Just a few doors down the street from the Herreshoff Marine Museum, inside one of the original Herreshoff buildings, is Bristol Boat Company. Founder and proprietor Dan Shea Jr. has over 30 years of experience and describes his specialty as “building and restoring small [16’–40’] power- and sailboats, historically significant in their design.” Dan has been working inside the TotalBoat Workshop, leading up the full restoration of the Graves Constellation, Vela.

His shop is refit heaven for many of the Herreshoff 12 1/2s and Fish Class sailboats. Dan loves steam bending wooden frames and working in the former machine shop from Herreshoff’s manufacturing days. His shop is busy with IYRS interns, aspiring woodworkers and happy boats under restoration. His own Herreshoff 20, Intent, was a resurrection of Nathanael Greene Herreshoff’s forgotten design which was never built by Capt. Nat. This open daysailer’s roots trace to the Herreshoff 12 1/2, the small keelboat designed in 1914 by Captain Nat. In 1930, he wrote in his design notes that his latest design, half-hull model #204, was “a pleasure sailing keelboat to take the place of the Buzzard’s Bay Boys Boat.” But the design was never built in his lifetime and sat unnoticed for nearly 80 years. Until now. She has been brought to life and built to the highest standards by Bristol Boat Company, she has with a cold molded hull. She can be equipped with either a gaff or marconi rig, and a diesel or electric engine fits completely under the floor. This Herreshoff 20 is larger, faster, drier and more comfortable to sail than the famous 12 1/2. And Dan loves sailing her, although would prefer a new owner took her over to enjoy her more than he is able to with his busy shop work


Dan used the new Thixo Flex on many parts of the Vela project. It was easy to use in the tube and not having to mix up and thicken many batches of epoxy for small applications made “Flex” ideal for many uses. The deck beams on Vela were laid up using the High Performance 2:1 Epoxy, another favorite with the Medium hardener. But Dan’s favorite TB paint and his go-to primer is the 2-Part Epoxy primer. Dan says “It goes on easily, dries fast, can be sanded the next morning with 220 and then you can topcoat right after that.”

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