Grand old dame of the sea Poise, panache and polish – vintage yacht Puritan has all the hallmarks of nobility
istinguished ladies of a certain age make their presence felt with a graceful carriage and simple elegance, unfettered by both superlatives and pomposity. If classic sailing yacht Puritan were human, she’d be recumbent on a chaise longue, martini in hand, reminiscing about her colourful past and the grand old days of Swing. The sensitively restored 85-year-old first hit the high seas in 1931 and is one of the most beautiful American schooners still afloat. Part of her charm is in her ability to immediately put guests at ease thanks to her warm ambience, enhanced by the light Oregon pine finish, and an absence of fuss and frippery. A refined 120ft (36.5m) long, Puritan’s only nod to modernity is a few technical renovations (age challenges the best of us) before being released for charter in mid-2016 after 25 years living the life of an international beauty queen. The luxury vessel was designed by seminal US naval architect John G Alden
who died in 1962 leaving a legacy of sophisticated and resilient creations. Puritan is no exception, considered by many as Alden’s masterpiece and a true bluewater cruiser due to her sturdy and reliable construction and design. She was built with a steel hull and teak deck by the Electric Boat Company of New London, Connecticut, which specialised in navy submarines.
The sensitively restored 85-year-old first hit the high seas in 1931 and is one of the most beautiful American schooners still afloat.” Commissioned by Edward M Brown, of New York, Puritan was used as a private yacht until 1941. She was later converted into a military ship to patrol the Mexican coast for the US Navy and is credited with sighting a Japanese submarine which was allegedly sunk following her radio call.
After the Second World War, her illustrious saga continued when new owner, Harry Bauer, invited the American Museum of Natural History to organise an expedition to the Gulf of California using Puritan as its base. “They sailed more than 4,000 miles and collected three-quarters of a ton of scientific specimens, ranging from molluscs to whale skull, from the Miocene to the Pleistocene age,” current captain Simone Pandolfi told Luxury Locations Magazine. The results of this voyage can still be seen at the museum in New York. In 1967, Puritan was sold to Mariano Prado-Sosa, son of an ex-president of Peru, who brought her back to yacht standard complete with a new engine, varnish and air-conditioning. She spent the next few years dazzling the crowds around the Caribbean and Acapulco, before being seized by the Mexican government on behalf of Peruvian officials who believed the vessel had been bought with Peruvian money. Puritan was to change hands again in 1972 – this time to Bill Bolling, an American who fell in love with her having just sold his previous boat to Senator Edward ‘Ted’ Kennedy. “Bolling restored her again and sailed her to win the Mystic Schooner race in her class in Connecticut,” Mr Pandolfi continued. Following a stint undertaking charters in the Caribbean, Puritan was sold to the Ferruzzi family in 1991. “The family was supporting the Italian challenge to the America’s Cup in 1992 with ‘Il Moro di Venezia’ and Puritan attended all the round robins as the family yacht,” he added. The vessel was sailed privately around the Caribbean and Mediterranean until 2015 when she was sold to her current owner, an unnamed classic yacht aficionado. She was finally placed back in