The decade after the market crash of 1929 was undoubtedly tough on the yachting industry. Even the venerable Herreshoff Manufacturing Company (HMC) in Bristol, RI saw a sharp decline in new orders. With few notable exceptions, the construction of new sailboats continued sluggishly, the majority of contracts being 12 1/2s, S-Boats, and smaller racing dinghies. However, the construction of new power yachts ceased almost completely, with less than two dozen built throughout the 1930s, many of those being smaller launches.
One of these was ARIEL II, a 46ft power cruiser style yacht built for William Woodard in 1931. Designed by Sidney Herreshoff, ARIEL II was a slight modification on an earlier HMC yacht, STROLLER. Similar to many yachts of the same period, ARIEL II was drawn with simple, yet elegant features.
From her nearly plum bow to the gentle tumblehome aft, ARIEL II's profile illustrates a yacht of classic character and style. Her resemblance to other yachts of the era quickly become irrelevant when realizing the craftsmanship and detail that went into both her original construction by Herreshoff Manufacturing and her reconstruction at Ballentine's Boat Shop.
Much of ARIEL II's life after initial launching and until her discovery unused but afloat in Florida, is unknown. At the time of her purchase, ARIEL II's condition was heavily modified, both mechanically and cosmetically. Her interior cabinetry had been altered to fit non-marine appliances and her exterior profile drastically altered with the attachment of a disagreeable flybridge. Engines had been changed over the years from the original Sterling gas engines, to the extreme GM 671 diesels, and back to the more reasonable Cummins 4 cylinder diesels in place at present.