For $1, You Could Own this Yacht

Sure, the 61-footer needs six figures’ worth of restoring, but hey, she’s a classic.
By Kim Kavin / Published: August 21, 2013
For $1, You Could Own this Yacht
For $1, You Could Own this Yacht

Back in the year 1929, Stephens Brothers in Stockton, California, built 14 yachts. One of them was the 61-foot Vida Mia, a motoryacht of grand scale and a symbol of extraordinary wealth in her day.

Today, you can own her for a buck.

That’s right: Just one U.S. dollar will get you this 84-year-old classic. She has been abandoned at the Kewalo Basin Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, since 2009, according to harbormaster Charles Barclay. He’s offering her up for $1 to anyone with a plan and the means to get her out of there and start her restoration, which would cost at least six figures. Among other issues, her wooden hull is peeling varnish and rotting.

“I want someone to be the angel for this boat and return it to the glory it used to have,” Barclay told KITV News.

If nobody steps up to buy Vida Mia, she’ll be totally scrapped. What a sad day that would be, since her history is storied. She is said to have hosted everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Louis Vuitton to John Travolta.

Are you the one who wills save Vida Mia? Give Barclay a call in Hawaii at (808) 594-0851.


Mc Millen Yachts in Newport Rhode Island has restored some of the finest yachts ever built. His crew are as good at it as any group anywhere.


Today was a field trip, reunion, with some of my college sailing teammates. We visited “Coronet” at IYRS in Newport and then headed to Bristol to the Herreshoff Marine Museum for an in depth review of the Reliance Project. a one sixth scale model of “Reliance” the largest cup defender ever built.

I hope those who read might click on the link to the “Reliance Project” and find out for yourself what is happening.

We cannot thank Dyer Jones and the Herreshoff Museum enough for taking the time to show us everything that is going on with this very exciting project.


The “Coronet” project started by Elizabeth Meyer. As I have sated before, whatever you think of her, you cannot deny her vision. The project never really had traction until Bob McNeil assumed responsibility. I have visited since the beginning and time moves slowly. It is easy to loose track of where it all started. I have not yet found the photograph of “Coronet” while she was still in the water tied to the dock at IYRS; but you still have a sense of change.


Coronet” is an ongoing project at IYRS, here in Newport, but funded entirely by Bob McNeil of San Francisco. The photographs are fairly self-explanatory. What strikes me each time I visit is just how massive each piece is. Today, work is aided by a very nice gantry; when the boat was first built obviously this was not available and the boat was completed in a fraction of the time that this restoration will take.


More progress on the “new” Coronet. The deck beams are set on the forward frames that have been set. The trunnels have arrived. Trunnels are usually made of Locust and are in fact a very good and clever way to secure planking and other things on a hull. The quality of the work on the Coronet makes it a work of art.


“Coronet” as many of you know is being restored at IYRS, (really by Bob McNeil). A multi year project. For anyone who loves building wooden boats this is such an interesting project.

It is winter, and “Coronet” is on the Newport waterfront, but in fact the building in which “Coronet” is housed, was rather warm; wood stove, a dog and wood shavings. What more could a shipwright ask for?

CORONET update

CORONET 10 8 10

“Coronet”, Rufus Bush’s Schooner launched in 1885 at 133′ on deck. The restoration was originally the dream of Elizabeth Meyer, who had previously restored “Endeavour”. Now the project of Bob McNeil. Scheduled to take 5 years, an enormous undertaking. She is at IYRS

Everything is of such a massive size it makes everything done real work.


The Bronze floors are replacing wooden ones; saving quite a lot of time and money. Not that it matters, probably saving a lot of weight as well. I have never felt that “Coronet” would have the elegant look of “Endeavour” but this construction project has softened my heart.

“Coronet” is available to visit and worth the look.

IYRS has just concluded an exhibit of Appleton’s models.