Thursday, January 2, 2014


Topping my list of resolutions is to post more stuff to this blog to keep my loyal readers abreast of the ever-changing developments with the various vessels with which I’m involved.

The skipjack Wilma Lee, after a reasonably busy first season, is high and dry in a boatyard in Wanchese.  Philip Howard, Hunter Collins, Steve Musil and I took her up there a few weeks ago for annual maintenance and a Coast Guard dry dock inspection.  We had hoped for a nice westerly wind to sail her up the sound but what we ended up with was no wind at all and pea soup fog for the entire trip!  Thank goodness for the chart plotter (GPS).  Only touched the bottom once (lightly) and that was on an uncharted shoal that had built out into the otherwise well-marked Old House Channel.

The inspection was the most rigorous I’ve ever seen.  We had to remove the mast (easier said than done with a 65’ 2000-lb cypress trunk!), drop the rudder to repair a small spot in the transom and replace a few of the stainless chain plate bolts. A couple of fatal rigging failures in Hawaii a few years ago have caused the Coast Guard to pay very close attention to masts and everything that supports them. The exam, which usually takes no more than an hour, involved two inspectors going over every inch of the hull and rig for 2.5 hours.

At least with the mast at ground level I was able to sand and refinish it without risking a neck-breaking fall.  All that remains is to paint the bottom with copper anti-fouling paint, re-launch, re-rig and bring her home.  With any luck, that’ll all be done before the end of next week.

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