After 18 months of work, replica wooden yacht enters the water

The Invader on its christening ride in Greenport on Friday. (Credit: Nicole Smith)
The Invader on its christening ride in Greenport on Friday. (Credit: Nicole Smith)

People with cell phones and digital cameras in hand eagerly tried to find space at Hanff’s Boatyard in Greenport Friday evening to get a perfect view of the Invader, a new yacht 18 months in the making, as it was christened and launched for the first time.

“It’s amazing and pretty surreal,” said Mike Javidi, one of the five men who built the yacht.

The yacht is a replica of the famous 1930 Scottish yacht the Invader II, designed by William Fife III and made for Commodore Gooderham of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, said Donn Costanzo of Wooden Boatworks, the company which created the ship.

Mr. Costanzo said the original ship was ultimately lost in the Hudson River after it ran into a tugboat in the middle of the night and sunk 225 feet below the waves.

But that disappointing end didn’t minimize Mr. Costanzo’s opinion of the vessel, saying that the original was “a very good boat with a great career.”

On Friday, revelers hoped the new ship wouldn’t meet the same end.

Following a bagpipe performance recalling the yacht’s Scottish heritage, Mr. Costanzo thanked everyone who helped build the 48-foot vessel.

He also introduced the five men who spent the last 18 months working on the Invader — Beattie Hayes, Ben Bentley, Scott Braseth, Steve Lubitz and Mr. Javidi.

The men, along with the bagpipe player and two of their sons, were aboard the boat during its christening ride. Mr. Costanzo’s wife, Linda, christened the boat by breaking a bottle of champagne on its bow.

“To this gorgeous, beautiful vessel: may you and all who sail on you be kept safe and free from harm,” she said.

“I felt like everybody felt — thrilled,” Mr. Costanzo said after the event.

Mr. Costanzo and his crew are eager to begin work on their next boat, the third model of its kind he has worked on. The wooden yacht building business, he said, is “alive and well.”

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