America's Most Historic Yacht

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!


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