Moving On

Wild at Heart, my Hunter 25.5, has served me well over the past two-and-a-half years.  It’s been a short but intense run.

The previous owner, Doug, who moved to Panama recently, owned her twice.  His ownership is more storied than mine.

Doug was married aboard  Wild at Heart on Lake Travis, anchored off Starnes Island.

I had Doug on the boat with me a few months ago.  In fact, it was that day she sailed her best speed under my ownership, 5.9 kts.  Not bad for a mid-eighties wing-keeled cruiser.

I’ve had a ton of fun over these past two-and-a-half years.  I got to sail her more frequently than I deserve.  And I was fortunate to see Lake Travis IMG_5941rise over fifty feet after the Memorial Day rain.  Well, I should temper that.  That was a brutal flood.  We sat stunned in front of the TV when those storms came through in May.  Several people died in the Hill Country that weekend.

I had my own drama on Wild at Heart.  Early in my ownership, I nearly ruined my right hand swapping outboard motors.   In a freak mishap, my hand got stuck between the 90-lb. motor and the mount, resulting in a trip to the Round Rock ER, several stitches, a visit to the hand surgeon, and luckily no severe surgery-requiring damage.  I have a nice scar to show for it.  I sometimes tell people it’s my “shark bite” scar.  More than a few have believed me (at first).

I’m happy with cockpit paint job I did with the generous help of my friend Dave Huber.  After reading about fiberglass deck refurb in Sail Magazine and other places, we launched into the job last year.  As always, it took more time and effort than I guessed it would.  After much sanding, chipping, vacuuming and brushing it came out pretty good.  And so she’s cleaner and shinier than most other mid-80s boats.

I guess they call it “two foot -itis” for a reason.  I’m moving up to a larger boat with a few of the features I’ve been wanting.  The one I have my eye on is twenty-seven feet, exactly two feet larger.

I’ll miss that little boat, but I know she’ll make her next owner happy too.



Lost Halyard – DIY Solution

(Featured photo credit Andrew Dawes via Flickr)

My boat, Wild at Heart, was leaning over in the breeze and so I moved up to the high side, which I have to do when the wind is blowing in the high teens and I’m sailing alone.

Then the jib sagged five feet from where it should be.  I reached for the halyard that’s meant to hold the sail tight and yank.  Well, that was a mistake.  The sail wasn’t loose – it was completely off the shackle.  The top started flailing in the fresh wind.

Now I couldn’t raise the sail because I have no way of reaching that high.  Fixing it would be a job for another day when the boat is tied comfortably at the dock.  I took the rest of the jib down and sailed back under main only.


Plumber’s type PVC pipe was too flexible at twenty feet. See the carabiner in the photo nearby I added.

I was surprised Google didn’t yield better results for a halyard lost up the mast.  I thought some salty sailor would have posted a YouTube video or blog post by now.  I’ll have to make my own solution which I spend a couple weeks mulling over.

I had to reach a rope thirty feet high.  Finally I have a sketch in mind and drive to Home Depot for PVC pipe.  After trial and error and help from my marina neighbors — Reid and Josh  — I have the halyard down.  Nearby is a sketch and the PVC pipe I used to create a lasso.

The lasso atop twenty feet of PVC pipe. I added the tape two inches from the top to keep the lasso from cinching closed on the way up. Also, note the metal snap carabiner on the right. I clipped it to the forestay to guide the pipe, otherwise it was too hard to steady.

All of which got me to thinking, “there has to  be a better way.”  This cost me time off the water!  The size of my boat makes this tricky.  Too small to climb the mast (I weigh too much) but too big to unstep the mast or lean it over.  And since I keep her in the water, putting her on a trailer and driving next to something tall like a building or ladder would be a hassle too.

Drop me a note if you’ve found a better way to do this.