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Jensen Motor Boat Yacht Restoration Projects

by Kurt Hoehne

Jensen Motor Boat Company has been a fixture on Union Bay since the late 1920s.

It’s with great pleasure we’re going to be keeping tabs on some fascinating projects at Jensen Motor Boat in the coming months. Jensen, located on Seattle’s Ship Canal not far from the Montlake Bridge, is in the midst of some fascinating projects. Looking at what they’ve been up to the last few years, these projects will come to spectacular fruition. Any discussion of  the quality of Jensen’s wooden yacht restoration projects would have to include the word uncompromising.

If you’re not familiar with Jensen’s storied history, check out their About page on Jensen website. Hopefully we can touch more on the history in posts to come.


A Chris Craft Riviera, back in the day.

The first project to come to fruition will likely be Jensen manager Steve Evavold’s own Chris Craft Riviera. The runabout is a bit like a time capsule, having spent the last 50 or so years tucked away in a carport. The only use it got was as a squirrel condo.  There’s no running around for bits and pieces to bring the Riviera back to the original: they’re all there and just in need of a cleanup.

Ruby Ann, as will be named, will feature the original red leather interior and upholstery. Expect to see her on Lakes Washington and Union in the coming months.

Bonne Amie is a 1955 Nevins 40 yawl designed by Sparkman and Stephens. Owner Jonathan Flack isn’t just rebuilding her back to the original, he’s setting her up for serious passagemaking around the Pacific and living aboard in the years to come. Unlike the Chris Craft, Bonne Amie was heavily used on San Francisco Bay and broken in a few places. The rebuild is in fact both structural and, of course, cosmetic.

Click on any photo to enlarge

Bonne Amie's new deck and one of what will be many gleaming refinished winches.
Main masthead with custom hardware, sealed and unvarnished, un-chromed silicon bronze hand made hardware. Note copper sheave box and custom hand made bronze bolts. Spinnaker halyard block eye bolt is forged, not cast, as per Rod Stephen's original plans.
The original S&S interior plans.
The Nevins 40 sailplan by S&S.

One of the intriguing aspects of Bonne Amie is the connection to her roots. Flack had personal connections to both Mitch Neff and Olin Stephens, and both were enthusiastic about the project before their deaths.  Flack is in touch with owners of the other Nevins 40s (13 were built) to get every detail correct.

Flack has an in-depth and active blog about the restoration.

The biggest project will be the restoration of a 72′ Baglietto motor yacht. This one promises to be a spectacular project, from her two 18-cylinder Italian gas engines to her wrap-around windows, she’ll elicit an era of style and attitude seldom seen anymore.

This picture is of a Baglietto is of the same vintage (1960s) as the one being restored at Jensen's.

This picture is of a Baglietto is of the same vintage (1960s) as the one being restored at Jensen’s.

The boat has an interesting story. Once owned by the Aga Khan, this Baglietto ran aground and sank in the Mediterranean within the last couple of years. She was raised and shipped to Seattle to enter rehab at Jensen Motor Boat.

We’ll be following each of these projects in much more detail, so stay tuned.


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