Skip to main content

School launches restored J/35

Privateer, built in 1984, got a complete refit thanks to the Maritime College in New York

Privateer, built in 1984, got a complete refit thanks to the Maritime College in New York

Students at the State University of New York’s Maritime College recently completed the restoration of Privateer, a J/35, and held a rededication ceremony for the boat Sept. 19 at the school’s Bronx, N.Y., campus.

In attendance were a number of the students who worked on Privateer, along with two special guests: college council member and two-time Yachtswoman of the Year Timothea Larr; and college alumnus and America’s Cup winner Gary Jobson.

“The rededication of Privateer was a fitting celebration for the students who worked so hard to restore the boat,” says Robert Crafa, the college’s director of waterfront programs.

At the ceremony, college president Vice Admiral John W. Craine Jr. gave remarks and awarded citations to students Dan Keen, Steve Pizzariello, Nicholas Nastasi and Marissa Nihil. Students Joe McCann and George Saza, who also worked on Privateer but could not attend the ceremony, were also acknowledged. Jobson — who graduated from the college in 1973 — and Larr christened the boat and joined the students to take Privateer on an hour-long sail on the East River into western Long Island Sound.

“For me, the most rewarding part of the entire project was sailing [Privateer] for the first time,” says 23-year-old Dan Keen, who acted as the project foreman. “I was numb the whole day. We said we were going to do this and we did — and we did it better than I thought we would.”

Privateer was built in 1984 and donated to the school in 2003. It took six students nearly a year, from November 2004 until August 2005, to restore the boat, which is named after the college’s mascot.

“New York Maritime students appreciate J/35s and had the vision to see the potential of this boat,” Crafa says. “The college was proud to support their enthusiasm and commitment to this enormous effort.”

Work done to restore Privateer included cutting out the rotten deck and stripping the topside and bottom paint, says Crafa. The students stripped the deck hardware, lifelines, winches and blocks, and reshaped the rudder. Extensive fiberglass and structural repairs to the deck and hull were done. The students also replaced all the windows and hatches, built and installed a navigation table, and fabricated new teak toe rails and reconditioned the rest of the teak on the boat.

“The boat really needed the work,” Keen says.

SUNY Maritime College is a four-year college located in Throggs Neck, N.Y., and claims to be the first maritime school in the country. Crafa says the college accepts tax deductible donations of boats, sails and equipment.

After the hard work that went into restoring Privateer, Keen says that he and the other students appreciated the rededication ceremony. “I think the school really liked seeing this work happen,” he says. “For the student, having people — and people like Gary Jobson — recognize all the hard work and time we put into this boat is great. The ceremony helped make this project feel complete.”