By Jim Shroeger
The word serendipity means: an apparent aptitude
for making accidental fortunate discoveries; or if you like real
short one word definition; serendipity means lucky.
When I first saw the Westwind that would totally occupy my waking
hours for the next year I was forced to use extreme imagination
to look past what I was seeing! It was hard to believe that this
was a "fortunate discovery".
She was a complete wreck! The original cover was in shreds, she
was covered with pitch and pine needles, her cradle boards were
missing so her interior looked like a bad day at the car wash
and her exterior was completely messed up! Why would anyone look
twice at such a mess? She was a Paceship Westwind and through
all the grime and crud her true potential shown through!
We brought her home on day, late in August and set about planning
her restoration. As we live in northern Lower Michigan our job
list had to be divided into warm weather and cold weather tasks.
After a thorough cleaning and 'de-pine needling' we took stock
of what we had to work with. Some intrepid boatwright had at one
time decided to correct a small flaw in the gel coat by attacking
it with a belt sander; ( go figure). When the dust had settled
he had succeeded in completely ruining the entire top sides! This
then, is where Serendipity's rebirth would begin.
It took three weeks of filling, sanding, fairing and re sanding
to get the hull smooth enough to apply the first coat of primer.
The good news in all of this was that the primer went on great
and the hull actually was fair and smooth! About this time Mother
Nature made her little contribution to our project by announcing
that Old Man Winter was here. We had just enough time to create
a winter cover that provided protection for the hull but allowed
access to the interior so we could make measurements and patterns
for the next phase of the project: Interior renovation.
|Some of the pictures show the hull after the
three weeks of sanding etc., ( can you imagine what it looked
like before we started?)
You may click
on any pic to see a larger version
|The interior was the result of the previous owner's philosophy
of boat repair "tear out everything, throw it in a box and
have a yard sale!" The only piece of wood in the entire interior
was a badly fitted hunk of 3/4" plywood where the main cabin
bulkhead used to be.
|Needless to say; we were starting from scratch! Thanks to the
Paceship web site and several Westwind owners; in particular Tom
Ouellette who sent pictures of his WW24 "Willow", for
getting us the needed details to begin renovation of the interior.
We had to develop a new mast support system, as the old one was
no where to be seen. For details of this and other Serendipity projects
check out wwww.westwind24.com you can also see the new main cabin
bulkhead in the photos that accompany this article.
||The winter months were passed doing all the
wood repair projects that were needed to make Serendipity
into a beautiful lady. New cradle boards, repaired and refinished
companionway hatch, repaired fore deck hatch,new wooden window
frames in the main cabin, new wooden main cabin sole, new
opening ports in the forward cabin, completely refinish original
sea rails and bulkhead trim, ( yes we actually saved some
original wood). (We selected oak as our interior wood because
it is a light colored wood and makes the compact size of the
interior seem much brighter and roomier.), new oak skin on
the aft cabin bulkhead, refinish and repair of
|the original plate rack and chart rack, building new instrument
boxes, installation of three new electronic instruments, complete
repainting of the interior surfaces and many more projects that
escape me at the moment. Just about the time my sliver quota was
approaching its maximum, the sun shone through the shop window and
spring announced itself.
Now the fun part began!! Off with the winter cover, check the hull
for a final sanding and filling, on with the last coat of primer
and finally the finish coat!! ( We selected Interlux Top Lac one
part Polyurethane because it hardens like gel coat, has a high gloss,
can be applied with a brush but will level up like a spray job.)
After three coats of Top Lac the top sides did indeed look like
new. The end was in sight! We did the deck and exterior cabin with
Interlux Brightsides ( Bright White).
|After the painting we moved back inside and began the installation
of all the winter projects. After another month of fitting, shaping
and cussing we were ready to go! In addition to all the renovation
work on the boat itself, we also had a new trailer made. Serendipity
had her own set of wheels!
||The transfer from the old trailer to the new
trailer had several anxious moments, but that is a whole different
The launch day finally arrived, the new trailer worked perfectly
and she slid back into her proper element after being on the
beach for six years!
|A day was spent fitting out and then on to her
shakedown cruise. She behaved like the true lady that she
is. No surprises and no disasters, just a great sail with
a great boat.
|She was worth every once of sweat, every ache and pain and all
the planing that went into her rebirth. Would I do it again; you
bet! Are we looking forward to great sailing adventures; yes we
are! Finding this Westwind and bringing her back to life was our
Serendipitous event! Lets go sailing, what do you say?