This post is dedicated to Burt Richardson, friend, restauranteur, avid sailor, and owner of Joe Greensleeves Restaurant in (landlocked) Redlands, California, upon whose wall Burt placed a full-scale half hull of his favorite boat, a Dragon (photo at bottom).
April 14, 2018
Any report of accomplishments during my Hobart layover must include a note of gratitude to the people I’ve met here, who rank among the friendliest, most helpful people I’ve yet encountered. And any such remarks must include effusive thanks to Daryl Ridgeway, my boat-work companion, consultant, second set of hands, and on-call chauffeur, all for the price of a beef pie and a pint.
Ridgeway is a member of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Mo’s current home, and was the first dock-walker Captain John Solomon button-holed upon my arrival with the introduction, “here’s that Yank in from Cape Horn who needs loads of help.” Ridgeway took Solomon at his word and daily has been poking his head in Mo’s companionway hatch.
“I think I’ll put in storm windows after all,” I say.
“OK. Come on then; I’ll run you down to the plastics shop,” says Ridgeway.
“Again? You have time?”
“I told you I could give you Thursday. I’ve nothing else on today.”
“Yes, but that was last Thursday, which you gave me, and Tuesday and Monday as well.”
“You can sport us pies for lunch if you like…” Pies are four dollars each and hardly a fair recompense for the time Ridgeway has invested in getting Mo seaworthy again.
As if his assistance wasn’t reward enough, Ridgeway invited me out for weekend races aboard his Dragon. Ridgeway is a lifelong resident of Hobart, a boat builder by passion and, fortunate for him, by trade, and a dedicated racer. He has specialized in the Dragon, a much-reduced replica of the America’s Cup 12-meter designed by Johan Anker in 1929 and introduced into the Olympics in 1948. Among Ridgeway’s distinctions is that he was the first builder to make a plug for the fiberglass version of this International One-Design. His son, Zane, continues the tradition at his shop, whose shingle reads, “Ridgeway Dragons.”
The race was a casual, five-boat affair, until the gun, and which point it became dead earnest. During the third heat, we were hanging tough in second place until the last mark, when new crewman, Reeves, missed his grab on the lee jib sheet during a tack and tumbled into the bilge, leaving the sail to beat in the wind a mere few seconds, which was all it took to achieve fourth place at the line. I will say in defense of Reeves that sailing a Dragon is akin to playing a 26-string mandolin when you’re used to a six-string guitar; there are at least that many mandolin strings crammed into the cockpit of a Dragon.
But what, besides aiding in the loss of races, have I accomplished?
Here’s the list:
-Monitor Windvane: rebuild pinion gear assembly. Specifically, replace aft pin bushing, which Mo has seen fit to wear to powder on each of her two ocean legs (reason unknown).
-Watt and Sea Hydrogenerator: refresh pinched and partially broken three-phase wire at the water line. Unit now produces full amps per spec rather than about half that. Here’s hoping my heat-shrink splice will last the trip home.
-Electronics: replace what was wiped out by the knockdown, including new Vesper AIS, Iridium GO, MAHA Powerex AA battery charger, and Sailor FB250 Below Deck Unit (found used on mainland Australia).
-Jordan Series Drogue: Tony Gooch had pre-ordered a new drogue to replace the one lost at sea, which was waiting for me in Hobart upon my arrival. What a wonder! The new make is about half the size and a third the weight, this due to the employ of light but super-strong Dyneema line.
-Broken Window: remove remainder of glass shattered in the big knockdown along with the frame, sand and paint the area, install new 6mm tempered glass.
-Starboard aluminum rail: straighten aft pushpit and weld in place the rail that I had cut away when the sea bent it over the winches. Thanks to Zane Ridgeway for accomplishing both at the dock and in less than ideal conditions.
-Engine care: As reported earlier, during the several knockdowns, enough water got into the fuel tanks through the tank vents to fill the primary fuel filters and make its way, unbeknownst to me, all the way into the engine injectors. Luckily, a full bleed and an oil/filter change at sea got the engine running again. One in Hobart I did another filter and fluids change. I also replaced the hot-wired ignition switch and took the opportunity to renew the failed engine thermostat.
-Clean the bottom: I’d seen a few barnacles on Mo’s quarter, even while underway, and did a quick haul at the club’s slipway (cheaper than a diver). What a surprise! No soft growth at all, but I found an entire garden of goose-neck barnacles, some up to six inches long, growing out of sight. Epaint SN-1, reportedly the paint used by the US Coast Guard, has been applied on three occasions since 2016, the last coats going on just before we departed San Francisco in October 2017. Not a particularly glowing endorsement of this antifouling’s repellent properties.
Storm Windows: Daryl Ridgeway had already made plywood storm boards for me, but at the last moment I decided to install clear plastic storm windows over the top of the existing glass in the pilot house. The 12mm polycarbonate we used is bolted and glued in place and so functions as a protection of the glass and as double-pane insulation, which will come in handy in the far north.
All that remains get a haircut, do a little laundry, take a last shower (or two), grab some veg from the market … and shove off.
None too soon. I woke this morning to snow on Mount Wellington.
The interior of Joe Greensleeves Restaurant in Redlands, California, where I joined the kitchen crew fresh from school and first learned to work hard. Only commercial fisherman work harder than line cooks. The restaurant’s concept, interior design, and menu design were all Burt’s doing. I don’t know where he got the half hull.