Restoring a Herreshoff Classic

Follow the two-year restoration of Marilee, a Nathanael G. Herreshoff-designed New York 40 sailing yacht, in a new documentary this month.

Marilee, a Nathanael G. Herreshoff-designed New York 40 built in 1926, tears up the Camden Classic Yacht Regatta. Alison Langley

The documentary film NY40 Marilee: Restoring an NG Herreshoff Classic follows the two-year restoration of the Nathanael G. Herreshoff-designed New York 40 sailing yacht. The talent of the artisans at French & Webb in Belfast, Maine; the ingenuity of engineering and design from Herreshoff experts; and the vision of her current custodian were brought together to restore Marilee, which was built in 1926, to perfection.

This was not your typical restoration of a wooden classic. With access to the original Herreshoff Manufacturing Co.’s building plans, documents and images archived at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Hart Nautical Collections and the Herreshoff Marine Museum, this project pushed the envelope in both perfection and ingenuity.

The NY40 class was originally designed in 1916 as a gaff-rigged yacht for the New York Yacht Club. While combing through the plans at MIT, an original Herreshoff drawing of Marilee’s Marconi rig was discovered, penned by Capt. Nat himself. This sparked the unique idea of building two separate rigs for Marilee — both a Marconi and gaff. Reinforcement of the hull structure was designed and engineered to accommodate the different loads these rigs would have on Marilee’s hull, plus the ability to switch out the rigs within a day or two was realized.


From interviews with the builders, designers, archivists and team members to footage of the artisans at work, the film captures moments where modern innovations and engineering were combined with meticulous craftsmanship to achieve extraordinary results. Paired with onboard and aerial racing footage of Marilee, this is a must-see documentary for classic yacht lovers.

The film is scheduled for release this month. For more information, visit


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