Downeast Cruiser Well Worth Restoring, a Half-Century Later

RICH HELMKE and his crew at Bass Harbor Boat
Shop completed the five-year restoration of a 30-foot
boat named Gracie, a distinctive cruiser built by the yard’s
original owner, Bobby Rich, and his son, Chummy, in 1961.
Several years ago, Gracie landed in the hands of a new
owner, a Southwest Harbor, Maine, resident who enjoys
cruising and overnighting around Blue Hill Bay and the
islands. But the boat was only in fair shape. The restoration
involved building a new platform, new shelter, new
handrails, and more; repairing the cabin sides; refastening
and repowering, and installing a new opening windshield,
lighting, and bronze hardware with a traditional look. During
the project, Helmke said he welcomed the owner’s
“The owner has a really wonderful eye for curves and
design and classic lines,” he said. “He was very involved
with helping us come up with the finished product.
Throughout the whole project, we kept it looking original
—but updated.”
Boats built by Bobby and Chummy Rich make for great
restoration projects, Helmke said.
“They go through the water easily,” he said. “They’re
well-built boats, so they’re easily maintained all these years
later and worth keeping around, as opposed to old wood
production boats that might not be put together with the
same care. It’s nice keeping these local boats going—and
looking beautiful.”

P.O. Box 11, Bernard, ME 04612
[email protected]
Excerpted from Boats of the Year 2016. Click here to read more stories from the latest edition.