Certainly Newport is the place to be if you’re a New England sailor interested in seeing the latest high-tech racing yachts, but these days one of the most ambitious historic restoration projects in recent history is taking shape right on the waterfront. When she was built in 1885 for American industrialist Rufus T. Bush, the 133’ schooner Coronet was one of the most luxurious ocean-going yachts of the day, with everything from a marble staircase to stained-glass doors and even a piano. She went on to have a storied career as an ocean-racing yacht and was one of the first U.S.-registered yachts to round Cape Horn. The last remaining grand schooner yacht from this era, she’s been at the International Yacht Restoration School’s impressive 1831 Aquidneck Mill Building on Thames Street since 2006, first floating at the dock and later shored up as she awaited the time and resources necessary for her rebuilding.
The project began in earnest in 2010, and the progress made so far is truly impressive. The keelson and stem were erected early in the year, and the rest of 2010 has seen a steady progression of futtocks, top timbers, and even the beginnings of deck beams. Even better, the shipwrights are keeping an excellent blog of their progress and posting updates here: www.coronet1885.com. A visit to Coronet and the exhibit that IYRS has created for her at the Museum of Yachting at Fort Adams should be on every boater’s itinerary in Newport, but a visit to this grand ship’s blog should suffice if you’re stuck at home this winter.
For more information about IYRS visit their website: www.iyrs.org