By Skylar Smith - Long Beach, California - USA

When Mike and I met he was in the process of re-finishing his teak decks and re-varnishing the brightwork on Independence (See Duckworks article “Cascade 42 by Mike Walker”).   I’ve always loved sailing and I was once part-owner of a wooden boat (an 18-foot day-sailer) so I know a bit about boats; the fun and the fun of maintenance.



The old cowls


click images to enlarge

The cowls had been removed so that the dorades could be varnished and I had taken on the task of re-painting the insides of the cowls (bright red).  They were sitting on the dock while the paint dried when an almost unnoticeable sequence of events caused the dock to rock and one of the cowls to fall into the cold and cloudy water of the marina. So embarrassing!  My first thought was to dive for it but, I hesitated because I couldn’t see more than a foot into the water and, did I mention that the water is cold? Temps range from 56f to 69f at the height of summer. I chickened out and let myself in for some teasing.

Finally, I decided to put an end to the torment, do the right thing, and dive for it.  I am sorry to tell you that I chickened out at the bottom of the swim ladder. The water was cold and I couldn’t see more than a foot in front of me even with my scuba mask.

New stainless steel cowls

Fast-forward and take a look at the new beautiful stainless cowls with red interiors. We ordered them and our friend and Vietnam Vet Motorcycle Club Brother, Leadhead, powder-coated the insides and the rings.  I know you’ll agree that they look much better than the old white ones and the powder-coat is a perfect finish.

What happened to the other white cowl?  It hung around the main cabin – a constant reminder and source of ongoing teasing until one day Mike asked me what I was going to do with it.  I replied that I was planning to gift wrap it every Christmas for him, whereupon he grabbed it and headed up the ladder and threw it overboard!

The Zebrawood veneer before...
... and after 10 coats of varnich

These days we are working on some cosmetic enhancements – we’ve added zebra wood veneer which we put in by first making poster board templates; cutting the veneer and gluing it with spray adhesive.  We’re up to 10 coats of varnish and nearing the finishing point.  We chose zebra wood for its beauty and because the table in the main cabin is made from it.

Independence at her berth.

Skylar Smith


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