Monday, April 04, 2005

The oldest, most original grand yacht in the world

This topic isn't as sexy as billionaire bad boys dueling it out with their America's Cup toys, nor as thought provoking as discussing the lack of black folk in sailing...not as gripping as offshore voyaging, not as polarizing as red Mount Gay caps and probably not as much fun as discussing the top ten rums - but nonetheless I want to put a plug in for those who practice the art of classic yacht restoration. Specifically the IYRS in Newport, RI (International Yacht Restoration School). Newport is a sailing culture mecca, replete with organizations that pay homage to sailing history. But the IYRS has a special role in sailing culture - the preservation and restoration of the oldest and most original grand yacht in the world - S/V Coronet. Elizabeth Meyer is Coronet Project Manager & Founding Chair of IYRS. Take a read through the IYRS page here and a look at the Coronet home page. Truly an amazing piece of sailing history - a reminder that today we stand on the shoulders of many, many past sailors of equal or greater passion. It can be easy to loose this truth in the constant thunder of sailing hype...the latest hot shot pro, the newest rocket sled, the regatta-of-the-moment...

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Coronet is simply that she exists at all. The majority of yachts afloat during the last years of the 19th century have long since passed from view. Sunk, grounded, driven under, broken up, or simply fallen prey to old age, they are remembered now through photographs, mementos, models and the occasional holy relic, such as a wheel or binnacle.

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