Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New England Boatworks, Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Spring unofficially arrives when boats are prepped for launch.  And there are few better places to see this than New England Boatworks in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  There was a busy and focused hum yesterday.

Portsmouth is a world-class boat hub.  Similarly to when many of the supporting businesses for the Broadway industry relocated to Long Island City as Manhattan became too expensive, Portsmouth has centralized many of the boating support services for the Newport area.

The new Shannon 52...

...was built in nearby Bristol.

The exceptional Tigris, a Swan 76.

Guernsey and Guernsey

Some WW II Artifacts

 The Ship's Store...

The Store Dog (and every store should have a store dog)

The consignment room upstairs....



Another UK Visitor

New arrivals were being trucked in.

What one really wants to see after a bit of time away.

Seemingly "everyone" is here.
The offices of North Sails.

While the majority of sail making at North Sails happens in Nevada (sail making and humidity don't mix) this is the place for repairs.

They can handle a 120 foot sail, longer if they lay the sail diagonally.


Anonymous said...

Lovely pictures that make me shiver in delight, Muffy. Truly signs of spring. Boat yards here on the Chesapeake Bay look similar, and it's high time we started digging sail bags and lines out of our guest room closet:)

Courtney said...

When my father was stationed at Newport's Naval War College, we lived at Fort Adams. It was one of the best years of my life. And even though I'm now settled in my home state, in central NC, I see sailboats and think of my time there. I sure wish I could live near water and boats and still be home! Sigh.

Matt said...

Now this is interesting.... Regarding my previous post, I have been informed by a reliable source that the term "ensign" applies only to flags of nationalities, so it cannot properly designate a flag such as "Stars and Stripes." Ok, fine. But what then is such a flag called? I believe that "private signal flags" identify a yacht's owner, not the yacht itself. So what is the term for a flag that designates the individual yacht on which it is flown? If anyone knows, it is the readers of this blog!

Carole said...

I am enthralled by your photos. Thank you for this harbinger of sailing Spring.

WRJ said...

I know nothing about sailboats since my experience sailing is pretty much limited to bluejays, optis, and sunfish. But these are extremely impressive. An old friend's father was a naval architect (Legnos Boats, out of Mystic) and I always thought that must be the coolest job.

@Matt: I happen to have a great original blueprint of the Kailuani, the last Yankee square rigger built. I purchased it at Tradewinds Gallery in downtown Mystic and it was very reasonably priced. They have an excellent selection of vintage maps and prints as well.

Binker said...

Cool -you were on my old stomping ground today. Great photos! I still get back there to visit. Parents great friends with Mr. and Mrs. Hood. Sadly, I am not sure Mrs. Hood is doing well right now. They are such wonderful people!! Mr. Hood would be in his mid 80's by now. Was he around when you visited?

Anonymous said...

@Matt - An Ensign is a country flag flown off stern.

A private signal flag is a person’s flag similar to a yacht club burgee.

I’ve never heard of a flag representing a yacht. Flags represent people in the Navy and everywhere else.

But that does not stop people from flying pirate flags, martini flags and White Star Line flags.

Anonymous said...

I never knew we had a sail making facility only an hour away, here in the high desert. In summer our humidity can go as low as 8 percent.

David said...

A true reminder that certain aspects of preppy do require boatloads of money.

Anonymous said...


FROM the Newport trip, I am reminded that beyond and before I made the acquaintance of The Black Pearl during summer transits through Newport, my father trained for his role as Skipper of PT 108 at Newport (duty in the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal of the South Pacific for four years). The training for the South Pacific, however, began with full throttle runs up Narragansett Bay in - January!

In the mid-to-late 60s, my brother trained at the Naval War College, Newport, for duty in the Pacific as an intelligence officer on a DDR Radar Picket ship off of Vietnam, after graduating Yale in the class of '66.

All I know about Newport is that it seemed more mysterious and intriguing in the '60s around the time of Jackie Astor's deb party week and before the America's Cup overkill rebuild of the docks. That's not to say that you didn't enliven some of the remaining and newer treasures.

Hugh Mohr
(husband to Carolyn, Rockport)

Patsy said...

YAY, NEB & North, RI representing!

@Binker, my in-laws are also great friends with the Hoods. Sadly, Mrs. Hood is not doing well.

oxford cloth button down said...

Muffy, that Royal Male store looks so cool, I love the location. Great post!

Paul Connors said...


In the case of the United States flag, it is CORRECT to refer to it as the Naval Ensign of the United States. In this case and because US Navy ships do not use a separate ensign as does the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian or New Zealand Navies, the national flag and naval ensign are interchangeable. In the case of the US Coast Guard, the service has what is called The Coast Guard Ensign that is flown in addition to the U.S. flag; the Coast Guard ensign traces its origins to the REVENUE CUTTER SERVICE established in 1790 to collect customs duties at U.S. ports. The modern Coast Guard was formed in 1915 with the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service and the US Lifesaving Service. The US Lighthouse Service was added in 1936. The Coast Guard ensign may legally ONLY be flown Coast Guard vessels and generally only by cutters (i.e.) the service's vessels longer than 65 feet.

binker said...

@Patsy, I think she has alzheimer's. So sad. It is such a horrible disease. I hate alzheimer's and what it does to families. Just devastating. Why do bad things happen to such good people?

I remember, a long time ago, my parent's went to one of their daughter's weddings. All of the bridesmaids wore Laura Ashley dresses. I still remember thinking what a beautiful/great/practical idea that was. I loved Laura Ashley dresses at the time.

Anonymous said...

David, if you really love to sail, there are plenty of ways to do it that don't involve a 42 foot Hinckley. Join a club, get involved at a boatyard, and you'll find people who will be more than happy to have you onboard to crew for a day (or more).

Or you can find an inexpensive daysailer. Some of the advantages of a smaller boat are the ease of maneuverability and limited time commitment. I also think there's a better connection to the water and wind. We take out our little 16' Compac far more often than our family's larger boat just because it's much faster and easier to hop in and head out!

Let The Tide Pull Your Dreams Ashore said...

How cool to visit a sail loft...JCW would be in heaven! xx

gavin howe said...

Just stumbled across these pictures of our boat Tigris. Thanks for the kind comment, we like her too and she is our 4th Sparkman and Stephens designed Swan over the last 26 years. We are keeping her at Jamestown when we are not using her this summer.

Gavin Howe, London