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CAZENOVIA — Cygnus II, a 1930 custom flat top motor yacht owned by Cazenovians Jody Reynolds and Mike Wright, was recently honored with the “People’s Choice” award at the 33rd Annual Antique and Classic Boat Festival in St. Michael’s, MD.
The show was held June 18-20 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
Selected each year by the festival guests, the People’s Choice award is presented to the boat that best exemplifies the spirit of classic yachting.
“We’ve won the gamut of awards from judges, but this award means more to us because that’s what we’re all about,” said Reynolds. “While many boat owners do not allow show visitors on their vessels, Cygnus II is a center of hospitality [at] every show. People can’t see a boat like this from the dock. They have to come aboard and ‘feel it.’”
Wright, a longtime classic yacht surveyor and delivery captain, said he worries about the dwindling number of classic vessels still in existence.
“If we don’t rebuild enthusiasm for these beautiful boats, there won’t be any left,” he said. “These boats are part of America’s history.”
Cygnus, meaning swan in Latin, previously won awards at the Clayton Antique Boat Show (“Best Cruiser), the Buffalo Boat Show (“Commodore’s Cup”), the Alexandria Bay Vintage Boat Show, and shows in Mystic, CT, and Ocean Reef, FL.
“To our knowledge, she has never left a show without a significant award,” said Reynolds.
The couple purchased Cygnus II in 2011 after their 1925 motor yacht “Hermione” was lost in a marina fire in Washington, NC.
Following a yearlong rebuild to keep it afloat, Cygnus II became a popular charter vessel in the 1000 Islands.
Designed by famous naval architect Louis Kromholz for a New York industrialist, the 56-foot yacht was built just after the start of the Great Depression.
“Actually, she was lucky to be built at all,” said Wright, who also noted that while the yacht retains the look, feel and detailing of an antique vessel, Cygnus II is now equipped with two Yanmar diesel engines, GPS, air conditioning, heat and other amenities.
According to the owners, the boat is currently on the market.
Reynolds and Wright, who are both 100-ton master captains, have been sailing and motoring in classic boats since they were children — Reynolds on Cazenovia Lake and the St. Lawrence, and Wright on Barnegat Bay in New Jersey.
“When I was a kid, Caz Lake had all kinds of wooden power and sail boats,” said Reynolds. “I used them all. Raced them. Sailed them. And circled the lake with them.”
Reynolds eventually graduated to larger sailing yachts and became “hooked on” offshore sailing in 1984. In 1988, she purchased her last sailboat in Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and completed an approximately 3,500-mile sail to Canada.
Also an accomplished seafarer, Wright has served in the US Navy, crossed the Atlantic 52 times (26 round trips) as a merchant mariner, owned and operated a 65-passenger tour boat in Barnegat Bay, and crewed on scallopers and other vessels cruising waters as far as South America.
According to Reynolds, he was once cited for saving a mariner in distress off Bermuda.
“His ability to maneuver a craft, massive or small, and to keep calm in emergencies — of which there are plenty on the water — is impressive,” she said.
The couple met in 2006 while delivering a Trumpy motor yacht from Palm Beach to Annapolis.
“When I met him, he was traveling the east coast surveying and delivering yachts mostly in the 55-70 foot category,” Reynolds recalled. “That’s when I started doing classic yacht consulting/deliveries and sales on top of my Syracuse-based business.”
In 2007, Reynolds and Wright purchased their first antique yacht together to charter.
To learn more about Cygnus II, visit bayport.biz/boat/1930/custom/classic-flat-top-motor-yacht/1616/.
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