Jim Moores

Soundings - - Walking The Plank - Photo by Jim Ray­croft

Jim Moores has re­stored more than 100 an­tique and clas­sic boats over the past 35 years, in­clud­ing the 1930 93- foot De­foe- de­signed Pres­i­den­tial yacht Honey Fitz. He is a clas­sic boat re­fit pro­fes­sional — some might say fa­natic — who has a ware­house half full of an­tique boat parts sal­vaged from derelict craft. Jim’s of­fice space at Moores Ma­rine in Beau­fort, North Carolina, is a deck­house that was sal­vaged from the 1912 Trumpy Ibis when the rest of her could not be saved. Moores is a Trumpy re­fit ex­pert — it’s some­thing he came to af­ter build­ing com­mer­cial fish­ing boats and dories in Lubec, Maine, where he owned R.S. Col­son Boat Works. In 1986 he launched Moores Ma­rine in Riviera Beach, Florida, opened a North Carolina fa­cil­ity in 2007 and sub­se­quently trans­ferred all op­er­a­tions to that state in 2016. Moores is so de­voted to restora­tion ac­cu­racy that he has ap­proached own­ers of rare craft to bor­row parts from their ves­sels so he can make rub­ber molds for ac­cu­rate repli­cas. True to his Yan­kee ex­pe­ri­ence, he has turned down bil­lion­aires who asked him to make al­ter­ations he felt were in­ap­pro­pri­ate or un­ac­cept­able to an­tique yachts. Beauty and orig­i­nal­ity are what Moores strives to re­claim in ev­ery restora­tion. “For decades,’ says Moores, “our com­pany t-shirts have been em­bla­zoned with the motto ‘We keep leg­ends alive.’ It’s not some catchy mar­ket­ing slo­gan. It’s our mis­sion. It’s what we do and what we’re all about.” First mem­ory of be­ing on a boat: My fa­ther’s Ly­man ski boat on Lake Wawasee in In­di­ana.

First boat you owned (or skip­pered): Thetis, an 18foot lap­strake dou­ble en­der. It was built in Swe­den. My brother and I sailed it through our child­hood, and it sailed so beau­ti­fully.

Last or cur­rent boat (owned or skip­pered): A 1947 61foot Trumpy, Aurora II. I lived aboard for four years.

Fa­vorite boat you’ve owned (or skip­pered): My 1947 Trumpy.

Your dream boat (to own or skip­per): We are work­ing on the de­sign of a 27-foot launch. I dreamed of the launch, be­cause I al­ways thought a beau­ti­ful yacht de­served some­thing pret­tier than an in­flat­i­ble ten­der. I would wake up, and draw what I had seen in my sleep.

Most re­ward­ing (sail­ing) ex­pe­ri­ence: Sail­ing Thetis to the Ba­hamas at age 15. No maps, no com­pass, in an 18foot boat. I was hooked.

Your scari­est ad­ven­ture aboard: Sail­ing through a light­ning storm on the Ba­hamas bank. I still can’t be­lieve that we didn’t get hit in the high winds and rain.

Your most mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence aboard: Sail­ing over Browns Bank, south of Nova Sco­tia, in high seas. I said, “God, if you let me off this boat, I will never go out again.” Eight years later I was back.

Long­est time you’ve spent at sea with­out set­ting foot on land: A 10-day trip from Florida to Maine.

Fa­vorite des­ti­na­tion so far: Portsmouth, Do­minica.

Fa­vorite nau­ti­cal book: The Grey Seas Un­der: The Per­ilous Res­cue Mis­sion of a N.A. Sal­vage Tug by Far­ley Mowat.

Fa­vorite nau­ti­cal cause you sup­port and why: The An­tique & Clas­sic Boat As­so­ci­a­tion ( acbs.org). They pre­serve beau­ti­ful an­tique and clas­sic boats.

Fa­vorite quote about the sea: “I’se The B’y that builds the boat and I’se The B’y that sails her and I’se The B’y that catches the fish and Brings ‘em home to Liza.” I don’t know where I heard it. Maybe from a sea shanty? But I’ll never for­get it.

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