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Group hopes to restore Hemingway's boat

Craft at estate in Cuba is where he wrote “The Old Man and the Sea”
/ Source: The Associated Press

Ernest Hemingway's 40-foot, black-hulled fishing boat, the Pilar, could be getting a little restorative nip and tuck.

Local watercraft preservation specialist Dana Hewson and members of the Boston-based Hemingway Preservation Foundation are heading to Finca Vigia, Hemingway's estate in Cuba, where he will photograph and examine the Pilar.

"Professionally, this is a really fascinating project for me," Hewson told The Day of New London. He works at Mystic Seaport.

Hemingway sailed the boat when he lived in Cuba from 1939 to 1960, and is said to have conceived some of his greatest works, including "The Old Man and the Sea," while on board.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Finca Vigia on its 2005 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places even though it's not in the United States.

The Boston group is working with the Cuban government to preserve the Pilar, along with Hemingway's home and thousands of Hemingway drafts, manuscripts, letters, photographs and books stored there.

The fear is that the warm, humid conditions will eventually damage the papers, which include the never-published epilogue of "For Whom the Bell Tolls."