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Seabird Yawl, 34 ft., 1933, Olympia, Washington, $8,000, Price reduced 2/24/14 to $3,100, SOLD 2/28/14

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Seabird Yawl, 34 ft., 1933, Olympia, Washington

In 1933 in the city of Seattle a wealthy banker, inspired by Harry Pigeon's exploits, launched his own boat, New Moon, with intentions of eventually circumnavigating the globe. However, life had other plans for him. In 1938, his bank failed. Rather than succumb to financial ruin, the enterprising banker cleared out what remained of the money in the bank's vault, loaded the stash aboard his sailboat, and headed north, for the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean.

Naturally, the Coast Guard was not far behind. They finally caught up with New Moon as she was charging merrily up the Strait. A boarding party was dispatched, but the dinghy, the banker, and the suitcases full of money were nowhere to be found! New Moon had been looking after herself for the previous several hours, and the banker was long gone.

New Moon was dutifully conscripted into a new life with the Coast Guard. When WWII broke out, she was painted up bright orange and, crewed by an old man and a young boy, she spent the war retrieving pilots who crashed in the sea during training on Whidbey Island.

After the war, New Moon was sold to three WAC pilots, who scraped away the orange paint, fixed her up, and took her north, eventually writing a book on the subject. The three women would go on to become pioneering bush pilots in Alaska.

New Moon is a 1933 Seattle-built Seabird yawl. Not an actual Seabird, as she's a bit larger than the original and doesn't exactly match any of the "official" Seabird derivatives, but she's clearly part of the family. As near as I can tell, she's closest to Harry Pigeon's Seagoer but distinctly her own design, and like Harry's has a full keel.

Her hull is cedar, and hardly takes a drop of water, despite being neglected a bit over the years. Her original gasoline engine was replaced with a diesel by the previous owner; I've had a mind to pull the engine as she sails so well but haven't yet. A pair of sweeps in the cockpit would move her along nicely in a calm. She balances quite well under sail or power, and slips through the water nicely. My autopilot is a simple bungee cord wrapped around the tiller (visible in one of the photos). I've also sailed her into her slip at the back of the marina with no trouble; she's quite maneuverable under sail.

She also still has her original shipmate-type wood stove from Everett Stove Works.

Now the bad news: While her hull is tight and in good shape, her painted canvas decks are not. They are cracked in a number of places and the deck needs to be replaced. The wood underneath appears sound from what I can tell, but only pulling the deck completely off will give the full picture of what's under there. The diesel engine also has a maddening oil leak that I've not been able to locate. The boat overall is a little tired, and needs a good deal of cosmetic upkeep. Her rig is functional but should be replaced sometime in the next few years. The wood stove needs some TLC. And some paper wasps chewed a hole in the jib (patched with sail tape, now) while I was away at sea working.

Lest you think she's a disaster, she's not; I lived aboard all last winter with no tarps and a little silicone on the bad spots on deck did the trick. She's tarped up and heated at the moment, and I'm no longer living aboard as she's a bit small for a full-time residence.

I had plans to restore her and possibly even do her up in her rescue boat livery, but I need something a little bit bigger as a full-time home.

Some specs:

  • LOA: 34 feet
  • LOD: 27 feet
  • Beam: ~9 feet
  • Draft: 4' 10"
  • Headroom: Sitting
  • Location: Olympia, WA


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    Seabird Yawl, 34 ft., 1933, Olympia, Washington sailboat

    Seabird Yawl, 34 ft., 1933, Olympia, Washington sailboat

    Seabird Yawl, 34 ft., 1933, Olympia, Washington sailboat

    Seabird Yawl, 34 ft., 1933, Olympia, Washington sailboat

    Seabird Yawl, 34 ft., 1933, Olympia, Washington sailboat

    Seabird Yawl, 34 ft., 1933, Olympia, Washington sailboat

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