LONDON – Royal Huisman’s refit unit Huisfit has recently rebuilt a 107-year-old, 40m (131ft.) schooner that charmed the 2020 World Superyacht Awards jury in London.
It decided the schooner, named Vagrant, “stood out, not only for the painstaking manner in which the rebuild was undertaken but also for the magnificent result.”
Vagrant was launched in 1913 at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company shipyard in Bristol, Rhode Island, that produced many sailing yachts, including 8 America’s Cup defenders.
Vagrant’s original owner was Harold S. Vanderbilt, the American railroad executive, champion yachtsman and innovator.
In 2017, Vagrant’s current owner shipped the yacht – it was so dilapidated it was carried aboard a ship – to Royal Huisman, along with these instructions:
“Reconstruct Vagrant’s exceptional elegance and style, both interior and exterior, with the utmost respect and care for her appearance in order to do justice to the decades she was in the family.
“Vagrant also needs to be re-engineered with the best materials and the most advanced on-board systems for responsible, effortless and safe operation so that it can be sailed by a small, satisfied crew. In other words: get Vagrant ready for another hundred years into the future.”
What followed were 22 months of substantial reconstruction. Vagrant’s rig was built by the Royal Huisman unit Rondal, based on expert advice from Dykstra Naval Architects.
Vagrant was completely stripped out. The hull was sandblasted, thin plates replaced and all her rivets re-welded to avoid potential future leakage.
All engine room equipment, wiring and piping were replaced. Vagrant’s woodwork was repaired and restored. A new sail-plan and rig were designed to simplify sail handling so that a small crew can sail the yacht.