Cliff Thompson mostly works alone in Winston-Salem North Carolina building his Wharram Designs Tiki 46 (just like our boat) because his wife works full time during the week and he has a high paying weekend job. So when he brought Nev and I from where we had anchored Peace in a little creek off the Neuse River, we were pleased to see that he had finished both keels, cut out both sets of lower bulkheads, and glued them into the first hull along with the stringers. He is doing beautiful work and is going to have a fine boat. The large poly tunnel he built is light, bright, and warm on a cold day due to solar heating, and breezy with lots of fans when needed in summer. Best of all, it is in his back yard so he just walks out the kitchen door and gets to work. He works 9 to 5 week days.
The first day, Nev and I had to catch up on sleep rations, but today we went down to the shed right after breakfast and Nev and friend Al made some of the patterns for the floorboards while I sanded the glue and fillet lines on the bulkheads assisted by vacationing Laura and young relative Chris who completed his high school diploma requirements today. Atta Boy Chris!
Meanwhile Cliff planed the flange and then Nev and Al dry fitted the skin of the lower hull and Chris and Nev made the rest of the patterns for the floorboads while it was easy before the skin went on. When we leave in a day or two, the lower hulls will be ready to glue up. With a great gang like this helping, it makes the build leap forward. I saw Cliff grinning and giving the hull a little excited hug for just a moment. And while we break for tea or sandwiches, the talk is all about how to make the work go quicker, easier, better, etc. Cliff has a long list of hints and tips for Tiki 46 builders. email@example.com
Cliff will drive us back to Peace in a day or two, but we will stop again on our way south in the autumn to see how he is getting along.
It really took us back along Memory Lane to see his project. I am so glad we have mostly finished building our boat and are out cruising already. Even though I did not like boat building, Nev loved it in spite of his skin allergy to epoxy and I sure love this boat and our cruising life now.
A few days ago, on night passage, I put our folding butterfly chairs out on the foredeck and we enjoyed the sights of the evening as Peace gurgled along in light winds under full sail in smooth seas. We disturbed a loon and he fluted his little melody three times. The moon was nearly full, we had cups of hot cocoa, and were holding hands and feeling blessed. But the blessing came only after hard work. Cliff has the kind of self discipline to get through the work and in about two years, he and Laura will be sailing too. He is gathering more friends to help in the future.
It takes a bit of planning to use helpers. Cliff has made it easy for us to join in and the weather is so darn cold, we would much rather do this than sit shivering in our boat. When the north winds finish with this gale, we will go north again.
It is near freezing but this area behind Cape Hatterass is simply excellent sailing. Nev and I have been taking time to explore some of the little creeks off the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers while we wait for better winds and weather. The tree lined shores are flat, the large expanses of water are an open invitation to sail, and the little creeks are mostly undeveloped and have excellent holding in black mud. Folks we meet are friendly. The 66 pound spade and Fortress 55 anchors love it so Peace feels like she has anchored right through to China, and the whole area fills me with serenity. Summertime is buggy, muggy, and has hurricanes as a worry, but spring and autumn are perfect for shallow draft vessels. We give Cape Hatteras area five stars then. But now it is near freezing at night, so this is too early in the year for a boat that has no heater!
Lots of folks made amusing or sympathetic comments about my barricuda attack. My son asked if it was wise to allow future released drunken barricuda to leave our boat and spread the word among all the other barricudas about free booze and "finger sticks" available on Peace IV. Smart assed kid! The swelling on my butt is still fist sized but less colorful. The toe is ok but has a scar and no sensation.
He has just taken delivery of the plywood for his Tiki 30 and is considering various schemes to get his wife involved in the build. I suggested chocolates and kisses. Worked for Neville... But boats seem to attract new friends and helpers seem to appear out of the woodwork. We will help when we get to Rhode Island, sister will come, etc.
The forecast continues with cold north winds and freezing night time temperatures so we will doddle through the Dismal Swamp Canal and head for Rebel Marine in Norfolk until it is warmer. Our plan is to haul near there for bottom paint.
Cruiser tip: The little hand held GPSs are now cheap and have a tiny screen. Ours has a boat shape and track line and this track makes an arc around the anchor as the wind shifts. Now I just turn it on when we anchor and the track develops an arc around the anchor position so I can open one eye and check it while still snug in my bed without running outside in the rain etc. Of course there is still the worry of other boats dragging down on top of you, but at least most of them will run aground first if you anchor in shallow water. I can plug my handheld GPS into the cigarette plug near my bunk, or into the galley, or the pod. It uses very little electrics.
When we arrived at Rebel Marine a few days ago, we discovered that the place near here where we had planned to haul, was no longer permitting folks to paint their own boats. It was a serious disappointment. But now we will haul at a commercial yard using a crane to lift us from our crossbeams (at station 3 and 7) and we will do our work there. This is not a yacht yard, but there will be electrics and water, so we will be ok. The folks are nice, so we will muddle through.
Our most important job will be to remove all the stainless strip we put along the keels because it is tearing away and leaves us exposed to catching snags etc. We look forward to having proper antifouling paint for the first time.
Love, Ann and Nev
© Anne and Neville Clement, 2006