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Old 04-05-2015, 12:53   #1
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Location: Charlotte, NC
Boat: Hunter 25.5
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Thumbs up Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

Hi, new to the forum. Thought I'd introduce myself with a little story of how I got back on a sailboat.

We weren't really looking to buy a sailboat - well, definitely not anytime soon. I had been casually looking at them over the past few years. Years ago when we lived in Florida we had two sailboats - a Balboa 20 and a 16' Hobie Cat. Both of them were bought very cheap - the Balboa hadn't been sailed in YEARS, was on a trailer, and really needed to be cleaned up. The Hobie was functional, but barely, it was pretty old. We took the Hobie out a handful of times but it was not in the greatest shape. We worked on the Balboa - sanded the hull down completely and repainted the whole thing. Put months of work into it - until we took it off the trailer for the first time and discovered that the swing keel was stuck and the pivot in the hull was leaking. Then we ended up moving so we sold everything. Here's an old pic of the Balboa after a fresh paint job (this is me discovering that the keel is STUCK.

Anyway, our house here in Charlotte is pretty close to the lake, and we had been casually looking at boats. I'd gone to look at one or two sailboats over the past few years, but nothing really jumped out as a good buy - plus as you know boats are quite an additional drain on the bank account and so buying one on top of all the work I'd have to put into it, the time just wasn't right yet.

Fast forward to my birthday at the end of March, and right before I left work for the day I opened craigslist on a whim to see what was out there. Right at the top, just posted, was an ad for a free sailboat. I opened it and it said that it had been accidentally posted in Columbia's craigslist, to check there. So I went over to Columbia's site and sure enough, there was an ad for a sailboat for free. The ad didn't give much info, just that it was a 1984 Hunter 25.5 and it was in a slip on Lake Wylie. I called the number and a lady in Florida answered. She said it was her brother's boat. He was kind of hard of hearing and she was trying to help him. He was trying to sell the boat the month before but he kept going out of town and could never meet anyone to show it to them. Now his lease at the marina was almost up (at the end of March) and he didn't want to sign another year lease, so he told his sister to just give it to a charity or something. She called a few charities and they all would have taken it but couldn't come get it for another month - so that wouldn't work... So he told her to just give it away to whoever. Turned out the marina was only 10 minutes from work here on the south side of the lake, so I headed straight over. She gave me his number and said if I was interested after looking at it to call him.

So I went over half expecting this thing to just be a pile of junk - I mean it's a free boat right? Hehe. Well, it's a 25 1/2 foot sailboat with a full keel - so no trailering, has to be kept in the water. But after my experience with my last swing keel boat I was ok with that. The mast was down, the deck was dirty, and there were a few things missing - like one of the shrouds and most of the running rigging. Here's how she looked:

I'm down inside the boat and my wife calls asking if I'm on my way home lol... "umm, no, I'm sitting in a sailboat right now." Haha, man I love her. She just said - well, it's your birthday, I trust your judgement - so if you want it and it's not going to bankrupt us - go for it. Well, that's questionable. So I called the old guy, told him I was looking at his boat and I heard he was thinking about giving it away. He said "I ain't thinking about it I need to get rid of that thing!" So I told him it just so happened it was my birthday today - he told me to sit tight and he'd be there in 20 mins. Sure enough, he showed up, showed me a few things about the boat, and signed the title over to me as a gift! Told me happy birthday and drove off! How crazy is that?!

So now, on my birthday, I was the proud owner of a Hunter 25.5 - with the mast down, no motor, and 5 days to move it to somewhere else on the lake. We found a marina closer to home that would rent a slip month to month, instead of the year lease required where the boat was currently. Since there was no motor, I had a friend help tow us across the lake - which took quite a bit longer than I thought it would!

Sorry to type up a whole novel.. But for the past month we've scrubbed, and scrubbed, and bought parts, and a used motor off craigslist. There were two trips down to Florida in the past month for Spring Break - at which time I visited the old sailboat shop I used to use when we lived there and bought a bunch of stuff. I've probably put about $1,200 into the boat besides the marina. $300 of that was the used motor, several hundred for the rigging, and probably a few more hundred in other misc items. I knew it wasn't going to be a totally "free" boat when I got it... They never are.

Anyway, we had our maiden voyage a week ago and LOVED it. Had a GREAT time sailing around Lake Wylie in fairly windy conditions. This weekend we ventured out a little further with it, and I spent some quality time with the sails getting them clean.

Here are some before and after pictures:

The entire deck was covered in a nasty mold:

dirty cockpit:

The mast was down because one of the upper shrouds had broken. Somehow the mast wasn't damaged, and neither was the deck. But the step plate was bent pretty good:

We scrubbed and scrubbed the deck, and then scrubbed some more! Finally got the parts in that we needed to step the mast. My neighbor and my wife and I were able to get it up without too much trouble:

The sails were also pretty dirty from being stuffed in the cabin for who knows how long.

I spent the day yesterday getting to know every square inch with my scrub brush and some laundry detergent. This was the result:

Squeaky clean deck! I also re-bedded the chainplates and the pop up hatch over the v-berth.

Her new home:

So far:

New upper shroud
New halyards
New Jib sheet
New blocks for the jib
Mast step plate straightened - new riggers pins (thank you Island Nautical!)
Used Mercury 4.5 outboard
Fuel tank/lines
New slides and shackles for the main
New nav light
re-bedded chain plates (they leaked)
re-bedded pop up over v-berth (ditto)

Still need:
deep cycle battery and charger (solar?)
repair/replace sr mariner knot meter

..and a NAME! Somehow this boat is nameless... Now here's the funny part. When I was riding to work on my birthday, I was daydreaming about getting a sailboat (weird, right?). I was thinking, if I got one, I'd name it Heaven's Dew. My wife's name is Dew, and my daughters name means Heaven's Dew, and... this boat pretty much fell out of heaven into my lap. So I think that's what I'm going to go with, as un-macho as it sounds I still think that it's very strange that I had that thought that morning, and later that day I was a sailboat owner

Anyway, this has gotten long enough - I'll update this thread with our projects and adventures. Hope to learn a lot on this forum!

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Old 04-05-2015, 13:00   #2
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

Looks great enjoy sailing!

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Old 04-05-2015, 13:05   #3
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

Happy Birth day! Welcome to the forum! Nice job on the clean up! How about Omen?!
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Old 04-05-2015, 13:16   #4
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

Happy birthday! Awesome job on the sailboat and great name!
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Old 05-05-2015, 08:21   #5
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

I have almost the exact same story, mine was donated to charity and picked up cheap. Great boat.

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Old 05-05-2015, 08:29   #6
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

Originally Posted by twistedline View Post
I have almost the exact same story, mine was donated to charity and picked up cheap. Great boat.

Great Job, I bet you now know nothing worth while in life is free....
Sail On...
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Old 05-05-2015, 08:30   #7
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

Congrats to the new family member! Keep posting pics and progress. Enjoy!
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Old 05-05-2015, 08:53   #8
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

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I hope this pic comes out when I post this. Full keel boats CAN be trailered. The picture is of a 28' Pearson Triton. Full keel. Draws 4', displaces 8,500 lbs. I have towed this boat from NE Wisconsin all the way to Marathon Key, FL. I launch and recover the boat from the trailer and step/unstep the deck stepped mast.

It can be done.

Great story, BTW. I'm glad you are getting out there!
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
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Old 05-05-2015, 09:40   #9
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

What a great story. But it's not detailed enough. Should be longer. ��
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Old 05-05-2015, 09:41   #10
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

Inspiring...I have a 1972 Irwin 23 (swing keel) in my back yard slowly getting the same type of treatment. Except I paid $1500 for boat/motor/trailer with 6 sails plus spinnaker. I want to do some updates like shore power, storage, electronics and paint.
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Old 05-05-2015, 09:45   #11
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

Cool. Have fun.
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 05-05-2015, 10:11   #12
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

Whenever I call my wife and tell her I got another free boat she always goes, "Ahhhggg! Free is the most expensive kind."
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Old 05-05-2015, 10:26   #13
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

Happy Birthday. Great story!
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Old 05-05-2015, 11:27   #14
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

Cleaned up real nice! How did you get the sails so clean?
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Old 05-05-2015, 11:46   #15
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Re: Heaven's Dew (A "Free" Hunter 25.5)

Take some of the pictures to the old man who gave it to you, I bet at one time she was his pride and joy, he'd most likely appreciate that you have fixed her up, be a way of sort of paying him back for the free boat.

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