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by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

Tugs and Recycling

I took Helen Marie out of the water and needed something to replace it with so here's Sandy's little tug. This is the biggest 18 foot boat you've ever seen; diesel power with a giant prop. She looks really good sitting next to the dock.

And here's how we got it to the dock; towed behind Chelsea for three miles at two miles an hour because that same dependable Yanmar overheated due to a rotten water pump impeller. But since we're experienced boat guys this little delay didn't even phase us. Sandy just dropped the anchor, I called Steve to come get us and he didn't even question it; just jumped in the good old Briggs and Stratton powered Whitehall and came for us. If you've been around boats for more than about a week this kind of thing qualifies as SOS, Same Old Shit. The only tragedy is that Steve didn't bring any beer when he came to rescue us.

Here's Chelsea back at the dock, all in a days work.

Helen and Cessna don't get excited about broken down boats as long as she's not on it.

Our savior on the floating dock.

Here I am recovering from the ordeal. That's pain killer in the glass, remember that I'm getting a new hip this Monday and I probably needed it.

The same for Steve, except for the hip.

Lenna and Steve reading an article in this months "Messing About In Boats" about how he's a useless slug who spends his time sitting in front of his fan swilling vodka, which he doesn't deny. Some of the rest of you have been similarly praised by me, quite an honor I hear. Steve's actually an indispensable part of the Boatworks; he's the only one around here under 60 and still has the use of all of his limbs. That comes in handy at times. Lenna and Steve reading an article about him sitting around drinking vodka.

I came across this one again and will send it out again. For a lowly sailor like me being in the company of these two guys is about as high as you can get. On the left is Harold Balcom. He's been a major player in the sailing scene in Florida and especially Tampa Bay forever. He was Jack Eckerd's captain on some of his big boats, was the first commodore of the Tampa Sailing Squadron and raced a class of boat that's close to my heart that you've never heard of, the Fish class. He's also a very good friend of the guy in the middle, Charlie Morgan of Morgan Yachts. Charlie built a company that turned out hundreds of sailboats from small ones in the twenty foot range to really big boats like the M41's and 51's for the charter fleet. He also made a run at the America's Cup with a 12 Meter. These two and some other "old" guys invited us Tiki hut bums up to St Pete to pick up an old Fish and abuse the hell out of us. If you think your boat handling skills are good I dare you to try to dock in front of this bunch, knowing their histories. The bantering and "help" and "advice" started when we were still a hundred feet from the dock and didn't let up till we had screwed up a simple landing into a straight dock in a pontoon boat for Christ sake. You haven't been made fun of till you've been insulted by a bunch of guys with a thousand years of boating experience. It was one of the high points of our lives.

Harald Balcome, Charlie Morgan and me.

Jim is still making progress on his boat. Here's Helen inspecting the small cabin. Jim is in no hurry to finish; he'll just have to start another one so what's the rush. Helen looking in Jim's boat.

Windows in and roof next.

I told you about the old boat we got for Howard to have a new project. He was going to pull the power train out and make a mahogany old timey looking runabout. Well, after we pressure washed the ten years of grime and mold off of the hull it looked pretty good so he decided to turn it into one of these.

Here's some pictures Lenna took after he's removed the deck, cabin structure and most everything out of the inside. This is a great example of what I always tell you about finding an old fiberglass hull to use when you want to build a boat but don't know exactly how to start on the hull. You just have to find the right kind of old boat and believe me, they're all over the place. Just go on Craigslist and look for boat trailers and you'll find listings like, "Boat trailer, $200 comes with free boat".

Here's the engine ready to get pulled out for inspection and overhaul where needed. It's parked right under a big beam. Chevy 350:

All of what you see here is gone now.

It helps if you have a trailer parked next to the free boat to throw all of the insides into. It's taken two trips to the dump to strip this boat.

We'll modify the sheer line, do some artistic curves and such and presto chango, a new boat to get pushed out into the woods with the rest of them.

Howard going through some parts catalogs to see what he needs. You'd be shocked to see how bad he looks at the end of the day; dirt and grease all over him, dried blood everywhere (us old guys bleed easily) and more moaning and groaning than you ever heard. You'd think that being 76 was a hardship, what a woss. Howard looking for parts:

Here's another example of a recycled hull. This was a really ratty old 15 foot sailboat that Steve got cheap and is going to make into a Melonseed. He'll use the same rig as our Cortez boats. This hull may be a little faster than ours in strong winds because it'll plane.

Here it is from the front, good looking hull isn't it. It had a liner with the molded in seats and deck that was all cracked and beat up. A little paint and it'll be a beauty.

Steve is also making some custom lights for the Tiki hut, he's still practicing at cutting booze bottles but they sure fit right in with the classy ambiance of the place.

This was this old half rotten kayak on the rack that was ready for the burn pile. Stan made it a long time ago and none of us would use it because of the small cockpit and tiny room inside. Long legged guys couldn't put our knees up in the cockpit so when we got cramped all we could do was roll out of it into the water, not very graceful and you know how we like to look graceful at all times. Well, one of our favorite girls came by with a nice almost new BBQ grill for us and fell in love with the old boat so we did a little work on it for her to have a fast kayak to play with. Bring us food or booze and you're in for life around here and Tracy did both.

Stan's old kayak gets a new life:

David Lucas

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