For the past two years, I have been photographing and filming the restoration of the iconic Nathanael Herreshoff-designed New York 40, MARILEE. In October, 2015, MARILEE was brought to French and Webb in Belfast, Maine for what was going to be a minor rebuild. It was soon discovered that a major restoration was in order.
This two-year restoration was tremendously successful due to the collaborative effort of many artisans, engineers, curators and crew whose passion and commitment to the project were beyond compare. This was not your ‘typical’ restoration of a wooden classic. Modern innovations and engineering were combined with meticulous and artistic craftsmanship. With access to the original Herreshoff Manufacturing Company’s building plans, documents and images archived at MIT’s Hart Nautical Collections and the Herreshoff Marine Museum, this restoration turned out an amazing yacht with an equally amazing story. Along with my fabulous team of creative collaborators, I am excited to announce the upcoming documentary film on the history and restoration of MARILEE. I invite you to view the official trailer below. Stay tuned for the full 30-minute documentary later this fall.
THE FIGHTING FORTIES — In 1916 the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company of Bristol, Rhode Island introduced the New York 40, a new one-design class for the New York Yacht Club. Nathanael Herreshoff’s objective was to design a competitive racer that was seaworthy enough for ocean racing as well as provide accommodations for coastal cruising. The design of the NY40 initially came under criticism for its wide beam and high freeboard—a major design shift from Herreshoff’s earlier class racers. “Flying saucer” became its moniker of the day, but it was not long before the boat’s performance was proven on the racecourse and the “flying saucers” soon became known as the “Fighting Forties.” Only four of the NY40s still remain: MARILEE and her sistership RUGOSA II (the last two NY40s built in 1926), along with ROWDY and CHINOOK. MARILEE is back to fighting in her true spirit with many recent notable regatta wins and awards, and her team looks forward to joining the other historic Fighting Forties on the racecourse soon.