America's Most Historic Yacht

Welcome to the Coronet Blog

Posted By on November 25, 2009

Welcome to the home page for the classic yacht, Coronet.  Coronet was first launched in 1885, and was one of the most elegant sailing yachts of her day.  She was designed for crossing the ocean in style, and featured a marble staircase, stained glass doors, mahogany paneled staterooms, and a piano in the main salon.


Since 1995, Coronet has been on the campus of the International Yacht Restoration School, awaiting restoration.  Coronet Restoration Partners purchased her in 2006, and restoration has now begun in earnest.

We’ll be following Coronet’s team of shipwrights here as they bring this classic boat back to her former glory.  We’ll cover it all, from harvesting the timber to restoring the original interior.  If you are a builder, a hobbyist, a historian, or just enamored with classic boats, we think you’ll enjoy watching this beautiful vessel come back to life.

If you see this (more…) at the bottom of a post, that means that the post continues on another page.  Just click it and you’ll go to the rest of the post.

Coronet Comes to Mystic

Posted By on December 8, 2022

It’s been a long long time since the last update as you probably know. A bit of explanation, and then on with the photos.

I should explain that the Coronet blog was a part time job for me, and I was hired by Jeff Rutherford and Coronet’s owner to provide intermittent updates on the project. Over the past few years, work slowed dramatically, the core crew left for other projects, and work proceeded at a much reduced pace. Funding for work became tight, and my full time work took precedence over driving the hour up to Newport to see how things were going. I apologize for not being more on top of things, even though the progress was slowing down.

Oh, and then there was Covid. That slowed things down.

In the last year, Coronet gained new owners, and they have great energy and excitement for finishing this lovely boat and getting her sailing.

While I work at the Mystic Seaport Museum where Coronet is now berthed, I don’t have any official capacity regarding her status, so sorry, no news about what happens next from here. However, Coronet has an excellent Instagram presence that is absolutely chock full of wonderful photos. Check it out!

So: the update.

Once it was clear that Coronet would be coming to the Mystic Seaport Museum, we’ve been sending folks up to Newport to help make her seaworthy for the journey along the coast. Going over land was not an option due to her size.

Our crew worked with local shipwrights from Newport to caulk and seal her hull. A local documentary film maker, Peter Slack, has some nice footage and interviews with Newport shipwright Chet Kaeson during his work on the project. There’s some excellent drone footage of the boat and surrounding area as well.

The planking below the waterline is white oak, and was traditionally caulked and seams sealed. Above the waterline, the hull is double planked and was sealed with epoxy. She has been painted with bottom paint from the waterline down.

Photo: James Kirschner

Up on deck, the Seaport crew installed cleats and hawsepipes to accommodate the lines needed for towing and docking.

Photo: James Kirschner
Photo: James Kirschner
Photo: James Kirschner
Photo: James Kirschner

They worked many late nights to get the job done.

Photo: James Kirschner

The process of readying the site to move Coronet was extensive. The shop and building surrounding her had to be removed,

Photo: James Kirschner

The marina and surrounding pilings adjacent to the boat had to be removed, detailed plans made for how to lift Coronet, custom straps, massive lifting gear, on and on.

And finally, the day of the move came. It was brisk, but bright with very little wind. Ideal. One of the largest crane barges on the east coast, the Chesapeake 1000 was brought in with multiple tugs and a spud barge to perform the lift.

The size of the gear was hard to believe. It took our crew days to assemble it, using forklifts just to move the massive cables and shackles.

Photo: James Kirschner
Photo: James Kirschner

There are many many photos of the launch and subsequent tow to Mystic online, so I’ll include just a few here.

The launch was flawless. She lifted perfectly flat, which means that all of the calculations regarding her balance, the position of the lifting straps, etc. were right on the mark.

Everyone was very very happy.

Photo: James Kirschner

Her seams were tight and she made very little water.

The tow, a few days later, was also perfect. Clear, calm day, and the crew of the tug Jaguar were total pros. They always are.

Jaguar rafted up to Coronet before entering the Mystic River and brought her to the seaport on the hip. All along the river, people came out to wave and take photos. It was a very sweet trip.

So many people showed up to welcome her to the Seaport, including a former captain and crewmates!! It was a real pleasure to meet them.

And now, she’s securely docked at the Seaport, awaiting the next phase of restoration. There’s much to be done before any work actually begins: naval architects will work with the new owners to lay out the interior to accommodate propulsion, modern electrical, plumbing, and safety systems, all the while seeking to incorporate as much of her original interior and other details as possible. It’s a huge job that needs to be done before a single piece of wood is sawn.

Photo: James Kirschner

Thank you all for following along on the journey so far!


Posted By on September 23, 2019

Just a reminder that Josh, the lead shipwright, has an instagram account for Coronet. His handle is TheCoronetSchooner. He hasn’t put a ton of photos up, but the ones that are there are wonderful!

September 2019

Posted By on September 11, 2019

It’s been a year, and as everyone writing in has noted, it’s been way too long since the last update. I couldn’t agree more.

So, what’s going on? For the past year, Josh has been leading a crew of 4 (5 during the summer when an IYRS intern joined them) full time working on the hull. Let’s take a look.

What you’re looking at is the forward port topsides and bulwarks of the boat, very much obscured by staging. The bow is just to the left of the dark wood angled into the hull. The topsides and bulwarks are double planked with fir. You may recall that back in 2018, the team was working up the topsides. Here’a a reminder from late July.

And here’s what that area looks like now from a somewhat different angle.

And a slightly distorted panorama looking along the starboard side.

The crew has also been fairing the hull, starting up high.

You can see the difference between the sanded upper sections, and the darker lower sections where the glue around the bungs is still apparent.

The lower hull hasn’t been faired yet. The trunnels are still slightly proud of the planking.

You can really see how they are wedged in the last inch before they’re driven home.

Back up top… Stepping onto the boat up forward, you can see how sharp her bow is.

The deck will be two layers of marine plywood, laid out to span the joints of the layer below.

Fiberglass cloth will overlay the plywood. Although not traditional, this type of deck is light, strong, very stiff, and quite watertight.

Looking aft, you can see that skylights and other deck furniture in place.

The chain plates are let into the frames and will be captured by the planking as it forms the upper bulwarks.

The crew has been very busy down below. A year ago, only a few hanging knees had been installed.

You can see how the frames are tenoned on top. Later on, the cap rail will be mortised to fit down on top of these frames.

Moving back aft, the crew has been building up the aft bulwarks.

If you look at the corner, you can see how bulwarks are built up in a brick-laid fashion.

You can see this clearly as the two sides interweave at the transom.

And then, here’s a view of this work from outside the boat.

The crew has been very busy down below. A year ago, only a few hanging knees had been installed.

They’ve all been installed now.

Every effort was made to save as many original knees as possible.

With the crew working full time, I’ll make sure to get up to Newport every few months now to keep everyone updated.


Posted By on September 13, 2018

Many folks have been wondering about Coronet’s status, and I’m happy to report that a crew has been busy at work on the planking all summer.  Here are a few photos of how things are going that I took during a visit in July.  I apologize for the late posting…

The upper half of Coronet is double planked, meaning that there are 2 layers of planking, one on top of the other.  The layers are arranged such that the outer planks cover the seams of the inner planks.  Traditionally the layers of planking are glued together with thickened shellac, but that’s because they didn’t have epoxy.  We have epoxy, and that’s what we use.

Here you can see 2 inner layers of planking.  The next layer of planking will go halfway up the top strake of the inner planking and bury the seam.

The plank lines have been laid out (the black lines on the outside of the frames) to guide the plank installation.

The boundary between the lower carvel (single thickness, traditionally caulked) planking and upper double planking is marked by a half-height layer of the inner planking.

The ends of the planks are scarfed together to make one continuous plank the length of the boat.  You can see the scarf joint here.

Since the ceiling has been installed, you can’t clamp the planks directly to the frames.  Instead, the crew gets creative with a variety of clamps and 2×4’s.

The crew has been trying to save as many of the original knees as possible.  After they were removed from the boat, they were surveyed for rot and checks.  Those that passed were patched up with dutchmen as needed and the fastener holes filled in with wood trunnels.

If a knee is too far gone, it’s replaced by a laminate.

However, these are done quite cleverly, and the final product does not look like a laminate.  If you look closely at the previous photo, you’ll see that some of the knees have had a layer of wood laid down along the curved face of the knee, giving it the look of a solid piece.  You can see the lamination at the very base of these pieces.

Looking at Coronet bow-on, the starboard planking has progressed a good bit more than port.

Not much has changed on the interior since the last post.  The sole bearers are in as well as the ceiling.  It’s impressive.

I hope to get up to the boat again soon.

Progress through September 2016

Posted By on September 18, 2016

Long overdue update

The crew has finished planking the interior. You may recall that this is all double planked, so it’s quite strong and stiff. Not bad looking either…


Back aft, a number of sole bearers (the boat version of floor joists) have been installed.


These land on wooden pads and are secured with through-bolts through angled bronze pieces.


Above, you can see the curved sky lights.


The yellow pine ceiling (inner planking) stops just shy of the stem up forward.


From the outside, you can see the gap. This is a view from the port side, looking into the stem of the boat. The starboard ceiling planking is just visible through the gap, and the built-up stem is on the left in this photo.

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Inside, the sheer clamps are reinforced where they come into the stem with a massive bronze breast hook (the dark metal).


Back aft, the ceiling goes down almost to the horn timber and rudder post.


The horn timber is the heavy fore-aft timber that supports the transom, and the rudder post is the large vertical timber going through it.

The crew have also been continuing their work on the exterior double planking. Here you can see the layers as they’re laid up. The blue arrow points to the inner layer. The outer layer is built up on top of that, with the out seams falling in the center of the inner plank.


The green arrow points to a temporary batten fastened to the frames. It will come off as the planking moves upward.

Rather than have the plank ends that butt up against on another, the team scarfs multiple lengths of planking together to form continuous planking that runs the length of the boat.

20160901-img_3272 20160901-img_3273

Coronet was originally built with many grown knees to brace and support the deck beams. Here are a number of these knees that were removed during disassembly. You can still see the original fastener holes in them.


The old knees are being repaired and re-used in the restoration. Here you can see how the holes have been filled with solid wood plugs, and rectangular dutchmen (i.e., patches) are let in to ares where the wood was weak or rotted.


The knees are then reinstalled in the boat.


That’s it for now!