A familiar story

pearson ariel 26 bluewater, refitting a pearson ariel 26
I traveled the Intracoastal and all I got was this yellow stain on my hull

Peanutbutter sandwiches for days. I’ve found work. I’m supposed to start tomorrow. If for some reason it is postponed by weather or something more sudden it’s okay–plenty of other work to be done and sought.

Another sailor said my boat is not messy, but she is wrong. It is cluttered. Disorganized. One cannot think straight. Her interior leaves something to be desired regardless of my level of sloppiness, much of it needing to be rebuilt  if I really think about keeping my boat long term. But how I can work on something like making her interior more comfortable and inviting when there are so many more pressing matters?

Things will happen. It’s why I’ve stopped. I can visualize them; re rig, re core, repurpose old main sail, redo my lifelines. These jobs will improve conditions on many levels–structural, dampness, safety, space.

The rigging and lifeline material are taking up my v-berth along with the old sail I plan to repurpose for cockpit lee cloths. The section of rotten core becomes saturated and leaks badly into the cabin. I can think of more that needs to be done, but that is what I am thinking about now. One thing at a time I tell myself.

But these projects and simpler ones, even with all of the free materials I’ve received to do them, remain incomplete. The rest of the components require time and a bit of money, neither of which I have because my time is spent trying to procure that bit of money. Once I have a little spare change I hope my spare time can be utilized better.

The weather is a factor. For motivation, yes, but more practical matters prevail. I cannot set epoxy and glass in this rain/humidity. Ha, I don’t have any money for epoxy anyway! Or the LED light bulb or wire or switch I need for my fun lighting project I’ve been dreaming about. Or money for the little fittings on the lifelines. Or the tools I need for just about anything but the coring job in particular. Or money for better reef lines, or a winch for reefing, or new halyards, or a bow roller, or…

Money really is a thing, I’m learning. One can only go so far on goodwill which has managed to propel me for quite some time. Free docks, free food, free rigging, free gas, free dinghies, free charts, free sails, a free cushion, free…

A Lake Champlain love story

No kids, two boats, 50 years of marriage and still looking into each other’s eyes, Pierre and Claire truly are soulmates.

A lake champlain love story

I met them in Monty’s Bay briefly after I’d spent a month in the boatyard ogling their Southern Cross 31. I’d mentioned my intentions to journey my boat south, and they came and found me to give me the charts from the base of the Hudson down to the Chesepeake a few weeks ago.

They came and saw me again in Shelburne Bay. This time with a book called, “The Thornless Path,” a guidebook to sailing south to the Caribbean doing short passages with a new anchorage every night.

“To keep your dream alive,” Pierre said as he handed it to me.

true love will find you in the end

Pierre and Claire met at what I can only imagine was the French Canadian version of a Soc-hop in the 1950’s. There is a photo of them from that first evening. To this day Pierre keeps it in his wallet. While in Europe cruising on the powerboat they keep there to travel through the canals, his wallet fell overboard.

Jumping off the boat in a hurry to retrieve it, it wasn’t the cash or credit cards he was worried about–it was the photo.

They are the original owners of their beautiful boat. They spent many days and nights in the boatyard finishing her, building the entire interior to suit their needs. They’ve cruised extensively from Lake Champlain to the Bahamas–their love never wavering.

Not only does the kindness these two humans have shown me keep my faith in humanity at a high level, their story gives me faith that hell–maybe love is one day out there for me, too.

Afterall, they told me I have a “nice personality.”

Let me tell you about my boat

Anam Cara, which means Soul Friend in Irish, is a 1976 Bristol 24. I rushed up to see her for the first time the day after Valentine’s Day, 2016. I tried to look at her with a critical eye but had already fallen in love when I stepped onto her frozen decks, in the dark, while the wind rendering the temperature in the single digits ripped through her standing rigging. bristol24-sailplanThe Bristol 24 was a popular cruising boat built in the 60s, 70s and even into the early 80s, by Sailstar Boat Company, which later became Bristol Yacht Company, in Rhode Island. She was designed by Paul Coble.

She draws about 3.5 feet and has a long keel with a cutaway forefoot and attached rudder. With only an 18 foot water line the B24 is relatively slow, but what she lacks in speed she makes up for in stiffness. She displaces a total of 6,000 lbs, 3,000 of which are in her lead ballast. bristol24-layoutWith an 8 foot beam and 6 feet of standing headroom, this B24 is a roomy 24-footer, which is probably what made her so popular for cruising families back in the day. An estimated 750 hulls were built during production.

On the day of survey, the surveyor denoted Anam Cara in “fair condition,” meaning she would be safe and sailable with some usual maintenance. However there is no major structural damage and what does need to be fixed is indicative of previous use, not neglect. I certainly have my work cut out for me to get her in Bristol condition, but I reckon we’ll be sailing along just fine in due time.

I bought the boat on one of the largest fresh water lakes in the U.S., where I plan to sail her for the season and then begin the long, meandering journey through a series of canals and rivers back to her original birthplace; salt water.

I move aboard Anam Cara, in the boatyard, in May.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” -C.S. Lewis