The Launching of the Miss Nina

By Sharon Catus | Jun 04, 2011
Photo by: S. Catus The Miss Nina is lowered into the waters of Penobscot Bay at Stockton Harbor.

The day dawned gray and misty, as a coastal Maine morning in May can often be. Ron Murphy, of MDI Yacht Transport, LLC, admits "I've been up since 3:00am thinking about this." The "this" Murphy refers to is the Miss Nina, a 61' wooden pilothouse ketch, owned by Dan and Amy Miller, of Liberty, which Murphy has been charged with safely extracting from her winter restoration enclosure. The Miss Nina has spent the last eight months in a  4,000 square foot building, on the Searsport/Stockton line, that houses O'Donovan and Doyle (Traditional Wooden Boat Builders.) Her extraction from the building will require Murphy to deflate his tires, Miller to remove an apparatus from the cabin roof and many tense moments. But, when the Miss Nina slides into the water at Stockton Harbor, she will finally be home - completing an eleven month journey from Peanut Island (FL) to Penobscot Bay. Here, in Penobscot Bay, the Miss Nina will be a charter boat, providing the type of pleasure that her origins suggest that she should. Miss Nina was designed by Phil Bolger and built at the legendary Story Shipyard in Essex, Massachusetts. She boasts over 1,200 square feet of sail, a roomy pilot house, a soapstone woodstove and a large teak dinette - just to name a few of her features. Designed and built with a flat transom (originally for maneuvering canals,) the Miss Nina's shallow draft enables her to glide gracefully into small harbors, making her perfect for negotiating the inlets and coves of the Penobscot. For the Millers, Miss Nina's launch is a dream come true and the fruition of two years' worth of planning and work. The 61' ketch first caught their eye on the internet. After much negotiation, the Millers purchased her in December of 2009, removing her from the Florida waters where she had sat, sedentary, for twelve years. Dan Miller restored the hull of the ketch, and its basic systems, at Jarret Bay, on the North Carolina coast, before the Millers motored the ketch home to Maine. Here in Maine, the beautiful boat has been fully restored (by Miller and friends) and lovingly renamed after the Miller's lively seven year old, who plays the drums and is a blooming fashionista. Like a person, a boat is a conglomerate of all its experiences. With the patient and careful restoration given her by the Millers, Miss Nina's wonderful design shines through - almost as beautiful as the grin of her seven year old namesake. And as the Miss Nina is lowered into the water at Stockton Habor, one cannot help but believe that both she and her namesake are headed for a wonderful life on Penobscot Bay.

The Miss Nina will be based out of Belfast, Maine. For more information about the Miss Nina, see


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