I’ve been doing so much boat maintenance work that I have to remind myself sometimes: “Wait, but I’m a sailor!” At the moment it’s not realistic to take out my Rawson 30, the heaviest 30-footer ever built, alone on a regular basis after work. I bought it for long ocean crossings, where you don’t have to dock and undock every night, and that’s what all my work is preparing it for. It will be easier to dock and undock once I get my tiller steering fixed. Right now the tiller joint is loose. It moves about 40 degrees before the tiller engages the rudder. I dealt with this on my trip last summer because I had to, doing constant makeshift fixes. When you’re out in the open, you can deal with it. But when you’re constantly docking and undocking, the steering needs more precision, and with bad steering it’s easy to over- or under-shoot the dock. I know where I need to go and what I need to do to get it fixed, but it’s just one of many things on the list.
It’s especially hard to go out regularly when I’m doing big projects like cleaning and re-flooring the bilge. My bilge pump is not hooked up because my bilge water is not in a state to be pumping overboard due to all the cleaning (steam cleaning, to be exact). So when I remove the water, I hand pump it into buckets and take it to the hazmat station. I’m also maintaining both my big outboard and my little dinghy motor, painting the inside of the cabin white, and going over my entire electrical system which is offline. This means if I get stuck out after dark, my masthead light, AIS, and spreaders are currently offline.
I needed a little boat that was *not* a project that I could sail regularly after work. I bought the perfect little performance racer!
Its name is Amigo. It’s a MiniSail, circa 1968, designed by Ian Proctor. It is the successor to the Sunfish and it is the predecessor to the Topper, a popular 80s racing boat that has annual world championships with hundreds of boats. The MiniSail is faster than the Topper, and it is slower than the Sunfish and the Laser. (Although the previous owner said he once tied with a Laser, albeit with a skipper much heavier than him.) The MiniSail is light, 90LB, and 13 feet. Right now I’m using a dolly that the previous owner made out of small wheels and PVC pipe, glued together with fittings to get the right shape. Ha!
Fisheries Supply has graciously allowed me to store it in the locked courtyard, so I can maximize daylight hours by carting it down to Lake Union after work. It’s a lot better than having to drive somewhere to get it, by which time it would already be dark before I get to go sailing.
I’ve already got a great wetsuit, and I’ve obsessively studied at least a dozen capsize drills on YouTube. I’ve got a foam type lifejacket and neoprene booties all picked out. The only things this boat needs are a good wash and a few new lines before I can take it down to the lake. My goal is to sail this boat on the lake within the next 7 days.