Launching of the ‘Whitefin,’ April 1983

Posted:  Friday, April 28, 2017 - 1:00pm
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Photograher Joe McGurn has gone through more photos from the mystery boxes that he purchased last year in an estate sale, and this time, he has collated almost 150 that chronicled the launching of the 90-foot Whitefi, built in Camden Renaissance Yachts. 

“They are extraordinary photos in which we see the very large boat make its way on the road from Camden to Rockport Harbor,” said McGurn. “I'm not sure that this is done today because as you can see they were cutting tree branches and moving power lines to just make it down the road.

“The scenes from the belted Galloways to the bridge in Rockport and finally entering the water in Rockport are particularly interesting.”

McGurn did his research and found this online at the Robb Report: "While building Unicorn, Bruce King drew the attention of fellow Californian Phil Long, who was in the market for a larger version of Ticonderoga, a speedy, world-record-holding 72-foot ketch designed by L. Francis Herreshoff. King designed for Long the 105-foot Whitehawk, which was built by the Lie-Nielsen boatyard in Rockland, using the new WEST system [multiple plies, precisely six plies each made up of 1-inch thick boards. The innermost ply and the four successive plies are Maine white cedar, while the outermost ply, laid longitudinally, is Port Orford (Oregon) Cedar, [according to Wickipedia]

“When launched in 1975, Whitehawk was one of the largest boats built with this construction technology. Long later commissioned King to design the 90-foot Whitefin and then formed his own business, Renaissance Yachts, to build her. Renaissance, which launched Whitefin in 1984 [1983?], was based in a shed that Long had constructed on the tennis courts in the backyard of his new home in Camden, Maine."

According to her website, Whitefin is homeported in the Mediterranean, and is to race in the TAG Heuer VELA Cup, May 4–7, in Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy. Whitefin was recently refitted (in 2015), and in April 2017, relaunched.

Her specs include a length of 90 feet, a beam of 20.05 feet and she draws 10.06 feet. A sloop, her cruising speed is 10 knots.

To see more of the photos that McGurn has been resurrecting from the depths of old milk crates, see:

• The Case(s) of the Mystery Photographer: Camden, 1982

• More Firemen's Ball Parade photos, Camden, 1982