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A NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: I've finally ponied up the bucks and bought
DSL, which meaans a new email address... hammerguy at bellsouth
I suppose now is the time to 'fess up and tell you why I've
been so late updating this website. I'm in the finishing stages
of a second book for International Marine. This will be a general
guide and handbook for trailer sailors. It's currently being edited
while I finish up the last few sets of drawings and take some
photographs. I don't yet know exactly when it will be available,
though it is targeted for release this summer. More about this
book will be available soon, and you'll hear about it first here.
can also see some of my work in the pages of Small
Craft Advisor. Josh Colvin has been kind enough to let me
do the illustration for the feature boat section. The most recent
boat is the Sanibel 18, brought back from the grave by International
Marine... the West Wight Potter folks. I was quite pleased to
have this drawing purchased by International Marine for use in
their marketing efforts, and I hope to be able to do more illustrating
for the marine industry. The illustration is shown on the left...
click for a larger view. If you're a boat builder or owner and
are interested in original artwork, contact me for a quote.
My lovely wife Karen bought me a nifty gadget last year for
Christmas... an iPod. While cruising about the web looking for
things to listen to, I stumbled across FurledSails.com,
where you can listen to podcast inerviews related to all things
sailing. You can hear discussions with Lin and Larry Pardey, Good
Old Boat founders Karen Larson and Jerry Powlas, and if you're
REALLY starving for entertainment, Brian Gilbert talking about
fixing up old boats. Search for podcast #67, Fix It And Sail.
My little Montgomery 17 is pretty much bedded down for the
winter in her slip. I was fortunate enough to find dock space
for a year at Gold Point Marina in Chattanooga, where I can dash
off for a quick sail when time allows. I can be there in 15 minutes,
and sailing in 30. There hasn't been much time for sailing this
fall, though I manage to get out there every once and a while
to work on the boat. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by D-dock...
I'm the smallest boat in the marina.
(June 10, 2006)
It's finally out! Fix It and Sail has been printed and is now
available at a bookstore near you! At least I hope it is... I
haven't seen it on any shelf in any of the bookstores I've been
to, but then again, I haven't been anyplace where sailing is a
normal activity. Of course, if you don't see it at your favorite
bookstore, please feel free to ask the manager why it's not in
his or her store! You can always skip the bookstore and order
direct from me... I've added a page for ordering
Fix It And Sail here. If you'd like, I'll be happy to personalize
your copy... just let me know. It's also for sale at Amazon.com
and other on-line booksellers. If you've already bought a copy,
THANK YOU!!! If you liked the book, please write a review and
post on Amazon. If you didn't, please email me and tell me why
so I can do better next time!
My M17 Tiny Dancer was launched this weekend and I'm pleased
to report that everything went fine on her first short voyage.
I rigged and got in the water in about an hour, which I thought
was pretty good for my first time. I sailed it solo for about
two hours, tacking downwind to get to Gold Point marina where
she's sitting in her slip. A marina is pretty expensive for a
trailerable, but it's only ten minutes from my house, so I can
be sailing pretty quickly. I sailed under main alone this weekend
because I was missing a pin for the headsail, but she sailed well
even without benefit of a headsail. My new used bimini made the
cockpit a MUCH nicer place to be, even though it does get in the
way a little. Still, the shade is worth it. The depth sounder
installation seemed to work as well, and it was nice not to wonder
if I'd hear that crunching sound of keel on rock bottom. I've
still got plenty of work to do on the boat, but it's really nice
to be back on the water again.
(March 28, 2006)
One of the dozens of ideas that I've been mulling about late
at night is trying to put together a "Fix It And Sail Survey"
workshop. My thought is that I'd try to find a trailerable sailboat
for sale that costs about $1,000, and then lead a workshop where
we crawl over the boat, try to find all the faults, and then make
up a restoration plan and budget. I'm guessing we could do it
in about four hours. I'd love to present this at one of the boat
shows or sailing seminars... if anyone has any contacts who might
support this idea, please send me an email!
Work continues on Tiny Dancer, my new/old Montgomery 17. It's
amazing how springlike weather can motivate you to get those last
boat chores done. I've been working on the bottom in the last
few months, and I've decided that I hate hard, non-ablative bottom
paint. It's flaking off in places, but stuck tight in others.
I'm having to scrape it off with a sharp, wide bladed wood chisel,
which is a difficult, messy, toxic job. Once that's completed,
then I'll need to sand (more grit falling in my eyes) and
repair a few blisters before I can put on a fresh coat of bottom
paint. But that's the last major job remaining before I can launch
her. There are some minor details, like a new cover for when she's
lying at the mooring, and some misc. canvas work. And I want to
add a bimini to keep the summer sun at a reasonable intensity
(and it'll be a great place to lay a flexible solar panel). The
plan is to take her down to Charleston, SC, for a four or five-day
cruise this summer. If I can find the cruising time, and with
some luck, she'll be ready!
Well, according to the good folks at International Marine,
Fix It And Sail is on the way to the printer. It should go on
sale around the end of December, but I'm not sure how long this
process takes. Thanks for your patience... hopefully you'll find
the end result to be worth the wait. The cover price will be $19.95+s&h.
I'll have copies available for sale on this website, and it should
be available in bookstores and on Amazon.com
Work continues on my 1979
Montgomery 17."Tiny Dancer."Just the other day I
lowered the trailer back down to the ground after reinstalling
a completely rebuilt and faired swing centerboard. Rebuilding
a centerboard isn't all that hard in theory, but raising the boat
and removing/reinstalling the keel can become a big job. I'm working
on a magazine article that documents the process. Finishing mine
took about a month and a half of part-time work, and while she
was elevated I couldn't work on the interior. I've installed a
new deep-cycle battery and laminated up a new battery box along
the centerline, and I finished wiring it in just today... I've
finally got power onboard, and at least the cabin light works!
I still need to wire up the depth sounder. Next on the schedule
might be a bimini and lifelines. I've also removed the water tank,
sterilized it, rebuilt the galley pump, and installed all new
(July 17, 2005)
Appearing this fall at a bookstore near you will be the entire
story of the restoration of Fluke. Tentatively titled "Fix
It and Sail! Buying and Restoring Trailerable Sailboats on a Budget,"
this book will be the complete guideline for restoring older,
smaller sailboats, using Fluke as the test case. Scheduled publication
date in November of 2005. Some of the materials on this website
were used to develop the book, so if you like what you see here,
you'll love what you'll find in print. Further updates will be
posted as we get closer to the release date, so check back often!
Work is continuing on my 1979
Montgomery 17. Formerly called "Stargazer," I've
decided to change the name to "Tiny Dancer,", since
when I'm finished, she'll be a different boat. I've already repaired
some delamination in the stringer, rebuilt the rudder, installed
new jibsheet camcleats, and refinished all of the exterior teak.
I've installed a new Uniden depth sounder, and I've got a new
handheld VHF for the boat and a new compass to install. I've made
some progress removing old hardware, sealing the core, and rebedding
to stop leaks. Jerry Montgomery just swaged up a new starbord
upper shroud that I've installed.
Trouble is, the more I fix, the more I seem to find that needs
attention. Just today I noticed the lower gudgeon bolts look like
they've been leaking, and since these are below the waterline,
they need some attention. The bottom needs scraping... I've only
completed perhaps twenty percent of the hull so far. My new longshaft
Nissan doesn't seem to be long enough, so it looks like I need
to add a motor mount. And, of course, I still need to address
the corroded centerboard.
So I won't be sailing for a little while yet... perhaps sometime
in the fall. But when I'm finished, she should be one SWEET little
FOUND!- I'm now the proud owner
of Harvey Wilson's Montgomery 17, ex "Stargazer." I
brought her up from the Atlanta area a few weeks ago. Thankfully,
my little truck (a '98 Nissan Frontier, 4-cyl 5-speed) pulls the
boat with much less effort than the MacGregor, which was a big
reason for selling Fluke. The Montgomery is in far, far better
shape than my MacGregor was. While I have plenty of work to do
on the Monty, it's more of an annual maintenance nature and less
damage repair. The Montgomery 17 was designed by the legendary
Lyle Hess ( Designer of Linn and Larry Pardey's "Seryffin"
and "Talesin") and similar boats have taken some long-distance
cruises, through the Sea of Cortez, the Panama Canal, and the
Bahamas. While my plans are not so ambitious, I am hoping to take
this boat on some salt water cruises, maybe even the Keys. Meanwhile,
the maintenance work and outfitting continues. This week it's
teak refinishing and some epoxy work on a stringer. I'll have
to pull and refinish the cast-iron centerboard, probably in the
next month or so.
WANTED- I'm looking for another
boat to sail and work on. It needs to be smaller and lighter than
my Mac... preferably a Montgomery 15 in reasonable shape, hopefully
near Chattanooga TN. If anyone knows of an unloved or unused little
boat near them, please drop me an email at:
hammerguy at mindspring.com.
Another article about Fluke appeared in the January 2005 edition
of Good Old Boat... be sure and check it out!
FLUKE IS SOLD- Well, I'm doing
the final cleanup for that long, lonesome haul. I've accepted
a deposit on the sale last weekend, and after a few minor repairs,
then Fluke is off to her new owner. So this will pretty much end
this particular chapter on this particular boat. But that's not
(December 2004)I finally hauled the boat home yesterday. With
the way the tires looked, I'm surprised I didn't get two flats
on the way... that's another thing that needs attention. It's
a great relief to get it home and in the backyard again... now
it can get some needed maintenance. On the schedule is a new lower
rudder blade(the old one cracked badly as the lake level dropped.
I broke it the rest of the way when I hauled it) re-repairing
a mysterious crack in the deck, checking and repairing the mast
wiring as necessary, and general varnish and painting here and
there. It's difficult to maintain while it's in the water. Maybe
I'll even get around to painting the name on the transom.
(October 2004) Well, the sailing season is starting to wind
down here in Tennessee. We've had some great wind up here, and
went sailing on the front side of one of the hurricanes. About
three days prior, we had clear, pretty skies and a gusty, shifty
15-18kt wind. It was a great sail. So far, we've been through
the remnants of two hurricanes, had maybe thirty knot winds for
one and forty knots for the other. Fluke is tied between a dock
and a pair of trees for these storms, plus I have the "big"
anchor out. No damage so far. I'm planning to haul her home in
a few weeks for some badly needed maintenance.
Another article about Fluke is scheduled for the January 2005
edition of Good Old Boat... be sure and check it out!
(Summer 2004)I've added some PDF versions of magazine articles
that have been published... just click on the new link at the
top of the page. I've been fortunate enough to have two articles
published recently. "Sailing With Hugo" appears in the
March/April 2004 issue of Small
Craft Advisor, and an article on making screen bags will appear
in the May/June issue of Good
Old Boat. All these have been in the works for over a year
now, so it's nice to see them finally published... Check them
The next project on the drawing board is a new dinghy from
plywood and epoxy, some LED light modules, and perhaps even some
backup anchors built from scratch. I'll turn most of these into
magazine articles, though you can see the preliminary work here.
LATEST NEWS: (November 7th 2003) A new CD Rom is finally ready...
The Complete Yachtsman, by B.
Heckstall-Smith and Captain E. du Boulay. Third edition, revised,
copyright 1918. This newly-completed CD Rom is a complete historical
treatise on the world of Victorian yachting. 483 pages long, it
features sections on yacht racing, cruising, rules of the road,
yacht handling, yachting history, etc. It even includes construction
details for building a 20-foot lapstrake daysailer. Very interesting
historical reading. $10... I'll get a Paypal link up later
I've also completed a semi-major update of the CDR Sailing
Small. Added about twenty new pages, improved the organization
a bit, and fixed a few small spelling and tyographical errors.
Also added is a fourth appendix with details on building a replacement
rudder, which I did using Tom
Stockwell's excellent stitch and glue method. A SPECIAL OFFER
TO ANYONE WHO HAS PURCHASED A PREVIOUS VERSION. I'll be happy
to send you an updated disk free of charge. If you're in the US,
send me the old disk and a dollar. I've added the rudder replacement
section to the samples page of this
(October 15th 2003) Well, it's almost time to pull the boat
for the winter. The weather is getting colder, leaves are starting
to fall. I'm holding off, though, as I'm trying to get in a few
more sails before I bring her out. Due to lots of reasons ranging
from too busy to no wind, I haven't done nearly enough sailing
The trailer has been completely repainted and is awaiting new
tires and a winch. Projects for this winter include some touch-up
paint, electronics repairs, and repairs to the mast wiring.
Work continues on an update of Sailing Small. The most recent
additions add eight new pages, including a new section on building
a replacement rudder assembly. I also caught a few minor spelling
errors, though others undoubtedly exist. Additional sections currently
underway include additional boat drawings and an entire chapter
on outboards. All of this is in preperation for, hopefully, a
print version of the book.
Thanks to all of you who have sent emails. I'll be happy to
help and advise those of you who have the "Really-want-to-go-sailing-but-don't-have-much-money-wonder-if-I-should-buy-that-old-boat"
disease whenever I can. Feel free to contact me with your questions,
Mac-related or otherwise.
(August 15th 2003) I received a call from my Aunt the other
day, who lives near the boat... she said something about the mast
being "down." After a frantic drive, sure enough, the
mast had fallen off the boat. It appeared that three machine screws
had backed themselves out of the mast cap, and the forestay turnbuckle
had unscrewed itself. At least, all those parts were missing,
so that's the only conclusion that I can come to.
Fortunately, the damage wasn't nearly as bad as it coul;d have
been. The mast wasnt bent, though the tabernacle was pretty torqued.
Some wiring damage and a general mess, but that's about all. I
managed to get things cleaned up and back in place last weekend.
I've wired the forestay turnbuckle, and added loctite, lock washers,
and longer screws to the mast cap. Apparently, this was caused
by numerous ski boats that cruise up and down the lake... their
wakes set up a short, quick chop that whips the mast around considerably.
The boat has also been moved to a mooring, so we can take these
The trailer rebuilding is going fairly on-schedule. The entire
thing was sandblasted and primed at my friend Dennis' house...
he's got a large enough compressor to run the blaster. I've just
finished painting it dark green to match the hull. It looks a
million percent better. Remaing work is to re-secure the wiring,
replace the winch and the bow chock, and that project will be
complete. It could use new wheels and tires, but that will have
to wait for more funds.
(June 15th 2003) I finally launched the boat for the season...
towed it over to the ramp, raised the mast, put the motor on,
then went to find the rudder, and... no rudder. A mad dash home,
and it wasn't there either. As near as I can figure, I must have
left the complete rudder assembly lying on the dock when I pulled
the boat last fall. Either that, or I was a victim of The Rudder
Bandit, a mad cleptomaniac with an insatiable desire for rudder
assemblies. Though my wife Karen doesn't agree with me, I'm almost
sure it was the Bandit, even though it was dark and late when
I pulled the boat. At any rate, I've got the parts for building
a new rudder thanks to Tom Stockwell's excellent Rudder
Replacement PDF. It will be slightly modified, but not too
much. I'll be sure to post the results here. In the meantime,
everyone around here has started calling me the ADD King, though
I can't remember why.
(June 2003) Fluke's new masthead is installed, and four shiny
new shrouds have been swaged up. Hopefully, this rig will last
another thirty years. Replacing all the standing rigging was not
as difficult as I had anticipated, and you could do the whole
job in a long weekend (if you don't have kids!) The new sliding
gooseneck was received from Paul Osborne, and is a very nicely
made fitting. I'll need to do some cleaning of the mast slot,
though, as the bolt for the old gooseneck bent the slot. Still
pricing a pair of new tires. Other projects slated for this summer
are some LED interior lights, an on-deck jib bag, and a set of
combination lazyjacks/topping lift.
Be sure and pick up the July issue of Good
Old Boat magazine, where I'll have two articles appearing.
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