Winter Sabre Projects #1

By Rich

Last fall we were looking forward to our January charter in the BVIs. This fall, with the cold about to steamroll us and the dark already here, I’m reminded that deferral of gratification is a hallmark of emotional intelligence. The last morning I woke up aboard Le Saberage some weeks ago, it took literally all of my self control not to turn right out of Lake Ogelton and start sailing for Florida instead of turning left for the boatyard. Alas, in my 40s I’m more mature than I was when I owned my first boat. Perhaps, with the Sabre in much better shape in the spring, I’ll see the virtue in my personal growth. But right now maturity feels like darkness, cold, and a huge To-Do list.

Still, there is progress and that’s good for morale. With Lisa’s help I got our new beast winterized – which is a much bigger accomplishment than it was with the J/29.

I’ve started some more substantive projects too. While winterizing the boat I elected to remove the water tanks to thoroughly clean them inside and out. During the removal I discovered that I am not pleased with the way they are secured against coming adrift and killing off-watch crew in the event of a severe knockdown, so I plan to reinforce part of the settee face before re installing them.



This evening I started to work on the next big winter project: of four interior cabin doors, only one will close and latch. I guess 25 year old boats have parts that swell and settle just like houses do. I started by removing the door from the salon to the aft head. Over the years it has either become too big for its space, its space has shrunk, or both. The door needs to be a few millimeters narrower.


I decided to remove some wood from the hinge edge of the door, and a router is the best woodworking tool I have for the job. So this evening I removed all of the door’s hardware and dug out a good work table. In the basement I found a piece of wood to clamp on as a guide for the router.


With everything measured carefully, I made a test cut or two, then retired to the living room for a scotch. This weekend I’ll shave off the excess teak so the door fits again, then sand it down and stain the newly exposed surface.


Since I don’t want any of our dear non-sailing readers think this hobby is all cocktail hours at sunset, I’ll document as many of my winter projects as I can on these pages. There are indeed plenty of cocktails at sunset when one owns a sailboat. But the other side of that coin is a lot of hard work on the boat or hard work and long hours at a desk so you can write big checks to those who work hard on the boat. Most often it’s some combination of both.

Ugh. Winter.


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