Some of you may know that Kyle and I own a 35ft. Ben Bow Cutter sailboat. We purchased her in the summer of 2014 and sailed her from Urbana, Virginia down to St. Petersburg, Florida. She is a unique boat with an even more unique story behind her! The story is worth sharing, but it is a long one so I will save that for another post on its own.
Our boat’s name is Sirocco which was given to her by the couple that built her in the late 70’s (who happen to live in Sarasota, FL and we met by complete coincidence, but that’s another story). She is a professionally home built William Atkin design (his personal cruising boat) and as far as we know, the only one ever made in fiberglass. She is a heavy displacement full keel design derived from the infamous “Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters”. Sirocco’s heavy weight means she is not fast in her maneuvers and will not point/sail into the wind like any of the modern boats do. But in cruising you spend the majority of your time at anchor and when at sea, you try very hard not to sail into the wind. The idea is to use nature to your advantage. Our priorities are safety and comfort, with a little affordability sprinkled on top.
Sirocco Facts: she carries 25 gallons of fuel (worth 50+ hours/300nm+ of motoring), 80 gallons of fresh water, displaces 8.5 tons, has 13 points of ventilation in the cabin (tropics!), and will have 5 fans.
Meet pre-refit Sirocco:
But as I mentioned, she was finished in 1981 which makes her almost 40 years old. She has been very well cared for and loved by her previous owners and Kyle and I have enjoyed thousands of sailing miles with her ourselves. But now that we have big plans with her, it is time for a refit, which is what we are doing full time right now. It is a major project, and we are about half-way done! Here are some of the major projects we are doing on the boat as well as pictures from the refit thus far:
-Custom made cockpit benches
-New deck paint
-New standing rigging
-Engine pull and makeover
-Deep clean and paint of every crevice of the boat (lockers, bilges, etc)
-Removal of tradition head system and replaced with composting head (toilet is called a head on boats)
-Faring of all thru hulls and hull rudder joint
-New wind vane
-Top side paint
-Copper bottom paint
-Some new additions down below- shelving, storage, colorful paint, etc
-Repairs of oven and new sink and pumps in galley
-Modernizing of wiring through the entire boat to ABYC standards
-Additional water tanks and fuel storage
-Repair of all hatches
-An overall makeover in every area of the boat to make her custom to our wants/needs as well as look like new 🙂
A random array of photos from the refit over the past couple months. In the last photos we have removed her bow sprit for repair and are getting ready to paint the deck next weekend:
We will be finished with the refit by August of this year. And in October of this year, we will be sailing away, but this time our travel adventures are going to last a lot longer. For the last two years we have both been working extreme hours whether at a job to make money, or on the boat to fix her up. We have the next few years tentatively planned out and from a financial stand point should be able to sustain our travels for 2 + years without having to work. We both plan to work along the way- me writing and Kyle doing online design projects and finding boat/repair work- but we are finding some real freedom in the idea that we have saved up enough money to live comfortably while traveling for 2 years. Working 80+ hours a week has been insane, and definitely not sustainable long term, but when we cast off in October I know every minute will have been worth it 🙂
Stay tuned for my next post which covers our tentative upcoming plans in detail. After that post I will be caught up, and will get back on track with posting somewhat regular updates of the progress of Sirocco’s refit.