Letters from Mike – It’s Raining, Buying and Selling

by Michael Beebe – Rockport, Texas – USA

It’s Raining

It’s raining! It’s been raining for a couple hours now, sometimes softly, then hard, as now. It’s also 3:06 am. On the boat it would be 0300:06.

Did I close the fore hatch on the Silhouette I’d been working on yesterday? Boy, it’s coming down hard. Could be getting everything wet, causing more work. Ruining work. So out I go. More likely, it’s out we go.

Can’t be having no stoppable messes aboard, especially with the precious darling sitting so close just out back in the yard. Should we wait for it to let up? Best not. We’ve got to take care of that girl, else how would we expect her to take care of us out there, on the water in similar conditions? Wet, cold, standing watch in the pouring stuff. In the pouring stuff where there be no retreating until safe haven is made.

Best to go now, while all it takes is a short walk. Setting the mind at ease now will help in some unknown way only a sailor would understand, doing so will contribute to ease of mind when we’re actually out there in the discomfort of a wet and stormy night. I don’t understand how the correlation ties together but it does.

These wet ones are every bit a part of the glorious days of sailing. The diamonds sparkling across the waters as a setting sun says good night. Of a diving whale fifty yards off the starboard rail shared only with a passing sport fisher. Of egrets dancing and so many rays migrating their bouncing off the bottom and sides of the boat in the shallows.

Aw! What’s a little rain at three in the morning. Two days ago it would have been four in the morning and the office would be open in an hour. As it is, I have to wait two hours. The body hasn’t realized the time change yet, so it get up as usual.

Speaking of the office. Had a good laugh with my Linda just yesterday morning. Something to do with all across this country men gather in coffee shops of various demur to solve the world’s problems. Truth be known, ‘can’t sleep’ is more of a get together reason than most of them would admit. This is so and is evident in that so few actually get together away from the ‘can’t sleep’ office. Be it the local Mac Donald’s or Bea’s Cafe. Doesn’t matter. That’s ok, beats wakening the wife, that won’t set well at all.

So closing hatches in early morning rains in the back yards across the land is as much a part of good seamanship as standing watch in the wet stuff.

One thing though, if the memory worked a little better, these early morning walks in pouring rain wouldn’t be necessary. The hatch was already closed.

Michael Beebe


Buying and Selling

Mostly selling. Sold two sailboats this week. Coastal cruisers, Texas 200 capable type sailboats. Shallow draft, thin water wonders. The first to sell was a MacGregor 21′, most would not equate this production mass produced thing of yesteryear to be of any desire what-so-ever. A true shallow water sailer the MacGregor really is. With the centerboard up she’ll float in just 13″ of water. Beach able is another excellent quality. Sailing performance will get one there and back. Some will squawk at that I’m sure.

Another is cheap. These baby’s are getting to be a dime a dozen. The inside is extremely tight, don’t be kidding yourself thinking otherwise. Treated as storage, the inside will carry a months supply of gear, food and water.

With filler plywood in the foot-well of the cockpit, and a simple boom tent, it becomes a huge double berth. We’re not crossing oceans, just coastal cruising. For that the price is more than right. Oh, one can spend a whole lot more, build one if desired, but the scenery is the same, the sunsets look just as pretty from a $600 boat as from one costing 4 or 5 thousand. Your choice. The other to go was the Fox. Oh, the beloved Fox. The little jewel that loved dancing and skipping across the waters. Getting up on planes and flying in the breezy stuff. It was time to go, the relationship hadn’t soured, it was just time. The young couple she’s going home with are in their late twenty’s or maybe a bit more. They’re not sailors, not yet anyway. They’ve got a hankering to learn, a place to store the boat, and that desire to learn, a desire to go for it, a desire that’s good to have.

We’ll be going out for a Harbor sail later on. A sail, as they say, to show them the ropes. It’ll be all verbal on my part, him doing the mast raising, sail bending. It’ll stick better that way. By no means will competency be imparted in a three hour cruise, but dropping the main and keeping the anchor always free and ready to deploy will be high on the list. So later today the Fox is off. A few weeks back the Montgomery 17′ went north, this leaves the Paradox. Yep, she’s next to go, unless something else goes first. One never knows, at least I don’t, that, is for sure. With what’s rolling around in this head of mine it’s hard to say what direction I’ll be headed. Already this morning I’ve gone from houseboat to a stretched Paradox. That stretched Paradox has been bouncing between the ears for quite some time. Pulled to 16’6″ with a aft cockpit, a double berth, and floating in a mere 12″ of the morning dew here on the Texas coast she’s a hard design to beat.

She’ll travel coasts north and south, cross oceans if one has the where-with-all to do so. I’m sure I don’t, would be nice though knowing if push came to shove, she could push right back. So maybe, just maybe. I’m sure I could have it done in time for the next Texas 200. Then, maybe not. The Lightning will soon be up and sailing. She’ll do most everything the longer Paradox will do, except cross large bodies of water with a single bound.

The Lightning will actually float in less water than both Paradox’s. With leeboards, the centerboard and centerboard trunk are already AWOL. Pulled out, cut out and set aside. We’ll soon be learning if I’ve got a nineteen foot fishing skiff or a fun shallow water sailer. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. When I did this same type of thing to the Fox, only one fellow on the net was interested to see what I was up too. If one has an inclination to attempt such desecration, as its referred to by most, and can’t proceed alone, I’d say it would probably be better to leave well enough alone. As I’ve said in the past, I’m not kidding myself into thinking I’m improving a far more qualified design than I could ever come up with, no thats not it at all. Personalize might be a better term. With the Fox, when I had it rigged as a balanced Lug, did she sail better to weather? No! Did she still plane? Sometimes. Was she fast to launch and go? Very much so.

Will the Lightning do all these things? I very much hope so.


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