Rediviva’s 1st Voyage

It rained for four days; with another 4 days following after the 2 day break in the weather we dropped whatever other project we were working on and decided to embark on Rediviva’s first voyage.

IMG_4588 No matter how big or small the trip might be you always plan ahead. My task, my beloved task as first mate, is to pull out the charts. I’ve so missed doing this! Together, Garrett and I check the weather and tides. Monday was going to be our perfect window. Light and variable winds, tide moving with us at high noon giving us until 3 o’clock before it switches around and works against us, partial clouds, and available crew.

IMG_4559So where are we going?

I have to give my mother credit. She is a match maker weaving all kinds of relationships. Even growing up she’d find me friends, I know that sounds like I was a lame kid and had trouble making friends but my mom loves meeting people, with no concern for age, and finding out their story and interests then hooking them up with other people interested in similar things generating conversation, knowledge, and mutual benefits. It’s a bit of a gift. Back to this story, my mom is in a book club and knows this lovely woman who has a private dock on the Napa River. She made the introduction.

Sunday, the day before, Garrett and I took the kayaks from the dock out to the river entrance to get our bearings. We pointed out landmarks, yellow tree and gazebo mark the half way point and the Italian gondola marks our turn in. After feeling confident about the surroundings it was time to figure distance and if we had enough time between tides to pilot Rediviva with only a dinghy lashed to her side and a 4 horsepower outboard. Making passage plans and researching all options is one of my favorite things. To me it’s like math, there’s always an answer. I found the journey to be about 5 nautical miles and even traveling at 2 knots we’d have plenty of time before the tide switched. Garrett, as captain, has the task of safety and making fast everything on deck. As I stowed and bungeed all below deck, Garrett set up our emergency anchors and fueled up the outboard. He rigged up a bridle for the bow and one for the stern and attached the anchor rode. This was just in case we lost power or steerage and needed to halt the boat.


The captain, seeing all was good, pushed us out of the slip. Tyler and Tiffany, our old neighbors in the boatyard, were our crew. Tiffany helped me film and Tyler was in charge of propulsion.

The four of us worked so well together there was definitely talk of becoming a solid crew in the future, operating a 100ft tall ship charter company. Harebrained Sailors! That’s a dream for another time perhaps 🙂

 This movement marks a new chapter. We are out of the Napa Marina. When we launched the boat and got the slip it was understood that we couldn’t live aboard and couldn’t do any major work. This was okay as we needed a spot to keep the boat but eventually would present a problem as there is still so much work to be done. We could work on the engine and a few interior things but there’d be a point we’d need to look for another space because the table saw and sanders counted as major work.

Thanks to my mom’s extrovert personality and the hospitality of a stranger, we had a private dock to now call home. It was a wonderful day. The sun came out more than we were expecting and with plenty of beer and awesome crew there’s no place I’d rather be. At one point we turned the outboard down to a “high idle” so the trip wouldn’t end. There were shouts from the shore line, fishermen and homeowners, “what a pretty boat,” “sweet boat,” and our favorite “honey, look at that!”

All too quickly we passed our landmarks.


Garrett leaned into me and said, “You’re going to take her in.”

I about yelled but it came out a squeak. I steered the entire way but had no idea Garrett was going to let me dock the boat! There was a time Garrett ran around and did everything on the boat. I don’t know if it was because he wanted to save me the trouble or didn’t want to scare me away. It might’ve also been because I didn’t speak up and say I wanted to learn but that’s changing. I want to be apart of this project and this boat not just the bank or galley wench. I found a love for hand steering and navigating. I drool over charts and am exhilarated by the tender movement of the ship as I push or pull the tiller. I’ve docked only two boats in my history and about a total of 4 times so it was a big honor to guide Rediviva into her slip.

The day had perfect conditions and with no wind to speak of we docked in slow motion, just about as easy as I could have it.


The one concern with this dock was that it’s only 25 feet long. Rediviva overhangs by 10 feet. It didn’t appear as ridiculous as we thought it might. Since her stern has that recurve to the transom she looks “as cute as a button.”



Now it was time to feed and drench the crew in libations!


Successful passage to Port Davenport


Parrel Beads


Meet Charlie. Charlie is a fellow backyard boatbuilder. He launched his build in 1994 down the very same ramp Rediviva traveled last week. He and his wife started, like us, with the construction of a shed to house the steel Robert’s sailboat that was to become. The year was 1970 and in the backyard of their Napa home.


Nearly 50 years later he’s shaking the dust off his father’s 1940’s lathe once again to fabricate boat bits.

 So what are we doing Charlie?

He starts by making square blocks out of the locust lumber we gave him. He then turns those blocks on his lathe to make dowels. Then he chops those dowels up into pieces. Back to the lathe he turns those pieces into parrel beads.


He’s only done a hundred…

A gaff rigged sailboat works by raising the gaff up the mast with the peak and throat halyard (two lines) then making fast the throat you continue to haul on the peak to tension the sail. Unlike a marconi rigged sailboat (today’s standard configuration) which raises its sails along a track the gaff requires either hoops (photo on left above) or parrel beads (right photo), the later being what we’ve chosen. Charlie is spending his weekends turning beautiful black locust beads for us. Not quite sure how many we’re going to need, including some spares, but the guess-timate is somewhere around 300 or more.




“How many do you want me to do?”



Thank you Charlie!

He places the round of locust with the grain orientation just so, so that the jaws of the lathe doesn’t tear or split the bead as it’s spun. Side A gets rounded and counter sunk then flip to side B and repeat. Then switch the counter sink bit for a drill bit and slowly clear the middle making a bead.

It’s so wonderful of Charlie to make these for us! It’s neat to be making progress on the rig before Garrett and I even get to that stage. Charlie’s hungry for more projects apparently because he wanted to talk belaying pins next! He’s an animal.


Two handsome self-made shipwrights who learned by doing and saw their dream float. Charlie and his wife have some time on us as they floated off into the sunset years ago and logged some serious sea miles, we better catch up!

Settling In


We’ve had two other boats on this dock. It easily feels like home already. Rediviva now has shore power hook up for the first time!

A smaller crew this time than her maiden voyage to the guest dock. It’s starting to feel more real now that she’s in a REAL slip. Almost like she’s a real boat! She just needs sails.

Our first project in the water was removing her temporary interior. We were happy with it as it served its purpose but it’s time to get serious.


If she can’t have sails yet then we’re going to have to get her mobile under her own power another way. Oh yeah, she’s had this engine sitting in her for nearly 3 years. We got all the external gear for the motor complete before launching but it’s not plugged in. So the plan is to suit her up with a universal joint. This allows us to put the engine anywhere in the boat and skip the whole precision alignment thing.

Since we can move it anywhere this behemoth is going forward and becoming apart of the galley counter and the main settee.

Today was a lot of talking. We concluded to mock up the interior once more to make sure it’s where we like things. We moved the motor forward which took a little swearing and wine. Now with the motor more or less where we think we want it we can see what we have to work with.


Don’t quote us on this but we are thinking long companion way stairs with the head to starboard and the galley to port. The engine will be under the counter that’s parallel to beam of the boat, width wise. In front of the galley will be a wrap around seating salon area where the other half of the engine will be under one of the arms. This whole “box” that covers the engine making the galley counter and settee will be removable. Leaving the engine in the middle of the boat (slightly to port) with free open access for maintenance. The rest of the interior is a little up in the air so we’ll come back to that at a later date.


Our old neighbor and dear friend, Tyler, came to say hi and hash out some of the details with us. It’s always nice to have multiple opinions. Hopefully we won’t be doing the interior twice…or three times….

….like the cabin

Just for representation, the universal joint will connect the prop shaft to the motor. Commonly, the prop shaft goes straight to the back of the engine which requires a very exact alignment. The U-joint will help make this connection in a more relaxed way. Rolf will be helping us create this joint. It is something he’s done plenty of times before…on race cars.. boats are similar enough right..? This will be a fun new learning experience for all involved but we’re looking forward to trying something new and inventive. More to come as things unfold!

Launch Day Reflection


We must’ve done a pretty good job planning because we woke up the morning of the 12th and leisurely enjoyed coffee. We had to leave the yard however, and have coffee somewhere else because we couldn’t sit in her presence and not feel like we had a million things to do… but it was all done. We were ready.

With a little help from the best neighbors in the world, coffee turned into mimosa’s to take the mind off the enormity of this day.


Rediviva was going to touch the water for the first time and Garrett was turning 27

When we started this Rediviva wasn’t a boat and Garrett wasn’t old. Now, nearly 4 years later and a decade of our lives spent (so it feels) She has a name, water under her keel, and Garrett gets to be a kid again.


Both, Garrett and I, wondered around trying to find things to do as it felt extremely difficult to WAIT. Chatting with all who showed up for this day was hard. “How do you feel,” someone would ask. “Aren’t you excited,” another would say. Questions, words weren’t easy to find. All we could do was embrace the asker and thank them for coming. The rest of the emotions racing through our heads were hard to process. Still… I can’t believe this has happened.

  Again, I have to say Thank You.

Thank you to all that were here this day. Thank you to all that watched on FaceBook. Thank you to all that held us in your thoughts. Thank you to all of you for everyday you believed we would make it here.

I can’t thank everyone enough. My heart is so very full.

I never thought our friends would be so many, that our family would be so large, that thousands of people would be here to feel and share this moment with us.


The truck arrived.

The truck dripped with salt water from the previous boat they launched. Reminding me that’s where we’re going. The loud roar of the engine sent goosebumps through my body. Garrett seemed so calm and organized. Thoughts together and poised. I know the truth. The chaos that roamed inside. Like lightening strikes or a stampede of bison.


He couldn’t have had a better team to help him stand tall. His dad, the inspirer of love for wood and being one’s own man, was there. We can grow up, we can move out, but there is nothing like the approval or more so the pride you see in your father’s eye when you’ve succeeded in pursuing your dreams. Ron, is one of our original supporters. He once picked me up 5 hours away just to return to his house so Garrett and I could be together for a weekend. He first showed Garrett the table saw, when he still needed to stand on a box to reach it. He’s donated time, money, and kindness to every single endeavor Garrett and I have embarked on. He’s our hero.

He even carved this name plate (years ago) so Rediviva won’t see the water nameless.

The yard guys have been doing this for years but it’s not everyday you launch a brand new wooden boat. They’ve gotten to know us pretty well. Even from previous years and boats so it was amazing to have Mike and Augie load up Rediviva.

With emotions still in a twist the time had come for the truck to pull away leaving Rediviva’s yard space empty.

The engine kicked on and the truck went into forward. I looked away for one second and the next Rediviva was rolling away from her 11 month footprint in the yard. Garrett and I walked together chasing the boat to the ramp. Camera recording in hand. I hope it remained in focus on the boat but to be honest I was not paying attention to the tiny screen. My sight was filled by this ruby lady, inches from the water. I remember, Garrett and I catching every breathing moment to make eye contact and then holding our breathe once again gazing at the boat.


I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how much I love this man. I captured this moment out of luck. This was sign language for stop filming and share this with me. Don’t miss it! I joined him at the gangway and watched as our hand prints sank beneath the surface. The date reads 7-23-15, the day we poured her ballast. That same backbone is now what she floats upon. What a foundation we have laid. What a life we have built together. Now, I can say it was all worth it. There were times that feeling felt impossible. In this moment I joined my husband, so in love, so impressed and honored to stand with him.


Then all of a sudden, she lifted off the trailer floating on her own accord

Her reflection is beautiful


Some of my first thoughts, I kid you not, were excitement to raise her masts, joy to finish her interior, hope to cross an ocean.

I think everyone on that dock felt it to. Life was breathed into this vessel today.

Next, she was to be escorted to the guest dock. Her maiden voyage. Garrett and I taking turns steering her.

She is still a work in progress but I’ve never seen such a beautiful tiller 😉

After we christened her at the launch dock it was all hands on deck to take her across the marina where she’ll wait at the guest dock until her slip is ready. And after that we party of course!

(I’ve put a lot of photos up on Facebook also)

I really want to thank these two. Who helped in more ways than some will ever know. They made our last months in the yard bearable. Commiserating over shared meals, helping each other complete projects, discussing future ambitions, and making our splash day memorable. Thank you Tiffany and Tyler!

The next morning is the first time we get to bale out the bilge!

We let her fill over night. She’s swelling evenly and slow. We dumped a good dozen buckets of sea water overboard which is nothing for a bone-dry boat on her first launching day.

Swabie didn’t quite know what to do about his new floating home

Swab has been with us since our second boat together. That means he has lived on the water for a majority of his life, from 6 months old to 5 years but the last 3 have been landlocked. Garrett and I are even struggling to find our sea legs after all these years ashore so we’re making it as comfortable as we can. He’s slept aboard with us the last few nights swaddled in a blanket. I’m sure once we plank the bulwarks he’ll feel right at home.

SO our space is empty…

We will miss the late night working sessions, the bugs coming from the pond over the fence, the mysterious neighbors that fluctuate in and out next door, the vineyard machinery first thing about 4 am, and the power tool choir …

…no, I don’t think so

but we will miss our friendly neighborhood campfires and shared meals, the owls that sing as the sun fades joined with a symphony of coyotes, and the breeze that stirs up in the afternoon right when you need it in the scorching summer. As often as the seasons change so do we. It’s in our blood. To move forward and to accept the next part of the journey. The boat is in the water. The work is far from done. Soak up the now!


She’s floating a good 8-10 inches high on her waterline. This is exactly what we were hoping for, and LEVEL! Buehler designed Rediviva to be internally ballasted. Which means in addition to her cement/steel ballast attached to the keel she is also expected to have cement/steel added to her bilge to trim out the boat. Buehler says you do this after you fully rig and fit out the boat. So once the masts are on, interior built, tanks full then we see how she sits on her lines and trim her accordingly. If we happen to come across lead ingots that would be perfect. Add a brick here or a brick there and we can move them around as we go through our tankage on passage (water/diesel) but those are thoughts for another day. Today we’re reveling in this milestone 😉


Thank you everyone!