MOUNT DESERT — Sailors from around the Great Harbor of Mount Desert Island gathered on a gray afternoon Saturday to celebrate the launch of the restored International One Design (IOD) sailing yacht Magic Bus.
The boat was once owned by America’s Cup champion Emil “Bus” Mosbacher. It was part of the first delivery of 25 yachts from Norway that arrived in City Island, N.Y., in 1936. It was renamed Magic Bus by Laurence Rosenstadt and Loren Singer in honor of its former owner.
It has been carefully restored by a team that includes Bill Dowling, Tim Nagle, David Folger, Fred Rea and Kevin Snyder. A Northeast Harbor Fleet (NEHF) member bought the boat in 2015 from Susannah Homer of Southwest Harbor. The donor wanted it to be restored and used by MDI youth sailors to help them learn to race larger boats.
“Tim Nagle was the first at work, in the summer of 2015,” Dowling said, “opening up the hull and helping to trace the extent of the decay – a bit like a dentist with that annoying pointed pick.”
Then Dowling, Folger and Rea – a group that also had worked together on “rescuing” the IOD Acontia – worked on the project through the winter of 2015-2016.
“The three of us worked through the winter in a semi-heated tent, replacing 66 frames and planking up to the waterline by spring,” Dowling said.
The tent was in Town Hill on property owned by Bobby Alley, who often stopped in to lend a hand. Jim Elk, Pancho Cole and Tony St. Denis were also part of the team.
In the spring of 2016, Nagle returned and worked with Kevin Snyder of Hancock to plank up to the sheer and begin rebuilding the decks and house.
“Kevin and Dave and I spent this last winter on the inside, building the seats and the floors, and generally turning a pile of wood into a proper yacht,” he said.
This spring, everyone reconvened for painting, varnishing and rigging.
“None of this would have happened without the constant support of David Schoeder, who was never too busy for consultation and encouragement,” Dowling said.
Magic Bus will be owned and maintained by the Northeast Harbor Sailing School (part of the NEHF) but available to young sailors from all the MDI sailing organizations that participate in the Great Harbor Dream youth sailing collaborative. The Great Harbor Dream group raised money to purchase the Turbo 420 boats and spectator pavilion used by the fall and spring MDI High School sailing teams.
The youth sailing programs and camps focus on dinghy sailing and racing in 420s, but there’s a big push to bring kids up into the Luders and IOD classes, Dowling said.
“Dave Schoeder is always saying, ‘Leave no boat behind; let’s get them all on the line.’” Folger said last year. “And we’re all looking for crew anyway. It’s a great way of learning bigger boat tactics and passing on the tradition.”
“In the old days, before the America’s Cup was run on high-tech catamarans,” Dowling said, “it was run on 12-meters, which is basically this same boat but twice the size. So that’s how it came to be used for training.”
Mosbacher raced this boat for many years in Long Island Sound before going on to become a two-time America’s Cup defender.