By Jody Reynolds, Thousand Islands and Chesapeake Bay Chapters
Photo above – Cygnus II at dock in St. Michaels, MD, where she attracted countless visitors throughout the three-day event.
Cygnus II, a 56’ 91 year old custom motor yacht owned by Jody Reynolds and Mike Wright, was honored with the coveted “People’s Choice” award at the 33rd Antique and Classic Boat Festival held in St. Michael’s, MD, at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
The People’s Choice Award is the only award show guests can vote on to select their favorite vessel of the many, many stunning classic yachts and runabouts that gather for this annual event. The award is presented to the yacht that best exemplifies the spirit of classic yachting.
Cygnus II, whose owners are members of both the 1000 Islands and Chesapeake Bay chapters, is now based on Kent Island, just east of the Annapolis Bay Bridge. Formerly she was berthed in Alexandria Bay at Bonnie Castle, where she served as a charter yacht taking area residents for private cruises and weddings at the castles.
“We’ve won the gamut of awards from judges, but this award means more to us because that’s what we’re all about,” Reynolds explains. While many boat owners do not allow show visitors on their vessels, Cygnus II is a center of hospitality of every show. “People can’t see a boat like this from the dock. They have to come aboard and ‘feel it’,” says Reynolds. Wright, a longtime classic yacht surveyor and delivery captain, worries that “the number of classic vessels still in existence is shrinking, and if we don’t rebuild enthusiasm for these beautiful boats, there won’t be any left. These boats are part of America’s history,” he adds.
In previous years, Cygnus II has won awards at the Clayton Antique Boat Show (Best Cruiser); the Buffalo Boat show (Commodore’s Cup), Alexandria Bay Vintage Boat show, and other shows such as Mystic, CT, and Ocean Reef, FL. “To our knowledge, she has never left a show without a significant award,” says Reynolds.
The couple has owned Cygnus II since 2011, after their previous vessel – a 1925 motor yacht — was lost in a tragic marina fire in Washington, NC. Cygnus II became a popular charter vessel in the 1000 Islands, but she required a years’ long rebuild to keep her afloat.
“Sadly, our beloved Cygnus II is on the market,” states Reynolds, who along with Mike is a 100-ton master captain.
“Actually, she was lucky to be built at all,” Wright explains. She was designed for a NY industrialist by a famous naval architect, Louis Kromholz, and built just as the depression kicked in in 1930. She is truly a NY built boat. While she retains the look, feel and detailing of an antique vessel, Cygnus II is equipped with two Yanmar diesel engines, GPS, air conditioning, heat and other amenities added over the years.
The couple met 16 years ago delivering a Trumpy motor yacht from Palm Beach to Annapolis and have been together ever since.
One of the most frequently asked questions at boat shows: how old is your stove? This is the original 1930 shipmate stove. It’s propane, And it works great.
Cygnus II waiting for wedding couple at Boldt Castle a few years ago.
Owner Jody Reynolds takes a quick break on the aft deck of Cygnus II.
I got to meet Jody and Mike onboard the Cygnus II during this event which I try to attend each year, I really look forward to it. I had interesting conversation with Jody and Mike and found some common ground. The vessel lost in the fire was a 56′ 1925 ELCO, the HERMOINE. My neighbor owned one of her sisters the SMILES, same year and length. I believe seven of that length were build or were still around? Maybe six still with the loss of the HERMOINE. I post a lot of vessel pictures that pass my house located on the AICW in Chesapeake. The HERMOINE is one of them taken 11-12-2008. She can be seen on FLICKR under William Baxter marsuesp740. Look in my albums under classic motor yachts, you will see a lot of old beauties that pass.
The CYGNUS II, I found very comfortable feeling, safe to get around on deck and easy to get around as a whole. I hate some of the new styles, but like the trawlers. The bridge of the CYGNUS II had the necessary electronics, but not overwhelmed with them, simple. Less electronics means eyeing what is really going on around you. I have never seen or heard of this vessel and was glad to meet her and crew, she was an excellent vessel to show off.
I thank you for sharing your vessel. Sorry to hear you are going to sell her, hope the new owner will be as loving to her as you were.
Hi, Butch. Of course we remember talking with you, although we met hundreds of people who really know and love classic yachts. It was a great show.
You can see a photo of Hermione (and the remains of the fire) at http://www.myhermione.com. We don’t think many, if any, of the 56′ flattops are still around. But we do know a lovely 46′ flattop, Spindrift, that looks just like them. We looked at her after Hermione burned … and a friend of ours bought her.
Cygnus is a wonderful boat. Much as I loved Hermione – and we miss her still – if you had three people on the aft deck, their knees were intertwined.
Hope to see you again… Jody
A great boat in wonderful condition. A true one if a kind classic.