Modern Classics and Remembering Mr. Baker by his Boats
Today is the day it really starts! Today is launch day for our press release on our new boat, the M30. I am not showing pictures here, but hopefully you will soon see her mentioned in boating magazines. The design has been 12 months in the making.
There is something great happening at Ocean Reef’s Vintage Weekend this year on Thursday, November 29 at 2:00 p.m. There is going to be a symposium on the new modern American classic yachts.
Four new yachts will be introduced: Huckins, Burger, Van Dam, and ours – The Moores Yachts. Each yacht is different. However, they all share one aesthetic: they are both modern and classic in design. It is unfortunately too late to bring your boat down if your registration hasn’t already been confirmed. But if you can make it otherwise, I would love to see you. If you are thinking of coming, call 305-501-5529, email email@example.com, or visit their website at https://www.oceanreef.com/events/vintage-weekend-1634.html.
Thank God the storm season is OVER! We were on the north side of Hurricane Florence. There were 105 mph winds with tornadoes and over 20” of rain. The worst part of this storm was how slowly it moved, somewhere between 3 and 10 mph here in eastern North Carolina. The water table here is 2-4 feet below the grass line, so it doesn’t take long to saturate the soil causing trees to topple over. One of these fallen trees is one of the most beautiful trees of the South – the Live Oak.
These grand trees line the streets and shores. Some of these trees are more than a 100 years old and the branches bend and twist. Our Live Oaks have lived through decades of storms, but many did not make it through Florence. I had a few neighbors whose trees came down in their yards, so I helped them out and cut out some chunks of the trunk large enough for stems, and I cut some knees from the larger branches.
I brought the chunks of wood to my shop and asked one of our workers to unload the truck. He asked me, “What are you going to do with that crooked fire wood?” I grabbed one without a word and proceeded to the band saw. Holding on tight I cut one side, went to the table saw to cut the other side, and then back to the band saw once again. After a few minutes I handed him a Live Oak knee. I told him that when the English’s cannonballs hit the side of the “Constitution” they bounced right off. She was timbered with Live Oak.
With a density of 75 pounds per cubic foot, Live Oak is one of the densest hardwoods. Over 2,000 trees were harvested for construction of the “Constitution.” Her hull was made of an inner vertical layer of Live Oak, with a White Oak layer on either side and her ribs were constructed of solid Live Oak. Live Oak is not as abundant as it was back then. It is a shame I could not have saved more of the wood, but to this day my back still aches – this stuff is heavy.
Churchill Hornstein has been salvaging long-leaf old growth yellow pine and getting it to the mill. Hopefully this will go to the restoration of the “Sequoia.” It is too bad there is not more of that going on.
60' Trumpy houseboat "Gemini".
There are some great Trumpy yachts out there that need new patrons. One is Sam DuPont’s old yacht. He passed away a few years back and she has been in a covered shed with her bow sticking out. Contract 426, built in 1965, “Gemini” is a 60’ houseboat built for Dwight Allen, and is a diamond in the rough. “Gemini” is a modern houseboat with not a lot of varnish and has Cummins motors. She moves quick! She is a project boat, but no tire kickers please. You can contact us for more information at 252-504-7060.
55' Trumpy cockpit cruiser "Dixonia
Another one is Jim Walgreen’s “Dixonia”, contract 371. She is 55’, built in 1955 for J.B. Rich. “Dixonia” is a cockpit cruiser that had a light sinking 20 years ago. She has been stored in Michigan in a building for over 15 years. Mr. Walgreen removed some parts for safe-keeping, and he wants to move on. You can contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, no tire kickers please
.The “Barbra Joan,” owned by Dr. Phil (not of TV fame), contract 438, is a 58’ cruiser built in 1970 for Gilbert Verney. I personally knew the yacht, then “Claudette,” when Phillip & Claudette owned her. She was well taken care of and has had major work with both new motors and systems. Dr. Phil has moved on with his life and lives out west now. The yacht is listed online at YachtWorld.com,
The last one I want to write about, and most important to me, is contract 400. An 84’ houseboat built in 1961 for John Kimberly, “Eskimo” is the largest modern houseboat that Trumpy built and in my opinion, is the most beautiful of them all! We had a major windstorm a few years back that blew the shrink wrap off.I could not watch this yacht die on my watch, so I moved her on a concrete pad and built a steel building over her to protect her. We now own her and are looking for a serious patron who wants to restore her to John Kimberly’s “Eskimo” days.
A little aside... Kimberly, THE Kimberly of Kimberly-Clark, named all of his personal yachts “Eskimo” after a beloved granddaughter. She was always cold and her pet name was “Eskimo.” This yacht is the belle of the ball. I want her to grace the water again. Contact us at 252-504-7060. If anyone has photos of her interior during Mr. Kimberly’s era, please send them our way.
So why am I writing about these boats in need of new owners when we don’t broker boats? It’s simple. I love Trumpy yachts and these are some of the finest and most beautiful yachts ever built and they were built here in the U.S. They are a true marriage of design and function, art in motion.
I know I have written about Mr. Hollis Baker before. I was recently culling through some old papers and I ran across an old copy of "Sail" magazine from 1976. There in the middle was an article about Mr. Baker’s square rigger. I decided to keep the magazine rather than toss it.
That same day, I got a call from Simon Davidson aboard “Dovetail.” He told me that they would be passing by on a Trumpy yacht. I didn't know "Dovetail," but I walked out to the dock and waved and took some photos as she passed. Then it dawned on me. Why yes, that’s “Stately Lady!”
At one time she had been Mr. Baker’s yacht, contract 446, 72’, built in 1972 for Earl Cantor. I smiled as she passed. When Mr. Baker bought her, the first thing we did was remove all of the Southwest and jungle theme furnishings. He re-decorated from his personal collection of fine antiques. He knew furniture since his family started Baker Furniture in Grand Rapids, Mi. Simon said, “See you at Vintage Weekend.”
That night, I walked along the Beaufort waterfront. There tied to the dock was another Trumpy once owned by Mr. Baker, the “Aurora IV,” a 68’ houseboat. Back in the day, she was named “Glory.” Contract 366, 1954 67’6” Aurora IV was built as a showboat for John Trumpy and Sons. In the end, the entire day was a tribute to Mr. Baker. I miss him and that type of yachtsman. He would be pleased to see both of his old yachts gliding south for the winter, that they live on.
Still on Trumpy yachts, well sort of, I always liked the bow scrolls of the old yachts: Trumpy, Grebe, Consolidated. It's an old school signature. I particularly like the bronze ones, gold leafed over. In the design of the M30, I wanted to create one. I looked at many of the others and finally came up with an idea, drew it out, got some clay and started. It didn't take long for me to realize I was not artist.
I went to New Bern where there is a large artist community and found a tribe of older women who are clay turners. Carolina Curran, a miniature pot maker, decided to take on the project. She is almost finished. The bow scrolls have gone through a few incarnations but now we are almost there. We start construction in January.
Till next time,
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