Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Getting ahead on Oceanus

Virginia plugs screw holes in the head.
Last night Virginia and I watched the video I made of the inside of Oceanus before we bought her. We hadn't watched it for more than a year. We were silent. The video showed the raw, unfinished interior. Random-sized scraps of plywood leaned against bulkheads. A five-gallon tin of polyester resin squatted where the head would eventually go.

We watched in silence. I thought seeing the video would energize us: we'd give each other high fives and bask in the warmth of how far we've come. That didn't happen. It was more like a dash of cold water in the face.

"I can't believe we bought her," my wife said as the video finished.

"I knew it would be a lot of work, but I didn't realize how much work," I said. "I knew we could do it - it's all stuff I know how to do - but still..."

"How did we ever see her potential?" she asked.
Plugs sanded flush,  the first coat of oil goes on the African mahogany fiddles. Our friend, Bob Diefenbach, glued the laminate to the countertop. I will build a medicine cabinet with a mirror to go above the sink.
Are we glad we bought Oceanus? Yes. Knowing what we know now, would we do it again? Yes.

We looked at a lot of boats before we stepped inside Oceanus. Most were beautifully finished. Some were even ready to sail south. But when we walked through Oceanus we knew she was supposed to be ours. Still, watching the video was sobering.
Virginia's soaking tub. 
The darkest, most unfinished part of the boat in the video was the head. Now it is bright with white enamel paint, finished surfaces, new fixtures, and a hatch that lets in light and air. The most important part: it's functional. It's not finished - it still needs cabinet doors and a finished floor - but the dim vision we had nearly two years ago is finally realized.
Our new Air Head on its pedestal. Every throne needs a pedestal. Also, raising the sole a few inches allowed me to position the head in the center of the space. You can see the hatch under the head for access to storage. 
In fact, we did the dream one better: instead of just a shower, we have a soaking tub and instead of a regular head we have a composting head. We also spent extra time insulating the inside of the hull, including inside the lockers. The tub itself is now insulated better than most iceboxes.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tranquilo: A hard-working Columbia 43

Tranquilo, a Columbia 43, slices through the blue waters of Aruba.
The Tranquilo may be the hardest-working Columbia 43 ever. In fact, she may be the hardest-working Columbia yacht ever. Hull number four, built in 1969, she's spent most of her 45 years taking snorkelers on excursions from her home port in Aruba.

It all started in 1977 with Capt. Mike Hagedoorn, whose passion for sailing was legendary. It was only natural to make his hobby, his day job. And so he started taking guests out sailing on the Tranquilo along the coast of Aruba.

He did so for 20 years before Capt. Anthony, his son, took the helm and kept the tradition alive till the present day.

As a day charter vessel she can take 22 passengers at the time. "So far i have not seen any bigger 43-foot sailboat," Capt. Anthony wrote to the Columbia Yacht Owners web site. "Her deck and cockpit are huge and fits a full load of 22 passengers rather comfy."

"Aruba is a very windy place to sail," he said, "and the boat is always reefed down with her shoal draft."

Most days Capt. Anthony offers a lunch cruise to the south side of the island with drift snorkeling at the secluded reef island Mike's Reef. He also offers private sailing trips and romantic dinner sails for two.

Capt. Anthony grew up on Spanish Lagoon sailing, snorkeling, windsurfing and diving, so he knows the area as well as anyone. From the photos on the web site, it looks like everyone has a good time.

Still Racing

In addition to her day job, The Tranquilo is raced extensively several times a year in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Capt. Anthony likes testing boat and equipment by going offshore sailing, and to keep up with proper yachting and offshore safety standards.

Tranquilo is a regular at the Rembrandt Regatta Aruba, a two-day racing event with three races. For many years hse dominated the cruising class taking home first places. Then Tranquilo decided compete in the racing class instead.

"For not being an all-out racing sailboat, we held our own in this class and are very happy with our results," according the the web site. Here are the latest race results posted on the site:

August 2010
Third place Aruba Rembrandt Regatta racing class.

November 2010
First place feeder race Curaco Heineken Regatta and fourth place racing class.

I emailed Capt. Anthony and hope he will update his racing record and tell us more about this great Columbia 43.