Monday, February 3, 2014

The Fall and Rise of Desiree

Desiree in Happier Days
In 1993 the wooden Friendship Sloop, Desiree, was launched by her builder in Newburyport MA. She was an exquisite version of the 1904 Dictator model designed by Robert McClain. Built for his personal use, the builder, a professional woodworker, spared no expense or detail in her construction: Cedar planking on oak frames, bronze fasteners, lignum vitae blocks, sitka spruce spars and bronze hardware throughout. He sailed her regularly for about 5 years when, unfortunately, medical issues caused him to put her on the hard.  There she sat, by the road for 10+ years, subject to the rain, snow and elements.

I have loved Friendships since the age of six when I saw my first one in Gloucester.  Each time I passed Desiree forlorn by the roadside, I shook my head as she was far too pretty a boat to leave to become a planter.  Long story short, I bought her in December.

By the roadside
The inspection found the hull to be essentially sound, but found delamination of the fiberglass on the cabin top and deck (cabin and deck are glassed over) and some softness in the topmast. 

The engine has not run for at least 3 years and the diesel in her tanks is 10+years old. 

The rest of the boat is a mess cosmetically: mold, mildew, dirt, varnish gone and generally not a happy girl. 

The goal is to get her back in the water by this summer - July 10th to be exact. There is no magic to this date (except the tide happens to serve); it is just a date to shoot for. My punch list is huge including everything from general cleaning and refurbishing to rebuilding woodwork and systems.   

In the coming weeks, I will chronicle the rebuild and hope you'll come along. There is an old saying:  "If you don't know what you're doing, go slow."  Since I don't, I shall. And I welcome you on the journey. 

2 comments:

  1. Now that's a great story on motivation! Almost as good as "the cat" to get one moving, and a whole lot more civilized. Keep up the good fight! Get her bottom wet and we'll toast her resurrection back into the world later this summer!

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