July 27, 2005

I got a whole whack of questions by email so I'm answering them all here. Also see Ev's post on the cabin raising. The pictures are cool. Link To Catamaran pictures

This boat:
Is a Wood's Meander 40' Catamaran. It was built on Gabriola Island in 1987. The design was for accommodation in both hulls and a separate steering pod. We preferred a design that has a central bridge deck cabin tying the interior space together. We bought the boat for a rock bottom price with the intention of doing heavy modifications.

The previous boat:
Was a 1978 Fortune 30 built in Victoria. We lived aboard and cruised for over 8 years and sold her when we decided to return to Vancouver from Annapolis, MD. We outfitted 'little' Ceilydh over a one month period in May of 1995 and swore we would never do that intense an outfit again. HA!

The transition:
Last time we set sail we had a loose plan to go indefinitely and did cruise for 3.5 years before stopping in Annapolis. After the first year of cruising we began to dream about the 'next' boat, one that would be comfortable for a lifetime of cruising for us, as well as for our guests - some of whom were becoming finicky about their holiday accommodation as they left their 20's. We also started throwing around the idea of a family and realized our little boat would be stretched to her limits. We encountered several cats along the way. We were particularly smitten with a Derek Kelsall design and then an Outremer we spent time on. At one point we tried to purchase a PDQ 36, which fell through, but the goal was set.

The Plan:
We work in loose 5-year plans. We are currently in the middle of the one called "Go back to Vancouver, let Maia get to know her family, earn money, find a bigger boat."

Initially, we planned to save our money and shop elsewhere for a boat (BC is not a Catamaran Mecca). Ev started to follow this boat in the 'for sale' ads quite some time ago and when the price got ridiculously low, we needed to go see why. It turned out to be a very sound, well built, well designed boat that was wrong for the region and neglected for 5 years. So we bought it, complete with a few dozen wasps nests inside and a heavy coating of moss on the exterior. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Now we need to finish up the current projects, save up for a while and do another series of projects. Once the cabin is complete and the diesel is in, we will likely be sailing on a very unfinished boat for a year. Still to come will be ripping out the current galley and replacing it with my dream kitchen(I'm sort of serious here), building the the salon furnishings for the new bridgedeck cabin, ripping out the old setee and turning it into a main cabin for Ev and I, and updating our sail inventory. Eventually, I would also like to tackle the head/shower arrangement and set up a work table/desk for homeschooling Maia.

We won't be moving aboard until shortly before we leave. Living aboard is a pain in Vancouver and we like our neighbourhood.

The Circumnavigation:

Is an open ended plan. I want to sail around the world, and Ev and I are very capable of doing so. The boat will also be very able. We have no timeframe though - just a goal to have a good time and go where the wind blows us. This has worked well for us up until this point!

The two-year goal:

Also, not set in stone. We're flexible. Life changes. I just need motivation to say "no" to that really cute pair of shoes sometimes. Especially if they go with the skirt I just made.

This is the coolest & Cabin Raising:

So, I can see that my blog has been visited 175 times in one day. I have also had a bunch of emails, including several from old sailing friends we haven't heard from in years. Now I am completely motivated to get back to the boat and get something dramatic done so I can post some cool pictures and a few good stories.

You were right Leighton, this *is* fun.

Evan continues this entry:

Today was "New Cabin Day". Just like an old fashioned barn raising, we had a bunch of friends help us to put up all the prefabricated panels in position. We had a little bit of trimming of panels to make it all fit, but nothing serious. It was very gratifying to see that the computer model accurately reflected the real boat. I had created the computer model based on the original drawings and a few measurements so there was a lot of faith involved.

The cabin looks good to me and I'm anxious to complete a few seams to make it watertight in case our spell of good weather ends soon. It's a bit more bulky looking than I would like, but I hope the windows and paint treatment will reduce it's visual bulk. We'll see. On this boat I accepted a bit more windage in keep the bridgedeck clearance good.

The Beginning:

We reached the point of no return before borrowing a chainsaw. But I think was when Evan actively started to look for a chainsaw that I began to realize exactly (ok, not exactly - frankly, I'?m still bewildered) what we had got ourselves into.

Our catamaran is under going renovations.

For photos:[link]

We've been talking about this for a year, and for the past 3 months Evan has been prefabricating cabin pieces. On paper, the concept seemed fairly simple; cut away the old central structure of the boat and erect a new cabin -? tying the two hulls together. After that modest project'?s done, all that will be left are the little details of furnishing and finishing. Easy as pie.

We hauled out the boat on July 4th. Our friend Ken arrived on July 7th and for three days he and Evan, and then our friend Don, began the process of dismantling the old structure and installing our new diesel. After the initial dismantling was done, it became clear that we needed a more efficient way of hacking a huge hole in the middle of our big boat. That is when Mark thought of the chain saw.

Mark arrived on July 13th. By now the rigging was down, the mast beam was out and any value our boat had to anyone but us, was nullified. Then the Chain Saw Wielding Californian took things a step further and put our boat in a state that left me speechless. Actually, beyond speechless; terror struck. Then Stew, Dee and Coral showed up. They too were struck speechless and were obviously concerned about our apparently slipping mental health.

The dismantling continued; chain-sawing, grinding, smashing, wrenching. This is a very well constructed boat that doesn'?t want to be ripped apart. Ev and Mark work daily for 7 days and Leighton (who had been helping for months with the prefab work) volunteered to see the project through by going every day.

Midway through Mark'?s visit, when Stew arrived, we were able to start putting in the cockpit and cabin sole. The result was dramatic and quite good for everyone'?s mood; the rebuilding was underway.

This past week has seen Dennis, Ev, Leighton and I finishing up the underside of the cabin/cockpit (it needs to be faired and painted before we relaunch August 4th). Ev is also setting up the structure so the cabin can be erected. This week is the big push - ? getting all the details done so we can put the boat back in the water and have it float, steer, and run.

Dee & Stew, Mark and Ken all come from our days of cruising in Mexico. If anyone could understand the significance of this project to us, it is them. But it goes beyond this, really. The first time we got a boat ready for cruising, Evan and I were awed by the power of the friendships we were so lucky to have surrounded ourselves with. Ten years ago, there was rarely a day that went by that one of our friends didn'?t show up at "?little"? Ceilydh to lend a hand, or provide a meal. It was a circle of support that buoyed us up, no matter what was going wrong.

To have such a thing happen once in your life is amazing. To have it happen twice requires that you stop what ever you are doing to simply appreciate the beauty of friendship and say ?thank-you. So to Ken, Mark, Dee, Don, Cheryl, Val, Stew, Leighton, Gail, Ramsay, Lynne, Robin, Carolyne, Colleen, Tyler, Peter, Dennis, Helen and those I may be missing. Thanks for hopping aboard our slightly crazy dream and helping to keep our heads above water. And, to those who were also there the first time as well, you are truly amazing.

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