November 24, 2020

What to expect at the virtual Perseverance Gala

This multifaceted event promises to be one of the most interesting 75 minutes anyone who appreciates the Herreshoff legacy will spend in the waning hours of 2020.

Pandemics Pass, Herreshoff Holds Fast

After twice canceling their planned physical gala due to COVID concerns, HMM has announced, like our brethren at other maritime organizations, that we too will be jumping into the warm waters of a virtual gala.  

A professional production team descended on the Bristol campus with cameras aplenty and after two days of shooting captured 70% of the content that will be aired the evening of December 10th. The remaining 30% of the Gala programming will take place live that night.

The show promises to “amuse and a delight.” It seems given the program schedule it is likely that that promise will be kept.

Elements include:

  • Sea Stories 
  • Auction 
  • Award Ceremony 
  • Sailing School Testimonials
  • Toasts from ‘Round the Globe

Sea Stories

The Sea Stories segment will feature two accounts of perseverance in the face of extraordinary difficulty at sea. First, Bill Doyle will share a first-person account of the ramming and sinking of his family’s beloved Herreshoff NY 30, the Amorita and its subsequent recovery and restoration.

Peter Isler will then share his experience of having the keel drop off the award-winning maxi-yacht Rambler while rounding Fastnet Light off the Isle of Wight. Five people drifted out to sea while the rest of the team sat atop their capsized vessel praying for rescue… tune in on December 10th to hear the rest!


Our auction is already open with bids welcome online via our website. Bids will be accepted all the way until 7pm on the night of the auction with the winners announced live.

One is an opportunity to charter not one, not two, but FOUR Twelve Metre Class yachts, all originally designed and built to compete in the America’s Cup. Attendees can bid on all four boats separately for a two-hour sail in groups not to exceed ten people on each vessel. These vessels all call Newport, RI home and charter dates will be determined by the winning bidders, vessel schedules permitting. Herreshoff has offered to organize and host a regatta for all four if the winning bidders so desire. If participating in a regatta is not your cup of tea, the charter could also simply be an invigorating day-sail for you and nine friends. 

Another auction item is a multi-day stay in a ten-bedroom family compound in Castine, Maine. Castine is a beautiful coastal hamlet, home to Maine Maritime Academy and equidistant from the storied ports of Camden, Bar Harbor, and Brooklin. The three-dwelling complex sits high atop a hill overlooking Bagaduece Bay, along the shore of Penobscot Bay. This get-away opportunity would make for a perfect family vacation, an intimate wedding venue opportunity, or a college reunion - and can even be scheduled to coincide with the week of the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta.

The Award Ceremony

The Rebecca Chase Herreshoff Award will debut at the Perseverance Gala on December 10, 2020. 

Rebecca C. Herreshoff was the co-founder of the Herreshoff Marine Museum along with her husband, A. Sidney DeWolf Herreshoff, and their son Halsey Herreshoff. Her passion and tenacity are legendary. This award honors her extraordinary effort to preserve the Herreshoff legacy and will be presented to others who share her attributes. The sole inaugural recipient of the 2020 Rebbecca Chase Herreshoff Award will be announced that evening.

Sailing School Testimonials

Included in this comeback gala are interviews with three instructors from HMM’s celebrated youth sailing program who also happen to be former students. They will share with the audience how the HMM sailing program has shaped and informed subsequent decisions in their life, and how it gives them special joy to be able to return the favor to others just beginning their sailing journey.

A “Raise the Paddle” campaign will follow, pitched passionately by the instructors with a $10,000 goal.  

Cannon Breaks

Throughout the program there will be several “cannon breaks” where people may mingle with friends at their virtual “table” (breakout room). Imagine a Zoom call where you and nine others can see a split screen: the gala programming is taking place while you’re also enjoying the companionship of friends and fellow Herreshoff enthusiasts. This will make it possible for gala participants to have a seamless shared experience while maintaining some of the social aspects of an in-person gala.

HMM CEO Bill Lynn, HMM founder Halsey Herreshoff, Chairman of the Board Bob Yaro, and Board Member and former Development Director Elisabeth Lavers — all longtime HMM patrons — will provide introductions while also encouraging bidding for both the scholarship and the live auction.

Another highlight of the event will be a series of salutes from HMM friends around the globe. It will include toasts from New Zealand, Australia, Italy, France and Switzerland as well as right here in New England. World-class sailors will join other HMM aficionados, young and old, in sending heartfelt greetings and congratulations!

All in all, this multifaceted event promises to be one of the most interesting 75 minutes anyone who appreciates the Herreshoff legacy will spend in the waning hours of 2020. And it will be a perfect kickoff as we look forward to the Herreshoff Marine Museum’s upcoming 50th anniversary, the 2021 Golden Jubilee!