In the clip above, Master Model Maker Patrick McCauley explains his process for planking the deck of Aphrodite.
Long and sleek, well accessorized, and built for speed, she is the center of attention wherever she goes. Her torpedo stern allows her to maintain a horizontal posture in the water even at speeds of 40 knots. She draws a dainty four feet.
The Aphrodite, a 74-foot, twin-engine waterborne missile, was christened in 1937 by financier John Hay “Jock” Whitney to commute from Long Island to Wall Street faster than his brother-in-law could make the trip. He boarded Aphrodite in his pajamas and 45 minutes later disembarked in lower Manhattan showered, shaved, and dressed to the nines.
Whitney’s nautical (and nice) guests included the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Shirley Temple, and Tallulah Bankhead. After Pearl Harbor, he loaned his yacht to the U.S. Coast Guard, which used the lovely lady to ferry President Franklin D. Roosevelt up the Hudson River to Hyde Park.
Charles Royce, another Wall Streeter of note, now owns – curates may be a better word – the Aphrodite. As with the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, the iconic resort hotel that reopened this spring, Royce was determined to save this piece of American history. To the surprise of no one, he succeeded in both instances. Jeff Riley, the Centerbrook Partner who designed the new Ocean House, came up with the idea of presenting the Ocean House with a model of the beloved Aphrodite, one-twelfth scale, or fully six-foot-two, as magnificent in its own incarnation as the original.
Enter Patrick McCauley, Centerbrook’s master model maker and architectural fabricator of custom lighting, furniture, and specialties. In an era of computer-driven virtual reality, Patrick creates, or recreates things using his hands, his wits, and an assortment of real materials, from wood and acrylics to metal and glue – employing a diverse assortment of tools, some familiar, others otherworldly.
Patrick’s masterpiece is now on permanent display in the Ocean House lobby.
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