07/06/2012 02:51 EDT | Updated 09/05/2012 05:12 EDT

Launch of rebuilt Bluenose II delayed until end of the year: premier

LUNENBURG, N.S. - The scheduled launch of the rebuilt Bluenose II has been delayed.

Premier Darrell Dexter confirmed Friday that Nova Scotia's sailing ambassador, undergoing a $17-million restoration from the keel-up, won't return to the water until some time "toward the end of the year."

The original plan was to have the sleek schooner back in the water this summer, in time for a premiers meeting in Halifax later this month.

However, Dexter said that won't happen because the sailboat requires more work at the historic shipyard in Lunenburg.

The premier, who was in Lunenburg to announce a $460,000 investment in the boat building industry, said the delay stems from the fact that there's no template for a one-of-a-kind project.

"The reality is that when you take a project of this size, you put in time horizons and they have some flexibility," he said after the announcement.

"They're moving along at a pace that will allow them to complete it by the end of the year."

Dexter said even though the boat will remain on land until later this year, the construction site — the same place for the original Bluenose was built in 1921 — continues to attract curious tourists.

"The project has been a great draw for Lunenburg," he said, adding that he understands the project remains on budget.

The Bluenose II, launched in 1963, is a replica of the original Bluenose, a Grand Banks fishing schooner that won worldwide acclaim for its graceful lines and flat-out speed.