Sometimes it is hard to believe that its been five years since we first saw Second Star on the hard in Buffalo. Susan and I had been talking about a larger boat for a few years with plans to sail out the St. Lawrence and down the east coast to winter in the Bahamas. Shortly after buying her I started a version of this website to chronicle our adventure and share what we learn about boats, traveling, and ourselves. We had a good start out of the box, but then the website began to languish. As it will do, life got in the way of life.
To answer the big question, yes we still plan to take our trip, we are just uncertain about when. About the time we purchased Second Star, our aging parents required more support. Both of us are from small families thus we needed and still need to care for them. This is one limit to our departure window. The other is our own health and age, we aren't getting younger.
While waiting to set a departure date, work continues on the boat. It is said that there is no such thing as a free boat, the same can be said for a bargain boat. Second Star, was purchased for far less than other Sabre 362s were selling at. Saving on the initial purchase price did not prevent spending considerable blood, sweat, tears and treasure on bringing her up to our standards. In more or less chronological order, here are the projects we undertook.
During the first summer, the windlass failed while trying to anchor. This was another exciting moment in our history. A 35 pound anchor and 200 feet of chain ended up on the bottom (although still attached to the boat) in about 25 feet of water. Hauling this mess up by hand was certainly a good upper body work out. Of course the windlass was not cooperative when it was time to remove and repair it. Destruction was the only solution.
Our first surprise was the electrical system. I wish I had had the foresight to photograph the mess. In the spring of 2015, while preparing her for our second season I discovered dry batteries killed off by an ancient charger. First project, revamp the DC electrical system. This turned out to be a progressive project over the next few years and continuing today. The first step was a new charger, new batteries and battery box, and adding ABYC compliant circuit protection. Over the next few years there were subsequent improvements to the main switches and the circuitry.
Then there was the steering system. The pre-purchase survey revealed a large split in the rudder's trailing edge. It was repaired by the yard at the owner's expense and I thought all was good. However, it appears that a thrust bearing was omitted during the reassembly. As a result the steering quadrant had to be disassembled, a bearing made and the whole mess reassembled. Of course, it was not so simple, a fish hook was found in a steering, new cables were needed, which led to a rebuild of the pedestal.
We knew the bottom paint had to be removed. VC-17 had been applied and it is not suitable for saltwater use. That project took the better part of a sailing season. After launching the boat, a transmission fluid check revealed a bone dry transmission, time for a rebuild.
Along the way a new electronics were installed, radar, VHF, AIS, instruments, autopilot, and chart plotter. At least installing these was fun and did not require correcting other's mistakes or resurrecting ancient systems.
This season, Second Star had her earliest splash date yet, before Memorial Day. Yahoo! But it was not all that simple. It was past time to replace the pump out hose for the holding tank and install a new hot water heater. Progress is slow when it is 90 degrees with 80% humidity. It was downright cozy deep in the bowels of Second Star. It was the usual drill, it cost more and took more time than planned.
At times Second Star's restoration has seemed all consuming and not all that much fun, however, there has been more to our lives than taking care of an old boat and aging parents. We have done a fair amount of traveling; Italy, England, Hawaii, Maine, Cape Cod, the Adirondack Mountains, South Carolina and Georgia have been among the destinations. And. yes most years included a cruise across Lake Ontario to Canada. Retirement has been good.
If I was not busy enough and distracted enough, I returned to work part-time, have been working on my writing skills, and learning about video (I have a new appreciation for the talented YouTubers out there!). These have been rewarding, both personally and financially. Good Old Boat magazine has published a few pieces I have written in the magazine and their newsletter (and here). Good Old Boat has also published one of my videos. Returning to work has also been fun. I get to do the parts of my job that I liked and don't have to do the parts I didn't like, and I get to set my own hours. Delightful.
Over the winter I plan to spend more time writing for this website and for publication. There are stories to tell and projects to share.
Until then, fair winds.