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Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 18, 2012-Completing a Project List

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Taking a break from boat projects and going sailing last Sunday seemed like a good idea.

The “Fun Race” scheduled for that day, which consisted of a noon start and three laps around an island, held little appeal for us. Instead we waited until late afternoon and then, when the day had cooled off a little, and went out for a nice sunset sail with a bunch of friends on board. Anchoring afterwards in Scotland Bay we watched the full moon rise and cooked burgers and boerewors on the grill. We didn’t stay out late however; by 21:00 everyone was ready to motor back to their own boats get tucked into their own snug bunks.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Cabin Full Of Guests.

This week we completed our canvas project by sewing the new dodger, a large awning and rain catcher, and a small sailing awning. With this we have reached the bottom of a long list of significant refit projects which started in Thailand three years ago and against which we have been steadily chipping as we worked our way around the world from Asia to the Caribbean.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
New Canvas.

We’ve now completed exterior refinish including new Awlgrip topsides, deck paint, hatches, repainting and rebuilding of all the spars, and of course finished the canvas. We’ve redone the interior including new upholstery, cabin sole refinish, bulkhead painting and total re-varnishing. We completed major structure renewals including rudder, rudder tube, stern tube, keel bolts, mast step, and chain plates. We’ve done major engine work, replaced the dingy, life raft, solar panels, autopilot, and rebuilt the windvane. We’ve rebuilt much of the sailing instrumentation and wiring, bought new computers and navigation computers, installed AIS, bought batteries, alternator, radio and tuner, inverter/charger, watermaker membrane, hot water heater, and propane system, and purchased LED interior and exterior lighting. We completed a stove rebuild (twice), installed new fixtures, and bought new running rigging and sails.

And we’ve sailed 15,000 miles. We’ve done a refit on the go; so to speak.

Of course the boat list never ends, new items are constantly being added, so we’ll be able to keep busy. But perhaps, for the next year or so, we can focus on the small items which come up from time to time, before going back to the beginning of the major project list and starting over.

So now the days take on a familiar cadence. We swim in the mornings for exercise, find some way to be productive on the boat, interact with the other cruisers here in Trinidad, and we think about our next move. In November we will head out to explore the rest of the Caribbean. We don’t know exactly where we’ll go nor what we will have to fix along the way, but we’ll find interesting new places to explore and, for sure, we’ll be fixing something.

That part never ends.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad

Click here for more photos of the sunset sailing trip.

Click here for more shots of the new canvas.

Click here for a sampling of photos of all the projects on this big list.

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Thursday, October 04, 2012

October 4, 2012-Stormvogel

wingssail images-fredrick roswold

Sitting in the Barracuda Bar, looking over the rim of my rum glass, I read the name on the transom of a large yacht across the way: Stormvogel.

Can it be THE Stormvogel, the famous 74’ ketch from the 60’s, now turned up here in Trinidad?

It was and it is.

I rowed over and admired the classic 74ft racer. Its sweeping lines and shining varnish were as gorgeous now as they must have been when it was built in South Africa over 50 years ago.

Ian Hulleman, the Kiwi boat builder who captains Stormvogel and supervises maintenance and rebuilding of the yacht, invited me aboard and we sat on deck and talked about the vessel and its history.

A collaboration by Cornelius Bruynzeel of Bruynzeel Plywood, E. G. Van de Stadt, Laurent Giles and John Illingworth, Stormvogel was built of plywood in Brunzeel’s factory in Stellenbosh, outside of Cape Town in 1961. It was an experimental, ultra-light (for its time), design with fin keel, spade rudder, and a tall (the tallest at the time) aluminum mast, built for speed and ultimate ocean racing. Stormvogel’s first passage was a fast 7500 mile delivery to England to sail in the 1961 Fastnet Race in which it took line honors. That started a life of ocean racing and record breaking for the yacht. Brunzeel and his crew then began sailing the world looking for challenges. They won Buenos Aires-Rio (1962), Sydney-Hobart (1965), China Sea (1966), Transpac (1967) and Middle Sea (1968 & 69). The boat has continued to be successful under various owners over the years. Now owned by John Cummings, the boat was owned and raced by Italian Ermanno Traverso for 25 years. It was in Phuket for eight years, and crossed paths with Wings there.

While crew Ben (another New Zealander) sanded teak, Ian and a friend removed the huge mainsail in preparation to a haulout, “the first in four years,” he said, “But the boat is now in its best condition for many years, it is still sound and still fast.”

“We can push this boat without problem and it can beat the new yachts.”

“Forty years after its first Middle Sea Race we returned there in 2008 and finished second. The wind blew in the mid-thirties and we beat the TP52’s.”

“Coming across the Atlantic this year we sailed over 270 miles a day for three days; the boat is fast.”

“In 2012 we won the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.”, he said.

Clearly Ian Hulleman is proud of this vessel, and as I admire it sitting serenely at the dock in Trinidad, I can see why he does.

I ran my hand along Stromvogel’s varnished cap rail and I daydreamed about what it must have been like to charge home first on this boat back in the 60’s. For years this boat was dominant. I think about these past glories and I know that, for this powerful racer, there are more to come. And I love it when these classics show up somewhere unexpected, still impressive and beautiful, in some corner of the world where we happen to be.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad

Click here to read more about Stormvogel

Click here to see more photos of Stormvogel

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