45′ Lobster Yacht built by Don Wilcox, refit by South Shore.

Twist, originally Hazel W III, was designed and built in 1973 by Rhode Island boatbuilder Donald Wilcox and his sons. Her hull – strip-planked Philippine mahogany over white oak – was still in excellent condition after 38 years of mussel dragging, research, and lobstering in Narragansett Bay. The condition of the hull was like new, a testament to the Wilcoxes and their attention to detail and construction techniques.

The Wilcoxes put the boat up for sale in 2011. Dr. Megevand, a sixth-generation Swiss surgeon, saw the boat online and fell in love with the lines. He asked South Shore to look it over and bought it sight unseen when master carpenter Bob Fuller reported the boat’s excellent condition. Dr. Megevand named the boat Twist as a nod to the twist of destiny that turned a hard-working New England fishery dragger into a day-yacht cruising the Mediterranean and the canals of Europe.

Wooden Boat Restoration

Under South Shore’s project leadership, Twist was gutted and rebuilt, a complete wooden boat restoration and interior restoration highlighted by a gorgeous custom teak deck, foredeck, and interior. The hull was sheathed in West system fiberglass and Awlgripped to create a svelte and shiny finish. Modifications were made to meet CE standards under the direction of naval architect Bob Turcotte of Bob Turcotte Yacht Design. The European regulations required quite a bit of complex paperwork and it took 6 months to acquire the boat’s Swiss registration.

Line drawings and stability testing were documented, and other requirements included a fixed fire extinguisher system, lifeboat with hydrostatic release, EPIRB, and a second dinghy (inflatable). Marine electrician John Crobar of Kingman Yacht Center wired the boat with a European 230 V, 50 hz system and installed Raytheon electronics. Nate Tynan of Windward Power Systems repowered the boat with a 500-hp Caterpillar C-9 engine modified to CE standards. Talented builders on the project team included John Karbott, Michael Bryant and Richard Wilmore.

Other special features include a full-width hydraulic tailgate transom/swim platform; a desalination unit that produces 40 gph of freshwater; an original 1973 compass, rebuilt & rechromed; and a large graywater tank (since discharge is not allowed in the Mediteranean). Jeff Kent of Composite Solutions, Inc., provided custom carbon-fiber components, including a folding mast which accommodates bridges in Europe’s canal system and allows the mast electronics to be serviced from the cockpit. Accommodations include a V-berth, double berth down to port, a dining table that converts to berth, two day beds on deck with overhead bimini, galley up with a Techempex Italian-made electric galley stove and 13-cubic-ft. capacity icebox, and a head with shower. All materials and equipment were incorporated to be easily serviceable in Europe.

When Twist was completed, Al and Ernie Wilcox piloted her from Massachusetts back to Wickford Harbor, RI, where she had fished for so many years. She attracted a lot of attention, especially when she started flying the Swiss flag after receiving her registration. She was freighted out of Newport to Geneo, Italy. Fuller and Tynan traveled to Italy to commission the boat and cruised with Dr. Megevand part of the way to his family’s vacation home in Croatia.

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Keywords relevant to this page: Wooden Boat Restoration, Boat Restoration, Boat Interior Restoration