Decisions were made naturally over time. “I liked being onsite in New Bedford because I was able to change and manipulate things as we went along, as opposed to following one predetermined plan,” Kristen says. “We decided which team members excelled at which type of work and let them apply their creativity. We were really blessed to have found a group of true craftsmen who could take a hammer and chisel to a piece of mahogany and create a thing of beauty.”

Saviors and Sacrifice Saviors and Sacrifice Saviors and Sacrifice

Examples of fine woodworking abound throughout the ship, including the custom master bed with hand-planed columns and decorative carvings, built-in breakfast nook off the galley, and spiral staircase between the main and lower decks. Kristen relied on recessed lighting and wall lamps to illuminate spaces without adding clutter or accumulating heat. Maritime paintings—most by New England artists—create focal points and add to the vintage feel of the interior.

Saviors and Sacrifice

Now that the refurbishment is complete, the luxury vessel offers six staterooms, six and a half bathrooms, two galleys (one for crewmembers), a dining room, main salon, office, and an entertainment room. With eight AC/heat zones, Wi-Fi, phones, televisions, DVD players, and a fully equipped gourmet kitchen, there is no shortage of technology onboard. Such creature comforts are a far cry from the ship’s more functional amenities for its typical Coast Guard crew of 19.

Unlike so many others, the Goldens’ lightship does not stay put: She is available for charters to Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Newport, Boston, and even New York. Last summer, the lightship was a bright addition to Nantucket’s Opera House Cup as part of Panerai’s Classic Yacht Challenge. Visitors and event VIPs delighted in personal tours led by Bill Golden. The Goldens and their nine-year-old son enjoy it as much as possible when it is docked near their home. Their son’s second-grade class recently took a fieldtrip to view the vessel and learn about its history.

Saviors and Sacrifice

“When we first bought the boat, we received e-mails from all over the world from people who were stationed on it, thanking us for saving her,” says Kristen. “We’ve even invited several of them onboard. We so much enjoy being able to share this valuable piece of history with everyone,” she relates. “The lightship is a gift and we feel lucky to be part of her continuing journey.”

For more information about charters, vacation rentals, and hosting events aboard the Nantucket Lightship, call (617) 821-6771 or log on to

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Jennifer Sperry is a freelance writer based in New Bedford.

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