by Craig Stanfield member of the Southwest chapter
I wanted one since I was 13 – holding that December 1968 issue of Rudder Magazine. A Nova 24 built by Nova Marine. A gentleman’s racer. 22 years later (I was 35 by this time) a candidate was in the driveway. Hull number 24-122. Life got in the way, as it usually does, and for 20 years the BossaNova sat, fading, rotting, and rusting.
During these years I had visited the builder, Allan Brown, ‘Brownie’, in South Florida a few times. A heavyweight in the golden age of offshore racing, much of his time was spent as Don Aronow’s right hand man on Thunderboat Row (if you haven’t read his tomb Tales of Thunderboat Row I highly recommend it!). As a serious racer in the late sixties, Brownie developed a distrust of the sterndrive. Referring to them as ‘an instrument of the devil’, he determined to provide better for his clients. Hence almost every Nova Marine boat was built using Holman Moody Fords coupled to V-drives.
Anyway, by this time I found myself owning a technically interesting boat with great looks built by a world renown character. It deserved a high quality restoration, I was ready, I had been in love with the boat since I was 13, and I knew a guy.
Around 2010 (age 55), retirement from teaching loomed in my future, and I spoke with my friend Gary Hoyle with Lenire Yacht Restoration. He had recently restored my 1967 Arabian (I love that boat!), and we came up with a workable solution that got into high gear over the next 8 or so years. Our goal: Just like the brochure, only better. Stronger, lighter, faster, but just like the brochure. And, as I could afford (explaining the 8 year duration).
Initially, I’d go to the shop once or twice a month to visit, talk boats, talk Nova, and make sure i was paid up. The last two years I’d find myself visiting the shop 2 and 3 times a week. It was an exciting period, with Gary handling my anxiety well.
As the BossaNova, or ‘Boss’ as I refer to it, has just been completed (I’m now 64), there are still things to do. There’s the props, the cockpit sole and other odds and ends. Overall, I’m very happy with the outcome and am looking forward to dialing in the boat.
A huge thanks to Gary and his crew at Lenire Yacht Restoration. It’s been a fun trip to get to this point.