Up to Nova Scotia for the restoration of the legendary Bluenose II, "Down East" to Hinckley Yachts in Maine to watch them craft their Talaria Flybridge Jet Boat, and south to Kentucky to Stardust Cruisers.
First we travel to Nova Scotia to the UNESCO World Heritage site Old Town Lunenburg, founded in 1753, a major hub for fishing and wooden shipbuilding. Canada's most famous boat is the fishing schooner Bluenose that was built in 1921 and won the International Fisherman's trophy for 18 years straight. But she became a memory after striking a reef in a hurricane off Haiti in 1946. In the 1960s a Canadian Brewery commissioned a replica of Bluenose and sold her to the government for one dollar. In spite of regular maintenance over four decades, her hull deteriorates to where Bluenose II needs a new hull. The Canadian government commissions a rebuild to the tune of $15 million and contracts Lunenburg Shipbuilders Alliance, a consortium comprised of Covey Island Boatworks, Lunenburg Foundry, and Snyder's Shipyard. At the inception, the LSA sets up web cams for the public to witness the build from day one. Throughout the progress of the build we meet Captain Phil Watson, Lunenburg historian Paula Masson, Al Hutchinson of Covey Island, and Lunenburg Foundry's Peter Kinley-each of whom shares a folktale of how Bluenose II got her name. The LSA spends 3 months deconstructing Bluenose II, salvaging the booms, masts, sails, rigging, and sections of the living quarters. For the hull, the LSA purchases and mills Angelique, a durable hard wood from Surinam. Covey Island employs the traditional lamination process to build the frames while Snyder's Shipyard builds the centerline structure. It takes more than a year before the hull is ready for its exterior planking of Angelique-and the John Deere engines can be installed with generators, plumbing, and electrical. Meanwhile, the LSA is in constant contact with the American Bureau of Shipping, monitoring the build's progress and ensuring present-day safety standards. Then on to the deck of Douglas fir and building the deckhouse. Finally, after 3 years, Bluenose II is ready for her original sails, masts, and booms. We see her in the harbor, rigged and ready for sea trials-elegant, majestic, and equipped with a minimum of modern-day features that don't belie her original character.
Then we head west but "Down East" to Trenton, Maine to the Hinckley Company, builders of sailboats and yachts since 1928 when the company began to repair boats of local lobstermen. Today Hinckley is famous for its patented "JetStick"-a joystick that offers the captain the ability to maneuver with ease and surgical accuracy. Hinckley's Mike Arieta takes us behind the scenes to witness the start-to-finish build of the Talaria Flybridge 48, their jet-propelled $3 million dollar yacht with a "tumblehome" stern and handcrafted cabinetry-a favorite of celebrities Martha Stewart and Matt Lauer. First we are privy to the build of the Talaria's custom hull of fiberglass, epoxy, and carbon fiber-finished off with resin by way of a vacuum process. When finished the hull is ready for the marine jet engines, the "JetStick," the deck, electrical, and the bulkheads. Woodcrafter Henry Beaudoin shares his painstaking process for crafting Hinckley's elegant teak toe rail. Then down to Monticello Kentucky to visit the world's oldest houseboat builder, Stardust Cruisers. President Terry Aff offers a start-to-finish tour of the build of a double-decker custom houseboat that is going to reside on a lake in Tennessee. We learn why houseboat hulls are flat and watch the progression of the build of the under $1 million "Bella Vista" from floor plan to interior designer Shelly Aff's custom furnishings. When the houseboat is complete and at home on a lake in Tennessee, we see a creation that seems to be more of a house than a boat with everything from a full-sized chef's kitchen to 2-person showers of cultured marble.