Gleaming in fresh paint, sparkling varnish and polished brass, the 75-foot schooner Viveka was relaunched at Svendsen’s Bay Marine in Richmond last Monday.
The moment had been five years in the making. Viveka arrived at Rutherford’s Boatshop in Richmond in 2015 for a full restoration. But the owner ran out of money and the boat sat for four years until British entrepreneur Sir Keith Mills bought her and gave Jeff the go-ahead to resume work. COVID-19 provided another speed bump, reducing the crew of 18-20 earlier this year to just four or five. (Quarantine requirements also meant Mills could not attend the launching.)
In a way, it was kind of déjà vu all over again. At her original build in 1929-1930 at the George Lawley yard in Massachusetts, the Frank Paine-designed Joan II was to be a ‘fast cruiser’ for J.P. Morgan (or someone in the Morgan family). When the Great Depression hit, work on the boat stopped and the yard took possession. The boat sat for three years before Lawley decided to complete her as a staysail schooner.
But just as happened 90 years ago, it all came together again. Maria Barahona, wife of boat captain Geri Atkins, did christening honors. Two days later, the masts and rigging were fitted. There is about two weeks’ more work on the deck layout and interior before sea trials begin. The good news is that those will occur on weekends, so local sailors will be able to see this historic boat — which has been based in the Bay for many years — in action once again.
After sea trials, Viveka will be loaded onto a freighter for Florida, then onto another freighter bound for Palma de Mallorca. She’s due there in February to prepare for the classic yacht circuit in the Mediterranean next summer. She will eventually be homeported in England.
Read more about Viveka’s rebuild and history (including her longtime ownership by Merle Petersen) in Sightings in Latitude 38‘s May 2020 issue.