The gentleman who sold me the boat had no idea that the recent work done prior to his Pacific voyage would be in this condition. He and I both assumed that this area of the boat was the one place I didn’t need to worry about, so I could focus on upgrading systems and dealing with cosmetic issues. Well, we were wrong.
The proposed work takes little time to sum up in words; remove and replace about 50 planks, replace all of the recently rebuilt frames and blocking in the bow, remove about 30 feet of damaged keel, which has been tacked together with several scarfed patches and fiber glassed over in an apparent attempt to stop a leaking garboard, and replace it with a new, solid 12” x 20”Douglas fir keel timber.
We will install floor timbers, which were either not part of the original construction, or were removed to facilitate installation of 1000 gallons of water tanks.
All accessible frame and keel fastenings will be replaced. And, finally, we will have to rebuild the entire lower interior, which had to be removed to allow access to the keelson and floors. Once all this is accomplished Westward will be stronger than she has been for decades and ready to return to the voyaging she has enjoyed for most of her existence.
And it all has to come in on budget, and be done in time to sail to the Sea of Cortez from Seattle, leaving no later than November 20th.
As soon as I extracted commitments from two principle financial backers, I told the shipwright to go ahead and order the materials. This consisted of a timber for the new keel section, plank stock, frame stock and timbers from which to cut and shape new blocking for between frames, keel and keelson. He also had to order all of the heavy galvanized bolt rods, drifts, spikes and screws to put it all together. This first materials order came with a bill of about $75,000.
So, while the shipwright scoured the Pacific Northwest for appropriate dried timbers and plank stock, I followed up on the commitments of my investors. One of whom decided after his preliminary payment that he wasn’t able to continue. This was a breathtaking and debilitating announcement, coming as it did just after I had told Bob, the shipwright, to go ahead and order the materials, for which I was now responsible. At this point I had incurred labor costs (not yet billed or paid for) of about 120 man hours. So, before we have accomplished anything except to demolish much of the boat to determine the extent of the needed repairs, I owed Bob in excess of $100,000 and had been able to borrow $25,000.
Time for another walk.
Then, at the final hour my other investor found a way to cover not only the current bills, but to cover the projects costs at least part way into the reconstruction.
One thing that I have yet to tell you is that while all this has been going on I have been captaining Catalyst, my other antique charter boat, for her Southeast Alaska summer season, and out of cell phone and internet range except for weekends. This has restricted my business hour communications to brief and desperate conversations on a Satellite phone, which are often interrupted mid-sentence by sun spots or Chinese hackers.
All of this in combination is why I don’t see the need to follow my doctors’ advice to get annual stress tests; my whole freaking life is a stress test!
PLEASE NOTE: This story describes work done in 2015/16. The rebuild is now compete and Westward has traveled from Seattle to the Sea of Cortes and Alaska since her re-launching in December 2015. Click here to view a photo gallery of the rebuilt Westward.