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The refit that nearly changed everything

Mar 10, 2015

Carolyn Van Houten

When you start a boat project, one thing can lead to another. You only intended to replace a mainsheet block and before you know it you have a brand new rig. Ocean Navigator reader Peter Van Houten had his Bristol 47.7 sloop, Innisfree, hauled in Annapolis and put in an enclosure. Van Houten's intent was for a small refit. One thing led to another, however:    

"Innisfree was pulled in October 2013, dismasted, placed in a hangar for the winter so that work could be done. The mission: re-rig, paint the mast and boom. While we're there, should we paint the deck? Ever heard about "feature creep" on a project? I fell into that  head first. 

"End result: painted the mast, boom, deck, hull, bottom, new rigging, new sails, new hatches, new heads and assorted plumbing with a holding tank as there was none needed in 1985. New radar, B&G instruments, wifi for navigation, wifi with a bullet antenna for internet, Ham radio SSB, 2 meter & 440 frequency antennas, new stereo & TV, new VHF w AIS, moved two winches on the deck, new boom vang and topping lift control. Rebuilt windlass, Hood furl for main sail rebuilt, new jib furler, mast head modified for a top down spinnaker for later. 

"In short, I rebuilt the boat for 1/10 th the cost of a new one." 

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Mar 11, 2015 10:48 am
 Posted by  SeeingAll

Comment from 86 year old father:
Been thinking about the technological and environmental changes that have affected sailing as represented in your boat in the past few years. I started reminiscing about our early sailing days. Graduating from a Snipe to a 37 foot wooden cutter was quite an experience but we enjoyed every minute of it, the cruising and living aboard for weekends. Finding new harbors to anchor in and enjoy the evenings. Then we graduated into fiberglass and a new boat, but they were both basically only equipped with a compass lead line and AM radio. Oh yes and ticklers to tell us how to sail. I do remember the thrill of getting a GPS and VHF radio and an electron depth finder but how much did they really add to our enjoyment of sailing and cruising? No B&G? Were the Dacron sails really an improvement over our lovely and soft Egyptian cotton sails? There was nothing like the thrill of putting a 40 foot long cotton spinnaker In stops hoisting it and pulling the ripcord and popping it open. I felt like I was in church or better a cathedral. It was really enjoyable to get away from the world in our sailboat cruising without all of the modern communications gadgets. And then we got holding tanks and special toilets to keep the water is clean! Our county just dumped 40,000 tons of salt on the roads which will leak into the creeks and the bay and pollute everything. My holding tank won't compensate for that. Then there were major changes in the galley and of course electric refrigeration which added huge batteries to our limited space. Did all of these "improvements "add to our enjoyment or did they just get in the way of good sailing. Sometimes I think we spend more time repairing and adjusting things that really sailing. Well that's it from the Severn River, have a good sail!

Mar 11, 2015 11:44 am
 Posted by  Louvh

I could add the thrill of sailing in the Rio De La Plata with a Pampero( severe storm ) chasing us down into a small harbor without the weather channel to warn us.

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