Newport Shipyard Personality: Nantucket Lightship

Built in 1950 as a life saving lightship to stand guard three miles off the Golden Gate Bridge, NANTUCKET, originally named SAN FRANCISCO, is currently at Newport Shipyard 'resting' for the winter after a busy season of charter. After making her way to New England via the Panama Canal in 1971, she served as a lightship in Maine for four years and finally came to Nantucket Island to serve her final U.S. Coast Guard duties as lightship from 1975-1983. She was purchased (on eBay) by Bill and Kristen Golden in 2000 and is one of only 12 lightships left in the United States. The Golden's have done a fabulous job refitting the 128-foot steel boat by outfitting her with modern (and beautiful) amenities and making her available for one-week charters throughout New England and dockside special events like wedding rehearsals, corporate parties and more! 

Newport Shipyard is delighted to have NANTUCKET here for a few months and if you're in the neighborhood, come check her out -- she's docked in front of Belle's Cafe for optimal viewing! She's also available this winter for dockside parties. For more information, visit

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Spruce III / Pip Cutler

About twenty years ago Roque Island, a family retreat located just 'downeast' from Bar Harbor, replaced its wooden lobster boats, ROQUE (1967, right) and SPRUCE III (1974), with the present day fiberglass, JOSEPH PEABODY. As confirmed boat nuts, our family got sentimental about these two aging ladies and bought them. After adding to each a galley, a head, bunks and some needed TLC, we tried to figure out what their future might hold. At the time, we definitely lacked a plan other than to save them.

ROQUE we had for about five years when we sold her to knowledgeable marine surveyor, Tony Knowles. He owned her a few years, enjoyed her immensely and kept her in great shape. Happy to report she remains strong as NANCY M in Boothbay Harbor, ME at 42 years old.

SPRUCE III (left) is also going strong. In fact, this is the third time (by extension) that our family would buy the same boat! Roque Island commissioned her in 1974 from Willis Beal and she served the island well. We took her to the Bahamas in 1991 where our kids remember her tropical life fondly. Her next 'home' was Camp Kieve in Nobleboro, Maine, where she was re-Christened PIP CUTLER, after my father-in-law Pip, who had once headed the camp's board. They were happy days aboard carrying kids for 14 years.

Now, she is about to enter her fourth life with Nick Dana, who will employ his boats skills acquired as part of PUMA's shore team, to put her right as they say. Must confess it gave me goose bumps when she recently arrived in Newport. She is now 35 years old and we will all see her around next summer after some R&R at Newport Shipyard, which will definitely turn her into even more of a 'personality!'

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Newport Shipyard Personalities: Chris Nicholson & Casey Smith - Team Newport Shipyard

Currently competing in the 505 World Championship in San Francisco, CA are three-time 505 world champion Chris Nicholson of Australia and crew Casey Smith, who after three races are situated nicely in second place, following leaders Mike Holt and Carl Smith by just five points. 

Sponsored by Newport Shipyard, Nicolson (known as 'Nico') and Smith are good friends of the Shipyard and have spent many hours here while working for PUMA Ocean Racing. Fitted with a complete Newport Shipyard wardrobe prior to their departure, Nico and Casey are already taking the fleet by storm. 

On behalf of the entire team here, we wish them Shipyard luck and success against the other 90 teams entered. Sail fast, do us proud, and bring home the hardware!

To follow Nico & Casey's results, log on to:

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Timmy Laughridge

Just how much explanation is needed as to why Timmy Laughridge is our Shipyard Personality? Half his last name is "Laugh"...and it couldn't be more appropriate. Spectacular 'Beacon Rock' was recently the setting for his long awaited 50th birthday party. Thank goodness for our health it wasn't the same weekend as the Newport Bucket, which demands Tim's full organizational attention. Note that he appears a wee bit distracted in this picture. 

Timmy and I learned a lot of the salty ropes of life from the same person, Commo Frank Snyder. We've always bonded for that reason and many others. Tim's enthusiam and sailing skills, not to mention his stamina, are lengendary. For those fortunate souls who are still un-indocrinated, a "Timmy half-night" is 4 am. 

Fair winds, my friend. Age may be a good thing for you....and us!

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Charlie Ridall

Charlie Ridall -- Born May 9, 2009 to Belle and Andy Ridall.

To celebrate their first wedding anniversary Andy and Isabella decided to spend the night at the Ocean Club in Nassau. On their way to this sybaritic second honeymoon they stopped at Doctors Hospital and delivered handsome 5 lb 2 oz baby Charlie in time to also celebrate Mother's day the next morning. Having managed to cram all these events in a 12 hour period they will be going home to another uneventful week.

We wish all three health, happiness and congratulations on a very efficient weekend. Andy won't even miss a day of work!

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Gus

Agostinho "Gus" Silva has been at the Shipyard almost 30 years, from back in the days of a lot of commercial work, mostly Navy. We dug back in his file and found in 1985 his supervisor said, "Give me 100 Gus's and I could build a nuclear aircraft carrier." Gus is a leader, always at the center of the action doing a bit of carpentry, fiberglassing, painting, even cooking in Belle's in a pinch. You always hear people saying, "oh, Gus can do it."

Gus really cares about people he works with, treats them just like his family, and as an extension of that, has helped the Make-A-Wish Foundation in remembering his son, Derek. He's a great arm twister in the fight to lick Cystic Fibrosis. Passionate about it.

No question Gus ranks as a Shipyard Personality. We love him, and whenever I kid him about anything, always get the same response, "I sorry Mr Charlie". (But no way is he!)

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Rose Dana

A key member of the Shipyard team has eluded (until now) the 'Personality' section for an entire decade. It was brought up a time or two, but quickly squashed..... by her. Now, in the dead of winter, we're going to ambush Rose Dana and give her some well deserved credit.

Re "credit", Rose is particularily adept for giving others credit for doing things that she has really done herself..... like design work, marketing with Veronica, the store, and mostly for being the "voice of reason" in a sometimes chaotic atmosphere created usually by her husband.

Posy made the initial phone call about the bankrupt Shipyard going on the block in '98 for starters. She alerted us. She then told us we were nuts for the longest time before she figured she'd better step in and get us on the straight and narrow, or she'd lose all her spending money.

We listened to Posy just about as much as we listened to our customers. We then (literally) took a part of her in Eli, for our illustrious Dockmaster! No small feat I might add "producing" Eli, though he weighed somewhat less when he was born. Posy contributed handily to laying each building block that became the foundation of what Newport Shipyard is today on the waterfront.

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Newport Shipyard Personality: Senator

When Ernesto Bertarelli wanted to have a run-up event before the last Cup, he called me to see if Newport Shipyard would be the base camp for ALINGHI and for Larry Ellison's ORACLE. I said we'd be happy to help put it together on one condition: that he invite Senator Pell (left with Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Ted Kennedy) out for a sail during practice. I knew how much the Senator would love it.

Pell's collegue and sailing buddy, Senator Ted Kennedy, visited the Shipyard every June to take Pell out for a sail on MYA. Senator Kennedy pushed all the right buttons with Pell's salty side. Sen Pell sailed on my boat too, as well as on David Ray's NIRVANA, always glowing with excitement. He often recalled his early years in the Coast Guard and why the CG was so important to our country. Afterwards, we'd have dinner and the glow remained, aided of course by a little wine to calm the sunburn!

Claiborne Pell died on New Year's day at 90, and had an amazing send-off on January 5th with his close friend, Ted Kennedy, delivering a moving eulogy eneumerating Pell's significant accomplishments in his 36 Senate years and, yes, a few sailing anecdotes snuck in too.

Newport Shipyard, along with all Rhode Islanders, lost a friend. He followed us every step of the way as we developed. No question he cast a long shadow everywhere, but also with us as a Shipyard personality. Claiborne also gave me my 1st tour of the Senate, as he had my father, and later our children. We will miss him a lot and will never forget who he was.

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