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Serendipity's Story
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 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 story.
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?

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