BOLERO, Crossing the finish line off St. David’s Light, Bermuda, 1956
Oil            24" x 30"            $37,500

Known simply in the offices of storied yacht designers Sparkman and Stephens as “hull # 711,” the 73’6”, 93,800 pound yawl that slid down the ways in 1949 for owner John Nicholas Brown, made a splash in the world of yacht racing that still resounds today. Christened Bolero, she went on a tear on the racing circuit finishing first in 7 out of 11 ocean races.

In 1956, she was purchased by Swedish yachtsman Sven Salen, who entered her in that year’s Newport to Bermuda Race as a leg of her delivery to Europe. All was well until 25 miles from Bermuda, when a gale blew through, blowing two of Bolero’s jibs out and finally, and more frighteningly, breaking the headstay turnbuckle. The alert Swedish crew managed to jury rig a new headstay from the wire jib halyards.

Blake has shown her under that jury rig plowing into heavy seas off St. David’s Light. Despite her troubles, Bolero was again the first yacht to finish the race.

Today she’s still turning heads on the classic boat racing circuit after a complete restoration by a syndicate headed by well-respected yachtsman, Ed Kane. Her original transom can be seen mounted on the wall of the Bolero Grill at the New York Yacht Club’s Newport, Rhode Island Harbour Court station.

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