Starting work…

While I had the chance to do a thorough inspection before purchasing Spirit of Aurora, issues and projects will always crop up on an almost 40 year old wooden boat. Luckily, to date, knock on wood, none have been too surprising.

The inside of the beautiful cold molded WRC hull, before painting, varnish, etc. Deck delamination and water damage is visible at the top of the picture. 

Our Carol is cold molded out of 3 layers of Western red cedar with Mahogany sheer-strake that has always been finished bright. The stems are both clear VG douglas fir, the deck is douglas fir plywood sheathed in fiberglass, and the deck beams are also Douglas fir. The keel also appears to be laminated Douglas fir, and the interior is marine ply painted white with mahogany trim.

The issues that we knew about were:

  • soft spots in the cockpit
  • original 1982 stainless rigging with corrosion and broken strands
  • delamination in areas of the deck
  • very rough spots on the hull, either the result of poorly done repairs or painting / delamination
  • water damage throughout the interior
  • all wood in need to re-finishing
  • portlights badly scratched and leaking
  • thru-hulls in need of replacing
  • wiring badly corroded
  • Outboard motor in questionable condition
  • sailplan in need of updates, in particular a yankee (100% high cut jib).
  • Bulkheads detached from the hull in places
  • Leaking water tank
  • All running rigging in need of updates

And I’m sure that there were more. She was definitely sail-able when we got her. She only had a huge genoa and a spinnaker, along with a fairly rough but serviceable main. Structurally though, she appeared entirely sound with no rot to the hull, just to areas of the deck and extensive areas of the cockpit.

So I got to work, with lots of help from family and friends.

First, sand and grind off many years of non-skid deck paint, including some aweful rubber stuff, to get back to fiberglass and epoxy. In places with delaminaton or rot, I just kept going until I got to something solid and then got it dry and saturated with epoxy before building back up with layers of epoxy filler and glass. 

The deck once fully sanded clean. 

The cockpit needed some more major surgery. This is about half way through chasing the rot. It’s now all been replaced with Meranti hydrotek plywood, glassed, and faired smooth. Once painted, you wouldn’t know it wasn’t original unless you opened a hatch. 

And sanding, sanding, sanding and more sanding. Enough that my sanding vaccum went belly up mid project and had to be temporarily replaced while it got fixed.  I think that I’ve filled about a dozen vaccum bags with sanding dust. The entire hull has been sanded smooth, epoxied wherever there is exposed wood, and then faired with epoxy fairing compound. The interior got entirely sanded to prep for new white cabin coat paint (thanks mom), the deck and cockpit are entirely sanded down to fiberglass and re-faired, and the woodwork is in the midst of being sanded. Unfortunately it’s not very inspiring work, so I don’t have many pictures. More in the next update.



Origin Story

Well, there used to be a blog. Then we had some tech issues, sold the boat, and voila, a new blog.

Below is a picture of the boat that was featured in the last blog:

Aquavit was a beautiful nordic Folkboat that we found in Astoria, OR in the fall of 2015. 2.5 years later, she had lots of bits and pieces replaced, we had honeymooned on her, and another opportunity came up and she moved on to another home.

Enter the Carol, a 24’4″ Chuck Paine designed cruising boat. I found her completely by chance on a late-night Craigslist or 48 North wooden boat searching spree, breaking up the mundane boredom of real life. I had no immediate plans for another boat, but these boats are exceptionally rare, the price was (barely) within a realm I could think about, and she’s almost a sister ship to Lissome, a Chuck Paine Frances (rumor has it that he names a lot of his plans after ex-girlfriends) that my parents sailed all over the place in the 80s, including to New Zealand and Australia. I grew up on that boat, which is a 1.5′ longer big sister to the Carol, and have always had a love for adorable, double-ended small cruising boats.

You can learn a whole lot more about the Carol on Chuck Paine’s website:

Our boat was built on Lasqueti Island in British Columbia and completed in 1982. There is another Carol floating around with similar details, also built in BC, that we expect may be a sister from the same builder.

The builder owned her until about 2013, when she was bought by a very nice couple on Lopez Island in the San Juans. She was kept in Fisherman Bay and daysailed some during the summer, and dry stored during the winter. She was named Spirit of Aurora, and looked like this when I first went up to see her:

My parents were nice enough to go up with an envelope of cash, did an out of water inspection, sealed the deal, and then spent a week sailing around the San Juans. This was followed by some excitement with a corroded thru-hull, best recounted over a beer.

As the first snows fell in 2018, my dad and I loaded up a large trailer with a welded cradle and headed up to rescue the boat from the yard. In the meantime, our forest business had a renter move out, opening up a barn where I could work on her, quite the upgrade from Aquavit’s jurry-rigged hoop house.

Spririt of Aurora being lifted in the snowy yard on Lopez. The lead in her keel, 47% of her total displacement, was making me very nervous with how far back the travel lift straps were. 

Loaded up and almost ready to go, very, very cold. 

And backing into the barn after the ferry ride and 4 hour drive from Anacortez south to Timber. What a relief to make it safe and sound. The only casualty of the drive was a fore-hatch that came off somewhere along the way (yikes).

Next up, the to-do list.