Coronet, the Last Schooner of the Gilded Age

Coronet schooner

Originally published August 14, 2013, the blog post may have been edited for clarity and updated with relevant information and links.

Last night, Newport Interactive Marketers held its monthly talk at the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) on lower Thames Street. I’ve walked by it several times to go to Gary’s Handy Lunch or Aqua boutique across the street, but I never paid attention to the huge warehouse before.

The IYRS has been around since 1993 and it is dedicated to keeping the craft of boat building alive. The school has three schools based in Newport and Bristol:  School of Boatbuilding & RestorationSchool of Marine Systems, and School of Composites Technology

One of the IYRS projects is the restoration of the last turn-of-the-century schooner in existence: Coronet.

Here is a brief description of the Coronet from the International Yacht Restoration School:

Coronet was first launched in 1885, and was one of the most elegant sailing yachts of her day. She was designed for crossing the ocean in style, and featured a marble staircase, stained glass doors, mahogany paneled staterooms, and a piano in the main salon. Since 1995, Coronet has been on the campus of the IYRS, awaiting restoration. Coronet Restoration Partners purchased her in 2006, and restoration has now begun in earnest.


Before Newport Interactive Marketers’ talk began, I looked at Coronet, which is housed in a separate warehouse behind IYRS.

She’s huge.

Coronet has been restored by hand for the past ten years and is projected to finish in three to five years.

To learn more about Coronet, read about her history and check out her restoration blog.

Coronet schooner
Coronet in 1894, Credit: Library of Congress

2023 Update

In November 2022, it was announced that Coronet was leaving IYRS to complete her restoration in Mystic, CT:

Coronet, the 1885 schooner, and what may be considered the last of the Gilded Age yachts, will be making her way to Mystic for a three-year restoration. The hauling process is proving to be an impressive undertaking in and of itself, as the vessel is currently on dry dock atIYRS School of Technology and Trades.

First launched in 1885, Coronet was one of the most elegant sailing yachts of her day. Intended for crossing the ocean in style, the 131-foot schooner was designed by William Townsend and built for Rufus T. Bush by the C. & R. Poillon shipyard in Brooklyn. Bush then put forth a $10,000 challenge (roughly $300,000 in today’s dollars) against any other yacht for a transatlantic race. The ocean race between the Coronet and the yacht Dauntless in March 1887 made Rufus T. Bush and the victorious Coronet famous—the New York Times devoted its entire first page on March 28, 1887 to the story.

IYRS says that the Henry B. du Pont Preservation Shipyard, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is uniquely suited to the task. In 2007, a major investment was made to upgrade the Shipyard’s shiplift which allows it to haul vessels up to 450 tons, a capability unmatched by any other facility on eastern seaboard. 

Coronet to leave IYRS, Mystic Seaport and Museum to restore the 1885 Schooner Yacht, WHATS UP NEWP

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A Francophile based in coastal New England

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