Surprise Engagement Proposal and Celebratory Yacht Charter Cruise aboard Sailboat Hope San of Newport, RI for: Giovanni + Preeti
One of the best surprises of restoring a classic wooden sailboat and starting a charter business in Newport, RI, is that we have had front row seats to some pretty epic marriage proposals.
At 42 feet, Hope San is both elegant and intimate sailboat, and has all the classic lines, varnished wood “brightwork” and crisp white sails that make for an unforgettable place to pop the question in Newport, RI.
Last summer, we were contacted Giovanni, a hopeless romantic who was concocting an elaborate plan to propose to his high school sweetheart and girlfriend of nine years, Preeti. Giovanni came to visit us with his best friend about two months ahead of time to make sure the boat was the right fit (it was!). He later told us he picked Hope San because it “looks like a sailboat should look. Perfect size, tall white sails, beautiful wood-work, and in a beautiful location…a classic sailboat that had charm to it. Those plastic sailboats didn't seem right.
He booked a private sunset charter sail with us, plus a little extra time beforehand to make sure he could decorate the boat and get everything ready for the arrival of Preeti, who thought she was on a girl’s weekend with her best friends. We emailed, texted and called for weeks in order to ensure that everything would go off without a hitch.
Monika always meets our sailing charter guests at the launch dock to bring them out to Hope San, but this time, she had to keep mum and not let on that she was taking Preeti and her two friends out to Hope San. “I was surprised when we got to the launch because I thought this must be a very fancy dinner if we had to take a boat to get there,” Preeti recalls.
“It was such a beautiful day. The weather was perfect and since it was my first time in Newport I was blown away by how beautiful everything was. When the launch pulled up to a sailboat in the middle of the water I was a confused, but didn't think much of it because I thought the stop had nothing to do with us. Then I saw Giovanni standing at the front of the boat holding white roses in his hands. I was completely shocked. He was supposed to be back home in New York! I looked at my two friends (who were in on the whole plan) and when they smiled at me I knew exactly what was going on. I couldn't hold back the tears as I walked onto Hope San and towards Giovanni.”
I am an avid photographer and can and will take pictures of your event, (even if you don't bring your own photographer)!.
2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the classic sailing yacht Hope San’s original launch, and we hope you’ll help us celebrate by coming aboard for a sail on Narragansett Bay next summer. This remarkable wooden sailing vessel which has been beautifully restored and is now available for private charter in Newport, RI has had a long and interesting life, from a shipyard in Hong Kong to the cover of yachting magazines to the bottom of Newport harbor and back. In honor of her birthday, we wanted to share a little bit more about her history:
Designed by Boston-based naval architects John G. Alden & Co, Hope San was built by the Cheoy Lee Shipyard in Kowloon—a region of Hong Kong—China, in 1958 for Charles E. Burt, who had her shipped to Cape Cod. She was originally named Sai Shun, which means Little Boat in Chinese.
Hope San is a Nordfarer design, has a yawl rig, a classic full keel, and measures 41 feet, 7 inches overall. A true classic sailing yacht with elegant lines and a pedigreed cruising history, she is one of a few—perhaps only two—Nordfarer designs built entirely of wood: her masts are laminated spruce, her frames, floors and keel are constructed out of yakal (an extremely dense and strong tropical hardwood) and her planks, brightwork and interiors are made of teak.
In 1960, Hope San was sold to Henry Ware Jr, and then sold again in 1965 to Bob and Hope Goddard.
For the next four decades, Hope San (renamed in honor of Mrs. Goddard, san being an honorific in Chinese) was a cherished private family yacht for the Goddard family, who sailed her regularly in and around Narragansett Bay, Block Island and the Elizabeth Islands. She also raced in the Museum of Yachting Classic Yacht Regatta in Newport, Rhode Island annually, with a full crew of family members guiding her to several class victories. With her photogenic lines and sleek black hull, she appeared in numerous yachting magazines, including Sailing and on the cover of Cruising World in 1986.
In 1985, she fetched up on Long Wharf with a group of boats during Hurricane Gloria and sank to the bottom of Newport Harbor. So beloved was this boat that Hope Goddard rallied her entire family, who reported to the pier at dawn the next day, to raise Hope San back to the surface less than 24 hours after her sinking. Hope’s eldest granddaughter, fittingly also named Hope, dove at first light to examine the boat’s condition. While she was substantially intact, the boat had suffered extensive damage to her port bow, her starboard stern was shorn off, her mizzen mast was broken, and her topsides were sorely scraped up. After being floated with airbags and roughly patched with canvas, she was towed to Narragansett Terrace Boatyard in Bullocks Cove, where she underwent a full restoration under the direction of Tom Goddard, one of Bob and Hope’s sons, and at the skilled hands of shipwrights Unc Allen and George Zachorne. She was re-launched in July of 1986, less than a year later, and received the Phoenix Award from the Museum of Yachting for her incredible story of salvation.
In 1991, Bob and Hope Goddard passed Hope San down to their eldest daughter, Peggy, and her husband Rob Leeson, who continued to sail her locally with their four children. In 1996 she was donated to the sail training program at the Philadelphia Seaport Museum. She subsequently changed hands and came to rest in a shipyard in Maryland, where she fell into disrepair and was put up for sale.
Enter Patrick and Monika Abrecht, a Swiss couple who became so enamored with the sport of sailing that they sold their painting business and moved to the United States so that Patrick could attend IYRS—the International Yacht Restoration School—in Newport, RI. The couple had been searching for a boat that they could restore as a graduation present for Patrick when they came across Hope San. They purchased her in 2001 and brought her back to Newport to begin a lengthy and thorough restoration of the boat to her original condition.
It was only after going over her paperwork that they realized they had actually brought her home, so they decided to contact the Goddard family to let them know that Hope San was back in Rhode Island. Hope Goddard was thrilled and grateful to see her beloved boat in such capable and caring hands, and this shared love for Hope San sparked a profound friendship between Hope and the Abrechts that lasted until her passing in 2013.
Today, Patrick (who is a USCG licensed Captain) and Monika honor Hope San’s incredible legacy by keeping her in beautiful shape and running a private sailboat charter business in Newport, RI. They plan to celebrate her 60th year by sailing her as much as possible.
Hope San can be chartered by small families or groups of up to six people for private day sails on Narragansett Bay.
To inquire about charters, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (401) 338-5353 or (401) 662-5493.
This Blog is written by our friend Caroline Goddard, the grand daughter of Hope Goddard, a gifted artist, photographer and writer. check out her website: www.hopestatestyle.com