Compared to their popularity in the car world, restomods—restored classics modified with the latest tech and trim—have arrived late in order to yachting. “Ten years ago, most boaters didn’t even recognize the term, but we’ve seen it gain legs, ” says Bill Morong, owner of Yachting Solutions , a boatyard in Rockport, Maine , which has completed more than a dozen such transformations.
The restoration of older boats typically involves salvaging as many original parts as possible, including engines, for historical accuracy. It’s this authenticity that factors into the judging at shows plus buoys standing within the particular small-but-fastidious classic-boat circles. But things are changing.
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“Those boats are usually quaint yet not very practical, ” says Morong. “Few people want 1930s gas engines or wire-and-sprocket steering systems; they like boats with the appeal of yesteryear but would like modern systems and propulsion. They usually ask us to create something different from the particular shells of their grandparents’ boats. ”
Interestingly, vessels handed down within families comprise the majority associated with inquiries Yachting Solutions receives, though there can be a tendency to balk at the cost of the particular restomod process. “I often tell them that the price of the project, as a rule of thumb, will become more than the cost of a similar-sized new production boat, but less than a new custom project designed through a fresh sheet associated with paper, ” says Morong.
Some rise to the challenge, such as the owner of Avocette. The particular 1931 Fairform Flyer, built by Huckins , had a number associated with caretakers who kept it in shipshape condition but was ready for a refresh after nearly 20 years of neglect.
“It was a basket case, ” says the owner, noting that will, beyond rotting wood, a fire had consumed the interior. In 2016, he decided to return Avocette in order to its former glory, but with caveats: It had to be safe and comfortable, and its 1930s heritage needed to be preserved. As for the task, “it wasn’t for the faint of heart, ” he says. “We made so many decisions, this became a custom design. ”
Every element of Avocette required a total rebuild. Morong’s team collaborated with naval architect Bill Prince , using 1930s drawings from Huckins and laser scans. According to Morong, the reimagining entailed reconstructing the hull to fit the new vision, using “original proportions and shape, so it did not look like some bastardized version. ”
The process also included moving the brand new engines aft—the 1931 Sterling Petrel engines were replaced along with 450 hp Volvo Penta Diesels with IPS pods—as well because adding the C-Zone digital onboard- management system plus repositioning the particular galley forward to provide a contemporary dining space with a skylight. Then there’s the newest salon, highlighted by an Art Deco fireplace and wood-beamed ceilings that reflect the increased headroom throughout.
Most restomods don’t involve 90-year-old donor vessels. Yachting Solutions’ other projects range from a ’63 Bertram 31 to a 2014 Intrepid. The Intrepid’s owner wanted a much higher level associated with customization than the factory was willing to do, essentially turning the bare fiberglass fishing vessel into a New England–style wood-clad runabout. At the lower end, Metan Marine of Lakeville, Mass., has made a name for itself by reinterpreting 17-foot Boston Whalers from the late 1960s.
Morong also points out that, rather than simply upgrading hidden components like motors, many yards are exercising a wider artistic license over exterior designs. Cooley Marine , in Stratford, Conn., recently finished work on a ’69 Bertram 31, retaining the classic lines but adding a blue-tinted windshield that resembles “a huge pair of Costa sunglasses, ” according to founder Andrew Cooley. “We started using the bare hull and tried to install every feature on the owner’s 50-foot Tiara, ” he states.
Among the numerous modifications had been an updated frame style to support the much heavier windshield, which required hiring a composite engineer, plus reconfigured bulkheads for more space. “It’s 100 percent custom and modern but still looks like the Bertram thirty-one, ” says Cooley. Which is the exact mission statement of a restomod.
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