A “Crappy” Job and A Big Surprise…

It seemed like the first summer flew by on Tallulah; I guess as they all do though I did get the opportunity to take her out quite a bit, in between the many small projects. I have to admit, I did a whole lot of motor sailing in that first summer, or mainly motor sailing with some brief stints of putting the sails up mixed in. It took some adjusting to realize that unlike my small 19 foot cuddy cabin, I wasn’t just boating to get somewhere. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved putting the throttle down and zipping out to Beckwith at 30 knots in 45 minutes, but when your moving at that speed your are really just focused on navigating past the other boats and markers. I had to readjust my mindset when I started heading out to various destinations on Tallulah. It took some getting used to, to realize I didn’t have to stand (to see a wide open view over the cabin top) in the middle of the cockpit with the tiller in hand, at attention, in the direct sun (as I had no bimini top) for a three and a half hour trip at 5.5 knots. And in the first summer as a, dare I say it “sailor” I did a lot of that! Then add the raising, and then inevitable lowering,  of the sails to this equation, while still trying to reach my destination as fast as possible to keep up with my power boat family, became a bit overwhelming at times. This caused me to question if I made the right decision to become a “blow boater” (as they had been referred to many times over the years of being a power boater).

That being said, I had many great weekends on the water none-the-less!

Along with the weekend getaways I continued to chip away at the to-do list I had for Tallulah. One issue I was having that I could’t seem to figure out was why my 6 gallon holding tank seemed to always be full. I knew when I purchased the boat that the 6 gallon tank, though it looked relatively new, would have to be replaced with something bigger. I really thought that it would get me through the first summer of weekend use since I had no intention of any longer trips. The unfortunate part about the tanks (waste and water) being located out of the way under that V-berth is that it is a real pain to access them and often got put off! Finally after a couple weekends of dealing with the constantly full tank I decided to pull all the cushions out of the V-berth to see what was going on during a pump out. As I heard the sound of air rushing through the head which usually signaled the tank was empty, I looked down to basically still see a full tank…What the heck? I then realized that the previous owner had connected the hoses upside down on the tank, pump-out was on the top and from the toilet in was on the bottom.  It was easy to see at this point why the tank literally was always full. So I decided if I was going to get involved in this messy job, I would replace the tank with a bigger one while I was at it. So, I bought a new 25 gallon tank, a box of gloves (lots of gloves!), some plywood, Sawzall blades, new hoses (mainly for the water tank that would be moving), waterproof varnish of some kind and got to work.


The old waste tank sat side-by-side with the matching 6 gallon water tank on the painted white platform in the picture to the left. After figuring out the biggest tank I could possibly squeeze into the V-berth compartment I decided I would move the water tank forward to get as much room as possible. So I built the new platform and coated it in several layers of varnish to keep it from becoming water logged and moldy from any moisture in the compartment. Moving the water tank also meant running new hoses, which seemed like no big deal until I had to squeeze myself into the compartment to feed and reconnect the extremely rigid and uncooperative hoses to the tank. This was actually significantly easier than when I had to do the same thing with the new giant (relative to the boat of course) holding tank in place, but I checked, checked and triple checked to make sure, in from toilet was on the top and out to the pump out was on the bottom!

And the finished product! Glamorous isn’t it 🙂 

Well the 6 gallon water tank looks more like a juice box now in comparison to the 25 gallon holding tank. At the time I thought for sure by the next summer I would be back in that V-berth compartment trying to squeeze in a larger water tank, but its never really been an issue. The head draws water directly from the lake and the sink only has a slow hand pump faucet anyway. We basically only use that water for dishes really, so the one time we ran out we just refilled the tank using a bucket when we were out in the open bay and the water seem plenty clean for washing dishes to me.

Well that was about it (at least that I can recall) for the notable jobs that I tackled in the first summer with the boat. With the weather turning cold and a feeling of accomplishment it was time to pull the boat out of the water for the winter and I thought I’d be in great shape to continue chipping away at jobs come spring.

Then Tallulah came out of the water looking like this…

Notice the giant flap of paint hanging off to expose a rather rusty keel beneath, and the to-do list grew exponentially that day…

Sailing lesson # 3- The to-do list never gets smaller, it is in a constant state of flux where high priority jobs can be easily replaced by those of higher priority!

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