’ve used every inch of the space to really offer top-notch service,” says Borden. “But we’re boaters, too, and we understand what people want from a marina.”

Borden says a 21-room hotel is in the works for 2009. To enroll in Forty 1° North’s guest program, which allows access to the property, including dinghy dockage and special events access costs $550. Returning summer guests from 2007 will receive $350 credit toward a food and beverage account at The Grill. For visitors and out-of-town guests, the Weekly Guest Program is available at $350, which is credited toward The Grill as well. Guest status is not required for Christie’s.

For information on marina rates and availability, e-mail info@41no.com or call (401) 846-8018. For information about facilities, visit www.41no.com .