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Mystic Seaport Museum begins restoration of a 135-year-old racing yacht

Coronet moored at the Henry B Du Pont Shipyard at the Mystic Seaport Museum .jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
/
WSHU
Coronet moored at the Henry B Du Pont Shipyard at the Mystic Seaport Museum

“Coronet” — a Schooner built in 1885 has made its way from its home in Rhode Island to Mystic Seaport Museum in southeastern Connecticut to begin a three-year restoration to return it to its former glory.

Looking down to the stern of Coronet and the basic wooden deck.jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
/
WSHU
Looking down to the stern of Coronet and the basic wooden deck

The yacht is just a floating hull with some original fixtures and will cost several million dollars to recreate. It’s considered to be one of the last ‘Gilded Age Yachts’ of its type.

“There’s a few frames and a few bits of some of the supporting knees inside, but a lot of it is new wood. There’s not many wooden structures in the world from 1885 that consist of their original fabric,” said Chris Gasiorek, the museum’s senior vice president of operations and watercraft.

The museum has taken on these projects before. It’s home to the whaling ship “Charles W. Morgan,” the oldest commercial vessel afloat from 1841, which has probably half or more of its original wood remaining, “but that is very rare,” Gasiorek said.

A picture of Coronet back in her heyday.png
Courtesy Mystic Seaport Museum
/
A historical photograph of the Coronet.

This spring, museum-goers will be able to watch the Coronet’s restoration process. Shipwrights are available to answer questions about the traditional and modern methods they will be using to re-create the historic vessel.

Gasiorek said they have a big project on their hands with this historic ship.

“We have a lot of the original interior, but we have to work with the owners to preserve the vessel,” he said. “It is a national historic landmark and that’s how we kind of fit in with the museum and working on it. But also decide how to make it functional and practical. So, how do we do the mast, how do we do the rig, how do we do the sails, how do we put propulsion in?”

Once the restoration is completed, its owners — brothers Alex and Miles Pincus, who are lifelong sailors and business entrepreneurs — intend to enter the yacht in a transatlantic race like a 1887 race when Coronet won against the yacht Dauntless.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.