~ Bottom Cleaning, Swabbing the Deck, and Hull Inspection ~
The very first time I ever went sailing, it was a night sail and we were all there to have fun…not necessarily learn how to sail. Well, that was almost ten years ago and I am so happy that, but-if-only for a short time, I can now say I am a sailor. Admittedly, I’m not an accomplished sailor who can actually set sail on her own and solo-circumnavigate the globe, but a woman who has actually started to learn and understand the complications of sailing. I love it…even still; though it is no easy task.
It’s been almost a year now since we first found our San Juan 24, and Nico and I have been steadily bringing our old girl around…after much elbow work. You see…? When we found our old–or should I say ‘vintage’–sailing yacht, she had spent many-a-days floating about in her slip; neglected and full of dirt-daubers and cobwebs. Even a bit of a puddle in the bilge, in addition to everything else, couldn’t sway us from falling in love with our SJ-24. It was as if she’d been waiting for our little family to come along and keep her company…for all those years she’d been neglected.
But…alas! We are bringing her around now and she has spent some time on a local lake, leaving a rooster-tail wake behind her. Our old girl is fast! And, because she is a fixed keel with a 4 foot drop and sitting on a very shallow lake that is in the process of being dredged, we have the very real worry of running aground and damaging the keel before we can ever really get her into open water and turn her loose.
That said… We aim to do just that: get our boat to deeper waters and see what she’s really capable of, even though we are still learning and know we should be in no hurry to put ourselves into a situation we aren’t capable of handling just yet. So…in the meantime, we will putt about our shallow lake and learn the art of sailing; learn how our old girl handles; how fast she can go without hitting the bottom.
As for running aground, we’ve already been there and done that. Lucky for us, we had a line of sailing friends there to pull us out. That, we know, is a luxury that we will likely not have when or if we ever run aground out there…somewhere. But then again, that’s just one of the things that make a sailor seasoned. I welcome the risk!
*A full life worth living is worth the many chances you’ll take to get there*
Yesterday was a day unlike any other–it was the day we sailed our SJ 24 ‘Peniki II’ for the very first time. It’s nearing a year now since we saved her from going to scrap, and it hasn’t been easy getting her ready to sail. But it has certainly been worth it in every way!
You see…? We love our old yacht; she is now part of our family, and we were beyond joy (floating on air) yesterday when a seasoned sailor friend of ours offered to ride along with us to show us the ropes, and even loaned us his motor so we could clear the docks with ease. It was the final installment, I guess one might say, in the many contributions our sailing friends have made…just to help us get the old girl back out sailing again. For all their help, we are forever grateful.
For many…many months, we’ve been itching to get our boat out on the little lake where she is moored, but without a motor (and with our toddler on board) we wanted to play it safe, and so we opted to wait it out until we were able buy our own outboard.
Anyone who has ever owned a boat, especially a sailboat…vintage or new, knows it’s a labor of love that cannot be measured by the dollars one will spend on the restoration, maintenance, and countless other avenues. We are of meager means when it comes to money, so it has been rather slow-going getting our ‘old girl’ out sailing again.
Many of our sailing friends were almost as excited as we were to see our classic SJ #38 cutting through the waves like butter. She’s a fast boat, so we’ve discovered; even with sails that are a bit too small. Lucky for us though, because this boat is so swift that she might’ve gotten away from us under bigger sails.
Needless to say, yesterday is the day we have recorded to be ‘The Day We Began Our Sailing Journey’ on board our ‘bargain-boat-turned-classic’…Peniki II. Our maiden voyage, but-if-only a day trip, was the first of many more to come; of this we are certain.
The memory of sailing into the setting sun at the helm of our San Juan 24 will forever be priceless! We are now counting the days ’til we set sail again; knowing that someday in our near future we’ll be charting our course to deeper waters and places yet unseen.
Never stop Dreaming…