Boat Makeover

A few weeks ago while staying on the boat I poked my head out of the galley to see a woman standing on the dock next to our shore power pedestal. She stared hard at our hull.

I climbed into the cockpit wondering if she was a SailNetter or former USCG Auxiliary boating safety student. Both have approached me in the past. I welcome former students or those I meet online in my role as one of several SailNet forum moderators. But on this day I was somewhat sensitive about Halcyon’s present condition this late into the beginning of the sailing season.

“Hi,” I said and joined her on the dock.

It turned out that she recognized Halcyon from when it was kept in Annapolis, its former home port. Eastport Yacht Club to be precise. Changing the home port on the transom from Annapolis to Rock Hall is very far down on our To Do list and we kept the name Halcyon as it wasn’t offensive or silly. The original name was Sea Hag. I would have chanced my remaining lung (another story) to rename the boat before buying a boat named Sea Hag.

Standing on the dock I looked sheepishly at the dirty hull, the blue showing through the non-skid sections that needed to be painted, the tape covering the spot where the mast should be, the boom lashed to the deck, the dodger and bimini tubing laying in the cockpit and thought “This is why my dad moved out of the suburbs.” I wondered if the woman saw me as the neighbor that rarely cut her lawn or had paint peeling off the house shutters while everyone else on the block kept manicured lawns and rose gardens that won prizes. To a stranger I’m sure it appeared as if John and I weren’t keeping up with the Joneses. So to speak. Did she look at our boat and remember a time when Halcyon was regularly waxed and the teak varnished and not peeling down to bare wood as it is now? Did she think we were not worthy caretakers of this boat?


Next to us (not in its slip at the time) is a nice Lippincott 30, hull #2 named Sea Chase 2. In the slip on the other side of Sea Chase 2 is a lovingly kept Catalina 387. The prize of the dock (in my eyes) is a Bob Perry-designed Tayana 38 restored by the owner who works at the marina and lives aboard. The brightwork gleams. The cowl vents appear to strain down bay as if sniffing the Atlantic salt water past Norfolk and yearning for the open ocean. It looks ready to sail out of the slip and continue around the world, which the owner was preparing to do until a new girlfriend came along. Not around the world entirely but back to his homeland of New Zealand (which might as well be around the world).

Never mind that I was putting pressure on myself for no reason. It clearly looked like the boat was being repaired. Over the winter the marina removed the mast so that we could get the standing rigging inspected and replaced. We added a new dusk to dawn anchor light (the previous owners chose not to have an anchor light at all), fixed the steaming light and the deck light. We bought a new windex to replace the one bent by a bird. The old Shakespeare radio antenna was replaced with a recommended Metz antenna and new RG-8X coax cable run. John replaced all the electrical wires and changed to LED bulbs. He removed a gross nest of abandoned wire and rotted sponges from previous owner projects.

Once the mast is reunited with the boat all the wire will neatly enter the deck through two low-profile fittings. I cleaned Rock Hall out of sponges and cable ties so the wires inside the mast will (should) be silent with no clanging heard from inside the cabin. We bought new halyards that will actually fit the sheaves. Hopefully John won’t have as hard a time raising the mainsail as he had been having.

Over the winter we planned to have my nephew’s newly trained welder friend repair our bent bow rail. Instead, the welder friend fell in love and fell off our radar. Every now and then I ask my nephew how the relationship is going so that I can get the rail repaired. Darn those 20-something hormones.

As of today the mast is due to be stepped by the end of the week. Halcyon will be whole again. Next week the new canvas (bimini, dodger, sail cover) will be installed. With luck and no wind for the next two days (can’t put the mast on if it is too windy), we should be ready for a shakedown sail next weekend. Fluff has already packed her bag for the short sail across the bay to meet fellow Blue Marsh Sailing sailors at Baltimore Yacht Club for the weekend.

God help the winds if they don’t calm down enough for the mast to be stepped so Fluff can start her sailing season.

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