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.


64 Responses to “Welcome to the Coronet Blog”

  1. Joe stone says:

    I sailed to nova scotia in the early fifty’s when I was a kid you guys are doing a fantastic job! I have a lot of good memories of the Coronet.

  2. Joshua says:

    I come from a long line of family members who have served aboard this ship. My Great Uncle Clarence Davis was at one time the ships mechanic, and my mother Nancy Davis served on the ship for a summer as a galley maid in the 70’s. I was lucky enough to see the ship in dry dock in 07. I am disappointed now that you are not so much restoring her but are in fact making a copy of her. I understand that the wood was way too old and if you have had put her in the water she would have sunk. But I am sure there must have been something you could do to preserve the old coronet rather than making a whole new one.

  3. admin says:

    One way to think of a restoration of this magnitude is to start by thinking of the normal progression of repairs on a vessel. If the vessel was well-cared for, you would expect periodic refastening, and there go the original fasteners. The boat runs around, gets attacked by worms, etc., and you’ve now replaced some planking and a section of keel. She begins to leak along the stem rabbit and previously unknown rot is discovered and there goes the stem. The old wiring that continually threatened to short out and burn the boat to nothing is replaced by newer and safer cables. So, in bits and pieces, the original boat slowly goes away to be replaced by the new parts. It’s analogous to us shedding skin cells and growing new ones. When this happens piecemeal over many years, the repairs start to feel like original fabric. There isn’t the psychological shock of seeing so much of the boat removed at once. What’s happening here in many ways is 80 years of normal maintenance work all done at once, a kind of fast-forward of repairs.

    You are correct that much of the old boat will be gone after this restoration. I’ll try to make sure that the original parts that are incorporated are highlighted here. For instance, there has been a real push to keep as many of the original floors as possible. Luckily much of the original interior has been saved and will go back in with minimal modification. The engine has been removed, bringing her back to her original configuration as a sail-only vessel.

    In the restoration world we understand that the line between restoration and replication is always a fuzzy one, and one man’s repair is another’s new build.

  4. Simon J. de Waard says:

    Very hard to find the dimensions of the ship. Can you publish length, beam, draught, sail area, motor (if motorised) and so on?

  5. Tom Daniels says:

    Hi Simon,
    Here are her particulars:
    LOD: 133′
    Sparred Length: 190
    Beam: 27′
    Draft: 11′
    Sail Area: 8300+ Ft.
    Tonnage: 160 gross, 152 net
    The original did not have a motor, and though one was added in her later years, this restoration will not include one.

  6. Tim Murray says:

    As ever, Tom, a great blog with excellent commentary. Looking for updates covering the recent July gala, with both cannon on board and Dr. McNeil’s new skylights on deck. She was a sight to see. We (her former owners) donated her second cannon (which had spent the last 15 or 20 years aimed out my study window) for this occasion, together with a number of original or at least very old lanterns, lamps, and instruments, all of which were on display that day, and which will be restored and added to the ship’s finished condition.

    She is one beautiful vessel, with all frames installed and transom in place.
    Tim Murray, former Capt.

  7. John Moore says:

    I saw this project on PBS ROUGH CUT – WOODWORKING WITH TOMMY MAC. Looks like a fun project requiring exceptional skills and patience. The PBS broadcast showed a coronet piano. My family owns a coronet piano of that vintage. I am researching this piano maker and am interested in acquiring a photo of the coronet piano I saw on the broadcast. Please share.

  8. admin says:

    Hi John, I’ll see what I can do.



    After reading several of the restoration articles and plans for restoration, I couldn’t help noticing a discrepancy ? The articles all say the Coronet will not have an engine for auxiliary power, stating that the original did not. In your photos of June 2005, showing the hull being winched into the shed at IYRS in Newport, there are, distinctly noticeable, 2 protruding propellers and shafts ? Can you explain this ?

    Thank you,

  10. admin says:

    Hi Steve,
    You’re right, an engine had been installed somewhere in her history (don’t recall when), but this restoration will bring her back to her original engine-less configuration.

  11. James Sutherland says:

    I got married on the Coronet by the Capt Frank Murry. @ the base of the main mast. I have a book of pictures with Capt Murry attending. That was 1970 in Gloucester Mass. It should be in the log. I would like to share these picture. As I understand his parents were the last Married, or all most on board by the Capt and minister.

  12. James Sutherland says:

    Married by Capt Frank Murry Have pictures

  13. admin says:

    Hi James,
    I’d be happy to post the photos here. Let me know how you’d like to send them along. If you have a Flickr account I could grab them there, or you can email them to me.

  14. James Sutherland says:

    I’M DO HAVE a Flicker account. Good idea. Trying to get this bit of history in the right place. Capt Frank always wanted the Coronet crest carved to fit the Transom. I wished I could have done that but , life changed .Glad to see the Coronet being restored. I watched it all My life @ Beacon Marine and summers on the pancake ground.. of Ten Pound.

  15. Van C. Schaeffer says:

    I am amazed by the work you are doing. Fascinating!

  16. Randy Solt says:

    You all are doing a fantastic Job. maybe we could get a Christmas update on how she is coming along? I am certain that this would make many happy.

  17. Peter Kuykendall says:

    I saw a documentary on the restoration of the Coronet and was deeply moved. The ship is fantastic, the scale of this project is overwhelming. Watching the effort and craftsmanship and wooden ship technology was iincredible. I come from a world of cars, bikes, and technology, where the idea that massive boats could be held together without titanium or carbon fiber boggles my mind. While yachting is not one of my pursuits, my heart is with you. Good Luck

  18. Kim Hamilton says:

    I just watched the Ultimate Restoration episode of your work. I’m hooked. What is the hopeful launch date? I saw the Congara work being done in Richmond a few years ago. Hopefully I can make to Maine to see the Coronet.

  19. admin says:

    Hi Kim, not sure when the team will be through, but they’re making good progress on planking (pix up soon).

  20. Tim Harris says:

    I can’t believe how strong that ship will be. It’s such a work of art. What is done for ballast?

    There is a city in India where they built 100′ commercial wood ships with no power tools. I saw a worker asked why don’t you use power tools? He said power tools cost money.

    I hope it wont be lost to bad weather like The Bounty was. The weakest link is often human error.

    How hard will it be to find the wood for the spars?

    Good photographers should be invited in 1-2x a month for arty styled photos. In addition to the documentation.

  21. Lara McCauley says:

    Also watched ultimate restorations on PBS. Inspiring. Looking forward to update on planking. Amazing workmanship. Congratulations!

  22. admin says:

    A great deal of attention has been spent on using the wood available for this boat in the most efficient way possible. That said, anyone who has worked with boats will know that there is always waste involved, particularly in areas where curved wood parts are involved. Much of the wood that is too small to be used for other projects is used to heat the shop during the wintertime. This is also a common practice in just about every boat shop that I’ve worked in.

    I believe that there will be some professional documentation on this project, both film and still photography.

    I’m not sure how this spars will be constructed at this point. The most efficient use of wood would be to make hollow, built-up spars.

  23. My mothers brother, John Adamson, was one of the boys taken off the ship when it entered Portland Harbor. He had been awarded the trip by Sanford because of his good grades. He died at the Portland marine hospital and is buried there. Because Sanford was afraid of being arrested, he kept this boat on the high seas long after it should have been in port.

  24. stephen davis says:

    i would like to no how it going and when do you expect to launch her????
    and where is she at i might come and look at her if it is ok

  25. stephen davis says:

    i love to see how much you have done now

  26. admin says:

    She is in Newport RI, right behind IYRS (the International Yacht Restoration School) on Thames St. downtown. You’re more than welcome to come visit!

  27. Tim Harris says:

    Where is all the money coming from? Who will be the owner. What will her life be like in the next 20 years?

  28. Tom Daniels says:

    Coronet is owned by an individual who is passionate about classic boats. Hard to say where any of us will be in 20 years, but judging from the life he’s given his other boats I’d expect her to still be beautifully maintained.

  29. Tom Cremeen says:

    I saw the PBS broadcast of the restoration of the Coronet
    and wondered If it might be available for purchase?

  30. David Logue says:

    I have also seen the PBS documentary, I’m hoping the will have a finished show soon.
    Where can we find updates?

  31. admin says:

    I’ll keep this site updated, although it’s not as frequent as we’d all like I’m sure. Tough to get the time to make it up to Newport…

  32. admin says:

    The Ultimate Restorations series is available for purchase here:

  33. Walt Pikula says:

    Just discovered the site, would like to receive updates!

  34. James says:

    I was married by Capt Frank Murry at the base of the main mast. I have pictures and am in the ships log.

    Born in Gloucester. I was very familiar with Coronet. These pictures should be saved. I believe only Capt Frank Murry s parents and I were married on board.

  35. James Sutherland says:

    I was married by Capt on Coronet at Beacon marine

  36. James Sutherland says:

    9 -14 1989 in the log .

  37. Ruth Lang says:

    Will there be a “part 2” to the PBS documentary? I am so looking forward to seeing this beautiful ship completely restored.

  38. Randy Solt says:

    PLEASE UPDATE PROGRESS> I am sure a lot has happened since March. I am sure I am not the only one that would love to see whats new.

  39. Brian Westmoreland says:

    Be great to see an update-project on hold? Please, what’s going on!!

  40. G. L. Stratton says:

    Been waiting 10 mo. for an update .I’m sure I’ note alone. What’s new?

    Thanks, love this ship.

  41. admin says:

    Sorry for the delay… here’s a quick one!

  42. Walt Pikula says:

    Watching the restoration of this! grand old lady! Was the captain of “Serena” back in the 60’s!

  43. Brian Westmoreland says:

    Appreciate the update!!! Any reason they don’t coat the ribs?

  44. admin says:

    I’ll check with the team, that’s a good question.

  45. Geoff Mcknight says:

    It’s great to see the continuing progress

  46. admin says:

    Hi Brian,
    The frames got a different treatment. A mixture of glycol, borax and borate then anchor seal on top of that when the mixture dried. Less toxic than the red lead but very effective.

  47. Richard Baltzer says:

    When are you going to post some new pictures ?

  48. admin says:

    Sorry for the long delay Richard. Here’s an update!

  49. Brian Westmoreland says:

    Love this project! Anyone else given up on following this blog? Or, sorry, on donating to the cause!!?

  50. admin says:

    Sorry for the infrequent updates Brian. We’re paused for the time being, but will start up as the project resumes.

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