Merry Christmas


LUNA is not quite under the tree, but close enough. Over the next few months some of the projects on the “list” can be completed. And, as she waits on me, she’ll warm my heart with the promise of that first Spring cruise. Can’t wait.

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Getting her home was no small effort. Before yesterday’s sunrise, my middle son and I left for the marina, had a cold motor trip around to the boatyard (no wind), spent 3-4 hours removing the masts, hauling the boat, and tidying up the equipment for travel.  12 hours later we found ourselves back home, but unable to move LUNA from the bottom of our gravel drive onto the concrete apron beside the house. Apparently a Ford F150 has only so much umps to haul uphill. After several attempts and digging too much gravel, we called it quits for the day. This morning a trip to Enterprise returned with a real truck. Make that a Ford F350 dually diesel. That beast in 4 wheel low yanked our boat up the drive like a wet rag. Amazing.


The Home Owners Association is specific about not keeping boats in yards. So far, no calls. In my opinion, her beauty adds to the neighborhood. God knows there are enough ugly house additions around. Besides, she’s really just visiting and … its Christmas. Hope yours is a blessed one.





A very gracious friend gave me a dozen teak boards of random width that he had inherited. If there is one wood I save every scrap of, it is this, especially the real article, Burmese. Retail now demands $28 a board foot. The gift was significantly weathered and 1″ thickness netted 3/4″ once run through the planer, but then looked good as new. 3/4″ duplicates Luna’s oak cockpit floor dimension. Rough use by this owner warranted either a ton of sanding and varnish, or better yet, replacement. Alternating and changing the width of the slats has made it more comfortable on the feet. Raw teak offers great traction and … no varnish. Functionally this is a big improvement and the appearance certainly satisfies my eye.





Wet and almost complete. Note leather “beer” straps between frames above seat.
the improved result

I salvaged the bronze screws from the originals which I’ve kept in tact, but with steel screws. Last night I tested their psychological impact. Dragging the anchor chain across them didn’t bother me one little bit. I call that value added. Success.

Ducker Preparations

In order to proceed with the Ducker hull, I need more room in the garage. So, last month I added a small addition to the backyard shed we built 10 years ago. All of our gasoline equipment, tools, cans, etc. are now housed there. I wagged an estimate of $650 in materials to complete the space. It ended up more like $800. That’s $14.25 a SF. If you threw in my free labor in there I guess you could triple the cost. The worst of the project required digging 2 holes for the outboard post footings. Nothing but hard clay and rock (lots of rocks). Thankfully I had my 18 yr old son and his buddy to sweat the digging with me.


The low slope roof just sneaks under the existing gable window. 30# felts are under the shingles. The Hardi Plank siding was nasty to cut with circular saw or jig. Finally, I discovered that 3 scores with a utility knife on both sides allowed for a clean enough break without all the dust. Some policing of the adjoining grade still needs to be done. Also, the soffit vents are still missing, but we can move on now.


In the interim, LUNA’s hatch has been repaired, again, and both the boat hook and bilge pump handle have been stripped and varnished.


Next up: can we make UNA a boat cover out of Emily’s 2 awnings? Solving that will allow UNA to stay outdoors temporarily while the Ducker hull takes shape. I may begin with the spars and other parts before that.

Catastrophe Averted

After loosing the main halyard up the mast weeks ago, the state of the varnish on the main mast troubled me. Last week I had the mast pulled, hauled the 34′ stick on my 19′ F-150 home, stripped the spreaders, added 2 coats of epoxy and finished with 3 coats of Brightsides paint. The mainsail track was removed and the entire mast given 3 fresh coats of Petit’s Z-Spar Flagship varnish. Last Friday I returned to the boatyard (name withheld for reasons soon to be clear), painted Luna’s bottom, wax ringed the opened seams, and reinstalled the mast the following day without event. However, the removal of the mast was nearly a literal bust. Thankfully many hands were available. This video was taken by a new friend, Tim, as held one of the control lines. It is the only record I have of the work. Wish I had taken a photo of the mast travelling contraption I used, perhaps next time. Hauling the long stick upwards of 70 mph for 75 miles took some consideration.

Anyway, many hands averted what could have been a tragedy. For the record, I had remarked that the block and tackle looked to be from Magellan’s Victoria. I was assured that there was at least one more lift in it. Little did I know how close to the truth I was.

Boy Boykin Bosun

Here in Virginia it seems late in the season, but we’ve had rain on top of rain for 1 1/2 months. Yesterday finally had clearing skies, so with both my youngest boy and my newest pup we went to unwrap Luna yesterday.

skipper, pup and newly varnished hatch.

Aside from being discouraged by the degradation of the varnish on the toe rail, all was going fine in removing the 3 tarps, the structure supporting them, and hanking on the sails. Fine that is, until I watched the main halyard run up the mast. Dumb! The marina  “experts” promptly suggested all kinds of retrieval methods from heeling the boat using the jib halyard, standing on an adjacent powerboat with boat hook to linking 3 boat hooks together and reaching high. Perhaps more pedantic, I decided to fashion a bosun’s chair and haul the youngest at 81 pounds with a boat hook with wire hanger taped to the end to snag the lost shackle. This would be a lesson in self reliance. However, he was not  too comfortable at spreader height (or confident in my grip?) so we brought him down. Surprised at how easily I could haul him up on the 2 part halyard, I decided to haul myself up with tailing assistance on the deck. Once above the spreaders and just below the jumper stay, I hauled the boat hook up the flag halyard and grabbed the prize. Back on deck I decided to make a legitimate chair. Here it is:

scrap 3/4″ plywood with bluenosed edges and 4 countersunk holes.
2 figure eight hoist points
continuous line run diagonally and lashed behind reef knots.

We’re not planning to lose the halyard again, but you never know … at least next time we’ll be ready and familiar with the drill.

Luna’s Half Hull

I enjoyed carving the Ducker model so much that I wanted to try another. This time of Luna. Here are pics of the early progress. In removing the last bit from the keel I accidentally buzzed off the tail end of the keel. This gave me the “opportunity” to add that corner back as a delineation of what would be the lead ballast per the lines drawing.

botched trailing keel corner and tick marks for fairing


added “ballast”


rudder added. cardboard stations beyond.


ready for hanging

I’m learning as I go. Too late for this one, but I just rediscovered an old Rudder Magazine article on model making by none other than L. Francis himself, I’d like to do one more. In his description I realized there may be a quicker way to remove the waste wood by not gluing the lifts, tracing the lower lift onto the above lift and separating the individual lifts to work on each separately. Once the majority of the waste wood is removed, the lifts can be rejoined and tuned for the final finish. Rewarding projects. What might be a next go?

Spring Outfitting

I’ve a trip planned for LUNA either late April or mid May. Duration, 7-10 days. Longer than any trip with her thus far, it will offer a good opportunity to see what she can do. I’d love to sneak up the Eastern Shore through Tangier Sound, through Hoopers Straight and around into the Choptank to visit Oxford, MD and then return down the western shore of the Bay.

To get ready there is a to do list:

  • varnish forward hatch and spars.
  • wash down the interior to kill any mildew.
  • wash both sets of sails.
  • rework the jiffy reefing.

The list may be short, but it represents a lot of time so, we have begun varnishing what we can do at home.

The hatch has been scraped, sanded and given 2 thinned coats so far. The old acrylic port was so checked, a new one wash made complete with stepped edge to match the recess in the hatch. This will be set in Dolphinite and clamped in place with bronze rings on both sides.

The 2 booms have had their hardware removed, have been sanded and a coat of full varnish applied.

To wash the sails, I want to hang a block in a backyard tree to hoist sails via halyard to scrub them.

The reefing set up will take some study and maybe a turning block on the main boom for ease of use.

All of this is more distraction that needed when life has already given enough lists, planned and otherwise. Nonetheless, we’re off and running. The days are getting warmer. Daylight increases. The dream is being stoked.

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