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Old News

Fluke has been sold, and I've moved on to Tiny Dancer. (Figuratively, I mean, I'm not a liveaboard again.) This is the place to find past updates and news from the home page... kind of a "background information" page. No boat... or website... is ever really finished, but a work in progress... here's what's happened.

Last updated Oct 24, 2007

April 2007

A NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: I've finally ponied up the bucks and bought DSL, which meaans a new email address... hammerguy at bellsouth dot net.

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.

You 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)

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!

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 hoses.

(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 cruiser!


(June 2005)

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.


(January 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!

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!


(February 2004)

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 all, folks!


(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 out!

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 website.


(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 this year.

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 wakes bow-on.

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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