IYRS Summer Gala Earns $885,000
2013-07-09By Risa Merl

This year's International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) Summer Gala was one of the most successful yet, raising $885,000 - beating last year's earnings by more than $100,000.

Boat International Media Once again sponsored the event, which raises money for Newport, Rhode Island, school with some of the monies going to technology and equipment purchases that keep students at the forefront of technology in the fast-evolving fields of marine and composites manufacturing. “IYRS continues to build support for the extraordinary student outcomes and the school’s education model,” said IYRS President Terry Nathan. “More than eighty-five percent of our graduates are employed on or about the time they complete their programs. At a time when the conversation in America is about training more people to make and build things, an IYRS education is preparing people for life-long careers of working and thinking through their hands. It is a compelling and important story.”

Guests at the July 6 event were welcomed by an opening cocktail party held in the Restoration Hall, colourfully transformed for the evening. Celebrating its 16th year, the Gala is the finale of a weekend that included viewing installations on the 1885 schooner sailing yacht Coronet - which is now being restored on the IYRS campus - and a luncheon cruise aboard one of three historic vessels. The school’s marina also played a role by hosting historic motor yachts from the McMillen Collection as well as some of the latest creations from Hinckley Yachts.

Dressed in 'St Barth’s Chic' attire, the crowd mingled happily around the array of silent auction items before being seated under a large tent right outside of the 1831 Aquidneck Mill building. Title sponsors Jaquar and Fidelity Investments helped celebrate student achievements at the event with a theme entitled appropriately 'Maker, Builder, Craftsman: Past and Future.' As dinner was served to approximately 610 attendees, the live auction began. Items up for bid included a seven-day charter aboard Whitehawk, a stay in an Oceanside villa in St Barths during the Bucket Regatta and a painting of the Coronet by John Mecray, pictured above.

The highlight of the evening was a concert by Jimmy Buffet and his band, which lasted over an hour and a half. When the music began, the crowd headed to the dance floor smiling and singing the all too familiar tunes.

“It was a great night for IYRS and its supporters,” says Terry Nathan, president of IYRS. “Our co-chairs, Elizabeth and Earl McMillen, provided great imagination and leadership during this gala, and their ability to bring in Jimmy Buffett with the help of their good friend, David Ray, made the evening all the more special.”