Specifically Speaking


Rob climbing the mizzen mast

A good friend (Hi Tom!) from Colorado recently emailed and asked if we could share some specifics on the boat and work we've been doing. What a great question! And I bet there are many of you wondering the same thing! Here you go:

Sailboat Specifics

Boat type: Hardin Ketch

44' long

13' wide

Draft (how much is under water) 6'

Main mast height 56'

Water tanks hold 180 gallons

Fuel tanks hold 180 gallons

Built in 1979 in Taiwan

Designed by R. W. Hardin

Weight: 15 tons (net)

Ketch (2 masts, a main and a mizzen, both of ours are made from Spruce)

Full keel (as opposed to a fin keel, click HERE to read a short article on the pros and cons of different keel designs)

A total of 130 built and we have #44

A Little History of the Boat

There have been three previous owners. The first was a Christian bible school "Young Life Malibu Club" which is still in operation and located 100 miles north of Vancouver, British Columbia, at the mouth of the Princess Louisa Inlet. According to a boat survey from 1986 they beat up the boat and used it to sleep 20 kids. We still haven't figured out where they all slept!

The second, if I remember correctly, was a single mom with 1 or 2 sons who owned it a short time and I think lived in Vancouver. She didn't do much to the boat although one of her sons cracked a window by shooting a BB gun (which is still cracked today).

The third owners are/were Bryce & Mia Stewart also from Vancouver who have owned it since 1991. They took great care of it and sailed it throughout the Gulf Islands and along the Sunshine Coast. When Mia became ill they used it less and less and after she passed away Bryce decided to sell it to us. During her illness he rightly didn't focus on the boat, so when he put it up for sale it needed some love.

System Improvement Specifics

The engine is a Isuzu c-240 4 cylinder diesel. This type of engine has been used in many different vehicles from forklifts to trucks. The one in the boat has been maintained--but not by a true mechanic so when we had a mechanical survey done and they had many recommendations we weren't surprised. Rob has spent a lot of time working on it, making upgrades where needed (adding air filters), and corrections to the system. One of the fuel tanks was never used so cleaning the tanks was over due (this is called"fuel polishing" and about 25 gals of diesel fuel had to be removed due to the fact they could not clean it any further).

Rob working on the engine

We also had a electric audit and they found many incorrectly sized wires, poorly connections, and abandoned and melted wires. The old batteries had not been watered consistently and had boiled over causing corrosion and so they were only putting out a partial charge. We replaced the batteries with AGM batteries which don't require water to be added on a regular basis and will both hold a charge and charge up faster. We also hired a professional to redo all the wires and clean them up. Rob could have done it but it would have taken a long time as electric systems are not his forte.

On deck we've improved some of the rigging (see photo above) and added netting all the way around the boat to Navi's safety. We have an appointment with a professional rigger to inspect and give us his opinion on the standing rigging. Apparently proper tension for wood masts is quite different from aluminum masts. We also had a sail cut down to better fit the mizzen mast and Rob is working on installing a new antenna for the VHF radio.

Rob has also been busy fixing hinges, doors, building shelves for us and all his tools, building steps so Navi can come and go, custom making cutting boads that fit in the sink and stovetop, creating a heat metal shield for the stove, adding lights throughout, replacing the pump assembly for the toilet (head), improving water lines, and more. Together we re-sealed all the hatches and installed hatch holders to hold hatches open when we are at anchor/dock. I've also been busy cleaning every spot I can reach including ceilings and the interior of the hull. My other tasks have been around food, paperwork for purchasing/importing/documenting, cleaning bumpers and other surfaces, looking at charts, and finding ways to make it feel like home.

Rob sorting treasures

Another large chore was to sort through not only all the stuff left on the boat but also a full truckload (no exaggeration) of stuff from Bryce's garage. Lots of wood scraps, old pieces from past repairs, outdated electronics, and some treasures too like brass lighting fixtures, the "Gusher 25" manual pump, and assorted screws which have been amazingly helpful. It has taken weeks to figure out what to keep what to give away and what to pitch (let Rob tell you, it has not been an easy task). However, we are eternally grateful that Bryce was wiling to give us everything he had saved over the years.

Looking Ahead

Most of our work has been to get the boat safe for how we want to use it--living aboard and at anchor. We are hoping to actually set sail in 10-14 days and head north towards Desolation Sound. From there we'd turn south exploring the Gulf islands, the Sunshine Coast, the San Juan islands and any and all nooks and crannies all the way down to Washington. The plan is to spent the winter in Port Townsend where we have a reservation at a nice marina. Over the winter, once we identify any other improvements needed after spending the summer sailing, we will continue with our projects!