Circe is docked, presently, alongside of Michael’s Marine Solutions workshop, located at the piers of Lake Union Drydock. Coincidently, Circe was built at Lake Union Drydock in 1932, and is briefly featured in a Lake Union Drydock promotional video.
At nearly ninety years old, Circe requires both frequent and specialized maintenance. No longer actively racing, Stan Keck converted her from her racing form into a charterable cruiser in the early 1980’s. While extensive, the changes maintain her charm, sleek lines, and considerable performance. Stan added an inboard engine, staterooms, galley, and extended cabin house.
Previous alterations by Raye Cooke in the 1930’s added five feet to the stern. In the 1950’s he shortened her mast by over twenty feet and her boom by six, changing the rigging from a traveling backstay to a fixed backstay. Left largely untended in the 1970’s, Circe suffered from rot and neglect, until Stan acquired her from Raye Cooke’s stepson Jack Seaborn and began restoration and renovation. By the 1990’s Circe proudly projected her heritage, class, and capability.
Now, in the 2020’s, the work continues. Owners Michael and Cornelia Gifford are modernizing much of the living areas. Being her caretakers for twenty-five years, noting what works well and what does not, the Giffords are refining her functionality and comforts, upgrading systems, and improving space utilization.
The skills and materials necessary for her care are rare, for few in the 21st century have seen, sailed or serviced such a unique vessel. It is unlikely anyone could build another boat like her. The thick timbers, rare woods, transitional design, and modern requirements are nearly impossible to assemble and unite.
There is a symmetry that Circe’s current repairs and reformation occur where she was originally built. While the people who first built her have long passed, her presence at the shipyard and in the community continue to inspire and cultivate a sense of pride.