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VIDEO: Devotion to diesels

For 41 years, Mike Muessel has operated Oldport Marine in Newport, R.I., specializing in diesel repowering and repairs. His diverse business also builds the Oldport 26 — a single-diesel open powerboat for its launch service. Oldport has completed hundreds of repowers on boats (power and sail) up to 60 feet.

Muessel, 65, likes traditional-looking powerboats. He has restored a 1958 Huckins Sportsman 34 and hopes to complete the refit of a second Huckins, a 1959 Sportsman 40. He’s also an experienced sailor. For 20 years, Muessel has owned a 50-foot sailboat designed by Henry Gruber and raced it actively in New England regattas.

In the July issue’s “Talkin’ Boats” feature, Muessel tells us about his boats, of course, but also how today’s light and powerful diesels have changed boating. He describes his favorite repowering project and recalls the transition of Newport from a Navy to a yachting town.

Click play for excerpts from the talk with Muessel.

Muessel’s wife, Beverly Joslin Muessel, works at Oldport and his son, Will, 15, helps out, too. If he’s not messing about in boats, Muessel can be found working on one of his restored MG sports cars or 1960s Honda motorcycles or playing or coaching ice hockey.