When I purchased Sookie 46 months ago I knew I was getting in over my head. This little boat had been sailed hard and put away wet. With a boat like the Falmouth Cutter you can’t just stroll into your local West Marine and expect to find what you need. Virtually every piece of her rebuild has been fabricated and designed both for her and for us.
On my extremely limited budget it can and often does feel like it has taken forever. My choices were finance a perfect boat and be tied to the dock with mortgage payments for 20 years or find a boat I could afford to pay cash for and rebuild her as I go. I expected a slow process in the beginning but also knew her progress would be exponential.
New quarter berth cushions and lee cloths cost us a fortune but they also represent the fact that we have or are near finishing a major stage of our project. My philosophy when it comes to boats has been unchanged since my first boat purchase back in the 80’s My hard and fast rule is pay cash, after that it goes in stages. First I make it a safe boat, then I make it a comfortable boat then I make it a pretty boat.
Aligning my priorities is often like trying to solve a rubiks cube. Sookie was home built and while the builder in my opinion came up with the best and safest Falmouth Cutter ever built he also strayed for Lyle Hess’s design a bit including not building a boomkin. We have a boomkin on the boat now but our boom is 18″ too short to finish the boom gallows which will finish our lifelines, our current main is cut low so it won’t fit with the new gallows. I have a entire chandlery worth of fittings on the boat but the process is going painfully slow. In order to add lifelines the way I want them I also need a new boom and a new mainsail which literally will end up costing $8000 to add a piece of string.
Like all projects I have been doing them in stages. Our new stanchions and bases just arrived so when I finish installing them I will have lifelines from the front end of the cockpit to the bow. I scored a descent old main sail cut to Lyle’s specs and have most of the parts for the boomkin but Le Feil has gone out of business so the search for a boom continues. As each new piece of gear is fabricated and installed it literally doubles our pleasure. I knew full well this boat would end up costing me 100K from start to finish and take 10-15 years to complete but I also had no doubt that she would well worth the investment.
We have given ourselves till the end of February to finish paying for this years projects then we start saving a few bucks for play time. The remainder of this years projects will be done as we cruise. Looking back on my choice to rebuild an old boat I’m pleased with my decision. Had I chosen to finance one of Sookies sisterships ready to cruise I would still owe 55k on her and have 16 more years of payments.
I’m often asked why I need such fancy boat. Needs got nothing to do with it.