This is my first time posting
here but I have been lurking in the shadows for years now, reading all of the sage wisdom and weeding out the naysayers. I am 34 years old and about 4 years ago I fell in love with sailing. I finally made the commitment 2 years ago to sell everything and live on a boat
. (how many times have you heard that? hundreds probably) I spent a year researching what boat
was best for me and landed on a mid 80’s Hunter
. I looked into a 30 and 31 but noticed the 34 had noticeably more space and were easy to find. I fell in love with the first one I looked at and after looking at another 34 in bad condition I went back to purchase
her. I worked the guy from $9500 to $7300 and we made a deal. I know buying
the first boat you look at is not recommended but I am not upset with the purchase
I knew full well this was going to be a project
that would tax me mentally and physically but I am the kind of person who enjoys doing all my own work
on my cars and motorcycles. I even built my own house so this was something I know I could do. The hull
itself is in great shape. I borrowed a moisture meter before purchase and only found 2 small spots with water
in the deck
. She basically needed everything done other than the engine
but in my opinion had “good bones”. They say that the most expensive boats are free or cheap
in the long run, but If I waited until I can spend 50 grand to buy a decent boat I would never make it off my computer at my desk. I thought “I must go and I must go soon” and this was a good option for a “coastal cruiser” wannabe like myself.
Once I got the financing
in order, I purchased her at a marina near Baltimore
and sailed her 50ish miles home to southern Maryland
with a close friend. We made 8.5 knots on the head
sail alone (155 genoa) but I left the engine
running the whole time because I was a nervous wreck. Once in her slip I got to work
It is well known and documented that the 34 has a compression
post issue so I pulled the mast
and got to work. She had a noticeable crack in the transverse beam and I had no doubt it needed to be done. I replaced the rotten wood
with 2” square stainless with ¼ thickness and welded 5/8 stainless plates to the top and bottom that I cut at work on an industrial band saw. (I know its overkill but I am glad that its too strong to fail EVER). After that was resolved I got to work replacing the floor that was rotten around the post. This is all done on a budget
so it doesn’t match exactly. I am working on balancing enjoying the boat with friends and getting everything up to a certain level of appearance.
By the end of the summer of 2019 I had noticed that one of thru hulls was dripping slightly from the ball valve that was incorrectly installed directly with no flange. So I had her hauled and got to work on replacements
from groco. This was costly to say the least but I sure do sleep better knowing that they are all correct. I also used this time to replace all the stinky waste hoses and put in a new jabsco head
. Again, more money! But this is what I signed up for.
After putting on some bottom paint
and replacing the anodes I had her put back in the water
and got started with all new pex plumbing
from home depot. Fortunately that went extremely well and I surely do enjoy having running water. What a treat!
I just finished am major overhaul
of the electrical
panel. I cant believe how poorly this was done from the factory but it did last over 30 years with no fires! None of the wires were tinned, most of the connectors were the fork style, often the connectors had 4 wires going into them and the AC side was so tight that I couldn’t pull the panel down without shifting the thing to the left putting stress on the DC side. I added bus bars, ring terminals and terminal strips with tinned wires. Looks nicer and all neatly on a “back plane” painted white. Not super expensive and totally worth it.
I wanted to say a big thank you to the 34 owners who paved the way for me (Klaude and Claude, Auger etc.) You guys know who you are! You took pictures and made comments that were so valuable to me and other owners. Also, to the other posters who encourage people cautiously to follow their dreams.
I fully intend to cast off this fall on the ICW
and head for Florida
and to the Bahamas
. I am fully aware that this is going to be hard. I am going to break things and need to stop to fix them. I am aware that the weather
wont always be in my favor and that I am probably going to lose my mind with doubt and fear but this is going to stretch me to new levels. I am ready for a change and I chose to make life harder because I love this lifestyle and I believe its worth it.
I still have tons of projects that need to be done, and things like anchor
chain to purchase to be ready for cruising full time. The standing rigging
might be as old as the boat, I can’t be sure. No broken strands but I won’t be taking any chances and will do it with the rig up one at a time starting with the head stay. Wouldn’t want to have the mast
come down in a blow. I wish I had the money
to do it when the mast was down but it’s too late now.
Again, I am grateful for the network of experienced cruisers and the knowledge they bestow on these platforms. It helped make my dream a reality.