I, being a lurker around here for a while now, thought I should introduce myself and say thanks to all of you. This is a bit of an article so you may want to skip it. I don't mind. Otherwise, on with the tale.
I am probably best described as an accident waiting to happen by others, yet those who know me would likely dispute that title (jeez, I hope they would anyway...).
I woke up at 30 years of age, heading into a full-time programming job, and said to the wife "What the hell am I getting up every day for again?".
Well, we both realized that we hadn't any answer to that question, and after 2 weeks of deliberations the decision was made to drop everything at 35, get on a boat, and go somewhere that we would never have to wear socks again.
That was 4.5 years ago. This spring, in the midst of a recession, I emptied the bank account by way of a boat I saw one morning that had no mast, some rigging (apparently all of it), buckets to catch the water in the cabin, a motor sitting in a garage somewhere in pails and a set of sails, (unknown quantity).
Now is probably a good time to review the 2nd paragraph of this post again"...best described as an accident waiting to happen..." :-)
Really though, I finally felt it. After 4 years of these sailing forums, craigslist, various used boat sites, magazines and uncountable bottles of whiskey, I felt it.
True to form, those around me offered their support and congratulations, the advisers I kept close at hand also gave their stamp of approval:
"Well, it floats";
"Are most of the pieces even there?";
"Are you sure you want to buy that?";
"It might work";
(I didn't hear any "it's sinking!" or "this is the sailors equivalent of a 4/19 scam" so I took it as a good sign.)
I paid for my first boat in cash, in full, a week after I saw it. The previous owner was kind enough to deliver the pile of standing rigging he had, all the interior pieces, the motor (in pails in the back of his pickup truck), the mast (the bent one rotting for 2 years on the rack at the rigging company), a 150% genoa, a mainsail, a spinnaker, and transferred the moorage to me with the first month paid for. (a few weeks later, he even pitched up with a jib which he forgot existed but the sail loft hadn't).
So there I was, living in the big city with a sort-of boat 5 hours away in a marina on an island, and a motor in my father-in-laws garage. Ahhhh, life was good then.
I spent the first month or two traveling back and forth to the island every Friday to work on my new beloved, and soon found that that was going to wreck me, so I changed to a 4-day week as a programmer , and took on a Saturday job down the road from my marina at a local boat store. I still work there today, and could not have done half of what I have done without the employee discounts
Funny how one buys a boat to spend Saturdays on, then gets a Saturday job to support the boat one bought to spend Saturdays on...
Anyways, I faithfully left home Thursday afternoons, worked on the boat Thursday night, then the motor on Fridays, went to the boat store on Saturdays, and Sundays, beaten, broke and tired, headed for home again.
I have been doing this now for 4 months, and the results? Well, I am proud enough of them.
* I rigged my mast, ran new halyards internally (1st gen cal 29's had all cable/rope splices & were external and I had no running rigging for the boat)
* Learned what the hell a halyard is...
* Stepped the mast with help from a un-named rigger (who thinks only MRT riggers should have rigging knowledge. Like, really! Does he think I don't know what a halyard is?)
* Rebuilt the entire freshwater system + repaired the rather weathered manual water-pumps
* repaired/installed the entire electrical system from the 12v lights to electronics. (only thing that was fine was the shore power)
* 80% refinished the interior of the boat.
* installed new propane stove/oven.
* Installed a boom, ran up the sails, and learned all about reefing systems (I have settled on a jiffy reefing system)
* Built the engine-from-buckets that came with my boat. It's a Volvo Penta MB10-A (ugh. gas engine, i know, i know, don't even say it)
3 weeks ago, I started my engine for the first time, on sawhorses in my father-in-laws garage.
2 weeks ago I lowered the inboard into the engine room on the boat by myself with a jury-rigged boom-crane setup with the down-haul for the heavy lifting
1 week ago I got an outboard and hung it out back on the really wobbly kicker bracket.
2 days ago, with my wife making her first major appearance on the vessel, I secured the inboard on the new engine bed I'd built with some big old screws and some 2x4's so it couldn't slip & slide and we set out for the maiden voyage of s/v Scotch Mist with the sails on deck, and the outboard purring.
That last part isn't totally true.
Well, what I meant to say was after announcing proudly that we were going sailing on Sunday morning, I lowered the kicker and promptly ripped all the ignition wiring apart( Isn't that a sign?), and spent the first 45 minutes of my maiden voyage at the dock rewiring the outboards electric start. Go ahead, ask me if I accounted for the length the motor has to drop on the bracket to reach the water >:-(
1.87 days ago, we set off on our maiden voyage in s/v Scotch Mist, and after me single-handing out of my berth and into the harbor, (and avoiding the near-fatal heart attack I probably should have had) we were on our way.
We traveled along for a solid 5 minutes rounding the marina and headed out the channel destined for open waters. At this point I decided that I should really be more worried as my visible shaking wasn't settling me down the way it looked like it should so I started to check the fuel can.
Every 10 seconds.
I swear that 2 bucks worth of fuel in that can seemed as though it would last a really long time when I was at the dock.
I didn't have enough fuel to light a cigarette so I decided that to be on the safe side I would stop at the gas bar on the way out of the channel.
We puttered past 2 gas bars which had closed signs on the door and lo and behold I was in the outflow now so I decided that the strain on the motor would lessen, and I would have enough fuel to reach the gas bar, I stopped worrying.
10 seconds after I stopped worrying, I saw the gas bar in all its glory.... and I also saw the 6 boats already tied up to it, and the 2 boats waiting to get in.
It was in that split second I wished the head had a holding tank so I didn't have to bare my shame in the channel.
"Honey, I think I am going to go back to the last gas bar, and get some more fuel there because this one looks a little busy." I said, as I hove to, and revved the little Johnson up hoping to gain a knot or 2 before it ran out of gas.
I made it to the gas bar, and even though the sign on the door said closed, I was secretly jumping up and down because I *wasn't* the fool bobbing around in the middle of the harbor having run out of gas.
My wife found the intercom, and a kid came bounding down the dock a minute later (it turns out that the open/closed sign probably hasn't ever been used) and gave us 10 bucks worth of fuel. I told the wife that we should go back now after our "Shakedown cruise" and get ready for the trip back to the mainland, and I would resolve all the new issues I found next weekend.
It turns out that I can single-hand my cal 29 into my mooring like a seasoned pro and that is the part my loving wife expounds upon when she recounts last weekends experience, bless her soul...
Anyways this was to be an introduction and I ramble on sometimes, so let me get back to saying hello.
My name is Byron and I an the proud owner of a beat up old cal 29 (s/v Scotch Mist) here in the west coast of BC. My hat goes off to all of you who make this information available, and I hope that I can continue to glean those tidbits from this forum for a long time to come. Maybe someone else will also learn something from me one day like, for instance, how to moor a boat single-handed when sweating profusely and shaking like a paint mixer...
Thanks and hello to all of you!