The origin of Messing About In Sailboats

  • The original quote is from Kenneth Grahame's Wind In the Willows: "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

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September 03, 2007



She is a BEAUTY! It has always been one of my ambitions to renovate a classic wooden motor boat - a Riva type boat perhaps - nothing big like Aphrodite. I just think these classic motor boats look so special on the water. I am not a motor boat person either, but boats like these are special.

Adam Turinas

That's a great ambition. My rich Italian uncle had a Riva on the Amalfi Coast. What a magnificent boat. 30 foot long with two enormous engines. All mahogany and varnish.

will vandorp

wow! thanks for writing about this.

Captain Kirk Reynolds

It is great to see such interest in the "Old Black Lady".
As captain and the restoration project manager for the owner, I can truely say she is a most remarkable yacht. Aphrodite has undergone several periods of neglect, a couple of referburishes, 2 restorations and finally a rebuild.
A credit the original builders to have made her strong and used the finest of availible materials of the day.
Thanks to the Purdy brothers and to a man with vision, Jock Whitney, who in 1936 had a dream and desire to go faster than his brother- in-law, and to another man with vision, Chuck Royce who understands the need to preserve history and undertook this salvage project.
Special thanks to all of the Brooklin Boat Yard crew for a spectatular job.
Aphrodite was a complete "rebuild". Though completely dissassembled she was always unmistakeably Aphrodite during the rebuild, with that sumptuous stern and clipper bow.
True, all off her wood was replaced,(she does still carry a few wooden pieces) her hardware was restored and replaced and most of all her soul remained.
Aphrodite lives on.

Captain Kirk Reynolds

Tony Thorne

I saw this queen at her berth in Watch Hill today and was blown away by her beauty. My hat is off to the owner of this vessel. If it were not for good folks with their extraordinary passion for these old boats they would have been lost to time and weather... a big understatement I know!! Kudos Chuck !!!

Jon Ayers

When she cruises Fisher's Island sound, Aphrodite's sound and presence can be felt and seen miles away. We also know when she is present with all her beauty. She was the bell of the ball at the Wooden boat show at Mystic Seaport and the most special entry in the wooden boat parade down the Mystic River. We are proud that she is part of our community in Southeastern Connecticut and Little Narragansett Bay, RI.


i was a deckhand on this boat. the interior is even more amazing than the exterior


i was a deckhand on this boat. the interior is even more amazing than the exterior


She's my favorite boat!!! I’ve seen her a few times rounding Watch Hill light with her twin 1000hp Cat’s purring… What a BEAUTY!!!

December McSherry

Hundreds of New York City disadvantaged youth from New York City enjoyed cruising on the Aphrodite when it was located and operated at Anthony Duke's summer camp in Three Mile Harbor. The young men learned boating, navigation, maintenance, swimming, rowing and life saving skills on the weekly boat trips around Gardiners Bay. Forty years later they still talk about the Aphrodite and have wondered what happened to it. So glad to see she is restored - what a beauty!

Trish Savides

Wow, how beautiful to watch this yacht slip in and out of Groton Long Point, CT yesterday. Enjoying dinner with our friends at our home on the "lagoon" we all watched as she said hello to our harbor here at GLP.
Please come by again!


Nice article. Even design a building is a complicated task. I have been searching about the techniques, and got some good blogs and websites. You can check it will help you for sure.


Her home is Watch Hill, RI now. Saw her in the Mystic restored boat show this past weekend. Beyond spectacular!

Capt. Ted J. Dion

I recently was able to view this beautiful piece of nautical history while in Avondale RI. She is graceful and obviously well treated. I have seen many motoring vessels but none has ever halted me as “Aphrodite” quite surely, stopped me in my tracks.

Melvin Sternberg

In 1987 I bought a houseboat in Port Washington, Haven Marina. One of the first things I saw from my living room was the Aphrodite at the Manhasset Bay Marina. I had no idea of the history of this glorious boat which conjured up for me Jules Verne and his Nautilus, a sleek and futuristic vessel.
It gave me great joy to often sit and view the Aphrodite and its inhabitants, Mr. and Mrs. John Pannell and their small son.It was with sadness that I saw them leave for a new life in Florida.

Milton Thrasher

I sell model boat frames for people to build
models like the Aphrodite.

See my web site at

Milton Thrasher

The link to a yacht design blogspot is posted at the top of my website that you should try! Be sure to request the daily newsletter by email as it brings me designs and things nautical you may never see otherwise!

J P Byrd

The Aphrodite was seen on Friday, November 23rd cruising in front of River Street on the Savannah River.

Follow this link for photos:

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