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I’m beginning to feel like nowhere man, not a single place where I can work on Sookie, and a dismal employment scene.  I turn my attention to Sookie and and the neighboring yacht I’m helping out with a little splicing.  Both heavy displacement full keel cruising yachts, one displacing 60,000lbs and one a smidge under 8000lbs.

At 5 net tones Sookie is the only pocket cruiser I know of that can be US Coatgaurd documented.  I turned her little galley into a rigging station, I’m always surprised how much space she has for everything.  Her long sweeping forefoot isn’t a true full keel but Lyle Hess was able to find a balance where she will always tack a bit slowly but easily and will heave to instantly with no fuss, this safety factor is why I chose her over all other cruising boats.

Her 33% ballast ratio is spot on and the reason I can haul so much food around without sinking her beyond her lwl.  I’ve been doing an absolute ton of research lately on under 30′ cruising boats and am constantly surprised at the high end ballast ratios, the higher the ratio the more you pay in loss of comefort and load carrying ability.

I searched for years of a FC without an inboard for many reasons and while I’ve cursed the outboard in so many conditions I’m a sailor, not a motor sailor.  Of all my years at sea all of the most frightening and dangerous situations have been while under or do to our powerlant or laying at anchor.  The internal combustion engine is a miserable beast but I still very reluctantly use it on average about 10% of the time.  My brand new Tohutsu, is a joy to have and runs perfectly but she is still auxiallry which means I work hard at not using her if at all possible.  My old Yuloh was a work of art but Sookie is just to small to carry it so a new sculling oar will be added after the new wind vane goes on if I can make it all fit.

Which brings me back to my full keel from her very long waterline to her hollow entry everything about Sookie is easy on the eyes which is why it’s so hard adding solar and at the same time keeping her simple and traditional looking. Finding a place to add a small solar panel is a challange without destroying her beautiful lines.  My new solar charger has arrived, a gift for a friend through AOH so now it’s time to start drilling holes, feeding wire and trying to sneak in a good location.  On a boat of Sookies size the only instillation worth doing is a fixed one and I think I’ve found a home for it and this is super exciting at the prospect of no longer having to pay transient moorage  while cruising to top my batterybank.

The very first thing I did when Sookie arrived from Southern California was to remove everything from the top of her mast, both antennas and the wind chicken.  Nothing makes you a worse sailor than staring up at that damn thing all day with a crick in your neck, it’s also danegeous because you should be staring at the water.  I pulled the deck lights from the spreaders and dewired  half the boat.  Now two small batteries  power nothing but lights and a small cigarette lighter that I can plug my little hand held vhf into to re charge, the big one was given away the first day I was aboard.  My lead line still works perfectly as does my hand held compass for taking bearings and no need for a knot log in this day and age.   It’s both fun and a challange keeping with the tradition of Sookies design and full keel but also her simplicity makes her substantially safer and more fun to sail, or in my case sit around the dock working on her for our next big adventure.

“A sailor’s joys are as simple as a child’s.” – Bernard Moitessier

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