By Scott Sullivan
Saugatuck-Douglas’ ship has come in. “Serenity” is up and sailing.
The 65-foot authentic wood schooner docked, docked since June near Tower Marine’s mini-lighthouse at 129 Union St., Douglas, has been cleared by the U.S. Coast Guard to start offering public cruises, co-owner Tim Morris told The Commercial Record Saturday.
The Morris family, who have offered charters aboard their 6-pack sailboat “Margaret Ann” in South Haven since 2010, “can’t wait,” said Tim Morris, “to share ‘Serenity’ with folks who call Saugatuck home and/or come to visit this special corner of Michigan.”
The two-masted, gaff-rigged schooner was designed by Tom Colvin and built by Custom Steel Boats in Arapaho, N,C. She boasts two cabins and a teak-accented deck.
“Serenity” was first built as a cargo schooner but later converted to a passenger vessel to begin her new adventure as a chartered schooner in historic Yorktown on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. This marks her first year sailing on and near the Great Lakes.
“In my former life,” said Tim Morris, “I had a family sailboat in Saugatuck. Instead of camping, we went boating. It’s always been a comfortable fit.”
He and his daughter, Erin, have been in the charter business for 10 years.
“Erin came back to South Haven from the East Coast, where she worked on a giant schooner, and said, ‘Dad, we should try to start a little sailing business.’ I was busy then with a gallery we own in downtown South Haven, but we decided to try it.”
Sailing South Haven grew quickly. “My son is great with websites and supported us by building one.
“In South Haven,” Tim Morris continued, “we’ve done tours for six people at a time. We treat our low-key and casual tours like your time, rather than your time on someone else’s boat.
“People love trips up and down the river in Saugatuck with all the beautiful homes and wildlife,” he continued.
“Serenity has a lot of the warmth and varnished wood we are looking for. It’s been updated and in great condition.”
The schooner can carry as many as 29 passengers and will offer cruises this summer through September. Guests can bring their own wine or beer; Aa cooler will be provided. All are welcome to pitch in and help handle the sails or kick back, relax and enjoy the scenery.
For more information, visit sailingsaugatuck.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (269) 214-2445.
By Scott Sullivan