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Shipwrecked: Not So Fast

When we bought Dirigo, we knew she had some weather damage--she was an old wooden boat after all. We had been willing to take that on and now we were fired up to get her ready for sailing. Electrical upgrades, new canvas, additional instruments-- we had all her upgrades worked out.


We scheduled Dirigo to be pulled from the water in Port Townsend, Washington--an absolute wooden boat mecca. We were going to get a few areas on the bow above the water worked on and fresh bottom paint on the rest.


Meantime, we would be installing the new components we bought to add to her legendary seaworthiness. We stayed in short term home rentals a short distance from the yard while the pros assessed the extent of repairs.


A wooden sailboat hanging in a mobile crane lift at a boat yard

FULL STOP.


As it turned out, in stripping the paint off the areas in question, we found old, poorly done repairs hidden under layers and layers of paint. It was the kind of damage that finds its way into the important parts that makes a wooden boat strong.


We had told the senior shipwright our plans and he basically laid awake at night thinking about the tragedy of sending us out into the Big Blue with a boat that wasn't capable of making it.


Yes, Dirigo was so far gone, she could not be a blue water boat again without a significant rebuild. Dirigo's neighbor in the boatyard had just finished her fourth year under repair along with a six-figured invoice and she still wasn't quite ready to splash.


Bruce and I gave ourselves a few days to take it all in and decide what to do. We both waited this much of our lives for the dream to happen, were we willing to put it off some more?


We had a decision to make.

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