You can almost pretend to be floating…but not really.
This whole thing feels strange and foreign after living in a house for so long.
I am looking at every challenge as a lesson in radical adaptation.
I haven’t had to feed myself in days. Thanks to Ray and Ash, Pete and Kourtney, Autumn and the kids. I make everybody laugh. It’s all I can do. I can’t offer help using tools or bring any actual food to the table, but I can offer laughs. Good laughs. Whole hearted belly laughs. The days spent laughing with everyone are the best days. I’m going to miss the boatyard, I can already feel it. Progress. I feel like I’ve finally hit my stride.
And even if we all wake up tomorrow and it’s all gone to the dogs, you just have to keep going.
Keep working on your projects.
Keep chipping away.
Keep earning your freedom.
Keep being you. Keep being light.
I’m not the biggest fan of the signature Alberg windows. They seem too large to be fit for sea. If I were preparing Vanupied, my Pearson Ariel 26, to cross an ocean I would definitely glass in those gigantic holes and put in smaller, opening port lights. I’m not preparing my boat to cross an ocean, but I am essentially preparing her for the sea and island hopping, so my windows needed some work.
I first discussed my window problem with my friend Russell who I met while on a delivery of an Endeavour 43. Russell and his wife have sailed the world on their Kelly Peterson 44, “Blue Highway.” I was telling Russell about some cracks in the aluminum window frame. The conversation went something like this:
“How structural is it?”
“Can I just put some epoxy onto the cracks?”
“I wouldn’t. You should really get it welded.”
“I don’t have any money to pay a welder!”
I put “properly fix windows” on the list. Plus, they were leaking pretty badly and it was time for rebedding. I met Oliver by chance at a party at the yacht club. He’s a welder, a sailor, and my exact age. He recently sold his small sailboat that he lived on and sailed extensively! Even if no one else wanted to go out, Oliver was down whatever the weather. Living on land now he recently quit working for the man and went for it with his own business. Because he does excellent work for majorly nice yachts to earn the majority of his income, Oliver was more than willing to help a sailor out for a very reasonable price!
But first I had to remove them. The frames were held together by bolts using the tap and die method. I didn’t have a big enough screw driver for the bolts, so I set out in search of one in the boatyard. Skip, a friend of a friend, came through. Later he came to check on how the job was going.
“They’re seized,” I said. “Got an impact driver?”
He did, in fact have an impact driver, but many of the bolt’s heads were stripped or quickly became so. The impact driver required someone to use the entire force of their body to get a single bolt to even budge! Even Skip who is six feet tall, 250 pounds, and has 40 years of experience with fixing things was having a hell of a time! It took a long time, and a lot of Skip’s sweat but we finally got the windows removed. One frame broke into three pieces! I was definitely glad to be getting these fixed up. Off to the welder it went.
Because the aluminum was soft to begin with, and fifty years old, it turned out to be a hell of a job welding the windows as well. It’s a good thing Oliver loves a welding challenge. Meanwhile, I covered up the holes for the windows with heavy duty plastic wrap and duct tape. This turned out to be a pretty terrible idea because as soon as the sun hit the duct tape it basically became permanent. It took hours spanning two days with a sander and paint thinner on the deck in the hot Florida sun to get that off!
Once I got the windows back, they continued to be a pain in the ass. Skip continued to help me with the reinstall. When removing the frames we had broken a few bolts that were now stuck inside the holes, so we decided to drill new holes and tap new threads for those bolts. But threading the old aluminum was basically impossible. We broke all of our taps. Then we decided to through bolt the frames, and wondered why we hadn’t thought of this all along! We continued to break things like bits, nuts, and bolts. There were three trips to the hardware store in one day.
We finally got the windows back in! Not only are they leak free now, but they are much stronger thanks to the welds and the through bolts. Windows are all through bolted these days on boats. Sometimes the modern way can be better and stronger!
If you are traveling on the ICW and need some welding done in and around northern Florida, contact Oliver Heckscher at Weld Done- Mobile Metalworks & Fabrication. Huge thanks to Skip & Oliver for makin’ it happen!
Classic plastic alert! Uncle Al’s Alberg 30, the good ship Pickle, is for sale! Currently located on the hard on Shelter Island, NY and just a splash away from some of the best cruising grounds in the Northeast! Whether you are new to sailing or an old salt this proven design will take you where you want to go safely and in style. Sail her locally on the Great Peconic Bay and Long Island Sound or take her on the adventure of a lifetime.
North towards Nova Scotia? South to the Caribbean? East to Europe? Carl Alberg’s venerable 30 foot sloop can handle life on any sea as seen by famous Quebecoise circumnavigator Yves Gelinas who sailed solo around the world on his Alberg 30 Jean du Sud.
Pickle is hull number 619, built in 1977 by Whitby Boatworks in Ontario, Canada. She spent her first ten years in fresh water. Since then she has spent most of her life in New York waters. She has been hauled each year and well cared for by her loving owners. No blisters on this hull!
Some upgrades include:
-New sails 2009
– Roller Furler 2008
– Complete rewire and electronic overhaul 2016
– Repowered with a 2005 Beta 10, 2 cylinder diesel in 2016 ONLY SIX HOURS ON ENGINE!
– New bronze prop
-Spreaders and shrouds replaced in 2013
-Chain plates replaces in 2015
-Self tailing winches
-8 foot Walker Bay tender
The boat does have some deck delamination but I don’t know a good old boat that doesn’t! Nothing some epoxy and a grinder can’t fix! With only six hours on the engine, new sails, solid rigging and chainplates this is a go anywhere boat. Just slap a wind vane on her. There is still plenty of time left to enjoy the Northeast sailing season aboard her, or wait for hurricane season to pass before heading south. Whether she will be your full-time live aboard escape pod or your weekend getaway don’t let this classic plastic slip through your hands.
If you’re interested in the good ship Pickle please email your phone number and any questions to email@example.com and I will connect you with the owner!
My main sail was in such bad condition that I’d taken to fastening patches on new tears that were appearing nearly every time I sailed with 5200, because adding more perforation by sewing only seemed to damage the deteriorating fabric further.
My new (to-me) main sail is all dialed in. It even has a third reef point now with completed slab reefing capabilities (which meant a total of eight holes drilled and threaded on my boom). The sail was donated to me. A huge thanks to Bill Phelon, commodore over at the Pearson Ariel owners association who shipped me his old main within hours of my post on the forum. I only paid shipping on the sail from California and it was well worth the cost as it has years of life left whereas my sail maybe had weeks.
Sewing reinforcements for my second and third reef points was also donated (with a partial trade), by Spinnaker Sallie Mack, one of the first female sailmakers on Lake Michigan back in her day, and local Champlain wooden boat sailor. She also helped me make a little storm head sail out of a staysail in perfect condition that came off a 62-foot-ketch my BFF’s mom used to own and sail on the Atlantic Coast. Thanks, Sallie and Kay!
Grommets and further dialing in on my sail inventory came at a fraction of the cost from Ed Trombley up at Doyle Sailmakers on the New York side of the lake. Thanks, Ed.
As prepared as I am I’m learning you’ll never really be ready to go. I’m as prepared as I can be, and know enough to know what I don’t know, you know?