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Old 27-03-2020, 05:43   #1
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New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

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, sails and hull 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.
-Drew
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Old 27-03-2020, 06:30   #2
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Drew.
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Old 28-03-2020, 05:14   #3
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

Drew,
I was fascinated with your post as I recalled my own first purchase of a 30' sloop in Annapolis and sailing down to Pax River on the Lexington Park side in 1971. I spent some time prepping my boat for an ICW trip down to Florida and then the Bahamas. So much of your story is similar to what I experienced fifty years ago, - thanks for sharing that!

I ended up spending the following 45 years living aboard and cruising. 'wishing you the best with expectations that you will thrive!
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Old 28-03-2020, 06:12   #4
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

You are NOT going to lose your mind, Drew! You've regained it.

*And* you are going to know your beloved boat inside and out. You can NOT underestimate how very valuable that will be as you cruise the world. You gots to know your boat!

Thanks for sharing such a fantastic story. It's cheered me up no end - self-isolated on a gloomy grey day in Toronto.

Fair, fair winds and following seas!
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Btw, do you see yourself in those pictures? You're literally glowing.
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Old 28-03-2020, 07:13   #5
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

Welcome to Flag Harbor. I have a 1982 Cape Dory 30 in slip 142 on south side. Really waiting for the Pandemic to end so I can launch the boat. You will love John Little. I've known him for over 30 years. Flag Harbor is the best hurricane hole on the bay. Just watch out for the jetty.
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Old 28-03-2020, 09:55   #6
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

Your post made me smile. I remember feeling exactly like that many years ago. It's a lifelong passion that it sounds like you're ready for! Have a ball!
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Old 28-03-2020, 10:11   #7
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

Great post! You've become quite the expert. That spaghetti mess of a panel looks so familiar too. All the best on your cruising plans.
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Old 28-03-2020, 10:18   #8
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

Sailor Drew,
Two congratulations are in order.
1. Way to go man! You're not dreaming about it, you’re frigging doing it!
2. No one ripped you to shreds for your work.....
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Old 28-03-2020, 11:15   #9
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

Drew,
Congrats on getting a great boat for a great price. I also have a 34' Hunter 35 and have loved her for over 15 years. I also replaced the compression post which was all but rotted completely through. I find the Hunter 34 as big as most 38' boats I've been inside. I know you'll enjoy sailing her to the Bahamas and further. You probably already discovered that in a blow (over 15 knots) she can be a bit tender. Be ready to reef early on the main or she'll round up. More than 90% when I take friends out I just use my 150% jib sail and am passing most other cruisers and doing 8 knots.
I admire you for doing the work yourself. You'll know your boat so much better by doing so.
Enjoy your Hunter and keep living the dream!
Cheers,
Jim
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Old 28-03-2020, 15:21   #10
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

Congrats! I too have been lurking here for a very long time, and only posted when I felt appropriate. I also cannot begin to thank all the people from here that have helped us, whether they know it or not! Good luck on your adventures! Sounds like your are on the right path.
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Old 28-03-2020, 15:32   #11
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

Nice work! Lots of great improvements and now you know how everything works. Makes cruising a lot more fun
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Old 28-03-2020, 17:55   #12
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

Drew, awesome electrical re-new.
Cheers
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Old 28-03-2020, 18:39   #13
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

Hi Drew and welcome to active membership in the forum AND congratulations.

I see lots and lots of newbies talk about the dream but you have jumped in and grabbed it. Good luck and keep up the good work.
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Old 29-03-2020, 06:54   #14
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

Great post.... Congrats for all your hard work and for sharing your experience.
Thanks
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Old 29-03-2020, 08:27   #15
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Re: New(ish) Boat owner looking to say thanks.

HUGE CONGRATS!!

Let us know when (not if, when) you make it further south than the bahamas and we'll have you over for some sundowners!!
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