Back around 1988 I spotted an old ferrocement schooner on the hard
in Ventura Harbor, CA. I was already happily living aboard
and coastal cruising a Catalina 30
so I didn't really need a boat
...but...I had dreams of serious passagemaking and I love classical lines on a boat
She was about 32' on deck
with about a 4' bowsprit
; full keeled, keel
, wooden masts and boom. It had plywood deck
, coach and interior
; a tiny aft cabin
I used as a paint
locker, a tiny cockpit
with a small, salty wooden wheel
, very comfortable using the forward bulkhead of the aft cabin
as a backrest. The interior
of the cabin was voluminous with lots of deep and wide storage
. The foredeck was vast, the sidedecks wide and she had honest-to-goodness buklwarks.
Some inquiries revealed that she had been professionally built in a Vancouver, B.C. yard in 1970 and had been on the hard
for ten years. the owner, who apparently never really worked on the boat but came out to the yard so he could drink his beer
without the nagging from the SO. He had a 'For Sale' sign on her with some discouraging price
but I caught him well into his second six pack and after some heavy haggling handed him $3,800 cash for it
She had a hole in her hull
below the waterline near the starboard bow. More of a deep gouge, actually. It didn't penetrate and the steel
and mesh were nearly undisturbed. I spent the rest of the month filling the hole, sanding
fairing and painting.
Launch day came and the yard lowered her into the water
. I had them keep the slings under her while I checked for leaks
inside and out. She was dry as a bone.
She had an ancient hand cranked one cylinder diesel
that I regarded with great suspician and pursed lips so I lashed the dinghy
running to her quarter as a yawl boat. Astonishingly, the diesel
fired up on the first crank!
I sold the Catalina
and moved aboard the schooner. She was short of a full complement of sails
so she needed a good breeze to get her 10 tons moving. All of California
is a lee shore and things got interesting if the breeze died as I left the harbor; but, otherwise she was a joy to sail the Channel Islands in.
Unfortunately, I was offered a job overseas that I couldn't refuse and had to sell her before I finished fitting her out. I wish I had her today.