I chose the Spira International Tillamook Pacific City dory design for my first build. Aside from the remarkable feeling of splashing a boat built with your own hands, this boat is a deeply personal accomplishment for me. One of my ancestors, Capt. Joseph Bernard, was an Arctic explorer (and boatbuilder) who spent ten years wintered over between Nome, Alaska, and Victoria Island in the Canadian Arctic in his little gas schooner TEDDY BEAR at a time when much of the region remained uncharted.
This yacht’s restoration had to meet a deadline—and it did. In only a few months after being trucked from Chicago to San Diego, FAME was strengthened and spiffed up for relaunching on her July 10 centennial in 2010—quite a feat, considering her condition, which included a noticeably sagging stern, a rotted forefoot, weak floor timbers, etc., etc. FAME’s restoration followed that of the Q-boat COTTON BLOSSOM (now LEONORE) as the second such undertaking by Dennis Conner, the well-known AMERICA’s Cup skipper.
The handsom new 44 ft schooner LEAH CAROLINE launched at Trinity, Newfoundland July 7 2012. The latest of many vessels large and small built by 86 year old shipbuilder Henry Vokey of that town. Hundreds of onlookers waited for hours in the rain for the big splashdown.