Stardust’s restoration

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Doug Heil, captain of the Harbor View fleet, on the restoration of the 1966 Bunker & Ellis picnic yacht, Stardust.

As director of waterfront activities, I take visitors out on afternoon and sunset cruises in and around Edgartown Harbor aboard our picnic yacht Stardust.

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During Phase 1 of the restoration, in the winter of 2007-’08, Stardust went back to Maine and was repowered from twin 1978 Chrysler gas engines to new Volvo Penta 5.7Gi gas engines.

We stayed with gas engines because the vertical space in the engine compartment was so limited that we would only be able to fit in a small diesel engine; the boat mainly does harbor cruises so the noise and smell would be much greater with diesels, and the cost would be greater to convert to diesels.

All of her systems were upgraded including new electrical, plumbing, steering systems and a new electric head. Modern electronics installed on the classic vessel include a Raymarine C120 chart plotter and Icom IC-M504 fixed-mount VHF.

Last winter, Stardust was kept in Edgartown and I did a complete varnish job. This included stripping all the varnish to bare wood, replacing the entire toe rail and rub rail with reclaimed Honduras mahogany, and recoating with eight coats of traditional schooner varnish.

For the most part, the major projects are behind us now.

On the plate for next winter is refinishing the aft cockpit sole, rechroming all of the hardware and replacing the side curtains.

See related article: A sailor's independence streak runs deep

This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters Section of the September 2009 issue.