By May 2019, the weather had warmed up enough to work on the boat. Susanna and Izzy headed to Sweden to visit her family. I had decided I would take time to fence in the back yard. Instead I decided to start by building a gravel parking spot for the boat. I had enough problems with my previous boat having the grass get overgrown below the trailer while it sat all summer. And this boat was a lot harder to move to mow than the O’Day 22 was.
I could (and maybe should) have made the spot one railroad-tie longer, so the tongue of the trailer wouldn’t be over the grass. However, that would make taking the boat out a very tight turn. Plus the gravel was heave and a lot of work, and I had a fence to go build.
One of these days I would get to working on the inside of the boat.
This is copied from my personal blog in December 2018…
Getting a boat is always a bad idea. The question will be how bad of an idea this one will be. The first step, moving it from the storage yard to home went without a problem. The trailer needed 4 new tires, but the rest of it is in decent shape. The lights even worked (which was not expected).
I had been keeping my eye out for a new family sailboat. I was looking for something bigger than the O’Day 22 we previously owned. But one small enough to keep on a trailer. I really wanted one with an inboard engine and a proper head (toilet). This had both. Plus was a reasonably shallow draft, which is good for exploring Long Island Sound.
I had looked at the boat a few years ago, but the price was higher than I wanted to pay at the time. The previous owner listed it again this year. He lives in Colorado and was tired of paying for storage. So I decided to go take another look at it.
I initially looked at the boat with a couple of friends from work in late November. It was a mess. I didn’t want it. It had a few inches of water over the cabin deck, and was filled with foam pieces (almost like an animal had been living inside of it). However, a week later, the owner asked if I could pump the water out of it, and would give me the dinghy behind it if I would. I wasn’t interested in the dinghy, but I figured I could spend an hour and pump it out.
Will and I went down to the boat, but the water in the bilge was frozen, so we couldn’t pump it out. However, we cleaned up two garbage bags of trash, and the foam pieces. It was just foam from the hull-liner, and the cushions were in perfect shape (just dirty), so no animal living on the boat.
We went down a few more times and did some more cleaning and looked around. The diesel engine turned over by hand, the rudder and screw turned easily. The biggest problem is that the trailer tires were shot, and the rudder was coming apart and needs to be repaired. The access to the diesel is excellent, so working on the engine won’t be too difficult.
I spend more time talking to the owner. I wasn’t planning on sailing in 2019 and was only looking to pick one up if it was a really good deal. This one wound about as cheap as they get. It was sitting in a storage yard costing the previous owner around $100/month. I initially offered to take the boat at no cost so he didn’t have to keep paying for storage. After some more talking, we finally came to an agreement at a cost of approximately two months of storage fees. So I picked up a new boat for a total of $200 plus four new trailer tires.
I asked a friend to help tow the boat, and he towed it the 10 miles home on Saturday afternoon. Now comes the process of cleaning it up over the next year or so. I’ll probably redo the electrical (because I like doing that sort of thing). The topside and bottom both need to be repainted (at least the bottom below the waterline). The diesel needs to be tuned up and returned to running condition. And the inside needs a good cleaning, some new hull liner, and some paint. The wood is dirty, but mostly in good shape. The rub rail needs to be replaced in sections, but none of the fiberglass is soft.
I had been looking for a new boat for a while. A few years ago I had come across an add for a Macwester 26 sitting on a trailer in Groton, CT. At that time I looked at the boat and decided to pass. It was more money than I wanted to spend, and the layout below decks seemed a bit crowded.
However, every few months I would drive by the storage lot and see her sitting there. The more I began to think about it, the more it felt like that was the kind of boat I wanted. It was small enough to sit on a trailer off-season. It has a proper-ish head and an inboard engine.
But the listing had dropped off craigslist for a few years, until late 2018 I saw the following listing:
condition: fair cryptocurrency ok length overall (LOA): 26 make / manufacturer: MacWester model name / number: 26 propulsion type: sail year manufactured: 1969
MacWester 26 foot bilge keel built in England, on trailer, on the hard in Groton, Ct. very heavy boat.
Been sitting on trailer for about 5 years. Rub rail will need replacing, some other cockpit work, repair and and clean up
Working two cylinder 10 hp Volvo diesel, old school, can be hand cranked.
Lots of rode and anchors is you want to cruise. Pictured are the new teak cockpit seats,,,