When the motor yacht "Canim" steamed into Philbrook's Boatyard on her return from an Alaskan cruise, the owner had an irresistible proposition for the Philbrook's craftsmen: restore the classic masterpiece to its original splendor.
Built in 1930, the Canim was an immediate head turner. She was one of four 96 footers built by Lake Union Drydock to an L.E. (Ted) Geary design. Geary was already a seasoned Naval Architect when he was commissioned to draw Canim for Seattle Times publisher, Col. C. B. Blethen. Blethen wanted to go yachting in style and Geary's design would be the toast of the Seattle Yacht Club. After all, in those days 96' yachts were rare.
Her impressive length aside, Canim presented a unique challenge for the Philbrook's team. Their job was essentially to reverse the clock, with a goal no less ambitious than to restore the yacht's very soul. Much of her original charm had been smothered by numerous piecemeal refits, none of which complimented the others. The task for project manager Charlie Afford and his team was to strip away the existing fašade and restore Canim's original Geary inspired elegance, while also equipping her with 21st century technology.
The work, subject to a tight time frame, began on all fronts simultaneously. On deck, the canvas was stripped so problem areas could be identified and addressed prior to applying cored composite sheathing. The top deck was widened where it flanked the wheelhouse, and the wheelhouse roof was also extended in width to improve her proportions and comfort (the existing wheelhouse itself was added on in the sixties). Philbrook's technicians removed the original upper deck perimeter mouldings, accurately reproducing them in fiberglass. Deck structures were fabricated and installed to form part of an integral envelope, designed to ensure the longevity of Canim's original cedar decking. Once this work was completed, Philbrook's paint technicians descended on the project.
Although leading manufacturers of yacht finishes stress the desirability of high gloss, Canim's finishers were challenged to tone down the gloss for a more authentic look. Rising to the challenge, paint department head Jim Sullivan developed a mix that gave Canim maximum protection while achieving a look reminiscent of 70 years ago.
Inside, work continued apace. Joiners enthusiastically removed existing structures, leaving only major bulkheads and one guest cabin that was judged to be within the spirit of the yacht. Even the deconstruction process had its rewards: original teak paneling was uncovered in the main saloon, hidden beneath a bizarre faux finish.
Once the decommissioning process was complete, reconstruction began with vigor. New bulkheads were installed to the owner's carefully considered plans. Joinery followed without pause, in a process that involved owner input in virtually every detail.
Canim's mechanical systems, some of which no longer functioned, were attended with equal zeal. Her fresh water system was 95% replaced, including new stainless steel tanks and diesel fired water heater. Philbrook's installed a new hydraulic system to power her steering, newly installed bow thruster, anchor windlass, and boat davits. To ensure guest comfort in the warmer latitudes, the entire air conditioning system was replaced, in addition to overhauling the existing refrigerator and installing all new galley equipment.
Meanwhile, Philbrook's electrical technicians completely re-wired the yacht to American Boat and Yacht Council recommendations. A new main distribution panel, located in the engine room, provides ample flexibility to respond to varying system demands. A new hydraulic generator and house battery banks provide ample power reserves to run systems for extended periods without generators running. New interior lights were custom manufactured to suit the yachts period style. On the bridge, two 20" computer screens - effectively hidden in the wheelhouse joinery when not in use - monitor engine functions and provide navigation data. To complete the techno-wizardry, Ethernet connections make this information available throughout the vessel, along with full online capability via a KVH satellite feed.
As the project neared completion, Canim's owner, Captain and crew joined Philbrook's staff and their families to take part in a Philbrook's tradition: a celebration honouring the yacht, and the yard's role in re-making her. Now in her 73rd year, the elegant grand dame created by Geary and Lake Union Drydock looked, if anything, better than original. With the enthusiasm of her new owner and the skill of the Philbrook's team, Canim will continue to turn heads well into the 21st century.
For more information on this pedigree vessel and the nature of the work, please contact Philbrooks President Drew Irwin at 250-656-1157 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to submit a design or construction article to be featured on Boat Design Net, please contact us or e-mail directly to email@example.com - we are always looking for great projects to feature.