Newport Harbor on a Summer Day

By | Boats

Haven’t had my camera handy as much this summer to photo some of the notable boats and yachts that visit and populate Newport, but herewith a few I’ve seen lately:

One the left, a sail-assisted motor yacht oozing, positively reeking “character.” It may be based on or converted from a sardine carrier hull. Note the snug pilothouse way aft, the shippy entrance to the foc’sle near the bow flanked by a pair of large Dorade cowl vents. Also the eye-pleasing sheerline starting aft at the gorgeous rounded stern, sweeping forward to the imposing bow. Handsome!! All prettified by gleaming brightwork and everything shipshape. What a fine, competent looking  motor yacht.  On the right, a fine looking motor yacht of a very different style. This is LIMITLESS, a massive (315”) motor yacht designed by the great Jon Bannenberg. I consider it one of his finest designs, sleek, graceful, not piled high and bloated like so many huge motor yachts. It looks as crisp and attractive today as it was when launched in 1997, still owned by the man who commissioned it, Leslie Wexner. He founded Limited Stores and Victoria’s Secret, so he knows something about what looks nice.

On the left, a reminder of all the fascinating and unusual sailboats you see every day in Narragansett Bay. This is the Oliver Hazard Perry, the semi-official “Rhode Island” state tall ship. Like so many tall ships, its history is one of construction in fits and starts as funding ebbed and flowed, operating through chronic underfunding. But it looks great right now, and it has been chilling at Fort Adams in Newport all summer. On the right, an unusual powerboat – an aluminum offshore passagemaker designed by Steve Dashew, who has been designing and making interesting long-distance sailboats and powerboats for decades. His powerboat line looks utilitarian, or brutal to me, but they have racked up hundreds of thousands of sea miles in safety and reasonable comfort. They are left unfinished which gives them a vaguely military look, and I think there are over 25 or so built to date in sizes ranging from about 64 ft (as above) to about 85 feet. There is one for sale in Portsmouth if anyone feels the urge to cast off for the Seychelles next week.

On the left is a not-too-good photo of a W-class W 37 sailboat. The W class sailboats are gorgeous wooden, contemporary sailboats crafted  in Maine, offered in sizes ranging from 100 feet to this 37, the smallest. The 37 is very pretty, with a plumb bow, subtle sheer, small bowsprit, and pleasing rounded transom, all finished in joyous varnish. I missed capturing the mainsail which has a tiny gaff-looking clipped top. The class was developed and funded by a real estate developer named Don Tofias, who like many successful businessman seduced by the boat business has probably turned a large fortune into a much smaller fortune building these floating works of art. On the right is my work of art, CHARGE, snapped barreling down Narragansett Bay at 30 knots, sun glinting, Newport bridge ahead, light chop tickling underfoot, early fall day, I am so, so, lucky (and grateful)! Boats and boating are so much fun.

Zumalt

By | Boats

Linda and I and two bridge friends went out in CHARGE today to gawk at the new Admiral Zumwalt destroyer docked in the Navy yard in Middletown.

We couldn’t get close – there was a huge RIB patrolling (with armed dudes) to keep boats far away. But we got off a couple of lousy I-phone pics – here is one:

The Zumwalt is very angular, has a weird reversed axe bow, and virtually no windows. Modernistic and definitely LETHAL looking. An article in the local paper said it is designed to minimize radar reflections so it can “hide” better. Also, it supposedly needs about half the number of crew compared to older destroyers.

The CYC launch driver said he read the Zumwalt has missiles that can be programmed to hit a belt buckle-size target 64 miles away.

Your tax dollars at work – like $3 billion of them.