October 1, 2014

Curator’s Log: Completion of ARIA

COMPLETION OF ARIA’S “MUSEUM RESTORATION” FOR THE BB25 CENTENNIAL Paul Bates donated the Buzzards Bay 25 daysailer ARIA (Ex-WHITE CAP (HMCo 738) to the museum in 1992 and the museum […]



Paul Bates donated the Buzzards Bay 25 daysailer ARIA (Ex-WHITE CAP (HMCo 738) to the museum in 1992 and the museum commissioned MP&G to return her to original condition. She has been on display since that time, but lacking spars and final outfit. This August, just before the Herreshoff Regatta, Paul and an MP&G crew led by Andy Giblin completed her outfitting to honor the class centennial. In the following reprint from the 2014 Classic Yacht Symposium Proceedings, Paul describes the work (to be) accomplished. The museum is greatly indebted to Paul, the Chester family and MP&G for ARIA’s “new look”.


By Paul Bates

The intention has always been for ARIA to be exhibited at the Herreshoff Marine Museum, presented as she was constructed - as close as possible to the day she left Bristol - retaining as much original material as possible.

The lower section of an original mast will be installed in ARIA. This artifact is the recent donation to the Herreshoff Museum of the lower seven and a half feet of one of the five original Beverly Yacht Club "Herreshoff Special Class" sloops, MINK, a sister of ARIA.

This section, donated by Kay, Sue and Jim Chester of Groton, CT in memory of their brother Archie Chester, comes with a story, of course. During the Hurricane of 1938 MINK was moored off Shennecossett Yacht Club in Groton. Sam Jones Sr. was aboard during the storm, intending to ride out the hurricane on the mooring. At the height of the storm the mooring pennant parted, and Sam sailed the boat under bare poles through the fleet and up into the flooded marsh. (Meanwhile, his wife Shirley was aboard their Star Class sloop with the same intention of riding out the storm. Realizing the sloop would not survive on the surface, Shirley deliberately capsized (and saved) the Star boat at the mooring and floated herself to shore). MINK's spar was broken, and the Chester's grandfather Captain A.J.A. Chester repaired the mast with a new lower section and an exquisite three-foot long "wolf jaw splice". Archie's father later built the remnant butt of the original mast into a bookcase in the gable end of Archie's boyhood attic bedroom, where it remained until recently. While MINK's repaired mast is in use today as the spar for another of the Herreshoff Special Class sloops, BAGATELLE, this original butt section will be used in ARIA for her exhibit.

In the Fall of 1948 Roger Taylor's father obtained ARIA, which at the time had a Six-Meter Marconi sloop rig. In 1951 the Six Meter rig was traded with Sam Jones for MINK's original gaff rig. (Sam Jones, then owner of MINK, had the original gaff rig in storage having replaced it with an S&S designed Bermuda Sloop rig.) So, MINK's gaff rig went to ARIA and stayed with the boat through Paul Bates' ownership and donation to the museum. Though the original (repaired) mast is now in BAGATELLE, as noted above the plan is to install MINK's original butt section in ARIA, along with her original boom and gaff. A new jib club, spinnaker pole and boom crotch will complete the spars for ARIA's presentation.

Eight blocks, two spar fittings, seven deck fittings, four cleats and a traveler are needed to complete ARIA's hardware for presentation. Her original poured socket turnbuckles will be installed, and appropriate cotton and manila running rigging installed.

With respect to the traveler, the design specifies a thirty-six inch long jib sheet traveler and a thirty-inch long main sheet traveler. Later in her career ARIA was campaigned with loose-footed jibs and genoas, and the thirty-six inch jib sheet traveler was relocated aft for main sheet use. During restoration for the museum, the jib sheet traveler was returned forward to its correct service. A correct thirty-inch main sheet traveler will be installed for her presentation.

With this work completed, ARIA will as closely as possible represent the 1914 HMCo racing sloop that she is.