Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

If you had asked me five years ago my opinion on power boats I would have given you some line about the romance of the sea. I would have told you how sailboats are much more connected to nature than powerboats. That power boaters just don't get it. Well, I could have been wrong. 

There are so many things about sailing that sailors like to believe. Sitting in the cockpit reading Bernard Moitessier speak about the beauty and nature and simplicity of solo sailing really can make you believe that he's right. And maybe he is right for him. I'm sure he is speaking honestly about his experience, but let's be honest, he was a loner. His wife lived in France most of the time and he lived by his own rules. He probably wouldn't like the Jimmy Buffett listening, Croc wearing, cruisers that occupy most of the established cruising world today either. 

The truth is, we convince ourselves that sailboats are cheaper, less maintenance, and more authentic. But they aren't. Not really. Everything in life is a compromise (especially on boats) and expectations rarely meet up to reality. After many years living aboard, not so many years of cruising, and lots and lots and lots of hours working on boats I have decided that sailboats are not the only way to live a happy life on the water.

So, are powerboats really as bad as sailors would have you believe? Don't get me wrong, I still love the idea of sailing around the world, but seriously, a lot of coastal cruising is motor-sailing from one port to the next. Anyone saying otherwise is probably selling something. (Most likely in the modern world of influencers they are trying to sell you on the awesomeness of their own lives via social media.) Could it be that space and convenance and square beds could be the answer to successful, long-term, live aboard cruising? Possibly. We will see...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

SOLD: 1964 Cheoy Lee Robb 35' 'Ellen Louise'


Boat Name: 'Ellen Louise'
Year: 1964
Builder: Cheoy Lee
Model: Robb 35
Registered: USCG Documented Vessel
Length overall: 36'
Beam: 10'
Draft: 6'
Hull: Teak - planking in great condition
Deck: Teak - some leaks
Last Antifouling: 2014
Steering: Wheel - steering gear is not currently functional. Needs assembly. 
Sails: 1) jib, 1) storm main, 2) spinnakers, no main
Varnish: Poor condition, needs to be stripped and reapplied

'Ellen Louise' is a great weekend sailboat. It is a teak hulled sloop. It was designed and built in Hong Kong as a blue water cruiser. It has spruce spars (mast/ boom) and teak decks. The boat is easily handled by two people or a skilled single hander. This 35’ boat has previously been used as a live aboard for many years. Her beautiful classic lines set her apart from new production yachts. This boat was built in 1964 in Hong Kong at the Cheoy Lee Yard.

Boat was last hauled out for inspection and bottom paint in April 2014. Boat has Pettit Trinidad SR on the bottom. Topsides and cabin were repainted in June 2012 using Interlux Brightsides. Needs varnish. Brand new rebuilt Yanmar 50hp 4JHE engine. Standing rigging replaced July 2016. Needs new main sail. Needs deck caulking work. 

Interested parties to email:


Interested parties to email:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


We made it! The boat made it! All the parts made it! Yay! We are back in San Diego and doing more boat work. What a surprise. Haha. We are doing some maintaince while we have the time before we start new jobs. Happy to be back finally. 

Awhile back our steering got really stiff and the problem wasn't obvious. Now that it is sitting on the hard we can investigate more. Started with dropping the rudder and looking around a bit. Looks like a missing spacer. Hopefully it will be an easy fix. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

New Adventure

Ellen Louise is going home. We have come to a point where a decision needed to be made. What to do next? Matt and I both decided that California was where we want to be next, the question was just how to get there. Obviously one choice is to sail there via the Panama Canal but that doesn't seem like the most efficient option. While we do enjoy sailing, making that trip on our budget with our 50 year old wooden boat just doesn't have very much draw for us. Our other option seems to be the same way we got to this coast: trucking over land. So, it is decided, the boat will return to San Diego on the back of a boat moving truck. We have thought about this choice a lot and we always come back to the same choice, we like the West Coast more. That is all there is to it. Plain and simple. 

The boat is all packed up and ready for it's journey. While the boat is making it's trek we will also be making our own trip across the country in our land yacht - the Imperial big blue Vandura. I'll be checking in and posting about our road trip and we will meet the boat in San Diego around April 4th. Should be a fun ride. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hauled out Again

(Disclaimer, this post is boring and all about bottom paint)

It's been less than a year since the boat was out of the water but she is on the hard once again. I've gotta say, I'm more than disappointed with how our bottom paint has performed. When it came time for bottom paint last time we didn't know exactly what would be the best plan. I talked to paint reps about how to apply bottom paint to a bare wood boat. There were a lot of mixed opinions about what to prime with. I wanted to use red lead but the government frowns on lead based paint usage so we were kinda stuck. I searched on the internet and no one seemed to have the same thoughts. We didn't want to use any epoxy based primers since the wood has been wet for 50 years and putting epoxy on the outside can lead to rotten planking. 

Our Pettit rep advised me to apply bottom paint directly on to the bare wood with a thinned hard paint for the first coat. We chose to use Pettit Trinidad Pro in black first then red on top. It ended up taking 3 or 4 coats in total and looked pretty good.

Flash forward 9 months and the bottom paint looks years old. It is flaking in places and barnicles were growing all over. It was not what I expected less than a year after applying a new bottom. There are obvious adhesion issues and just isn't working like it is advertised. Not sure that Pettit is to blame completely, I just don't think there is a better base coat option besides using proper lead based paint. Neither Pettit or Interlux have a fool proof painting application guide for painting directly onto bare wood. Next time I think we will just have to go to Mexico and use the toxic stuff! Haha. For now we will just patch her up and hope for the best. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Deflatable Dinghy

Remember that storm we ran into in Northern Florida? Well, I guess it was a pretty bad storm in West Palm also because when we got back to the dinghy we had quite a surprise waiting for us. 

We paid to keep our tender at West Palm Sailing Club assuming it would be safer there. The area we are moored has a lot of crime and we were a bit worried about someone stealing our outboard. When we got back to the club we found our dinghy half deflated, under water and our outboard tied to the dock. Some locals at the club informed us of the casualties of the bad storm; our tender being hit the worst. We were told the outboard was under water for about two days. 

It was early evening when we arrived and immediately drove to a West Marine to get a patch for the inflatable. The store was out of the good patches so we had to use the temporary West Marine brand patches. The packaging said it takes 6-12 hours before we could use it in the water. (Great, another night sleeping in the van.) 

In the morning the patch seemed a bit schetchy at best. Matt went to work trying to get our sunken outboard fixed instead of worrying about the patch. It took him most of the day and another trip to the store. All of his tools were on the boat so he had to make due with cheap generic gas station tools. At the end of the day he got it running great and it wasn't the worst thing that could have happened so we were still happy. Then dinghy was another story. The patch was holding air but leaking slowly. It was holding enough air to get us out to the boat but needs some more attention. For now, time to get some rest. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Disaster at Disney

After leaving the winery tour we headed back towards Palm Beach. The gps said it would only take about 3.5 hours but it was still raining and the traffic was backed up. Our route took us through the middle of the Disney area so we stopped at Downtown Disney to take a look around. One of the attractions is a restaurant called the T-Rex Cafe. It's kinda like a Rainforest Cafe if you have seen those.

There was a long wait so we decided to walk through to wait at the bar. About 5 seconds after we were inside there was a loud bursting and water gushing everywhere. One of the main fish tanks in the restaurant sprung a big leak and completely soaked the tables next to it. Little kids were crying and grandparents were laughing. The employees acted fast clearing the area and tried to catch the water in trash cans. Two employees climbed down into the tank with little nets to save the fish. The fish were freaking out and the employees obviously had never been inside a fish tank before. 

Once the guys in the tank figured it out though they were removing the tropical fish and putting them in another bin where the fish were safe. It was pretty exciting but handled efficiently. The bar didn't close during the commotion either.  

Nice job Disney. Save Nemo!

Back in Florida

Sand storm 



The weather was turning pretty narly by the time we were entering Florida so we knew it was time to get new tires. I had been watching them for a few days and the rear tires were rapidly getting worse and worse. 

After getting new rear tires it had gotten really late so we decided to find somewhere to stay. We pulled into a spot at a walmart and snuggled in for the night. The rain started and didn't stop for 2 days. We set up the tv in the back of the van and waited for it to lift to continue toward Palm Beach. It wasn't really getting lighter so we decided to keep going but take it easy. About an hour later it was still pouring and we saw a billboard for a free tour and wine tasting at a winery. Why not?! We can wait one more day to get back to the boat.