Aphrodite, the handsomest and arguably the most famous boat ever built in Port Washington, is returning to northern waters. It has been reliably reported the 74 foot commuter yacht has been sold to an investment executive in the New York metropolitan area. He plans to move the boat to Long Island Sound in September or October of this year. Aphrodite was built in 1936-37 at the Purdy Boat Company yard in Bayview Colony for John Hay Whitney of Manhasset. As built, she was powered by two Packard V-12 engines, and was capable of speeds in excess of 38 mph. During World War II, she was taken over by the US Coast Guard, re-engined with even more powerful Packards (giving her a top speed as high as 60 mpr), and used for convoy escort and harbor patrol duties. Ambassador Whitney owned Aphrodite until the early 1960s- in those years, her black hull was a common sight in the bay. After Whitney sold Aphrodite, she went through several owners. She was eventually bought by John Pannell, then a resident of Baxter Estates, and restored by him in the old Purdy shop. This restoration won several awards. He subsequently took the boat to Florida, where she remains at this time.
Pedro Lorson, and Mimi Lorson Berry came in 10th overall (out of 39 boats) in the 2000 Snipe Atlantic Coast Championships, held in Newport, RI on Aug. 19-20. The regatta, hosted by Sail Newport and the Ida Lewis YC, which found sailors rigging and measuring boats in a rainstorm on Friday afternoon, was sailed in beautiful sunny weather on Saturday and Sunday, but little wind. Competitors were faced with random puffs, fluky breezes and a building ebb current. With wind mainly from the northwest, it was difficult to maintain consistency or even manage to get the starting line for some races. A very challenging regatta! The top two teams earned the right to represent the US at the 2001 Worlds in Uruguay.
The Thirsty Thursday Race on Aug. 24 was canceled due to lack of wind, and bay racing results were not available at press time.
On Aug. 23, at 14:49 EST (18:49 GMT), Steve Fossett and his 12-man crew aboard the 105-foot maxi-catamaran Playstation, passed Ambrose Light in New York Harbour, headed across the Atlantic to Lizard's Point, England. The team is trying to beat the 10-year-old TransAtlantic NY-UK sailing record of six days, 13 hours, three minutes and 32 seconds held by Frenchman Serge Madec in 1990 sailing on Jet Service 5. The original 1905 record of 12 days, by the schooner Atlantic, stood for 75 years. Between 1980 and 1990 the record was broken seven times. In the last ten years, 20 attempts have been made on this record, but with no success.
As of Sunday, Aug. 27, with 900 miles to go, Fossett and his crew are still well ahead of the record pace, but are facing deteriorating wind conditions toward the finish. "The perfect winds are lost," reported skipper Steve Fossett, "we had been sailing ahead of a front with south winds and making outstanding sustained boat speeds. Now the front is catching up and we are having to tack upwind." Meteorologist Bob Rice commented on the weather conditions for the record attempt: "Overall pattern across the Atlantic looks acceptable based on current long range forecast data. Some problems will crop up, of course, they always do, which is why records are records. And, this is a difficult record to break." He added, "PlayStation is having a little trouble in the area she is in at the moment with squalls, lightning and a little uncertainty where a low pressure center is. But we are still reasonably optimistic of breaking the record." This means they must reach Lizard Point, UK before 3:52 (EST (7:52 GMT) on Wednesday, Aug. 30. Results next week.
A past issue of Offshore Magazine highlighted Ginger Marshall Martus, who is the self-described "mother of orphan boats." Martus is a maritime matchmaker who specializes in finding new homes for boats that are in need of good, old-fashioned TLC - and sometimes a lot more. She calls them "boneyard boats" and publishes a newsletter that list scores of these boats. No boat costs more than $5,000 and several that have been given away are "wrecks with potential" that demand both vision and skill. Martus grew up in Port, where her father and uncle owned the A & R Marshall shipyard, where some interesting boats appeared: Bert Lahr from the Wizard of Oz had a boat there as did Ed Wynn (a red Elco called Fire Chief). Martus now lives in southern NJ.
So far, 10 issues of Bone Yard Boats have been published and several boats have been saved as a result. In addition to a comprehensive listing of boats, each issue includes a letter from Martus detailing her personal take on happenings in the maritime world. She is looking forward to a cruise aboard Sea Hawk, a 44-foot motorsailer with the one-dollar price tag she found in a NJ boatyard last year. The new owner of this 50-year-old boat, a "unique find" because it is extremely seaworthy and rugged, lucked out because when the owner died, the estate just wanted to get rid of the boat. Martus helped make the match. For more information on Bone Yard Boats, contact Martus at Nautical Stars, PO Box 2065, Vincetown, NJ 08088 (609-859-2370).