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MARILEE Restoration Project
Restoration of the 59' Herreshoff NYYC 40
Winner of the Concourse d'Elegance at the 2003 Antigua Classic Regatta

59' Herreshoff NYYC 40 on the William Cannell Boatbuilding Railway before restoration.

William Cannell Boatbuilding entirely restored the59' LOD Herreshoff New York Yacht Club 40 MARILEE for a May 2001 launching. Almost immediately MARILEE began collecting silver for her NYYC syndicate owners.

At the Americas's Jubilee in Cowes MARILEE won the King's Cup, for first around the Isle of Wight by a classic or vintage yacht. She also won The Anniversary Cup for the Best Performance by a Yacht in the Around the Island Race. She had the best corrected time in the entire fleet. In the other races at Cowes MARILEE took a second in extremely heavy weather conditions even through she broke her boom and had a man overboard). She did not race the following day while she repaired her boom, but took firsts in all the remaining races.

MARILEE under her first ownership with Mr. Edward Cudahy at the wheel. Photo courtesy of Michael Cudahy. [Click for Larger Image]

MARILEE tied RUGOSA for the Jubilee overall but lost the tiebreaker to RUGOSA. Her NYYC syndicate crew also won the overall award for best performance by amateur helmsmen.

In the overall 2001 Prada Challenge for Classic Yachts (Porto Cervo, Monaco, Cannes and St. Tropez regattas) MARILEE tied the 120' Herreshoff schooner MARIETTE for first, but again lost the tiebreaker and received second place. The same was true for the International Classic Yacht Racing Association (ICYRA) overall prize for the season She won Cannes in her class and took second in Monaco. At Porto Cervo MARILEE was again on the podium.

MARILEE's 2002 summer season in Europe brought further success with a First in class at Antibes, a First in Class in Argentario, a First in Class and First Overall for all the Vintage Classes in Imperia, Second in Class in Cannes, and First in Class in St-Tropez.

MARILEE is one of the famous Herreshoff New York Yacht Club 40's known as the "Fighting Forties." Casper Whitney, in the August 1901 issue of Outing magazine referred to the New York Yacht Club 40's as having "that Herreshoff characteristic of passing unperturbed through agitated waters." Edwin J. Schoettle described the New York 40's as "excellent, heavy-weather boats, having an ability to withstand all kinds of rough handling, both by men and weather." Mr. Schoettle further commented, "I have been told that a 40 has never been seen reefed."

MARILEE on sea trials after restoration.
[Click for Larger Image]

In the field of yacht design N. G. "Captain Nat" Herreshoff was the giant among giants. In the ultimate test of yacht racing, the America's Cup, his designs stood undefeated. His America's Cup defenders defeated challengers designed by of G.L. Watson in three America's Cup matches, those by Charles Nicholson in one match, and those by the Fifes in 2 matches. He was probably responsible for more engineering and design breakthroughs in yacht design than any other.

Nat Herreshoff was gruff to his friends, family, clients, and workman and was variously loved, admired or respected by most all of them. He was so famous in his day that a letter he absent mindedly mailed to his wife while sailing near the Isle of Wight in England, which was addressed only, "Mrs. N. G. Herreshoff", without even a stamp, was delivered just that way to his wife's door step in Bristol, Rhode Island.

N. G. Herreshoff's intention with the New York 40 was to design a one-design racing class that would both be a good around the buoys racer and have the interior room to make a comfortable cruising boat as well. Just after the turn of the century, this was an innovative idea. The sleek Herreshoff designed one design class predecessors to the New York Yacht Club 40's were the graceful, low-slung NYYC 70's, NYYC 50's and NYYC 30's. As would be expected from N. G. Herreshoff, the compromise that resulted in the NYYC 40's was accomplished remarkably well.

MARILEE is one only four remaining examples of the New York Yacht Club 40 class, the others being ROWDY, now on the West Coast, TYPHOON (ex-MAISIE) and RUGOSA. While the main body of the class was built in 1916, MARILEE and RUGOSA were built later, with MARILEE's launching in 1926. MARILEE was converted to a yawl rig according to Herreshoff drawings, but retains a considerable number of original details, including much of her deck joinerwork, interior panelling, and deck hardware, including her valuable Herreshoff bronze anchor windlass on the fore deck. During the 1960's MARILEE's hull was fiberglassed over as a result of the inclination during that period to believing such was a panacea for the up keep on a wooden boat.

The scope of this project was to restore MARILEE to her original details in a curatorially correct manner including her original gaff sloop rig and considerable structural work. Original materials were used. For instance the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company used Eastern White Pine for her original pine decks for their strength and lightness. We replaced MARILEE's deck with Eastern White Pine that was cut from a stand of trees up to 300 feet tall, yielding lengths and quality rare to find today. For safety and convenience, some modern systems were incorporated, but precautions were taken to prevent them from intruding aesthetically on MARILEE's original details.

For the classic boat enthusiast, the concept of the New York Yacht Club 40 makes as much good sense now as it did in 1916. As has been proven by her recent racing record, MARILEE is fast and Weatherly. She still has her roomy NYYC 40 interior. We hope that the NYYC 40 still makes as much sense as a classic cruising/racing yacht today as they did as cutting edge cruiser/racers in the Golden Age of yachting.

Read comments from the owner about MARILEE's restoration.

Photos of MARILEE's Restoration Project
Click on the below photos for larger images. [Use your browser's BACK button to return to this page.]

A frame fresh
out of the steam box being pre bent.
A hot frame
is bent into the shape and bevel of the hull over new bronze diagonal strapping.
MARILEE with new frames
, new floor timbers, and new center line bolts.
New garboard and broad planks of old growth heart pine.
The installed tank and mast step.
Master caulker John Maritato.
Steve Florimbi fitting a bulkhead.
John Anderson installing a bulkhead.
Prefinishing bulkheads.
Lewis McGregor fitting sole in fo'c'sle.
Interior joinery below deck.
Laying the new deck.
The finished fo'c'sle.
Longboarding the bottom for maximum speed.
Paul Berndt Installing the coaming.
Decking complete.
Caulking the deck.
Bending the steamed coaming.
Varnished deck hatches & skylights await installation.
Deck joinery installed.
Stuart Woodman varnishing the kingplank.
Fairing topsides.
Interior looking forward.
Main saloon.
Chuck Dorr carving the name.
From the shop.
Bow Shot - On the ways.
Stern Shot - On the ways.
Dale Dorr gold leafing the name.
Bill Buchholz and Lou MacGregor starting the engine that runs the railway.
The transom.
The crew of William Cannell Boatbuilding.
MARILEE on sea trials after restoration.
MARILEE on sea trials after restoration.

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Wm. Cannell Boatbuilding Co., Inc.
American Boat House
15 Atlantic Avenue, P.O. Box 900
Camden, Maine 04843
Tel: 208-720-3312 or 207-236-2383
Fax: 207-236-2711
Email: wbc@cannellclassicboats.com