John and Helen-Jo Kelly have a variety of boats including these two beautiful 1926 Henry B. Nevins sailboats.  The Kellys are not only preserving the boats but also preserving and sharing their history.  Entered in their membership file is this information: 

The Sound Inter Club class sailboat was designed by the prolific and ground-breaking boat designer, Charles D. Mower. Only 28 of these impressive sailing boats were built – most all of them in 1926 by the craftsmen at the Nevins Boatyard on City Island.

The Sound Inter Clubs were raced on Long Island Sound throughout the late 1920s by the who’s who of yacht racing. Some of the iSc yachtsmen sailed on America’s Cup Defenders. Rather than hull numbers, the Sound Inter Clubs used sail numbers, and the owners would change boats but keep their sails, so these numbers rotated among the boats. Careful and extensive research, in collaboration with Mystic Seaport and many others, has been required to track owners and sail numbers over the years.

By the 1940s as many as ten Sound Inter Clubs made their way to Lake George, NY, where they became the largest and fastest sailboats on the lake. Today, very few of these boats remain – perhaps as few as 5. See ACBS’s Rudder magazine (Vol. 23, No. 4, Spring 2014) for information. 

Caprice and her sister ship, Ghost were painstakingly restored by Reuben Smith and his crew, using original methods and materials, preserving as much of the original as possible.  Caprice is on the right in the picture above, Ghost on the left.

Caprice” is a multiple show-winner, having taken Best Restored Boat (sail) at the 2012 WoodenBoat Show, as well as awards at the 2010 and 2011 ACBS Adirondack Chapter Lake George Rendezvous.  Ghost is a multiple show-winner, having taken Honorable Mention Best Restored Boat (sail) at the 2013 WoodenBoat Show, as well as awards at the 2012 ACBS Adirondack Chapter Lake George Rendezvous.


Perfect Pitch is a 1957 Century Arabian owned by Louis and Sarah Fisher, members of the Adirondack Chapter.  Perfect Pitch received a Gold Award at the 2017 ACBS International Boat Show.  Here is her “pedigree” filed in the ACBS Membership file.  

  1. 1957 Century Arabian
    1. Hull number – Q-5770
    2. 41 Arabians produced in 1957
    3. 7 1957 Arabians are registered with ACBS
  2. Construction
    1. African mahogany throughout
    2. 5200 bottom double planked with 4 m Okume and African Mahogany
    3. 2 coats sealer
    4. Ephifams varnish – European -13-14 coats
    5. Stain – Century formula from A&A Marine
    6. Flooring -marmoleum
    7. Upholstery – Lois and Helen Fortier with original imprinting
  3. Boat Specs
    1. Length 18 ½ ft
    2. Beam 7 ft
    3. Draft 20 inches
    4. Weight 2850#
  4. Engine specs
    1. Ford Y block 312 V-8 (5.1L)
    2. Year 1957
    3. 225 hp
    4. dual Carter down draft carbs
    5. Original AMC motor not restorable –
  5. Trailer
    1. C-Hawk Century 18
    2. Mfg year 2016
    3. Model – Century 18
    4. Length 22ft
    5. Boat cover straps ITW Nexus SR-1 with ¼ nylon cords
  6. Other
    1. 12 volts
    2. Dearborn transmission
    3. Vernier throttle
    4. Windshield – plastic
    5. Lincoln steering wheel

(editor’s note:  Sorry for the long text block, but I wanted to share an example of a great way to document the value and uniqueness of your own classic boat.)


Tin Fish is a 1956 Feather Craft 15′ Vagabond I.  Tin Fish is owned by Mark Fidler and Teresa Andrews.  Mark says, “Purchased in 2015. This boat was “hacked up” and almost totally unoriginal. New tin work included bulkhead, centerdeck, dash and front seat. Stringers were reinforced and new floorboards added along with new gauges and wiring. A rebuilt Evinrude Lark V was rebuilt and installed.” 


We started this week’s Tour with two boats in John and Helen-Jo Kelly’s collection and we’ll end with two more of theirs.  Number 19 is an Historic 1910 Layare 28 ft Number Boat. From the ACBS membership files: “The Thousand Islands One-Design, or Number Boat, is a 1909 design by Charles D. Mower, was intended as a fast racing boat that could also serve as a family runabout. Notably, Mower also designed the 1926 Sound Inter Club, a sailboat that acted much the same way – fast for racing, but safe and fun for the family.

 The original 20 Number boats were built by the Leyare Boat Works in Ogdensburg and sold on a subscription basis, each boat given a number in the order purchased. These numbers were painted large on the topside at the bow so the boats could be easily identified while racing. Over the years these boats became known locally as the “Number Boats.”

 Of the 20 original boats built, only six are known to remain. 

Number 19 was originally subscribed by Mrs. A.G. Miles and was never given a name. The boat was eventually given to the Antique Boat Museum by an anonymous donor, then sold at auction in Clayton, NY in the late 1990s. The late Tom Mittler, a noted boat collector and vintage racer, supported a painstaking restoration focused on maintaining as much of the original boat as possible. 

In 2014, Number 19 was purchased by John E. Kelly III, who is having the restoration completed by Reuben Smith’s Tumblehome Boatshop

Two additional Number Boats may be seen crashing about the Saint Lawrence River and lakes of the Adirondacks: Numbers 21 and 22. These new boats were built with fiberglass foamcore hulls and traditional deck interior, and they maintain the same classic characteristics Mower intended.

In 2014, John E. Kelly III purchased Number 22 from builder Everett Smith, of the Everett Boatworks, Canton NY.

For more information on the Number Boats, see “Number Boats: Treasures of the Thousand Islands” by Emmett Smith, WoodenBoat magazine (No. 220, May/June 2011) or

May we see a picture of your favorite boat for the next Tuesday Tour of Vintage Boats?

  • include the boat owner’s name
  • year, manufacturer, model of boat, and given name
  • tell home port or where picture was taken
  • give credit to the photographer if known

1 Comment

  1. Greeting everyone,
    I recently read a old article publishes by ( ) of Peter Gallant’s restoration of Henry. B. Nevins beloved sloop Polly, it was beyond inspiring to seen Gallant’s unwaivering determination to see the project through. It would appear that the people associated with the Antique & Classic Boat Society are passionate about restoring these floating maritime treasures from our past. It would also appear these same people, at least the one in this article also have the financial means to cove the cost associated with re-creating these floating works of art.

    Like the people in your article, I too have a passion for old boats and maritime history. I’m retired, have been sailing for over forty years and recently acquired a double ended wooden motor launch built by Henry B. Nevins, Inc in 1920 at his City Island boatyard in New York. With the exception of two wooden sailboats, a Lippincott built International Star, and a Lippincott built Lightning which I still own, all of my many sailboats were built with fiberglass. This wooden motor launch will be my very first boat that doesn’t have a mast attached to it. So it wouldn’t be a stretch to sense just how excited I am to have this once in a lifetime opportunity to restora a 99-year old built by Mr. Nevins #187.

    Which bring me to the reason I’m posting my comment. I’ve contacted the good people at Mystic Seaport Museum, and the curator of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, seeking help in running down who designed my launch, and possible whom it may have originally been built for, without having any luck. I would be beyond grateful if you could offer a lead or suggestion on how I might uncover this information. I do know that Mr. Nivens designed and built a 15’ tender, hull #186 for the vessel JEANNETTE. I’m hoping he also designed my double ended motor launch #187 as well. Im under the impression at some point it my launches 99-year history it was usead as Pilot boat, onboard were three wooden packards, one with the name ( ENCORE ) and two with ( PILOT ) painted in gold lettering on them. I wasn’t able to post a photo of the bronze data plate but it reads as follows.

    No. 187 built by
    Henry B. Nevins, Inc.
    City Island N.Y.C.
    24’ x 6’2” x 2’5” = 215. CF = 21 P.

    I’m determined to restore this piece of maritime history, regardless of the pains and sufferin I’ll surely need to go through.. Ive been inspired my people like Louis Sauzedde in Rhode Island and Tim Lackey in Main has been more than generous with his willingness to help me. Tim was a tremendous help when I restored a 1981 Pearson Ensign #1754 as a college graduation gift for my son Andrew last summer.

    Thanks again, any lead whatsoever would be more than appreciated.
    Best Wishes
    Sonny Poszich (304)-673-0118 cell

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