Singleminded boatbuilder Gene Castellano of Center Moriches, Long Island, spent 25 years building his dreamboat Apollonia to an astounding level of craftsmanship. An avid sailor, he enjoyed this and previous boats on the Sound and Peconic Bay, but never had the opportunity to do the long distance sailing that the boat was built for.

Derived from the Colin Archer lifeboat by way of William Atkin's Eric, the boat closely resembles a Westsail 32, though a bit slimmer and lighter. It shares the full keel, stern-hung rudder, strong sheer and high bulwarks of the renowned bluewater boat. I haven't been able to confirm this, but the current owner thinks the boat is a custom design by noted naval architect Al Mason.

I had the pleasure of meeting the current owner of Apollonia on the Washington City Docks and he graciously allowed me to take photographs and post them to this site.

Rusty and his faithful companion on the foredeck of Apollonia. Rusty has spent most of his life living aboard boats and traveling the world.

Knee cut from naturally-curved grain, probably tamarack.

Polished brass oil lamp, bronze portlight and grab rail.

Quarter berth outboard of port settee in main saloon. Bronze chainplates. Framing and planking.

Rusty has only recently moved aboard, and is still trying to work out storage. I know the feeling.

Traditional spliced rather than swaged standing rigging. Easier to repair in a remote, third-world harbor. Rope lifelines.

Wooden blocks to control the wooden boom on the wooden mast...

Rusty asked that I post this one to publicize the Blue Mama environmental movement that he supports.

Next time you are in Little Washington, stop by the dock and take a look at Apollonia. I think you will be impressed by the craftmanship apparent all over this beautiful boat. One more thing - Rusty is planning a cruise and looking for crew. If you have an interest, email me, signup@neuseriversailors.com, and I will pass your contact information on to him.

Posted 01/24/24. Text and Photographs by Paul Clayton.

Copyright © 2024 Paul M. Clayton.