Issue: October 2000
PT Beautiful

With her hull design based on Italian PT and torpedo boats from the WWII era, Maestra now turns heads on the Potomac.


    Most of us have surfed the internet, looking at boats for sale, daydreaming. Few of us have flown 3,000 miles to purchase one of those boats, then battered through another 5,700 miles of often rough seas to get the thing home to the Chesapeake. But that’s exactly what Lee and Lily Gunn did with their 52-foot cabin cruiser, Maestra. “My son lives in Ventura, California, and I spotted this boat, on the internet, that happened to be docked there,” says Lee Gunn. During a visit to his son’s home, he decided to check out the boat on a whim.


    Gunn fell in love, made an offer and made arrangements to have the boat moved from Ventura to the Bay via the Panama Canal. Now the final stages of Maestra’s restoration are being completed by the craftsmen at Colton Point Marina, on the Potomac River near Leonardtown, Md.


    Gunn’s 35-plus-year career as a Navy officer helped shape his decision to buy this particular boat (at press time, he was a vice admiral scheduled to retire in a month). Despite the decidedly yachty luster she exudes today, Maestra’s pedigree is decidedly military. She was one of only six such vessels built and launched in 1965 by Baglietto, an Italian boat company that today builds mostly superyachts. Gunn says that his boat’s hull design is based on the PT and torpedo boats that Baglietto made for the Italian Navy during World War II.


    Unlike the American PT boat hulls of that era, which were made of lightweight plywood, Maestra’s hull is triple-planked, fore-and-aft laid mahogany. Her decks are solid teak. To push all that weight requires plenty of muscle, in the form of twin 350-hp Detroit Diesels. Cruising speed: about 23.5 knots.


    The boat has been under restoration at Colton Point since the end of February. Gunn says he and Lily have both spent copious amounts of elbow grease to keep the project moving forward, but that it’s definitely a labor of love. Now Maestra-named for Lily, a conductor, composer and former director of the Twentieth Century Music Ensemble of San Diego-is almost completely refurbished, inside and out. She is indeed music on the water.