Saturday, April 26, 2014

Plan B Progress

We have reserved a slip on Lake Mendota for the summer. Whoo Hooo! It will be really nice to have a fully rigged boat just waiting for us in a slip. We should be able to get in lots of sailing even on week nights when the winds are fair. I told Brenda we now have a cottage on the lake.

I had some time today to begin prepping Plan B for a season of sailing. Brenda and I have ordered a bunch of things to repair and pretty up our O'Day 25. We ordered new foam and material to make cockpit cushions, new material for the interior cushions, an LED anchor light, a Bimini, spare tire, handheld VHS, zippers and thread.

The boat came with about a gallon and a half of bottom paint which it sorely needed. Mike rolled this on today and it looks so much better. The tiller was a really sad looking piece of wood, so Mike is laminating a nice new replacement. One of the owner modifications we have seen was storage shelving built in behind the cabin table. We made up the shelf and installed it today as well. Nice!

Table Before
Table After
Table Unfolded
Looks like the perfect place to store some wine and Drambuie.
Table Stowed
The fixed VHF was ancient and the wiring was rotted out, so we pulled it out and don't plan on replacing it. We now have two nice West Marine handheld VHF radios that will work just fine. The stereo was located in a lousy spot that was difficult to access, so we will relocate it to a better spot in the cabin. Mike is cleaning up some cobbled wiring inside and then it will be time to clean everything up and load all our sailing gear.

She may be an oldie, but we'll bet she will still look pretty good when we are done setting her up.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Let the season begin!

The sun is actually out and you don't need a winter coat every time you step outside. The grass is greening up and the birds are singing a happy hello to spring. FINALLY!

Let the sailing season begin. Mike delivered our beloved Wrinkles to her new owners this week. It was tough to drive away from her knowing he would probably never see her again. We learned so much aboard her and there will always be many fond memories of her. Fair winds Wrinkles.

So today we plan on picking up Plan B, our 1982 O'Day 25. We don't expect to do a whole lot of renovations on her, but we do have a few items to take care of before our first sail. The bottom (Antifouling) paint needs a fresh coat rolled on and there are a couple of wiring issues with the mast lights. The hull needs to be buffed out and waxed as well. Then it is time to put her on the water. Brenda will start loading our personal stuff aboard to see how low she can get our waterline. (Mike - I think she takes this as a personal challenge!) We mailed in our deposit for a slip on Lake Mendota hopeful that we beat the rush and got one of the few available.

Over the summer Brenda plans on ordering some closed cell foam and Sunbrella fabric to make us some cockpit cushions. Mike will measure the cockpit and order a new bimini for shade. We also plan on modifying a couple of cabin shelves to organize the storage.

Soon we will be on the water taking in beautiful views like this one.


Looks like we will be driveway sailing the next week or so. Whoo hoo!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Plan B"

As posted recently, we decided we needed a Plan B in the event the house didn't sell right away. Concerns about being sailors without a sailboat were bothering both of us. We didn't want to simply repeat last year's sailing without gaining new experiences and skills. So Plan B was born which entailed buying an inexpensive large trailerable sailboat and sailing her as much as possible. The boat would be nearly as big as our future cruising boat, so docking and sailing it will add to our skill base. We plan on some extended trips to adjust to living aboard.

So here is " Plan B", a 1982 O'Day 25.

We will be delivering Wrinkles to her new owners in the next couple of weeks. She has been a wonderful teacher and we will always have fond memories of her.

Once Wrinkles has been delivered, we will pick up Plan B and start on Plan B. We are already making the to-do list.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Looking at boats.

One of the boats on our short list is a Southern Cross 31. We found one listed for sale by a broker in Racine, WI. The SC 31 is a full keel, medium displacement cruiser that is capable of sailing anywhere. This model satisfies most of our search criteria, but since it has a fairly narrow beam of 9' 6" we were concerned it would feel cramped inside and lack decent storage.

We drove down to Racine on Sunday which was a rare sunny day to meet Capt. Ed at the boat. Since we arrive a bit early we found a neat coffee shop located downtown in an old building. This area of Racine surprised both of us by being quaint, revitalized and interesting. I guess we both pictured a run down manufacturing area with lots of empty buildings. Instead there are many shops, bars, restaurants and offices in beautifully restored old buildings.

Meeting Capt. Ed at the boat started out on a bad note as we found the boat was still under plastic wrap for the winter. Oh well, Capt. Ed cut open a flap door for us and gave us the tour. The deck had nice wide walkways to the bow, substantial rigging and hardware and was in overall decent condition. The SC 31 has a smallish cockpit due to its canoe stern, but without wheel steering there is enough room to relax in. The headroom is listed as 6'2" which is pretty accurate for a couple small spots in the salon. Not exactly standing headroom for Mike, but pretty good for a 31 foot boat.

The v-berth was long enough for Mike which was a pleasant surprise. The interior was a bit cozy due to the narrow beam especially with the fixed table set directly down the middle of the cabin. We prefer a flip up table that is stored against the bulkhead wall and will convert any boat we buy to that arrangement if necessary. The storage was indeed limited which would be a big concern. Otherwise, the interior was well kept and showed very little moisture intrusion or condensation.

Overall we liked the solid keel, hull, deck, rigging and condition of the boat. The sails were original which would add a pretty big expense to the refit. Additionally there were some stress cracks that appeared to be caused by a poorly braced lifting strap on the aft end. The electronics were old and basically worthless. This particular SC31 probably isn't one we would make an offer on, but we won't rule this model out from our continued search.

After the boat inspection we drove a few blocks to the waterfront of Lake Michigan so Brenda could hear the waves and smell the water. It sure was nice to be near water again after this long miserable Wisconsin winter. We drove up along the coast on our way home looking for a waterfront restaurant for lunch. We pulled into one in Milwaukee that looked perfect, but when we saw the valets charging $10 to park we decided this wasn't our kind of place. We drove a little further north toward McKinley Marina where Brenda spotted people eating outside a really cool old stone building. Perfect! We parked (free!) and walked over to the Colectivo's Coffee located in an 1888 municipal pump house. The place was packed but interesting, and the workers were super friendly. We highly recommend the tomato basil turkey sandwiches. Yum.

Screen shot of their website.

That was fun, let's go find another boat to look over.