Just a few days after the start of December we finally made it back to the boat. I had thought that we would spend about a month up here building stuff to take back down, and then be back down in time to sail her up in the fall. That was wildly over optimistic on my part, took over twice as long. But anyway, with a good bit of endeavor we finally made it back down, arriving in the middle of one of Southern California’s rare rainstorms. So the 1st order of business was to enlarge the bed. It seems that Mr. Wyatt was a bit shorter than either of us, and he built the bed to suit. So what we did was to take out a substantial portion of the 2nd bulkhead on the port side, and then build a shelf between it and the 3rd bulkhead. Easy to say, but it took a couple of days to do it, but we still didn’t have much more room for the air mattress. Speaking of which, you ever try to stuff a square air mattress into a triangular space? It tends to fold up at the apex, if it has enough air in it to be comfortable at all. It makes for some very cozy sleeping.
Anyway, I got the job done, and then Shannon got the foam cut to fit, and we could put the air mattress away for the next camping trip.
Since it was raining, the next job was to replace the electrical fuel gauge. Apparently the shipyard thought they could get away with putting a tin plated gauge into what was essentially the floor of the engine room. So if even a little bit of water leaked in, it would cover both contacts on the sender unit. Which it did, we have a tiny leak from the engine water cooling pump. I replaced that with a mechanical gauge from a 250 gallon propane tank. It fit right in without any modification at all.
What else was there to do? Well, we had to move the halyard winches, installing new winches for the staysail halyard, the spinnaker halyard, and the mizzen staysail halyard. And then the reefing winches.
At this point I’ll stray off the track a little bit. Since we essentially wound up with a brand-new boat, there was a lot to buy for her. Staysail track staysail winches, spinnaker pole, blocks and cleats of all kinds. So I was worried that would cost us quite a bit, but I got a pleasant surprise there. It seems there are a lot of boats that are going to the scrap yards. Most of them are in the 30 foot range, keel boats that no one has a trailer for, and can’t afford the moorage. There were a couple of guys that were doing about 2 of them a week, and they were quite reasonable. Between them and the boat transport guy, and Minney’s yachts surplus, we got everything we needed quite reasonably.
Well, back to it. There was the staysail track, 2 GPS units and a radar dome on the mizzen mast. Aligning the spreaders and seizing them, running the halyards internally. Somewhere around the 2nd set of spreaders I lost my nerve, decided it would be better to send somebody else up the mast in my place. So after asking around a bit we came up with a young fellow named Joe Green. He was very knowledgeable, and conscientious as well, so I felt really good about turning over the rest of the mast work to him. And then we turned the boat around and mounted the wind vane.
So everything worked out really well, there were only a couple of disappointments. The 1st being: I was hoping to talk to Mrs. Wyatt, or her daughter, try to get a better idea of who Mr. Wyatt was and what he intended to do with the boat. I was hoping for some sketches maybe or just a better idea of who he was as a person. But that was not to be, our broker made it clear that they weren’t interested in having anything to do with us or the boat. So if anyone out there knew him and could tell us a little more about him we would appreciate it greatly. He really did a first-class job on the boat.
2nd disappointment was with myself, I missed something that I should not have. I kind of took it for granted that since the boat was almost new, and the professional shipyard had done the work, that the rigging would have been done pretty much right. That was not the case. It seems like every shroud was cut to a different length, 10 of them being too short. One of them was so short the threads were only engaged in the turnbuckle about half an inch. And one of them was so long that the turnbuckle would not tighten up at all. That wasn’t the only thing that was substandard, far from it. That was just the only one I didn’t see in my preliminary survey. It wasn’t expensive to make it right, some extension plates, and a Norseman fitting. By the way, the shipyard is Gambol, you would think for the $96,000 that Mrs. Wyatt spent on having the boat finished that they would have done a good job.
Well,After a couple of months of the LA smog, we were ready to head back home. We didn’t get to do much besides work on the boat, I found the traffic to be way too intimidating to even think about making any pleasure excursions. We did go to the La Brea tar pits, I was a great deal of fun and very educational. But any place we go is pretty much a white knuckle drive, at least for me. And I was really missing the greenery, and the clean air, and the lack of people that we get here on our section of the coast. So we loaded up and left February 1, got home all right except for having to replace a wheel bearing in the truck. I was lucky and found a guy that was willing to press it on and off for me, didn’t charge me very much.
All for now, best wishes, Tom