IYRS Summer Gala raises more than $350,000

NEWPORT, R.I. – Organizers have deemed the International Yacht Restoration School’s annual Summer Gala a success after it raised $368,000 for the school’s educational programs in yacht restoration, according to a statement from IYRS last week.

That amount exceeds the school’s fundraising target of $350,000 and doubles what was raised at the event in 2004.

“The success of the evening was attributable to so many people—our corporate supporters, advertisers, auction donors, staff, volunteers and friends—and it signaled a clear message: that so many people share a passion for IYRS’s mission of preserving America’s maritime heritage,” said Brenda Wilson, who co-chaired the event with Chuck Townsend, president and CEO of Condé Nast Publications.

More than 600 people attended the evening, which had a “Gilded Age” theme to celebrate the era of the 133-foot 1885 schooner yacht Coronet now being restored at the school.

With dinner tickets sold out on the eve of the gala, organizers knew they had potential to reach their $350,000 target. But a live and silent auction run by Christie’s—with some 30 items up for bidding, including an IYRS-restored boat, maritime artwork and vacation and sailing opportunities generously donated by individuals and organizations—pushed the event past its fundraising target.

Items such as an IYRS-restored Beetle Cat, an expedition charter to Tierra del Fuego with Skip Novak’s Pelagic Expeditions and a trip for two to the 23rd America’s Cup in Valencia, Spain, were items particularly prized by bidders.

Based in Newport, IYRS is a center for maritime preservation and restoration that offers full- and part-time educational programs. Students have already restored a fleet of classic yachts that would have otherwise been left to ruin, and the school has transformed a once-abandoned section of waterfront into a thriving destination that draws international students and visitors. Plans for expansion are currently underway.

Sponsors of the IYRS Summer Gala included: Louis Vuitton, Elizabeth Arden, Inc., Condé Nast Publications, L’Oreal USA, Pusser’s Rum, Ltd., Quad/Graphics, Saks Incorporated Foundation, and Thames River Properties.

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