The Good Ship Dolphin

sailing for peace

“So I’m trying to get my boat on the hard.”

I’m talking to Logan. He’s in Puerto Rico having sailed there from Lake Worth a couple of months ago. We met in Cocoa Beach, FL, and lamented the Florida ICW together until he left to cross the Gulf Stream and I continued along the ditch in hopes of finding work and getting my boat fit for sea.

“One of the projects is closing up my through hulls. Doing it the right way means removing the through hull fittings, grinding a five inch bevel and filling it with layers of glass. And I’m like, can’t I just put some wooden bungs in there with 5200, close my leaky through hull fittings and call it good?”

“Absolutely!” he said. “You can even use a potato. Carrots work too.”

I’m laughing but know he’s serious. This is coming from the dude who when we first met asked me within minutes, “Have you been dismasted… yet?” One day while looking for his through hulls I found a corroded seacock handle that looked about ready to snap off. This was days before his intended blue water passages. When I pointed it out he simply shrugged. He had plenty of potatoes and carrots onboard, so I assume he wasn’t worried.

Despite his antics Logan was quite the competent captain. His boat, the Good Ship Dolphin, was loosely based on a Columbia 28, however she was much more cavernous and carried an expansive amount of tools, fermented foods, and other supplies intended for delivery to hurricane stricken islands.

The contemplative young Captain days before departing from Florida to Puerto Rico.

Dolphin was a fiberglass Columbia 26. Logan acquired the boat from the previous owner, Rebecca Rankin. She and Dolphin had many adventures together.

Rebecca and her previous partner had done their best to make the rig bullet proof after a dismasting during a storm in the Florida Keys. She wound up making a mast step out of laminated plywood that extended seven inches up the mast, and spreaders made from white oak and stainless steel, “so Dolphin would never lose her mast again,” Logan said. The standing rigging itself was redone sailor gypsy style with nicro press fittings and a hand swaging tool. Because the backstay was too short, a shackle and some links of a chain were used for proper tension.

(At the time I was embarking down my own rabbit hole of redoing my standing rigging and had a breakthrough seeing how it was done on the Good Ship. The only reason I would wind up not going that route was because I got a crazy deal on machine swaged fittings…but I digress).

The boat was, essentially, very seaworthy as long as there was a potato at hand in case of a failing through hull. There was also mention of a rotten skeg, but what were a thousand nautical miles with a rotten skeg to boat like Dolphin?

Nothing of much concern, apparently, because Dolphin made it all the way to Puerto Rico no worse for ware complete with waterspouts, close whale encounters, and a detention in the Dominican Republic where his crew abandoned ship. Logan wound up single handing the rest of the way to Peurto Rico.

“I hope you are nearing the sea my friend,” Logan wrote to me ten days after he’d arrived and had begun carpentry hurricane relief efforts on the island. “Many mysteries.”