First of all, I am 78. I have had a wonderful life. For the better part of 60 years I have been an Aerospace Engineer
most of which was spent with TRW in the ICBM missile field. Within that 60 years I also started from scratch an Avionics company and owned and managed it for 12 years.
During most of my life I have had power boats. I also have owned airplanes (Mooney M20E), helicopter (Brantly B-2) and misc motorcycles and other vehicles. My favorite boat
was a Trojan 27 ft. Sportfisher w/ flybridge. I wintered the boat
in a Morrow Bay slip and summered it at Port San Luis Obispo, Ca.
The most relaxing hours of my life were alone on my boat salmon and albacore fishing
off Port San Luis. My employer transferred me from Vandenberg AFB to Norton AFB in San Bernardino, Ca. So long to the ocean boating
. We are about 1 1/2 hour away from the marinas
and the slip costs are so high in So Cal
that I never gave any thought to owning another ocean going boat.
In the mean time I have built up a large electronics
lab in my home to support my current employment
(Director of Engineering at a local Avionics company) and also as a hobby I built up a complete CNC machine shop in my garage.
After having watched sailing Vblogs for about a year, I GOT THE BUG. I have never sailed but had years of experience of power boating
, so thought there is a new challenge I have not attempted.
Since most of my engineering has been hands on rather than theoretical and have overhauled nearly everything I have owned, I thought fixing up a sailboat that could be purchased fairly inexpensively would be a piece of cake. NOT!
I ended up purchasing
45 Center Cockpit
sailboat that is in Portland
some 800 miles away. While my employer is very flexible with me taking time off to work
on the boat, it is a 17 hours drive in each direction which I have made about 5 times so far. The boat was purchased 'as is - where is' and is sitting in a slip.
The previous owner had a passion for doing the work
himself. Due to health
reasons he had to abandon his dream and sell the boat......or should I say project
. As it turns out he had the means to buy the most expensive replacement items for the boat but did not have anything installed. This includes the brand new Perkins
95 HP engine
that is just sitting in the bilge
and a brand new MASE 7 KW generator
that is sitting in the salon
. This project
quickly turned into a much larger effort than I initially imagined. I still have no doubt I have the capability to complete the installation/refit it is going to take longer than expected.
The logistics is a nightmare. I considered having the boat trucked from Portland
to Long Beach where I have a slip reserved, but the cost was over $12K and there were questions about the shipping
that the trucking company did not adequately answer. I did not feel comfortable with shipping
it for a number of reasons. The boat yard in Portland indicated that I would have to cut all the wires to the main mast
and radar mast
and disassemble the SS dodger
myself. The boat yard at this end was not sure he could lift
the boat without knowing the exact weight. He also indicated that installing the rigging
would be $175/hr with no estimate in sight. All in all I decided to not ship it by truck even though it would be much more convenient to work on it at this end closer to home.
Instead, my decision was to finish the engine
and generator installation
in Portland, make it seaworthy
and sail or motor
it down to Long Beach. Once here I can take my time to finish all the loose ends and improvements on my own time schedule.
As it turned out, the trips to Portland to work on the boat have been far less productive than I imagined. The owner had a garage full of parts
and materials for the boat which I ended up having to rent two storage
units to put them in. I found it so difficult to find any help to assist me that I was nearly ready to find a homeless guy in desperation. The boat yard that is part of the marina charges extremely high prices and will not work on the boat while it is in the slip. Also, when on the hard
you are not allowed to stay or work on your own boat. What a bummer!
After talking to another C45 owner, I was convinced that my original plan to make it seaworthy
in Portland and sail/power it down the coast is still the best plan.
After the last 5 week trip to Portland, the weather
got cold and rainy. I finally was tired out and decided to come back home and take a break. This gives me the time to do the engineering for the engine and generator installation
, have some custom motor
mounts made and source the parts
for the missing exhaust
Would I have done this again knowing what I know now? Probably not. It is not because the monetary value is not there, nearly everything new is an attractive element. It is because of the logistics of being able to do the work far away from home and your tools. Not finding any help to hire is also a deterrent.
I will probably make some more trips to the boat and continue the installations and look to Spring bring it down the coast. The weather
absolutely sucks in Portland this time of year for working on the boat.
Wish me luck.