Good Old Boat magazine is one of the most useful publications in it’s genre. There is more good how-to information per pound of ink than you can find in the average yachting magazine. I like that it’s not a show case for expensive toys. One gets the sense that the boats featured are within an average guy’s reach. I currently catch their podcast on iTunes but may have to get a full paper thingie in the mail subscription. That is if my luck holds later this month.
A favorite past time of mine is dock walking. Port Angeles, Washington has one commercial marina. The Port Angeles Boat Haven is run by Clallam county’s Port Authority. It is divided into east and west sections behind a breakwater toward the western end of the harbor. I regularly stroll the docks just to be near boats and suck in the salt air. It’s my therapy. Pretty cheap and nobody asks me how I feel about my mother.
The last time I went for this sort of walk there were a fair number of boats with the same unsettling notice taped on the hull. When a boat owner can not afford to pay his moorage fees the boat goes into default just like a house with a mortgage. Considering what has happened in the housing market in recent years it should come as no surprise to hear that sailors are in the same boat with their boats all over the country. When this happens the boats are auctioned off after the appropriate period of time. If this sounds sad, it is. It happened to me once as the result of moving from one end of the country to the other rather hurriedly.
Last week the current crop of abandoned boats was announced. Three of the four are sailboats. One of them is a 24 foot Bayliner. Ahh… no thanks! Bayliner may make a dandy power boat but I don’t know what they were thinking when they designed the Buccaneer. There is also a 36 foot wooden yawl of uncertain parentage. It’s kind of intriguing but I don’t think I want the slip fees for a larger boat and the masts and rigging look like a total replacement job. Lastly, is a Columbia 22 named Misfit. I’m familiar with the boat having seen her on many a dock walk since she showed up several years ago.
She is not pristine by any stretch of the imagination and it always seemed that her owners didn’t use her much. There has been very little effort to seriously maintain her much less perform upgrades. However, the mast and standing rigging are intact and appear to be in good serviceable condition. The running rigging is not in as good condition. The mainsheet looks like hardware store 3 strand nylon gone dirty and tired. It is however running through good Tuffnol blocks on a handy sheet traveler. Misfit currently wears a mainsail on the boom under a cover. There is a bag in the cabin presumably containing some sort of headsail. Her red hull is looking hazy and in need of some polishing. The windows look like they have been caulked, poorly. They should be removed and reinstalled or replaced with fresh sealant There are a number of places that may be leaking rain into the cabin. The way the sliding hatch is designed I believe that wind driven rain would certainly find it’s way in. A small Mercury outboard is mounted on a transom bracket. It may or may not work.
This is an intact boat needing some clean up and maintenance. There is some money to be spent here but much of the job is a matter of sweat equity. I had in mind a building project but this is a tempting situation. It could put me on the water in a basically good boat, cheaply. The Columbia 22 was designed by W. I. B. Crealock and has a good reputation as a family sailboat or small cruiser/racer.
My mission is to try to obtain this boat with my bank account suffering minimum injury. I have hopes that there will be a small turnout. The auction format does nothing to discourage me. I used to be an antiques dealer and have been to hundreds if not thousands of auctions. I enjoy them. If I am successful I will be immediately in refurbishing mode. It’s familiar territory but knowledge is power and I’m gonna get me some. Good Old Boat will be a good place to start. Naturally the project would be thoroughly covered in this blog. Wish me luck. June 24th is just around the corner.