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The original item was published from 7/30/2021 10:01:00 AM to 8/4/2021 12:00:05 AM.

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Hampton History Museum

Posted on: July 23, 2021

[ARCHIVED] The Legacy of a Boatbuilder: Vincent Serio and the Hampton One-Design - Monday, August 2, 7-8 pm

Square Serio and Greenlea

The museum’s lectures and concerts are free to museum members, $5 for non-members. Admission is at the door only. There are no advanced ticket sales. Reservations are not required. Seating is first-come, first served. Not yet a member? Join today and save! 

“The Legacy of a Boatbuilder: Vincent Serio and the Hampton One-Design”
Join Vincent J. Serio, III, grandson of Vincent J. Serio, Sr., the designer and original builder of the Hampton One-Design, to hear how an immigrant from Sicily learned boatbuilding and broke into the yacht club community to create a life for his family in the United States. In this personal, yet universal story of the American Dream, Serio will share how his grandfather’s values of craftsmanship and pride in one’s work inspired generations of his family and others. He’ll offer insights into the boatbuilder’s art and the history of the one design movement in sailing after the 1920s.

This talk is presented in conjunction with the museum’s special exhibit "Hampton One: Working, Building, and Racing on the Water" which closes August 22. Featuring a fully restored Hampton One Design sailboat, this image and artifact-rich exhibition explores Hampton's integral ties to, and love of, the water that surrounds us. Learn about the city’s seafood and maritime heritage, and passion for sailing as embodied in the locally developed Hampton One-Design sailboat, and the competitive sailing culture that grew out of it. The exhibit will be open for viewing after the evening's talk.

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Vincent Joseph Serio, Sr. (1896 – 1971)
Vincent Joseph Serio, Sr. was born October 7, 1896, the thirteenth and youngest child of Filippo, a merchant seaman, and Bartola Serio. The family traces its roots to Cefalu, Sicily. The Serio family immigrated through Ellis Island to the United States in 1901. Living first in Baltimore then settling in Newport News.

Young Vincent dropped out of school at age eleven to work in a grocery to help his elderly father support the family. But, his eyes were always on the boats being built near his home. Because he was not yet a citizen, Serio was unable to serve in the US Navy during World War One.  He found work at Newport News Shipyard and quickly proved talented at woodworking and making wooden templates for the steel parts to be cut for ship building, a skill he employed later as a boat builder. Serio honed these skills as an apprentice at the US Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay, Maryland.

In the early 1920s he married Newport News native Margaret Floyd Joynes and pursued his career building stern paddle wheelers on the Ohio River. In 1925, their only child Vincent Joseph Serio, Jr. was born. The young family returned to Newport News in 1926. After briefly working again at the shipyard, Serio began building boats at the first of five locations in Newport News and Hampton. The first location was a modest land-locked lean-to at his home in Newport News. By 1929 he moved his work to the Small Boat Harbor in Newport News.  He remained at this location, Hampton Roads Boat Works, until after World War Two.  Convinced that the economy no longer supported his business, Serio sold Hampton Roads Boat Works.  He briefly moved the shop to Hilton Village in Newport News before his final move to Hampton Creek.

Serio purchased an existing marine railway from Edward Haldeman in 1949.  Shortly after, his new business, Serio Boat Yard, began operations. From here Serio built, repaired, and maintained countless boats, among them approximately 500 Hampton One-Design sailboats.  Serio, Sr. retired from Serio Boat Yard in 1969.  Tinkering and innovating until his last, Serio passed away in 1971.

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Vincent J. Serio, III
Vincent J. Serio, III (“Vince”) is the grandson of Vincent J. Serio, Sr., the designer and original builder of the Hampton One-Design.   Vince grew up in Richmond, VA, graduated from Benedictine High School, and received his Bachelors of Science degree at Virginia Tech.  He earned a Masters of Science before graduating from the Medical College of Virginia as a Doctor of Medicine in 1995.  He moved to Boise, Idaho to complete his residency in Family Medicine.  Vince has practiced medicine for the past 25 years in Idaho and is now an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the University of Washington School of Medicine.  He teaches on the faculty of the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, in Boise. He is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Wilderness Medical Society.

In 1994 he sailed for the first time on his cousin Sal Serio’s Hampton One-Design in the Serio Regatta.  This began a new awakening to the family boatbuilding legacy and a lifelong interest in the sport of sailing and all things nautical.  In 2001 he published an article in Wooden Boat magazine about his grandfather’s work.  In 2012 he served as ship’s physician for the Semester at Sea program, traveling to 17 cities in 13 countries on 5 continents in 100 days. He restored Hampton One-Design #342 in 2009, and races a Macgregor 26 in the local sailing club in Idaho.  He is a board member of the Southern Idaho Sailing Outreach program, which conducts sailing camps for youth in Idaho. Vince is a US Sailing certified instructor.  He lives in Boise, ID with his wife Catherine and daughters Lilia and Sofia.

Top image: Vincent J. Serio, Sr. advises Amos Greenlea on the fit of the centerboard on a Hampton One-Design boat nearing completion, 1950s. Amos Greenlea worked with Serio for about 25 years. Courtesy Vincent J. Serio, III

 

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