The Boat We Have
In 2008, We became the caretakers of a 1975 Cal 34 named Moonrise. Cals are well built and reasonably fast sailboats and the 34 foot size was large enough for us to feel that we had stepped up in the world without feeling too overwhelmed.
We have sailed Moonrise for the last four and a half years in the Puget Sound and beyond. Our most adventurous trip to date was to Barkley Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. With more exposure to the “real” ocean, we had a chance to feel what it would be like to cruise to more exotic locations.
Along with a larger boat comes a larger commitment of time and money. It is easy to justify such commitments when the whole family takes such pleasure in the same activity. A 37 year old boat is going to need work and Moonrise was no exception. In our four years with Moonrise, we have added roller furling for the headsail, a dodger, new house batteries, a new GPS, new cushions, cookware and dozens of improvements, large and small. Melissa and I think of our boat as a small (very small) cabin or condo. We enjoy working on our boat and making her ours.
And then there is the engine. Our first trip, sailing and motoring from Olympia to Tacoma was pure foreshadowing of the many times I would spend peering into the engine compartment trying to sort out cooling, charging, starting, stopping and exhaust problems. If you have seen A Christmas Story of “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” fame, you will recall how the father does battle with his furnace. Cursing, smoke, and small explosions emanate from the basement while the rest of the family huddles in the kitchen. This scene was replayed with cruel regularity with the Westerbeke 4-91 on Moonrise. Freshwater pumps fail. Fuel Pumps leak. Exhaust elbows crack. High temperature alarms buzz and fumes billow. After 4 years, everything on the engine has finally been replaced. It’s reliable and strong and purrs like a kitten. Now it’s time to sell the boat, right?
Our library of sailing and maintenance books grows as does our confidence to overcome any adversity. This is where having a good working relationship with your spouse is essential. We may have shared the special hell that can only be found in our boat’s engine compartment, but we also share our dream of cruising to warm tropical beaches together.
Melissa has written several posts on Moonrise and her interior. Here are links to those posts: