Tyson Streeter never owned a wooden boat before, let alone a sailboat. Aside from a Laser and a Boston Whaler, his boat ownership had a limited past. However, that never slowed his passion for sailing or wooden yachts, his aunt started at Wooden Boat Magazine in 1978 and created their famed calendars, which have hung in Streeter’s home ever since. So it was on his wall in July 2018, that he gazed upon a pair of NY 32s rafted together, and the rest is history.
“The lines struck me. Everything about the boat stuck out for me,” says Streeter from his home in Cohasset, Massachusetts, where he has been staying at home with his wife, six-year-old twins, and a five-year-old eagerly awaiting the summer sailing season. “I just said to myself: ‘That’s the boat I am going to get.'”
He sought out the advice of one of the owners of those depicted NY 32s, Peter Cassidy – who also happens to own and operate Buzzards Bay Yacht Services and also has a young family he sails with on his NY32, Siren. With Cassidy’s counsel, they looked at one for sale in Maryland but walked away underwhelmed as the boat had undergone significant refits already and felt less authentic.
However, Peter did not give up on Tyson’s dream, he knew that many NY 32s moved after World War II to the Great Lakes region, and while no boat was listed, “all boats are always for sale.” After speaking with Skip Gmiener, owner of Apache NY 32 Hull #2, on a Monday, they flew to Detroit on Friday and had a deal by Monday with Gmiener happy to see the boat going to an owner with such passion.
Gmiener’s father bought the Sparkman & Stephens designed boat in 1940 just four years after she launched on May 9, 1936, as part of a 20 boat fleet commissioned by the New York Yacht Club. Apache sailed the Bermuda Race that year (the first year the race started in Newport) and finished 2nd of 44 boats. This edition was also the famed Bermuda Race that gave us the Storm Trysail Club as it was a harrowing voyage to the Onion Patch that year, and those who finished were highly-regarded mariners.
Apache in her slip that she held for 78 years.
In 1938, the original owner, Buz Havamire, sold her to Tommy Fisher, who brought her Gross Pointe Yacht Club. There Skip’s father, Toot, was one of Fisher’s crew. As the war was starting to ramp up, Toot Gmeiner bought Apache from Fisher in the Fall of 1940 and brought her to Detroit Yacht Club, where she remained for 78 years before Streeter had her trucked in the December of 2018 to Buzzard Bay Yacht Services in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts.
[more history as told by Skip Gmeiner https://youtu.be/V_i9sHPN_fE]
Streeter describes the time once Apache arrived at Cassidy’s shop as the “winter of the bad phone call.” They discovered hidden rot and issues the survey could not produce. “He is a great craftsman, and he knows this very wooden boat – every plank and joint. It was still an incredible educational experience.”
During the Winter of 2018 – 2019, they decided that due to rot that had been epoxied over, the entire stem needed to be replaced. Luckily, down in wooden boat enthusiast Elizabeth Meyer’s, barn, they found the perfect stem piece originally from the Danish Royal Forest, woods that had been grown specifically for shipbuilding.
“The speed and skill in which they detached the planks from the rabbit and repaired rotted horn timber were incredible,” explained Streeter. “As with any project, things pop up and the keel had to be dropped to repair bolt and then get rebedded back up. It was troubleshooting all the time but I am grateful to have had Peter leading this.”
After getting the boat below the waterline in order, they launched Apache for a summer of sailing in 2019. Aside from daysailing, the entire young family took part on a week-long cruise onboard the 32-footer to the North Shore of Massachusetts Bay.
“The kids loved it so much they were actually mad to get off the boat. We were lucky the family fell in love.”
Streeter took part in the Corinthian Classic Regatta sailing with friends and had a great time. He even took home the “American Friendship Trophy” which was bestowed upon him from the previous year’s winners, the crew of Neith. It is given for someone who exhibits a standout sailing passion and awards the winner with a trip Germany to sail in a classic yacht regatta. This year’s trip has been postponed, but it was a humbling experience for Streeter.
“I leaned into my wife during the awards and said ‘Hey, I hope we can get that someday because that is us!’ Then I was floored when I heard our name,” he admitted.
After a successful first season with Apache, she returned to Cassidy’s shop with a winter goal to keep fresh water out of the boat. The deck was glassed over in the 1980s with the combings still on, so some water damage rotted a few deck beams causing it to rain in the aft berth. The spars also needed to be redone.
“We were able to get a beautiful piece of Maghony from Newport Nautical Timbers for the combings, winch pedestals, and might even have some leftover for a cockpit table,” explained Streeter. “The combings came out just beautiful. They were steamed into place by Peter who now is looking to use the jig on his boat! This process also allowed me to place the winches where I wanted them.”
Now that the deck and hull are tightened up, the family is looking forward to emerging from quarantine and sailing together once again. Apache splashed on May 20, 2020. Aside from local cruising, they are planning to sail down to New London so the kids can participate in a junior program near extended family and explore those waters.
“Peter is truly an artist when it comes to preserving these boats. It is the history and tradition that made me first fall in love with wooden boats, and I am happy to pass that on. I am hoping our children will be the next owners,” concluded Streeter.