The Schooner Sara B Log

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October 16, 2006     Post 12
Another Season Ends

Hard charging Dolce Vita comes into the picture - photo by Jim Nelson
On October 2 Sara B was hauled for the winter. She had a good season- not too many leaks below the waterline anyway. The stern tube liner seemed to work pretty well. She does still leak when underway and heeled but not as much since we discovered the bilge pump discharge hoses were letting water INTO the boat when she was on a port tack. (Chris installed new discharge lines with a good big loop and a vent at the top to prevent siphoning.) I am hopeful that a good caulking job on her topsides will eliminate much of the remaining underway leaking.

Sara B had a couple of absolutely grand sails with her crew in September. One of those took place a few days before she went on the hard. It was a mild warm breezy Wednesday, the last week of September. Sara B's companion boat, Titania, had been hauled that morning and somewhere along the line a decision was made to take the afternoon off too. Toby, myself, Chris, and my sister Mary Gwen, along with a last minute addition of Jim Nelson, a Fair Haven artist and waterfront cottage neighbor of Sara B's, went for a sail.

Dolce Vita framed in Sara B's arch - photo by Jim Nelson
There was a grand south wind, solid 20 to maybe 25 in the puffs so we opted for two head sails and a main. Sara B slipped along smartly but with an easy helm. The quick flashing little whitecaps against deep blue water and the first touches of color tinting the trees on shore made it a spectacular day. Down off Chimney Bluffs a solitary white sloop headed for us and as it approached we recognized two cruising friends. Dolce Vita the old Alberg 30 who has sailed to the Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico and other distant ports, chased after Sara B with a will on a warm fall afternoon on Lake Ontario. The wind came up and whistled through the rigging and Sara B leaned to it and started to step out. It felt like she was saying, "Hey, I can sail too". The two old veterans blasted along for about a mile before Harry and Fran tacked and headed back to port.

Mrs %26 Mr Gateley, riding Sara B - photo by Jim Nelson
Another sweet September sail with Sara B took place the week after Labor Day. On that occasion we sailed twice, setting out in the morning with a couple of other Sara B neighbors for a gentle easy 8-10 mile an hour reach under the mellow September sun, then going back out for a photo session with both Titania and Sara B. We did one of these photo sessions last year with me and the camera aboard Titania and Chris with Sara B. This time Chris was camera man because he knew how to work the movie setting. (With an enhanced memory our little camera can now take about 15 or 20 minutes of low resolution movies. Perhaps someday those of you with broadband will be able to watch Sara B, the movie, here at this location!) The wind had picked up a bit to a nice 10 to 12 so Sara B and I had a grand sail under "all lowers" while Titania sailed near by as photo platform. Once you get all the sails up, Sara B is actually p

retty easy to manage solo, at least in light to moderate winds.

Coming into Fair Haven after a grand sail - photo by Jim Nelson
All too soon she took her last sail of the year and now sits in the all too familiar spot back at the boatyard. Now it's the repair season again. After concentrating efforts below the waterline last year, we're re-visiting the deck which still has far too many leaks. We are going to replace a half dozen sections of planking and assess the conditions of the deck beams beneath them closely. The deck beam forward that was treated with borates and antifreeze and a CPES treatment last year seems pretty well stabilized. We'll probably use the same approach on a couple more places where water has leaked through and collected between beam and deck plank to create a soft spot in the deck beam. I'll continue the re-fastening program and we will take a close look and possible action regarding the arch and port side knees and at the starboard covering board's trouble spot.

It's also possible we'll have to take some action forward where planking meets stem just above the waterline. And a few(?hundred?) more screws in the bottom are probably in order too. A consultation with Bruce Sodervick revealed we are almost certainly owners of a white pine deck (fooled again!). With that in mind we visited a local mill and were pleased to find a pile of white pine logs there and a sawyer willing to quarter-saw a couple up for us. So we hope to get planking stock air drying this winter for next spring's round of deck fixing. Bruce also urged us to soak both deck planking and the oak ribs of the boat in as much linseed oil, turpentine- pine tar mix as we could manage for their preservation. Treating exterior checks in keel and deadwood with the mix might be in order also.

We hope to get by for another year with our quick and dirty cabin top canvas job that we did back in July. We simply glued another layer of canvas on over the old cracked covering and tried ( so far with less than complete success) to seal the edges with liquid nails. If we can get our edges glued down a bit better, we are hoping to stall the new canvas job for another year. When you work on a wooden boat as big as Sara B it's sort of a constant triage process- you go after the active soft spots first to minimize their spread, then you try to ward off future soft spots with overdue maintenance. Then finally you get to the less urgent things like a temperature gauge for the motor. It's not a restoration exactly. More of a "continuous improvement" as the home repair man's ad put it. Stay tuned to see how many Sara B projects get done during this year's lay up.

Stay tuned also for possible developments on a plan to spread the joy around through creation of some sort of formal (legal) organization to share in the pleasures and preservation of the Sara B through an ownership organization. Ideas are being kicked around now for ways to keep the old boat moving along on the comeback trail. She's a grand old girl, and we hope to give her as long and active a life as possible.

Sue aloft de-rigging the triatic

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