Friday, November 8, 2013

Snug in a the cabin

Small craft warning out on the ocean and the sound.  Here we have big gusts that heel the boat in it's slip, with no sails on because I have pulled the mainsail off to add the reef point.  I watch a wind vane turbine on another boat whir and sound as if it is going to take off, then it goes still and spins.  The dark grey clouds that are rolling in from the west are dropping tiny bits of moisture, some frozen.
watching a few flurries come down!
I brought the mainsail down to set it and finalize the mark for the reef point on the luff, but it is too windy to try to even put the sail back on the boom and mast.  So I snug in below and watch the sky roll by, listen to the clanking of the halyards on distant boats, and feel the boat come up on it's mooring lines as the wind pushes around the slip.  It's cold out but I am snug down in the cabin.  This is the thing that makes a boat for me, the cabin to retreat to.  Most of my sailing time is spent above decks and it sometimes seems silly to care at all about a cabin, but when it becomes important, it means everything in a way.

From down below I look around and ponder the projects that I will get to eventually to make the boat more comfortable.  A table to write and eat at, a galley area that will keep cooking items contained and ready, cushions for a bunk and for a seat, an awning over the boom to keep out snow and rain.  All these things will make the little boat a little home, a turtle shell, a home to take with me where ever we go.

This boat is a few feet longer than I'd like it to be.  My first boat was a 19' Cape Dory Typhoon.  I started at a pretty high level of sail boat.  This is a real step down in some ways, but in others it is a step up.  For instance the Cape Dory, which I named Uncas, had a draft of 2'6".  You really don't want to beach a boat like that and it is just past the draft that trailering becomes an easy option.  Ventura on the other hand could beach easily enough and launches easy too.  The Typhoon was in really great shape and in truth I never really ever needed more boat than that little 19 footer.  I love my Bristol 27, mostly because it is a larger version of the very same hull and rig from the Typhoon.  I know how to sail those boats like they are a part of me.  This little Venture 21 will serve us well, I think.  It is a bit small down below, but big enough to have a galley, a table, berths and room for miscellaneous gear storage.  Any more room and that would mean more weight and complexity.

As most any boat owner does, I always turn and look back at my boat when I am leaving her.  Partly to give one last check to see she is sitting, tied up, and put away properly, but really just to admire her.  It is a bit of a challenge with this boat as she is in such sad shape, and not just from neglect.  Her lines are not very elegant.  Her stern ends abruptly after a mostly straight run of the sheer from midships and there is no rise up out of the water.  I will have to learn to love her look because of what it means practically.  The plum stern and out hung rudder means more room in the boat.  I would value that more if the boat was 17 foot LOA rather than 21'.   As I said, she is a little more than I need, but one shouldn't look a gift boat in the waterline.  That actually has a practical side in that berth's are charged by the foot.  Actually, I think I'd only save about $25 dollars for a 17 footer as the minimum rate is for a 20' boat length.

As I look at her I can imagine the wooden toe rails that will get added next summer and the paint to the hull.  The little bit of wood should improve her looks a bit as well as our footing on the foredeck.  Wood handrails on the coach roof will do much the same.  If I can find a cheap (free) option for a stern pulpit I'd like to add this as well.

Until til I get to these projects I am content to know that the view from the cockpit while under sail and the view thru the companionway up at the sky are just as nice as any other boat out there.

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