Almost Afloat, A Sailboat Comes Home To Roost

My long dry spell is soon to come to an end. In my backyard is an O’day Day Sailor 17 foot sailboat on a trailer. My wife gets credit for dragging me to a garage sale where the boat was waiting for a desperate soul like me to make an offer. The previous owner was a novice sailor and was unaware of several things missing in the rig. Apparently he never used the jib and used a 2 horse outboard that made it serviceable for pulling crab pots. The rudder and tiller are poorly made replacement items that I will be making further replacements for ASAP. So I am left with a few issues before I will feel comfortable about risking my grandson’s or my own life on the water.

It became obvious early on that I needed some information on this model boat so to the internet I went.  The class association has a dedicated website at  There is a great forum that goes back to at least 2004. I have been reading as many posts as I can that will teach about the care and maintenance of this particular model. One of the most valuable bits of information was knowing where to get parts specifically meant for the DS1.

To start with the mast is one bloody great length of aluminum that must be manhandled into an upright position and dropped through a hole on top of the cuddy cabin. It’s a job I don’t want to do myself and a five year old will be no help in the matter. So I have sent off to D&R Marine for a tabernacle fitting. This will allow me to hinge the mast at a point above the cabin roof. With A pair of shear legs and and a suitable tackle raising the mast will become a solo operation.

The sails have some signs of use and there is an area of the mainsail that has some holes chafed through. Patching materials are on the way from Sailrite. Its been a long time since I worked a needle and palm but I am looking forward to the experience. The floor boards need to be refinished. The former owner replaced the cockpit coamings. He did a good job, technically but not aesthetically. He used mahogany, which was good but instead of a nice fair curve he made the top edge dead straight from the forward to the after end. I will know more about rigging problems when I can raise the mast and do a trial run at raising sail.

It feels great to have a boat to fuss over again. You know, “simply messing about.” The Water Rat lives in us all.

Another water rat coming up right.


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