Pagan Moon History

Great Lakes Shipbuilding in Chicago built her in 1932 – apparently for an older couple that sailed with a captain. The design is a Crocker Sea Dawn #100 built as a staysail schooner- named Virginia Lee. The design called for a centerboard, but unfortunately was changed to a shallow iron keel; she draws 4 ½ feet.
Don't have much info about those times, but she ended up in Ft. Lauderdale before the war. During the war, she ended up as one of the "silent" fleet of sailboats that were part of the war effort. She was fitted with submarine listening devices and sailed around the Caribbean listening for German subs. She went into the Chesapeake after the war and around 1953 the Ritchie family acquired her. Around that time her name was changed to Pagan Moon, and I never found out why. There is a Pagan river in the south end of the Chesapeake, so I suppose that had something to do with her name.

The Ritchies brought her to MA. She was in the New Bedford Yacht club and sailed out of Padanaram Harbor. He was in the Cruising Club of America and was very meticulous about her care. It was in Hurricane Carol in 1954 and apparently went over the bridge in Padanaram and ended up in the marsh, badly damaged. She landed next to Malay, a famous sailboat that had done well in the Newport to Bermuda races. The owners hesitated to fix her up, but the friendly naval architect that looked at Malay gave them some advice and they decided to fix her.

They went back to Crocker and he redrew her rig with a Marconi main and gaff fore. They never found her bronze rudder.

The Ritchies had one daughter that got very seasick, so they did a lot of gunkholing – up thru even ME and New Brunswick. In the 70's Mr. Ritchie got a disease that affected his balance and they had to sell her.

Some guy bought her to sail around the world, kept her one year and sold her. The new owner didn't sail much and she was put in a shed at a boatyard in Westport, MA. Finally they donated her to a "non-Profit" and was put up for sale.

I saw a small classified ad in the paper in Dec. 1988 and since I had never had a good look at a schooner, I went to the boatyard to see her. I never lived near the ocean – only sailed small boats on lakes. No one was there to show anyone around. She was unlocked, 9 wet sails in the bunks, and people poking her with ice picks. I went back the next weekend to see more of the same - someone had stolen the oil running lights and who knows what else. I put a deposit on her and locked her up.

Took a year to get her ready and finally launched her. Got the old saltwater cooled gas Greymarine running shortly after that - once we freed up one valve. We sailed her around for a few years, including some time in ME. When I started working on the big schooners in 1994 , we hauled her and she is sitting by the barn. I have acquired some Silverballi for planking, a diesel, and some tools to start working on her. The horn timber has been replaced with white oak and the whold stern area has to be rebuilt.


Several years ago I asked my buddy Fred to look for a 40 hp diesel for Pagan Moon. He drank a lot in waterfront bars, so I hoped he would come up with something. Pagan Moon had a very tired, heavy, salt water cooled gas 60 hp Greymarine. About 2 years later he called and said, “I got one”. I said “One what?” He said “a diesel - about 40 HP, I’m coming over” “What kind is it?” “ I don’t know – it says Pices on it”. “Pices?” “Yeah, it came out of a 40’ Cheoy Lee, My buddy was buying a dump truck and he spotted it in a barn”.
I called several marinas and no one knew what it was. Gil Plumb finally told me it was and “Isuzu - about 40 hp Pices marinized them before Isuzu did.”
Anyway, it cost me $100 and a few beers - with the transmission. I changed the filters and started it up, then put it in my cellar.
Now that the weather sucks, it is time to do some work on it. Tested the injectors a while ago – need rebuilding. Took a while to get to the internal water pump, trying not to break anything. Pump is OK. The head came off today and thing look good so far.
Will paint it up and get it running again.