Blog

2012 Blog

Site Overhaul/Book/Videos

Longtime readers of this site have noticed some recent changes. With the assistance of a more tech-savvy friend we have modernized the site layout with added functionality such as a topic search box and videos.

In recent years many people have asked me to publish my book, Across Islands and Oceans, in paperback and ebook format. Until this year the book was only available to read online in html. And though I had spent hundreds of hours over some twenty year period crafting this narrative of my two-year solo circumnavigation, I felt it lacked the final editing needed before publishing. Fortunately for my readers, I found a skilled and sympathetic editor who was willing to exchange his editing labor for my labor refitting his boat. If you have read the earlier online version you may want to check it out again as this version is much improved.

I have at least two more books in mind if I can ever find the time to finish them. One is the story of my 13-year second circumnavigation. The detailed journals of this time are tucked away in a cabinet awaiting editing. The other book would be based on the boat project articles and small boat voyaging advice published on this site. Let's hope these projects don't take as long as the first one...

1970 Alberg 30 Project

Several years ago I was contacted by the owner of a 1970 Alberg 30 who was trying to sort out his options for refurbishing the boat he recently acquired and learn to sail. Problem was he lived and worked in Atlanta and his new boat was in the Chesapeake so the commute to the boat was long and the season for outside boat work was short. He also had no one there to help guide him in his work.

Last year we arranged to have his boat trucked to Brunswick by a shipper from uship.com. At a local marina we transferred the boat from the shipper's trailer to one of my trailers and brought her to my boat shed where Mei and I worked alongside the owner and his wife getting the boat into sailing condition. Some of the projects we did together were replacing the rigging and chain plates and adding an outboard well to replace the missing inboard gas engine. Unused thru-hulls were removed and glassed over, deadlight windows replaced, and seemingly dozens of other jobs large and small were completed.

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 Non-tilting enclosed outboard well. It does fully swivel for side thrust.  On the ICW near St. Simon's Sound.

Last fall we launched the boat and are continuing the work at her slip here in Brunswick. The owners come down on weekends and we sometimes take time off from the ongoing jobs to do some sail training in local waters. The 6hp Tohatsu Sailpro in the outboard well in the lazarette locker is a fairly minimal size, but does manage to push the boat along about 5 knots in calm water.

1968 Alberg 30 Update

As mentioned in the 2011 blog, we have a customer's 1968 Alberg 30 among our backyard boat fleet. This boat has been an ongoing project since we found her neglected at the beginning stages of a previous owner's major renovation at a yard in south Florida. Work continues and this year we have finished most of the exterior work including adding all new exterior teak and redesigning the companionway to incorporate stainless steel tracks and security bars with hinged doors as well as Lexan drop boards. A Norvane windvane was added for self-steering and new furling genoa and battenless mainsail have been ordered.

After seeing the outboard well on the later model A30 mentioned above, the owner of this boat decided to repower with the same 6hp Tohatsu SailPro. Yes, that size motor is considered under-powered for this size boat. The idea is to use actual sailing skills for passage-making and use the motor only as limited propulsion in calm waters. This time I designed and built a tilt-up well that allows the motor to stay in place permanently and easily be tilted up out of the way for drag-free sailing while still being contained within a watertight locker.

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 Alberg 30 companionway with security bars in place.  Enclosed tilt-up outboard well.
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 Motor down in motoring position. You can see the prop on this 25" shaft is almost as low as the original inboard prop was.  Motor swung up in sailing position.

Video - A30 tilt-up well and Norvane installation

Work has now begun on the interior and the plan is for us to get the interior projects started and then move the boat to the owner's home near Jacksonville, FL where he plans to add the finishing touches. He hopes to retire within a few years and sail the boat on an open-ended cruise across the Pacific.

Allied Seawind 30 Project

Another exciting project going on locally is a customer's Allied Seawind 30. The owner sailed from North Carolina to a local marina in Brunswick so we could work on the boat together in a climate that suits year-round boat work and his occasional living aboard. The owner, who works three weeks on, three weeks off shifts on the Gulf oil rigs is a veteran sailor who is doing most of the work himself during his off time. Some jobs we tackled together such as adding a Norvane windvane and pole-mount solar panel and converting the sloppy rack and pinion wheel steering back to tiller.

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 Allied Seawind 30 with sloop rig.  Converting from wheel to tiller steering. Pole-mount 55 watt solar panel and Norvane windvane installed.

This particular boat is one of the rare sloop versions of the popular Thomas Gilmer designed Seawind ketch built by Allied Boat Company of New York. The Seawind Ketch was the first fiberglass boat to circumnavigate and her design is not only exceptionally seaworthy, she is a work of art. 161 boats were launched between 1962 to 73 of which only about 10 were sloop or cutter rigged. Not to be confused with the Seawind II which is a foot longer and has wheel steering.

This Seawind does have a solent stay to allow the versatility and backup of a staysail in place of the complexity of a mizzen mast. She now has new sails, running rigging and reefing gear and is ready to challenge any waters her skipper cares to sail to.

Triton #503 Project Completion

The Triton #503 project boat, previously known as Salty, has now been finished and reborn as Catalyst, in what I call the Triton Voyager Edition since she is now setup for voyaging. The previous owner hired me to begin the refit a few years ago and then sailed the boat locally while continuing the unfinished projects. Time and money lost to new business interests and a marriage contributed to him reluctantly selling the boat last year. Her new owner from California contacted me to finish all the uncompleted projects as well as a new list of his own jobs.

Over a period of several months my wife and I finished the boat and in late March I trailered Catalyst out to her new home port on the West coast. The 2,500 mile coast to coast journey was made more appealing (and less expensive) because I lived aboard the boat at truck stops along the way. It was an odd sensation at first to be towing my temporary home behind me across the Gulf coast's bayou swamps, then western deserts, and then up the mountains while living aboard at night parked between the big trucks as they rumbled in and out at all hours. Since the boat was setup for living aboard at anchor it felt natural to stay aboard on the cross-country journey. I was able to shower sitting in the cockpit footwell under a solar shower bag, cook my dinner in the galley and use the comfortable bunk for each night's sleep. This land cruising was a sometimes awkward, but interesting contrast to life afloat. You can read an article describing the delivery in more detail here:

Trailering a Pearson Triton Coast to Coast

This Triton's job list was extensive and I plan to put together an article detailing the work. Meanwhile some videos and photos are available below.

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 The Triton Catalyst on her cross-country journey.  First shakedown sail off Dana Point.
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 Triton Catalyst tucked into her slip. Two Atom Solar-trackers installed. The outboard is tilted up for storage. Motor can swivel for side thrust which is useful in this packed marina.