Bringing Boats to Life — The Epic Launch of ADVENTURESS at Rockport Marine

May 21, 2014

Surely one of the greatest yacht restorations in recent history was the rebuild of the Fife schooner ADVENTURESS by Rockport Marine, and OCH was right there, camera in hand, to get the project down on film.  We were fortunate to work with photographer Alison Langley on this project, so the imagery is especially enticing with her still photography and additional video shots.

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William Fife designed ADVENTURESS in 1924 where all 83 feet of her was built in Fairlie Scotland and was relaunched in 2012 by Rockport Marine after a complete restoration.

Be sure to check out the other video that came from this shoot — Building Raised Panels (Joe Kobak made a huge raised panel in one day).

Alison Langley's Site

Rockport Marine's Site

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– More often than not, we get to come into work and feel like you are contributing beauty to the world. Most of the products and goods and services that you get in this world today are not handmade in the way that everything here is. And I don’t even moan just the wood components, I mean on a project like this, it’s all made just for this.

– [Worker] The process itself really determine the product in the end, so, in addition to the end result or the product being authentic or not authentic, it’s the process itself that you can talk about being authentic.

– In design for restoration, there’s some critical stuff that you have to do right at the beginning to set yourself in good stead for the remainder of the project. There’s a huge amount of talent here. If there’s ever anything that you don’t know how to do, somebody does. And my experience has been that if you ask, they’ll take time out of whatever it is they are doing to show you how to do it right because in the end, when you’re gonna produce something like this, everybody wants all the parts and all the components to be done to a really high level, whether it’s a piece that they did or one that one of their colleagues did.

– Every boat we do, we talk about raisin’ our standard. The last big boat we finished was exquisite, it was beautifully done, and all the same guys that were workin’ on that boat are on this boat. This is our finest work.

– So that we end up in the end with a fife yacht without mistake, we spent a week at the beginning of this project in England, going through the archive and really making sure that we were getting all the details right.

– Seeing a big fife like this is special kind of experience this boat really is, I think, for a lot of us. I think that’s another thing that as the project goes away, I’ll look back on it and be like, “Wow, that was a big fife.”

– There is an extraordinary level of confidence that Taylor has in you, in all of us, in what we do here, which is infectious, I think, when you’re working for people like that who expect the best work that you can provide but also to an unprecedent degree, I think, stand back and let you do it. It makes you want to produce fantastic work for somebody like that.

– But this is also a job. I mean, these are very expensive projects and we need to be able to do the work to a high level and try to get the project done for the owner as efficiently as we can so that they at least feel like they’re really getting a good solid day’s work from the people who work here. My ultimate goal in all of this is for the owners to feel they really enjoyed the process, they feel like they were treated fairly, that they got a better product than they had hoped they might in the beginning. That’s very important to me and I think to pretty much everybody that works here as well.

– [ Worker] I don’t know how many jobs there are in the world where you can stand back with 15, 20 other guys and literally look at 70,000 hours of labor, like, “There it is.”

– [Boat Owner] The great romantic poet John Keats says that “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

– [Female Worker] This really is a community of people who love wooden boats. When owners come here to the boatyard, they become part of this community and the family here. Ultimately it’s depth of knowledge and the feeling of friendship and family here that allows us to reach a higher level and really make a boat sing.

– [Boat Captain] She initially, in light airs, will heel very softly. As the breeze freshens, her resistance increases, the power increases, and it’s a tangible feeling in the yacht. Driving off the wind with ocean swells behind us, her motion, pushing off down the front of those waves, it’s exhilarating. And when she’s pressed under full sail and she puts her rail down, it is absolutely spectacular.


32 Responses So Far to “Bringing Boats to Life — The Epic Launch of ADVENTURESS at Rockport Marine”:

  1. Avatar David Mitchell says:

    Now that is what I call a classic yacht. Stunning perfection. Such a superb restoration. A wonderful film to lift my spirits. :)

  2. Avatar Dave Dickmeyer says:

    Thanks for showing us this beautiful yacht with the great music from Pink Martini!

  3. Avatar Graham Colville says:

    Just sublime! I’m sitting at my PC in Nicosia, Cyprus, where summer just won’t let go this year and it’s been as high as 35 C today. No end to the heat in sight in the next 10 days or more. What a thrill to see Adventuress under sail. A tip of the hat to all involved, and thanks again to OCH for enabling us to take some breaks from the pandemic and focus on what really counts in life.

  4. Avatar Douglas Wilkin says:

    Outstanding. Everything. The boat, the video. About as good as it gets.

  5. Avatar Larry Marvel says:

    When the Doctor’s in ICU, this past week, brought one person back to health and watching as one breathed their last, tears came both times. Bringing Her back to life brought tears of amazement and joy as I watched Her sail. Thanks,

  6. Avatar Dennis Lancaster says:

    This is just one of the reasons I signed on with you dear folks. I am taken to places I would not normally be able to do. Thank you so much!


    Dennis Lancaster

  7. Avatar Craig Iwo says:

    Amazing resto! She is beautiful, your description of how she takes to water is dead on! Congrats and sail on!

  8. Avatar John Supan says:

    My oh my…be still my heart!

  9. Avatar paul barrett says:

    If you love boats, how could you not get a little emotional watching that launching and sailing. I know Rockport Harbor well, I would love to be there; and have my kids there for a launching anything close to that. Time to tune in to what they are building up there this winter.

  10. Avatar Stephen Moll says:

    This may be the finest sailing video I have ever seen. A masterpiece. Thanks for doing what you do for those who love sailing.

  11. Avatar Francisco Llobera Tur says:

    ADVENTURESS is moored here in Mahon’s Harbour ( Menorca-Balearic Islands-Spain ), thanks for visiting

  12. Avatar Richard Sink says:

    “Adventuress” She is one very grand lady!!

  13. Avatar Rod Sipe says:

    Like everyone else, here, I was just stunned by this video, the best yet, a magnificent vessel, but also an expertly crafted presentation, you guys continue to top yourselves and I begin to wonder if OFFCENTERHARBOR isn’t some sort of a critical nexus in the evolution of the boat building community, beyond, perhaps, even your own expectations. You have certainly exceeded mine…..

  14. Avatar Ron Simpson says:

    It seems a little odd to give thanks for the wealthy, but how else can we give challenging work and fair compensation to these and other outstanding craftsmen and craftswomen? Wow, what a magnificent creation! Wonderful film work as well.

  15. Avatar Michael Miller says:

    Excellent video – would have preferred more detail of the final woodwork in place. Did you use drones or manned aircraft for the sailing video? You are raising the standard! Thanks.

  16. Avatar John Stevenson says:

    Steve, and company — Great video! One of the best yet.

    I watch it over and over and over again as well. Can’t get enough.

    Looking forward to your post about working with Alison in the shoot. More video about that specifically, please!

    Also, where did you find the Night Train music? I’ve looked all over iTunes, and they don’t have anything of the sort by Walt Wilkins. YouTube has ‘Night Train Rolling By’, but it has lyrics (that detract IMHO). Did you mix this yourself, just so you could have them softly crooning in the background without his words getting in the way?

    Or, if that particular version is available somehow, I would love to purchase it!

    Please let me know… thank you.

    • Steve Stone Steve Stone says:

      Hi John. Glad you enjoyed this one. Walt Wilkins had his studio remaster his “Night Train Rolling By” song for us for this piece specifically so it’s only available with lyrics on iTunes. If recommend checking out all his work there.

  17. Avatar Anne Bridgman says:

    So very impressive. Thank you for this video!

  18. Avatar Tim Taylor says:

    I wonder if you would allow me to link to this page on my web log, I’d like to write a post entitled “Why I do What I do” and feature your video. It really does say it all. Please let me know at

    And by the way, I’m a one person shop. Your videos really lift me whenever I watch them. The really do remind me (as we all need reminding sometimes) why I do it. Thanks for that! And keep up the great work.

    Tim Taylor

  19. Avatar Tim Taylor says:

    I saw Adventuress at Rockport Marine in 2010. I was a student at The Landing School of Boatbuilding and Design, and we were touring Rockport Marine on a field trip. I was awed by the work being done there. I felt like a kid in a candy store, but also like there was so much still to learn! Well, there’s ALWAYS so much still to learn.

    It’s wonderful to see Adventuress on the open water–something I could only imagine at the time I saw her. What a wonderful boat, and what a wonderful place. This video reminds my of why I went to The Landing School in the first place, and why I do what I do now. I have my own shop, and I’m restoring old boats. at Ashley River Boatworks.

  20. Steve Stone Steve Stone says:

    Thanks for all this wonderful feedback. I’m going to have to write up a “behind-the-scenes” post about the experience of creating this video with the OCH team and Alison Langley. In all my years filled with so many experiences, this moment in time at Rockport Marine is way up there at the top as an environment conducive to great work — a rare and remarkable combination of boat owner, yard owner, yard crew, and of course the boat herself. A special place for sure…

    At the launch party, a long-time Rockport Marine customer stopped me on the dock and he said: “That video was like dressage. I mean military dressage at the highest level”. I had no idea what dressage was, but he went on to explain that there’s a moment before the ride, if you watch closely, when you can see the horse and the rider settle in to each other and the rider becomes part of the horse.

    That’s very much what it felt like on this shoot. Thanks to Rockport Marine’s owner Taylor Allen, and the openness of the crew, Alison and I got to hang out long enough to sense the nature of the place and what was happening, and it all seemed to flow into the camera. Be sure to check out the other video that came from this shoot — Building Raised Panels (Joe Kobak made a huge raised panel in one day). BTW, dressage is here:

  21. Avatar Bernard Moore says:

    Pure class – thanks

  22. Avatar Carolyn Harrington says:

    Double wow!

  23. Avatar Charles Jackson says:

    What a thing of beauty to leave……….everyone .

  24. Avatar Jed Lavoie says:

    Outstanding. If you don’t get a chill down your spine when she’s under full sail, check your pulse!

  25. Avatar Kevin Greene says:

    It’s so beautiful on so many levels I almost cried. Thanks for every thing you do to bring us great art and real community . I hope you realize the importance of your work at OCH.


  26. Avatar David Satter says:

    I’ve watched the Adventuress videos many times, I can watch them over and over and I never get tired of them. It doesn’t get any better, Wow !

  27. Avatar Jim Jones says:

    one of the best to date….great job guys

  28. Doug Hermann Doug Hermann says:

    Wow indeed! Hope we get the opportunity to see her while in Maine this July!

  29. Avatar Peter Brackenbury says:

    Wow…just Wow!!!

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