Looking Forward With A Memory
Understanding where we are is but one side of a triangle that gives us foundation and meaning. Knowing where we’re going is the obvious next side of that philosophical polygon, but the real trick is knowing where we have been.
To that end, I present to this blog a living memory, a vessel my father who now owns and operates has called “Tipsy Raven” in an obvious application of my nomme de guarre. Admittedly I couldn’t bring myself to sell her and where as she reaches into my pockets a little it brings my father some amount of ‘old man and the sea’ joy and provides me with a chance to sail in the vessel that truly kicked off this dream.
For the most part, I can look back upon this vessel fondly and with love. People come and go, and some may get their time once again to sit with me for the sunsets earned for the sacrifices made to chase the horizon, but this gal, even after I eventually let her go if my dad ever lets me, will forever sail soundly in my memories and as the glorious launch pad to the stars she proved to be.
Pearson "Tipsy Raven" P26
At the yard
“Time Out” Was hiding in a very exclusive boat yard in Detroit Michigan. Exclusivity isn’t of course to be confused with ‘nice’… this place looked like where boats went after they were dead. The person selling her was given the boat after the owner failed to make numerous payments, and they honestly didn’t want the gift they had recieved… She was on craigs list for all of four hours before Kent and I were zooming off to detroit with the jaguar laughing and joking about bad decisions all the while. There was snow on the ground…
Kent and I crawled all over the boat and poked our heads into every crevice. The boom was laying in the cabin, sails were elsewhere. You wouldn’t believe the electrical installation.. and thats what I could see of it. We didn’t know if the motor worked. The sensors for weather and bottom looked like they had seen better days a long time ago. It came with a cradle though!
I believe it was Feburary. No way to test it in the water and I don’t think i would have tried even if I could have. I had no intention of buying it. We never do, do we?.
Bringing her home
Needless to say the photos tell the truth of it. I brought her home. How could I not? … dont answer that.
I had the vessel paid for with cash I had laying around. Dean was incredible in helping me make it happen. My ex, she was flabbergasted. I’m the kind of person who gets a dream and immediately converts it to a plan. “Time Out” became the plan… The first part of the plan? Lots and lots of work.
To kick us off I got to unlock an achievement in life – buy something that could only be delivered by semi truck. I assure you, its chaos. The truck in question had a specialized hydraulic trailer that could pick and place entire sailboats while on cradles. After nearly getting stuck getting the boat in place he DID get stuck getting back out. We had to borrow my neighbor and his backhoe to pull him out, and even then we weren’t done yet – he broke into a septic tank no one knew was there and then barely got the truck and trailer back up onto the road again. It was chaos. But it was done.
He told me “I hope your kids enjoy their new treefort”. I don’t think he had a clue how dedicated I was to making this happen.
It took a year of very hard work to get the functional parts of the boat back to proper. You wouldn’t believe some of the things I ripped out of this boat… unless you’ve owned your own old boat too, then I’m sure you can appreciate my pain directly.
The mast was easily worked on, but not easy to do. The mast head was removed and refinished. The wiring all pulled loose and a new bundle run up the mast on new slides to prevent ‘banging’. New lights installed, new blocks for rigging, new halyards. I went with the original standing rigging having no appetite to replace it.
I had to forge some stainless steel bits to make it all happen and it was a wonderful way to tie my hobbies together. The parts created worked great and allowed for the mast head to have a very nice light installed, even my current boat doesn’t have as nice of a light yet.
The boat itself was stripped of everything except the tracks and rails, the electrical system chucked directly into a trash can. None of it was marine grade. All of it was terrifying. I had no desire to sink the boat, so it all had to be inspected and fixed. Anyone have a montage video that runs for 365 days? It was a long year of refitting.
We took the time to ensure that the interior of the boat was very nice too… form follows function in my world, but it doesn’t mean that form is ignored.
In this case the cheap wood that was used as a mast support and also a door way to the forward cabin space was replaced with purpleheart. Its a very robust and oily wood, and properly treated has a wonderful purple color to it. The walls were replaced with marine grade ply, sheathed in Sepele which had the most incredible red color when sealed with varnish. Really. Look at the photo. I wish I had a small piece of it it was truly incredible.
The interior, rewired and reworked with purple heart trim to match the door frame became a very beautiful space. I never did change out the galley woodwork, simply mounting in the old one for the sake of getting the boat back to the water.
The nastiest and hardest part, I determined the bottom was unable to be recovered without a massive undertaking. An army of my friends showed up and we got the bottom taken off of it and refinished.
It would take an entire blog to list them here, and their efforts have been immortalized elsewhere so i encourage you to visit my social media for those wonderful details.
The bottom was scraped and sanded. The rudder post fiberglassed. The keel ground and reglassed and faired back in. The base coat of interprotect 2000e served as a wonderful base. To put it on we had to build a wooden cradle to support the boat to let down the pads and paint under them – i assure you that was nerve racking. From there two coats of VC17m was used to keep the lake from growing on the boat. Her fancy new dress was the nicest part of the boat, and ironically the one part you’d not see once se was in the water.
Weigh Hay! Up she rises!
This particular segment of our story gets its very own special entry in the story. Lifting Time Out into the air by hand and then loading it on a trailer. No cranes. No heavy equipment. Three men and an abosolute rejection of the notion “can’t be done”.
We could wait no longer. Loaded onto the trailer now and ready to go, go she went. 100+ miles back roads haul because frankly we weren’t sure we were entirely legal doing it, and splash down! A few more projects and even getting to see the sails on it for the first time – more than a year after buying it.
She is a damn fine vessel… but one look at my face you’ll know I was already envisioning the future.
Join in with #TipsyRaven
Hull Type: Fin w/spade rudder
Rigging Type: Masthead Sloop
LOA: 26.12 ft / 7.96 m
LWL: 21.67 ft / 6.61 m
Beam: 8.69 ft / 2.65 m
S.A. (reported): 321.00 ft2 / 29.82 m2
Draft (max): 4.00 ft / 1.22 m
Displacement: 5,400 lb / 2,449 kg
Ballast: 2,200 lb / 998 kg
Construction: FG w/balsa cored deck
Ballast Type: Iron
First Built: 1970
Last Built: 1983
# Built: 1750
Builder: Pearson Yachts (USA)
Designer: William Shaw
Comfort Ratio: 20.36
Capsize Screening Formula: 1.98
Rig and Sail Particulars
I: 31.50 ft / 9.60 m
J: 11.70 ft / 3.57 m
P: 27.50 ft / 8.38 m
E: 10.00 ft / 3.05 m
S.A. Fore: 184.28 ft2 / 17.12 m2
S.A. Main: 137.50 ft2 / 12.77 m2
S.A. Total 321.78 ft2 / 29.89 m2
S.A./Disp. (calc.): 16.78
Est. Forestay Len.: 33.60 ft / 10.24 m
Mast Height from DWL: 35.17 ft / 10.72 m
Headroom: 5.67 ft / 1.73 m
Water: 22 gals / 83 L
VBerth – Sleeps 2
Salon – sleeps 1 on each side