(Skip Walker, Ft Lauderdale)

In early August, Captain John, Connor and I descended on Florida and set to work on refitting and preparing Windancer for her big voyage.  John had an ambitious plan that included major and minor repairs, a well thought-out schedule and definitive budget, and even some planned time off for golf, fishing and road trips to the Gulf Coast and Cape Canaveral.  20160822_162353_1477413071200_resizedBut like all great plans, especially those concerning sailboats, this one didn’t survive.  Not to say we didn’t get most of it done – new toilet, new freezer, new washer/dryer, new air conditioning, new wifi, LED lights (Windancer has over 60 lights!!!!), new standing and running rigging, bottom paint, sacrificial zincs, and 20160818_093951_1477412995298_resizedwiring – lots of wiring.

As most of you know, sailboats are like onions: every time we peeled back a layer, we found another, and that other ate into our time.  And every job started at $40 and 40 minutes…and became $1,000 and 3 days.  We made so many trips to the local yacht shops (especially the twice-daily WestMarine run) that both customers and staff were asking us questions on parts and repair.
Still, a most excellent result, with the only sacrifice being the fishing, golf and road trips.  The haul out at Lauderdale Marine Center was a particular highlight.  It’s not often the 44ft luxury catamaran is the smallest and least expensive boat in the yard. 20160823_144725_1477413074394_resized
We made the mast pull a quick job but only through smart preparation. Derigging the main sail and removing the boom before arriving set it up so that the mast came off in minutes and not hours.  The bottom paint job was unique: we were the only crew in the yard without uniforms, scaffolding and were willing to work for only food and beer.  And while we were short-handed, with Captain John conveniently using 8 fresh stitches in his foot as his excuse to not paint, we did manage to get the lower 88 feet looking pristine and well protected.
20160823_142720_1477413073111_resizedBig thanks have to go to our official sponsors:
  • Mike and Jodie for laundry, showers, pool, cable tv and home cooking
  • WestMarine for free wifi, bathrooms, advice, selection and Krista the parts girl
  • Harbor Freight because who doesn’t need the 198 piece drill bit and driver set for under $5?
  • LMC for awesome facilities, great staff and superlative efficiency
  • iPhone and Navionics because who needs navigation instruments anyway?
  • 7/11 for Big Gulp, taquitos and air conditioning
  • Lester’s for breakfast and L’il Red’s for lunch
  • Every fast food chain in the US for all the other meals
  • And Budweiser, Cruzan, and Miller Hi Life, on ice

Skip Walker

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