sailboat restoration, trailer sailer, small cruiser, trailerable sailboats, pocket boats, budget sailing, boat repair, older boats, classic fiberglass yachts, microcruisers, macgregor, sail boat restoration, small sail boat, boat cruising small sail, boat build small sail, Fix It And Sail, sailboat restoration book

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Why restore a trailerable sailboat?

There were lots of reasons that I took on this project- the biggest reason was money. Actually, that was the smallest reason, as in I had very little when I bought this sailboat. I had sold my Catalina 27 nearly ten years ago, and had been trying to get another boat ever since. Oh, sure... I'd like to have a big enough boat to go to the Bahamas, but the costs associated with a new (old) house, a then-five-year old son (he's eleven now... hard to believe sometimes) and given that we live in Tennessee, a larger boat just didn't make a lot of sense.

A trailerable boat, on the other hand, can be stored near the house while it gets fixed, and kept there over the winter months, making off-season improvements and upkeep easier. Our sailing time would be short anyway, so a boat that is small is an asset- it's quick to rig and launch, yet still big enough to spend the night on. Parts for it are relatively inexpensive, and overall it's a low-cost way to introduce people to the world of sailboat cruising.

My purpose for publishing this website (and my books, "Fix It And Sail" and "The Complete Trailer Sailor" from International Marine) is to prove that sailing doesn't have to be the pastime of the idle rich. With time and a little money, nearly any small sailboat can be restored to an enjoyable vessel by anyone with average skills and means. You'll need to do some learning, but the knowledge to restore a boat is readily available. You'll need a genuine desire to go sailing... enough to keep you going when the inevitable problems crop up. But it can be done, and it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. (Well, maybe an arm... throw in a few fingers if you want the fancy stuff.) And there's no sense of satisfaction like taking your first sail in a boat that you rescued.

A photodocumentary collection of the restoration process can be seen here. More photos were posted on the Magregor website by Bob White, but that site seems to be no more... a real shame. The complete collection of photos is too big to post here... currently 552MB of raw data... and is documented in the book, Fix It And Sail, which is available here and in bookstores (you might have to ask for it.)

A few other good links: The Pocket Cruising website has some good articles for smaller boat owners. MicroCruising in the Bahamas is lots of fun when the winter chill starts getting you down. Small Craft Advisor has an active forum, and I have some articles that are appearing/have appeared in DIY Boatowner and Good Old Boat magazine. The MacGregor/Venture Webring and the Boatbuilding Webring were kind enough to list my site. And of course, The Trailer Sailor site has tons of info on trailerable sailboats.The Montgomery Sailboats Owners Group maintains a fine site about the Lyle Hess-designed little cruisers, which I currently sail, and there's a separate MSOG photo site here. FurledSails.com features sailing interviews that you can download to an MP2 player for free. David Beede's SimplicityBoats has a bunch of good articles and resources if you 're interested in small boat design and building. Duckworks Magazine has a similar focus... small, owner-designed and built sailboats.


My latest drawing for Small Craft Advisor will be of the Weta trimaran. This drawing tuned out well, I think, since the Weta comes with semi-transparent laminated sails, these were fun to draw. Check out the latest issue, coming soon to a bookstore near you. If you like what you see, consider being a subscriber. you can see many of my drawings by clicking here.

Tiny Dancer is finally sitting again in her slip at Gold Point Marina. Newly rebuilt ports, repaired rudder, repainted hatchboards (that really need to be replaced) have been completed. Soft spots in my mahogony rudder were repaired. I removed some of the turning blocks that leads the halyards aft and filled the holes with epoxy... she's so small that I can almost reach the mast while standing in the companionway. The current project is recovering the cushions in the cabin, using an old singer sewing machine I picked up at a thrift store for... wait for it... ten bucks. Even though I have a heavy walking-foot machine, it was still the best ten bucks I ever spent on the boat. It's very hightweight and portable, it can sew light fabrics well (the big machine will often skip stitches in fabrics that are too light) and it's still strong enough to go through four or five layers of upholstery fabric.

These new cushions are a lot of work, but are badly needed. The old ones have held up remarkably well, but they're thirty years old now. The fabric... a groovy gold plaid-looking pattern... is disintegrating, and leaves little bits of fluff all over the boat. The new covers will be much nicer, and sleeping aboard will be a much more realistic proposition. So far, I'm spending about five hours per cushion, two are finished, and I three more to go.

I've finally added a paypal button for the Complete Trailer Sailor, which you can purchase by clicking here.

Thanks to all of you who have sent emails. If you're restoring a boat, good luck, and keep at it! I know, it seems endless at times, but I remember the advice I got from Lee Lafon when I was beginning audio operator for the six o'clock news at WCBD. "Only concentrate on two things... what you're doing now, and what you're doing next." Don't worry about the rest, it'll come in time, but if you try to worry about it all at once, you'll just confuse yourself into inaction. Worry about two things... forget the rest.

I'll be happy to help and advise those of you who have the "Really-want-to-go-sailing-but-don't-have-much-money-wonder-if-I-should-buy-that-old-boat" disease whenever I can. Feel free to contact me with your questions, sailboat-related or otherwise. Suggestions for improving this site are welcome.

Should you like your sailing in audio form, check out FurledSails.com, where you can listen to podcast inerviews related to all things sailing. You can hear discussions with Lin and Larry Pardey, Good Old Boat founders Karen Larson and Jerry Powlas, and if you're REALLY starving for entertainment, Brian Gilbert talking about fixing up old boats. Search for podcast #67, Fix It And Sail. And speaking of Good Old Boat, they have been active in the podcasting arena as well. They've produced two complete audio books, with many others available at their new website, AudioSeaStories.com

I still manage to get out to Gold Point Marina every once and a while to work on the boat. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by D-dock... I'm the smallest boat in the marina.

Again, please note my new email address... hammerguy at bellsouth dot net.Click here for a look at past news items and miscellaneous stuff.



Thanks for stopping by!


This website was designed and produced by Marine Media Publishing, 3404 Hartford Dr., Chattanooga, TN. The Email (for now, it may change) is hammerguy at bellsouth dot net (NOTE: Replace the "at" with the @ symbol when typing the address. This is an anti-spam measure designed to prevent automated web crawlers from stealing e-mail addresses from this site... thanks for your understanding.)

Last update was October 24, 2007

This site doesn't use any cookies, and we never divulge your name or any information to any source. In fact, I don't even know how to collect this information, and we're not exactly rotten with HTML programmers around here. So check back for updates and additional information as it becomes available. I'm hoping to add more server space soon, and we'll post additional photos and articles as they are completed. Thanks for stopping in, and close the hatch on your way out!

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