NISCA 1924



NISCA, a 40’, 1924 Piute Class, Express Cruiser from the William Hand, Jr. collection was built on the Connecticut River at the Portland Yacht Yard, Portland, Connecticut and has remained afloat in Connecticut waters for most of her 88 years apart from an excursion to Florida in 1987 by transport and again on her own bottom in 1995 and being homeported in the 1930’s in Rockport, Maine. NISCA has made several excursions downeast since then.

Given the name PATTIE II by R. E. Patterson of New Haven, Connecticut in 1924, she cruised the New England waters for about six years briefly acquiring Rockport, Maine, as a homeport.

Sold to Judge William Malone around 1930 the name changed to NISCA II after a former outboard powered ‘rowboat’ he motored down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans in the 1920’s. The name has stayed with her to this day.

William Hand, Jr., produced preliminary design drawings in the 1920’s for RUDDER and other magazines on a monthly basis from his office in New Bedford, MA. Although the original plans for NISCA were lost in a fire at the Portland Yacht Yard after she was built, her design is like many of Hand’s drawings originating in the 1920’s .

The 1924 saloon was open to the elements having a pipe frame with canvas top and hard windshield. The second saloon, circa 1930 was a raised panel mahogany fully enclosed design. In the 1950’s a modern Chris Craft style house with fly bridge, said to be designed by Winthrop Warner, remained until 1989. From 1989-94 NISCA underwent extensive restoration and was re-launched with a new saloon, bruynzeel decks, new apron, keel, stem, oak floor timbers, 100 new oak ribs, cedar planking (carvel), diesel motor, and updated electrical, navigation, plumbing and refrigeration systems. The new house was built in a 1930’s style from teak. The cabin sole is teak and holly over oak timbers. A full galley with two berths and original head are forward. The main stateroom, shower and second head are aft of the saloonand  lower helm station. The documented design is 40’ LOA x 9.5′  at the deck and 7.5′ at the waterline.

Over time three engines, starting with a Van Blerck, 200hp, E-8,  then a 125-130hp Sterling FS, followed by a turbo, GM-471-T, 190 HP, have all given way to the present ISUZU MTC-3, six cylinder turbo, inter-cooled, 235 hp diesel motor.

Since restoration NISCA has won more than 15 awards including six Best in Show, 40’ and Under, awards at Mystic Seaport’s Antique and Classic Boat Rendezvous.

NISCA has been recognized in two publications, Ron McClure’s Classic Wooden Motor Yachts, 2003, and The Book of Wooden Boats, Vol. III, Benjamin Mendlowitz and Maynard Bray, 2010.


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