Treasure Hunting

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The drive to Minney’s is now less than 8 hours, and when compared to the near 20 it was from White Salmon there’s no way we weren’t going on a road trip! Minney’s Yacht Surplus is a must for any sailor even remotely close to southern California. I have no idea why marine exchange and consignment shops are vanishing. We’ve collected so much history from these little treasure troves. Garrett and I have been hunting in some of the smallest buildings looking for old boat crap. So when we found Minney’s years ago, which is two stories plus a back lot and riddled with sailor’s gold, we almost cried and have returned as frequently as the bank account allows. We’ve scored on anchor gear, sails, miscellaneous micro boat bits, books and maps. This time we were casing the joint. We logged away the possible pieces that could be of use.

Or… are just on the wish list.

Last visit Garrett remembered a whole bucket of Dead Eye’s but this time only two, and one was broken. The lesson may be don’t hesitate but at the time we didn’t have a traditionally rigged boat so, as much as Garrett will beg to differ, there was no need to buy them then. We need about 8, maybe 10, for our rig and at $36 a piece it wasn’t going to work.

I think this goes on the ‘dream list’ because it’s probably way too big for Rediviva but there were so many sexy ship’s wheels waiting to lead us to the horizon.

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Garrett took his time combing through every aisle. Our most immediate need is engine parts. He found a few rudder brackets but they were too small. We need the whole exterior engine assembly and rudder fittings before launching. For the engine this means: prop, prop shaft, cutless bearing, and stuffing box. For the rudder, which we can also have fabricated, we need the metal strapping, pintles and gudgeons. We didn’t find any. So anyone who might have a lead on various boat parts send us an email: salt.and.tar@gmail.com

 

But we DID find an awesome anchor windlass! This workhorse will see us through many anchorages. It fully runs on manpower, which we have plenty of, so it’ll never fail. I can’t wait to clean her up and give her some fresh paint.

Maybe not the most practical thing to buy at this very moment but we’re so happy to have it on board. Sometimes it really helps morale to get a functioning piece of cruising equipment. For some reason spending the same amount on a box of fasteners or a dozen gallons of tar doesn’t have the same excitement. There’s a vision that comes with looking at the windlass. It includes chain attached to an anchor rooted in white sand 40 feet beneath Rediviva’s keel through crystal clear waters. Garrett and I standing at the bow with the windlass between our feet gazing upon a place we’ve never seen before. So, in other words buying this windlass now; priceless.

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More Cotton Caulking and Sunshine

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What makes a happy captain? Progress. Garrett is just blasting through the caulking. He’s only got about 6 feet to reach the bow on 7 seams and then the rabbet and chine on the port side left to go! Other than the sickness Garrett’s come down with, which is now just an annoying residual cough, his body is feeling great and his mind is catching up. I’m so thankful for his determination.

 

 

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Swab on the other hand…

Won’t even get out of the car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garrett starts by cleaning up the seams with his makeshift reefing tool homemade from a flathead screwdriver. This removes any dried tar in between the seams and fares any uneven cuts.

Unfortunately, the marina store hadn’t received the next shipment of cotton since the last time Garrett went in and decimated their stock. So we’re a little held back from finishing the port side but that’s alright, plenty of other tasks to do.

Like priming all the stuffed seams and hunting for prop shafts. After the hull is painted the next task before launch is to make sure we have all the external parts for the engine; prop, prop shaft, stuffing box, and cutless bearing. We probably won’t fully install the engine, meaning lining up and bolting, to save time/money but we want to have all the fittings for under the waterline to be there so we can hook it up later. Maybe a trip to Minney’s Yacht Surplus (aka boat candy store) is in order!

With each day getting a little longer we’re excited to be able to get more hours in. The earliest the sun set was 4:50 here which gave us an extra half hour compared to Washington. We’re feeling pretty good with the change that’s for sure!

First Bucket of Tar in 2018

My mind’s been having trouble remembering where in time I am. It now feels like an eternity ago we were in the remote hills of Washington and having done two restorations in the Napa Boatyard there’s a sense of home about the yard, a sort of normalcy to it that feels like we never left. The last project we finished here was in 2013 and so much of the yard is exactly the same. So many boats still sit in the same spot untouched, the yard guys go about their business at the same pace, the talk between old men and their boats is the same, but we are not the same. The difference being, before, we were kids. We still carry the same title around the boatyard, “The Kids,” but we’ve earned our salt with a vessel built by our own hands standing behind us. When the yard first met us we were 20 years old and wanted to restore a 1959 Kettenburg 40 that, among many things, needed a new transom. Garrett told them we’d do this in a month. We splashed on day 30. Following with another restoration but this time wanted to bring back an old technique for protecting the bottom from growth we copper-plated our little Ronin. Reframing almost the entire little 30 foot boat and rebuilding the interior we launched in 6 months and she was sailing. So when we called the yard manager and told him we’d build a 35ft wooden boat keel to stem he didn’t hesitate to let us in. It feels good to be a yard-tard again!

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Our new year started with a stop at the local Home Depot before going to the boat. It’s so nice the store is 5 minutes down the road not an hour! We restocked on sealant, chip brushes, a putty knife, and of course TAR.

Garrett continued caulking on the Port Side leaving me with a fresh gallon of black magic to seal the bottom planking on the starboard side. It feels so good to get our hands on the boat again. We both feel the momentum picking back up and the water is a mere 50 feet away. I’m such a nerd because I love working tar into the tight spaces of the boat. I liken it to how a mother doesn’t mind picking her child’s boogers or cleaning spit up. That love is something special and not much else matters. So I take care smearing tar into the rabbet and working it up the spaces between planks. The bottom planks won’t receive cotton until later in life because in their youth they’ll swell together tight but to lessen the flow of water upon launching until that happens the tar is there. Like training wheels. We use tar because we want the planks to be able to push it out as they come together.

 Once all the bottom seams are tarred and the topsides are sealed we’ll be able to paint!!!!!! A few weeks from now Rediviva will be reveling in her fancy new colors.

Garrett’s over halfway done with the port side cotton. Another good day and he’ll be able to lay the caulking mallet down for a while. This year Rediviva will see the water. This year we will sail. This year Garrett and I will realize this dream to the finish line.

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Thank you everyone for helping us build Rediviva.

Cheers to an amazing and prospective fresh year!

R&G

Paying the Seams

We’ve got our supplies and we’ve got our power stance.

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We wanted to use the standard seam compound from Interlux but the little marine store wanted nearly $60 for a single quart. That just wasn’t going to do. We thought about our good ol’ buddy tar but a little hesitant because we don’t really want it to run or seep through. So we thought about our next go to, polyurethane. At $5 a tube, that was a little better.

It’s a good thing we’ve had plenty of “grip” exercise from clamping every plank into place because squeezing the caulking gun at a slow and steady pace really kills your palms.

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It’s so cool to see these seams close up. We put the first plank on February 11th last year!

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This sealant doesn’t smell nearly as good as the SL30 which smells just like chocolate. The best part was smoothing over the seams. After we got about 4 rows done it began to look like a finished hull. I’m really excited to be doing this step because I’m even more excited about what comes after, painting the topsides! We might do something crazy like RED!

Although a lot of folks love the minty green. There’s only one coat of primer on the topsides so the green wood preservative is shining through. We’ll see 🙂

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Back in the Game

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Alright! Here we go. Time to get back to work. Rediviva has her spot in the working yard. In this leg of the marathon, Garrett and I have found it hard to keep going. This truly has been the biggest and longest project of our life. It feels like we have to choose everyday to move forward. I’m going to be honest, we’ve talked about taking a break, a step back. Garrett has given Rediviva his all. His body, his mind, his energy, his love and hate. I can see why a lot of boat builds end here. I used to think, ‘how could you give up now? when you’re so close?’ I now understand because there’s not much left. I also think this is a natural path for a journey such as this. I believe this doubt is part of the struggle it takes. We thought about moving the boat back to the storage yard, we talked about it at length. Then one day, when Garrett had planned on speaking with the office, he saw the boat. He saw Rediviva and had this overwhelming feeling, ‘I’m not done. Not yet.’

I am so proud of this man. The words in my heart can’t seem to find their way out. We’ve managed to turn the page, together. Let’s continue the story. This week was full as Garrett dug out the caulking cotton, mallet, and irons. He completed the entire starboard side!

Instead of looking at what’s left to complete Rediviva we’ve narrowed the scope. What do we need to do to launch the boat? This makes the project seem more attainable. A smaller portion to handle. Get the boat to the water, then make her livable, and then make her sail! Trick is to not think too heavily on what comes after the task at hand.

 Task one: Caulk the boat. This entails filling the seams above the chine, the stem and transom, the chine itself, and the rabbet with cotton then priming those seams and finally coming over with seam compound. Task two: Paint the boat. Three: finish the rudder and its fittings. Four: install prop shaft and prop. Five: throw her in the water!

With the majority of task 1 complete the whole thing feels slightly less daunting. I think once we move onto task two and get to paint her we’ll feel closer to the water. Doing the cotton is an important part to unifying the boat as a single piece, no longer just a bundle of timber fastened and glued together. We primed the stuffed seams and are ready to get our first quart of seam compound.

Even Swab’s back in the swing of yard-life:

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While I fill the starboard seams with compound Garrett will be moving onto the port side. We got the interior of the boat cleaned out (during the move Rediviva became more of a U-Haul than a boat) so now you can see what a difference caulking the seams makes. The port side has so much light shining through where as the starboard side with fresh cotton is solid.

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We’ve come so far and still have so much to do. Getting some work done feels really good. Rediviva’s traveled a long ways and it’s not her fault but there’s a lot of emotions tied into her bones that are hard to escape from feeling every time we lay our hands on her. We’re focusing on healing the pain it’s taken to get where we are today. The wisdom from others has been heard and we’re lightening up on ourselves and remembering to take time for us. Thank you to all that have encouraged us. We want to see this thing to the end. Finish what we started. I can’t wait to live here!

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