I’m further away from anywhere I’ve ever been, somewhere in Oregon. I look out the window at the rainy sky and feel the ocean as if it’s close enough to touch, today it is. You can blame sailors like Robin Lee Graham, Tania Adbi, Brian Caldewell and Lin And Larry Pardy. There a too many to list but they all have one thing in common, simple voyages on salty little pocket cruisers, small is beautiful.
Today will be spent in front of the fire with a glass of whiskey and good company. My sketch book has been out all weekend trying to sort provisions, where to add the new heater and water tanks and for the umpteenth time diving into electronic navigation to aid my paper charts.
All boats are not created equally and I feel fortunate to have one with a true full keel and a stern hung rudder the two most crucial elements when it comes to my personal choice for safety and reliability. My last three boats have had stern hung rudders and I wouldn’t consider anything else for my personal needs.
Fitting two people into such a tiny space is not and will never be easy which is why I chose a boat with an outboard engine as opposed the a good solid diesel which I often find my self desiring, every inch of interior storage counts. Somehow in my misaligned mind I still want a Bristol Channel Cutter 28 and there is one patently waiting for me but I just can’t push the button so for now all my efforts are going into Sookie.
She’s 95% perfect as she sits and with a lot of hard work and a little luck I will finish all of her minor changes including a soft privacy door for her v-berth incase somebody wants to stay up late or sleep the day away..I haven’t chosen a gimballed stove yet but alcohol is looking like it will be my choice but a nice little propane burner is a very close second. A new larger, sun/rain awning for the cockpit and lots of little racks in the galley for spice and oils to keep everything at hand. I will top it all off with a small solar panel and an LED tricolor bulb. All interior lights will remain incadesnt because I can’t stand the horrible light of LED for her cozy interior.
By the end of the season Sookie will be 100% off grid and ready for any adventure we choose, warm or cold. I’ll be removing small bits of her interior storage to make a little more and a more comfortable space but nothing major.
This year I will also finally complete her lifelines bringing them all the way to the stern of the boat with lee cloths to lean into for complete relaxation under sail or on the hook. The little refinements will make a huge differences on this tiny little platform.
There is a space for everything on this little ship, by design Lyle Hess created a masterpiece in minimalism but what more could you expect from a designer after 50 years of designing boats for other people Sookie is a product of design for himself. She is slow wet and tender, just like I like her.
And after two days in civilization we realized we could never stay for long and started to plan our next adventure.- Bob Bitchin (Letters from the Lost Soul)