Baby Steps…

Since it’s the middle of the winter in Southern Georgian Bay and I can’t do any new work to Tallulah at this time, how sad. I will use this time to fill you in on the work I have done over the past 3 years, as well as what I have learned about sailing so far. At the time of purchase my only sailing experience was on a small laser style sailboat at summer camp when I was a teenager.

It cost me $200 to have Tallulah trailered from where I purchased her in Port McNicoll to my Marina in Penetanguishene.

I started with the typical new boat tasks of a thorough cleaning, organizing and testing of systems. One of my first purchases for the boat to be able to test the electrical system was two brand new group 27 (or maybe they are 24s, can’t recall) batteries (approximately $124.99 each). Since the boat had no battery at the time of purchase I was extremely happy, that with the exception of a few light bulbs needing to be replaced, the electrical system worked great!

The next task was some minor work on the 1976 Evinrude 15hp that came on the boat. New plugs, cleaned fuel pump screen and a new coil to get her running a bit smoother (a bit smoother, not to be mistaken for smooth). My personal parts manager (also known as my dad) sourced out new support brackets for the lower end of the engine that were missing as well (you can see it missing in the 1st picture below). These are meant to help keep the engine from wobbling around when switching between forward and reverse. It wasn’t until almost a year later that I found out the upper mount on the engine was snapped and it would mean pulling the entire head out of the engine to access it…IMG_1972IMG_2428

Though I loved the nostalgia and authenticity of running the boat with a 1976 Evinrude it turned out to be very impractical. It was a constant battle to get her started and there were frequent dockings where she’d cut out while trying to idle in towards the dock or move slowly through the marina. This definitely kept things interesting and I never forgot the words of an older gentleman who helped me dock one day who said, “never come into the dock faster than your willing to hit it, cause you never know when your engine will give you trouble.” Wise words I could’ve used on my first docking (solo) attempt on Tallulah where I tried to dock her like a powerboat, came in with a bit of speed and put it into reverse to slow her down… BAD IDEA! I came in with some speed, shifted to reverse and then silence as the engine stalled, a tried a couple times to fire it back up as it was electric start but had no luck. So it ended with me ditching the tiller and running to the bow to catch the dock with both feet as I desperately tried to slow down 6000lbs of momentum from smashing the furler into the dock. Thankfully Tallulah and I made it through this experience unscathed but I learned the power of a sailboats momentum verses its minimal horsepower (or no horsepower if it stalls)! The fun and games of the old Evinrude did grow tiring after a while and I later replaced it with something more reliable (that will be another post).

So, sailing lesson # 1: Sailboats are heavy and carry a lot of momentum in relation to their small amount of horsepower, keep this in mind when docking! 🙂

4 thoughts on “Baby Steps…

  1. Gunter

    We either learn fast or painfully. I’m glad you belong to the first, category, Leslie. I have a story for you about a Tanser 22 that will make you laugh or shudder – maybe both – next time we meet. Enjoy the winter and your memories of summer. (should I add my name or does that happen automatically?) Gunter (just in case)


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