Ed Kastelein, classic yacht-builder, skipper and owner is recreating an astonishingly accurate traditional yacht, this time another Herreshoff racer: the two-masted topsail gaff schooner Ingomar
Take a look at the latest stunning project underway at Graafship in The Netherlands. The yard—which otherwise manufactures hulls for highly demanding clients like Feadship—has just completed the hull of what will be Ingomar, a recreation of one of Nathanael G. Herreshoff’s greatest ever racing schooners, originally launched in 1903.
Graafship were looking to start a project on spec and consulted with legendary classic boat builder, owner and skipper Ed Kastelein. Luckily, after having taken a break from building and skippering his previous yacht Atlantic, Kastelein became enthusiastic about the idea of recreating one of Herreshoff's legendary designs, Ingomar and decided to join the yard in building it, becoming co-owner. We spoke to him while he skippered a charter aboard Atlantic in the Med.
“The hull is finished and the primer is on, and we’re now working out the interior design based on about two hundred original drawings—it’s a really, really nice design,” Kastelein told The Superyacht Owner this week. To source the original drawings, the team went to the M.I.T. Museum in Boston, where Kurt Hasselbalch, curator of the Hart Nautical Collections investigated the Haffenreffer-Herreshoff Collection to uncover the plans for the yacht. “There’s so much detail in the Herreshoff designs… right down to the screws," Kastelein enthused. "There’s an octagonal deck house in the middle and the saloon itself has a dome. It’s amazing design. Of course, you can’t do an exact replica these days, so we’re working out the modified design and production plans.”
Graafship and Kastelein are working on the project themselves, and unless they find an owner who wants to buy the project from them and deliver sooner, they will carry on over the next couple of years at an even pace to complete the vessel.
Kastelein, a Dutchman who turned his attention to classic yachts once he'd made a fortune in hotels in his 30s, has done as much as anyone in the world to bring the beauty and pure quality of classic sailing yachts back to the open oceans. With his fleet including the Grand Banks schooner Zaca a te Moana, Eleonora—a faithful recreation of the Herreshoff schooner Westward—and his most recent astonishing remake of the three-masted racing schooner Atlantic, Kastelein occupies a honourable position at the heart of modern yachting. Owned by the innovative brother Kees and Henk van der Graaf, Graafship built both Eleonora and Atlantic, earning the Dordrecht-based yard significant plaudits for their commitment to craft, dedication to detail and the fine art of building traditional boats that meet the stringent regulations now applied to commercial yachts.
Part of what makes Kastelein a remarkable yachtsman is his personal commitment to the life and craft of yachts and boatbuilding. Kastelein is extremely hands-on with the build of his yachts. “Sometimes I think it’s a pity that I can’t take part in the building project more, helping the painters or the carpenters. Normally, I walk around the project during the day, checking on problems we can solve, managing the process of the build.
Kastelein attends regattas with his yachts frequently, and cites Les Voiles de Saint Tropez as his favourite regatta, though he insists they each hold appeal and are each different. Ingomar, which like the rest of Kastelein's yachts, are built to charter, will be able to compete in all the regattas.
“I like the feeling of classic boats" Kastelein says. "The whole atmosphere around them is fantastic. The ones I’ve built have been not only fast but really very comfortable as well. A lot of the fast modern boats are missing the comfort element."
“In the last few years, we’ve mainly been sailing in Croatia, Greece and Turkey," he confided. "We charter, and most of the money is reinvested in the boats, covering the maintenance."
Graafship is building her to class Bureau Veritas with full MCA compliance, based on the original Hereshoff drawings, and with naval architecture consultancy provided by Wester Naval Architects of Einhoven. She'll have a sparred length of nearly 54m and 37m on deck. Accoring to the original designs, the hull is welded steel, while the deck houses are of quarter sawn mahogany. She'll carry Sitka spruce spars, galvanized steel standing rigging, wood blocks and Dacron sails. All deck fittings are being recreated from the original drawings and manufactured by Absolute Projects in Lisbon, Portugal.
Ingomar will carry up to eight guests in four cabins, plus quarters for eight full time crew.