Lecture Series Focuses on Yachting Authors

Beginning on March 8, the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) of Newport, Rhode Island, will host a series of evening lectures focusing on books on great yachts and great adventures.

During the 4-part “Readers’ Series” lecture-goers will be drawn into the fascinating stories of the makings of great yachts, both grand and modest, and the adventures that are had on board.

Marine writer Jack Somer—who has written about many great yachts in books and magazine articles—opens the series on Tuesday, March 8, with a remarkable story of boatbuilding: the making of the Dutch-built Athena, one of the largest private sailing yachts of the modern era. Other experts taking part in the series, which runs until late April, are author-adventurer Eric Wiberg, Irish yachting historian Hal Sisk, and yacht designer Chuck Paine.

Contact Information:

Lecture Details:

March 8: 7:30 p.m. • Jack Somer: Athena – A Classic Schooner for Modern Times

At 295 feet, the 3-masted schooner Athena is one of the largest private sailing yachts of the modern era and a yacht that blends technological feats of engineering with the artistry and craftsmanship of fine custom boatbuilding. Marine writer Jack Somer brings the story of this magnificent superyacht—built at Dutch custom-yacht boatbuilder Royal Huisman—to life in a coffee table book he produced with photographer Louie Psihoyos. The book sums up the chronology of Athena’s creation—from the first day of construction, to the last.

March 29: 7:30 p.m. • Eric Wiberg: Round the World in the Wrong Season

Written between 1994 and 2009, Eric Wiberg’s Round the World in the Wrong Season is a memoir of global travel and an unfulfilled college crush. Wiberg’s tale is a self-deprecating, humorous and adventurous first-person account of a young man circling the world in command of a yacht but not in command of his own emotions.
April 12: 7:30 p.m. • Hal Sisk: G. L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design

Irish yachting historian Hal Sisk travels from his homeland to IYRS to talk about author Martin Black’s new book, G. L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design. A book about the genius of British yacht designer George Lennox Watson (1851 – 1904), Black looks at the designer’s work, including sleek racing yachts and palatial steam yachts. In the book, he also sheds new light on the development of the Big Class cutters, the fierce rivalry between Kaiser Wilhelm and Edward, Prince of Wales and the inside story of the epic struggles to regain the America’s Cup.

April 26: 7:30 p.m. • Chuck Paine: My Yacht Designs and the Lessons They Taught Me

Prolific American yacht designer Chuck Paine comes to IYRS to talk about his book My Yacht Designs and the Lessons They Taught Me, which tells his life story and follows his successful career in yacht design—a long career during which he created over a thousand yachts. In an engaging voice, Paine tells about the tales of success, the failures, the occasional pure bad fortune, and the lessons learned over a lifetime involved with boats.

General Information:

All lectures begin at 7:30 pm at IYRS Restoration Hall (449 Thames Street, Newport). Lectures are free for members of IYRS and the Museum of Yachting and $7 for non-members. Café Zelda (528 Thames Street, Newport) coordinates their dining schedule with the series on lecture nights.

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