Restoration project began in earnest today. Mast has been unstepped and boat placed on jacks in the boatyard. Tradesmen will next remove all hardware & fittings in preparation for resurfacing the deck & topsides.


I can see her now with shiny cream-colored gel coat, burgundy boot & cove stripes and new green bottom paint. The planned non-skid will be an open weave glass mat embedded into the deck gel coat and glassed over with resin (very sharp looking and easy on the knees).



Estrellita Restoration

Estrellita survived her second hurricane while moored at Wayfarer’s Cove Marina near Oriental, NC.

By choice, my ‘perfect’ little sailing vessel has morphed into a major project.

With 12 to 18 months to go before my retirement, I have opted to have my 40-year old Vega professionally restored to her original factory condition and then some. She should be a gem when complete even if her owner is a bit less than gem condition.

All quotes are in and I could likely build a new vessel for what this restoration will cost but this is the boat I have married. Work is scheduled to begin this month by Dawson Creek Boatworks  (http://www.dawsoncreekboatworks.com ) near Oriental, NC. The good news is that annual maintenance should be a minimum for the next five years.

The hull is sound, the sails are like new and the Volvo Penta has less than 50 hours but otherwise think starting from a bare hull.

Work to include:

  • Resurface deck & cabin top (gelcoat & non-skid)
  • Resurface top sides (gelcoat & boot stripe)
  • Replace windows (custom with bronze glass & aluminum frames)
  • Rebuild forward hatch
  • Fabricate propane locker in Stb. Cockpit locker
  • Fabricate deck locker behind aft coming
  • Fabricate battery boxes (4 100-AH AGM batteries)
  • Install solar panels on cabin top
  • New AC & DC electrical panel (aft of galley sink)
  • All navigation & house lighting replaced with LED fixtures
  • Complete electrical system rewire
  • New standing rigging
  • New halyards
  • New Rocna primary anchor & 60-feet chain rode
  • Rebuild companion way
  • Replace marine head with dry composting head
  • Replace hull & cabin insulation
  • Replace bulkheads & trim with new
  • Replace headliner

Stay tuned for progress.

Hurricane Irene

Estrellita survived Irene without as much as a scratch. No more than a tea cup of rainwater found its way into the cabin, mainly through the forward hatch and around the mast.

Sustained winds at Wayfarer’s Cove were reported to be 60 to 70 knots.  The storm surge was reported to be 12-foot.  Irene’s eye passed within 25 NM to the east of the marina. I spent a couple of hours at the boat on Sunday morning hosing loose debris from the deck, clearing one cockpit drain that had filled with debris and checking mooring lines. As a bonus, I found my nearby 5 x 10 rented storage facility with spare parts, sails and cushions dry as a bone.

From what I could see, no boats in the marina or in the nearby boatyard suffered more than minor damage. Damage appeared to be limited to dodgers, bimini tops and wind vanes. There was minor damage to a few of the fixed wooden piers and the boardwalk. One of my bowlines tied to a cleat on the boardwalk lifted half the 2 x 8 plank from the stringer.  Some kind soul must have removed my line because I found it on the fore deck the morning after.




Wayfarer’s Cove Marina

This past week I completed two of three initial tasks, an inventory and some housekeeping, on my new acquisition. The third, to do a bit of sailing, did not materialize due in part to the challenges encountered performing the first two actions not the least of which was the volume of spare parts, old sails, canvass covers, paint cans, cleaners, solvents, worthless lines, and an assortment of PVC pipe. Much went into the nearest dumpster but anything of potential value was moved to a 5×10 rented storage facility.

Wayfarer’s Cove is a laid back little mom & pop marina off the Neuse River between Oriental and New Bern, NC. There are 150 slips with fixed docks and a full service boat yard with a 60 ton travel lift. The marina and narrow dog-legged channel from the river are lined with mixed hardwood and pine forest typical of Carolina coastal plains.
One of the challenges was how to have my morning coffee with no cook stove aboard. The nearest available coffee was 12 miles distant. I found that I could brew coffee in a French press set in the sun for several hours and then decant it into 16 oz. water bottles stored in the ice box. It’s not very tasty when tepid but with a little half and half makes excellent ice coffee.

As my boat is a nine hour drive from my home in Western NC it is unlikely that that I will make another trip to the coast before my retirement in December this year. I left a long list of maintenance, repair and enhancement actions with the boat yard anticipating that I can have them perform some of the work before my next visit.