1982 William Nightingale 29.5′ sloop. Wood and epoxy construction, fin keel, 6′ draft, 9′ beam. Has charm.
You can take the $0.10 tour c/o Jeff, by clicking on this link.
Harmony is working on organizing a $10 tour if any are interested.
Like every boat that has ever had an owner who loved it, our boat is unique. Unlike every other boat, however, Serenity is literally the only one of her kind ever made. Designed and constructed by William Nightingale, who apparently once owned a boat works on Lake Washington, the boat was intended to be first of a new line of production vessels. Nightingale had previously earned renown for designing “The Cub”, a small but graceful wooden boat design for students and scouts. With Serenity, he put his mind toward designing the perfect racer/cruiser.
He built the hull from cedar strips nailed together as they were added, then applied epoxy and fiberglass on the inside and outside of the hull to keep water out and provide extra protection. The 1-page typed history of the boat that came with it quotes Nightingale only once, saying “She could go up north and break ice!”.
Her decks are attractive and the cabin is 6′ 2″ high with a big square wooden dance floor in the middle. The living area is all teak and has many thoughtful touches, including many I’m sure we still haven’t discovered. We love how Serenity feels like a cabin on the water — rustic, a little beat down, but roomy (for our needs), with lingering beauty from her youth and a solid skin.
The deck paint is covered in all the nicks and scratches of living. Our engine has on past occasion generated more embarrassment and crisis than actual locomotion. So we love her, but we expect her to let us down from time to time too. We do our best to keep her protestations minor.
When we departed Oregon in August 2012 we discovered that there was a crack at the keel/hull joint and our whole bow was rotten. We spent the first month of our adventure in the boatyard giving the boat a nose job and repairing her smile. That repair spanned a month of living in a boat yard in a small seaside town. It was so costly and fraught with stress, but after having lived it, if you offered that to us as a travel package, we would buy it. Well, maybe not, but we’d be missing out.
Standing on the phone with a friend on the Berkeley docks weeks later, I looked in the water to see that our rudder was split open like a banana. It’s a good thing it didn’t fall off out in the ocean, so at least there’s that nice thing to say about it. We spent another two weeks getting to know the boat community and crafted a smart repair, but not without complications.
Once restored, we were off! Not a darn thing has been wrong with our boat since then, from San Fran south to the very end of Panama. That is if you don’t count the time the propeller fell off or when the autopilot broke and the tiller bracket sheared off, or the time we had to bypass the freshwater cooling system on the engine because the ocean is too warm. Someday I’ll teach a master class on how to jury rig your diesel.
As a sailing machine, Serenity is a thrill ride. She’s a small, narrow, fin keel, tiller-driven creature made of smooth dry wood. Traditional wooden boats are penetrated by sea water, swimming through the ocean as the ocean swims through it. Fiberglass boats are essentially high technology plastic, which does I’m not sure exactly what, but I bet they tend to warp. With the composite hull of the Nightingale, Serenity cuts and leaps across the water like a knife in flight. There are bound to be complications with this on a large and unforgiving sea. Therefore when sailing we prize the comfort of control, to soothe our mothers and ourselves. It hasn’t been awfully hard to find, so far.
Anyway, that’s our boat. If you see us around, come say hi.*
*Except not, because we’re not there anymore.