Three and a half years ago standing in an obscure storage area deep in the bowels of The Port Of Los Angeles I made a hand shake deal on I boat I didn’t have the money to pay for. I couldn’t afford to ship her home, let alone to a complete refit on the then 27 year old boat.
In hindsight I should of moved myself to Southern California with its 340 days a year of golden sunshine, dry weather endless summer. I brought the boat to Washington because of the access I had to good do-it yourself boat yards, reasonable long term storage rates and of course the best sailing the world has to offer. Unfortunately for us little guys the days of the do-it yourself boatyards are coming to an end.
As much as we bitch about the weather around here winters in the Salish are pretty wonderful and short enough that we can sail a full 9 months of the year in reasonable comfort. We had hoped to hang the boat in Port Townsend for the winter of 2015 to dry her hull out while we stomped around the tropics looking for winter employment to build our kitty for the last and worst part of our refit. Sookie needs a new barrier coat, and her 30 year old stainless steel pintles and gudgeons are begging to be replaced along with her original cockpit thru hulls. We also want to fill in her prop cut out. This is an easy 6 months on the hard, six winter months would be ideal.
We’ve been hearing rumors for quite some time but it seems 2015 will be the year dragon so to speak. If the rumors are true we won’t be able to afford to leave the boat in Port Port Townsend nor will we be allowed to do our own work so our eyes are looking south. For us its a damned if you do and damned if you don’t. We are both really excited about sailing south down the west coast but not until we have our steering system rebuilt. We have found only one yard in California where we can afford long term rates so Ventura may become or home for next winter. If Southern California fails it will be straight to Mexico, back on the hard and finally the last major piece to this puzzle will be complete.
Neither of us are ready to leave these beautiful waters but both of us desperately want year round sailing and prefer to live off the hook rather than the dock. So our calendar has three big red question marks on it. One on July 1st, one on September 1st and one on October 1st. Only time will tell how and when we set off to start the next phase of our refit but we both are ok with a half fished boat carrying us from boatyard to boatyard in search of endless summer and crystal clear waters.
Our search for a wind vane continues. The constant fight with condensation and mold continues. Winter storms are stacked one on top of the other, but this system is almost warm and balmy and a full 40 degrees warmer than the last, summer is coming and life is good.
“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” ~ John Steinbeck