Restoring a ‘maritime treasure’

A 1929 Fleetwing Forty Gary Demers is planning to restore and name Nonchalance. — Courtesy Gary Demers

A GoFundMe page has been set up with the purpose of restoring an antique yacht to its “former glory.” Gary Demers, an Island woodcarver, set up the page on Tuesday with the goal of raising $50,000 to restore a 1929 Fleetwing Forty. So far, $1,140 has been raised toward the cause. According to Demers, 75 percent of the boat has been restored by its previous owner, and the interior is what is left to complete. He plans to name the vessel “Nonchalance.”

“Only a few ’20s-era cruisers have survived the years as intact as this one,” said Demers in the post. “From the moment I set eyes on this rare beauty, I’ve felt a calling to restore the boat to her former glory so that future generations have the opportunity to experience this little slice of luxury.”

Once the restoration process is complete, Demers plans to “make the boat available to Island residents and visitors alike for sunset cruises, educational tours, and special occasions.”

Demers first learned of the yacht from a 2015 ad. The person who put up the ad was deceased, but through a lot of searching, Demers was able to find the person who inherited the vessel. Demers received an invitation to see the yacht, and later purchased it. “He [the previous owner] didn’t want just anyone to work on it,” said Demers. 

Demers told the Times he is 70 years old, and while he could relax with his Social Security benefits, “I’d rather sink my teeth into this boat.” 

Donations to Demers’s GoFundMe page can be found under the title “Help Me Restore a Timeless Maritime Treasure.” As a special thanks to early supporters, the first 100 people who contribute $100 or more will have access to a free cruise on the restored Nonchalance.