Faux bois carbon booms preserve authentic look of restored schooner

GMT supplied carbon fiber Pocket Booms for the total refit of SummerWind, a John G. Alden-designed schooner built in 1929. These GMT booms appear to perfectly match the sitka spruce in her masts, even when viewed from on deck. In reality, they weigh only a tiny fraction of her original wood booms and have numerous details that make SummerWind’s rig stronger and simpler to control as well as much easier to maintain.

This classic 100-foot (30-meter) schooner measures 79 feet (24.08 m) on deck, and was originally launched as Queen Tyi by C.A. Morse & Son in Thomaston, Maine; she is one of the few surviving large schooners from that era. She served as a Coastal Picket during World War II and more recently, as Sea Gypsy, operated as a charter yacht in the Mediterranean.

A Fort Worth (Texas) businessman acquired her there and, inspired by the Frank Sinatra song, renamed her SummerWind. He and Karl Joyner, the yacht’s highly experienced captain, then arranged for her magnificent rebirth, the culmination of a 2-year total restoration which included design consultation from naval architect Niels Helleberg.

The owner was determined to maintain the distinctive classic appearance while modernizing her rig. A section of her rotted original sitka spruce spars was sent to GMT so that the faux bois paint finish could be matched in both color and grain pattern. The clear polyurethane overcoat looks exactly like gloss varnish – but is, of course, far easier to maintain.
Both of SummerWind’s booms are pocket booms to make sail handling, reefing and stowing simpler. Pocket booms are a superb solution for sails which use very long or full-length battens, allowing the sail to be stowed with utmost simplicity and security within the boom.

Both booms have internal reef and outhaul jammers, and internal block and tackle systems are installed for rope vangs which exit through slots in the bottom of these booms. Putting such systems inside the carbon structure, which would not have been feasible with wood booms, reduces the visibility of modern sail-handling gear to maintain SummerWind‘s lovely historic appearance.

The owner had wanted to sail on the classic yacht racing circuit. In July 2009, SummerWind competed for the first time in Les Grandes Dames class at the Newport Bucket. On Day 1, racing in light airs and periods of dense fog, she finished fourth. But, on Day 2 in 15-knot winds on a crystalline summer day, she finished First in class and First in fleet, seven minutes ahead of her nearest pursuer.

And, for the regatta – her first outing, SummerWind was Les Grandes Dames Class winner!

For more about Pocket Booms, click here and for more about Faux Bois, click here.