|This Elco 50’ “Witch” is a Golden Age of Yachting classic. Launched in 1929, “Witch” cruised the East Coast of the US and was kept primarily in New York City until undergoing an extensive refit in 2004 and a further refurbishment and upgrade in 2013 by Walt Schulz of Shannon Boat Company. Though the restoration was extensive the original design and classic features were not compromised. “Witch” was awarded Best Restoration to Original Design at the prestigious Mystic Seaport, Connecticut Classic Yacht Show. Worldwide shipping and financing are available.|
THE RESTORATION OF "WITCH"--1929 ELCO 50 FLAT TOP
by Walt Schulz
Interestingly, the name of the vessel had remained the same since 1929 which is quite remarkable in this day and age. The lady who owned the boat prior to 2002 had her for 22 years until the death of her husband forced her to part with the vessel. Even though the couple had cared for her greatly the reality of age was upon them and the boat truly needed a major keel to cabin refit and restoration. I was familiar with all the usual suspects of repair since the wood boat I restored before “Witch” was quite similar - a 1936 Elco 38’ named “Franklin”. It was a great day for me when “Franklin” won the award for “Best Restoration to Original Design” at the Mystic Seaport Classic Yacht Show and I was confident I could restore “Witch” in a similar fashion.
When I first took possession of “Witch” in 2002, the list of work was rather daunting. Almost everything on the boat from the keel, deck, floors, frames, bulwarks, transom, engines, tanks, plumbing, electric, pumps, machinery and electronics needed to be repaired or replaced. For example, the entire forward crew cabin and part of the galley had been converted into a photographer's darkroom for the owner. It was only through the kind help from the people at the Mystic Seaport Museum and the Rosenfeld Photograph Collection that I was able to put the yacht back to its original 1929 layout.
In addition to returning “Witch” to her original layout, we also installed a new pair of Caterpillar 6 cylinder 130 HP diesel engines, as well as a new electric system with panels and batteries, three zone air conditioning and heat, a 5kw diesel generator, a convection/microwave oven, new tanks, etc. The most challenging part of the refit was to discreetly hide all the 21st century amenities so as not to affect the original look of the vessel.
After the refit was complete, “Witch” also won “Best Restoration to Original Design” at the Mystic Classic Yacht Show and I sold her in 2005 to a couple from upstate New York. The new owners embarked on an extensive live-aboard cruise, leisurely sailing Witch” from the upper Hudson River all the way to Key West, Florida over a five year period. Unfortunately, personal circumstances in their lives forced them to put the boat back on the market and since I was between wood boat projects I couldn’t resist buying her again. I was glad to get my old friend back and while “Witch” had held up remarkably well there were a few issues that I wanted to address after personally bringing the boat 1800 miles from Jacksonville, Florida to Rhode Island. From 2010-2012, I used “Witch” lightly in Rhode Island during the summer seasons and finally in 2013 we went back over her once again. The biggest project was to remove the 110 volt 5kw auxiliary generator and replace it with an 8kw genset so all three zone air conditioning units could run at the same time. Also, all the three zone reverse cycle air and heat units were replaced with new Climma units that include dehumidifiers. In addition, I changed the complicated two 30 amp shore power connections to a single 50 amp shore power connection and the anchoring system was redesigned for single-handed anchoring. All the exterior wood was stripped and two sealer coats were applied as well as eight coats of varnish. All exterior varnish is protected with modern Clear Coat for long lasting UV and weather protection. We added eight new 12 volt batteries and we checked and serviced all systems to ensure that “Witch’s” 2004 refit was brought up to 2013 standards. “Witch” is now ready for cruising
An independent marine survey took place late in 2013 and is available on request.
Contact Bill Ramos at Shannon Boat Company firstname.lastname@example.org 401-253-2441