“Notes from the Tiki Hut” – Sanderling in the Shop

by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

We all have a boat in mind that we’d love to have but know it’s completely out of our reach. One such boat for me was a Marshall Sanderling catboat. I first saw one in 1974 and have lusted for one ever since. So what’s the big deal; the things are only 18 feet long, how much could one cost? Well a Porsche is only 16 feet long, you get the picture. The Sanderling is also 8 1/2 feet wide and has a huge gaff sail. They still make these boats and the base model is only $42,000 dollars. Mine didn’t cost that much, I got it needing work from a good guy. It may be a while before I can get around to replacing the seats and cockpit floor; I have to finish the giant red “Queen Ann” first. Ain’t she just about the prettiest thing you ever saw.

Abigail shows what they really look like.

Work is progressing on the Queen. There is a floor underneath this floor that has to be totally waterproof and bullet proof to contain the water ballast. All of these hatches in the main cabin floor are required to get to storage and fittings of one kind or another. Some of them may end up closed up permanently when everything is in. This boat will be 35 feet long and 8 feet wide and I’m outfitting it with the assumption that we’ll really use it for some long trips. It’ll have twin outboards under the fantail, 50 gallons of gas, an Onan generator to power things like the roof mounted heat pump, a stand up shower, 100 gallons of fresh water and everything else a yacht needs.

The side decks are on and now I can get to making the cabin so you’ll see some real progress next time.

Howards “Big Ben” garvey is mostly finished and it turned out to be a beauty. It’s everything he wanted and then some. The Merc 60 will push it faster than you want to go. It’s stable at all speeds and will turn on a dime without side slipping even wide open . At about 25 when he spray and air pile up between the twin skegs and lift it up out of the water you know that you’re flying, just floating along on a cloud.

Helen and I took the dogs way up the Manatee river for a picnic. You can go a long way up this river if you’re in a canoe or Lurlyne. We don’t have rocks here in Florida so if you touch bottom it’s just sand. With her jack plate up and the motor tilted I can run in about 9 inches of water if I stay slow. We kept going till we found a sand bar we could step out on. It was a hard day of playing so Cessna and Tuck napped on the way home.

Speaking of boats you’re always wanted; how about this one. Texas Jim Rester got tired of the easy life on his ranch so to shake things up a little he got this. He says that they’ll use Gypsy Moon, I sure hope so; I told him that he could come see me, he can anchor out in the big river and I’ll pick him up in Lurlyne. I just remembered, Jim also had a Sanderling a while back. I’m seeing a pattern here: him a catboat, me a catboat; him a giant boat, me a giant boat, with a bunch of smaller boats in there somewhere. What happened to the old “down size and have more fun” rule. Maybe after you down size for a while you feel the need go to “upsize” for a while. You know what I mean.

The Crystal river guys had this one. It explains how something so small you can’t see it can bite so hard. Thanks guys.

Richard Honan and I were reminiscing about our first cars and how skinny we were. This is definitely not my first car, that was a piece of junk ’62 Ford Falcon. These two sweet rides, a ’72 Charger and a dune buggy, occurred during a brief period in my life when I had accumulated some money and wasn’t married yet. I was a free man and didn’t worry about anything but having fun. You’ve all been there; if you’re lucky you get a year or two before the world decides it’s time for you to be “responsible” and get on with your life. I don’t remember what happened to the buggy but my pride and joy, my free spirit once in a life time race car got traded for a riding lawn mower, how the mighty have fallen. I did get a great wife and she does have red hair so I suppose it was a fair trade. (I can hear the snickers.)

Here are some pictures of another job we did back when I worked for a living. These are before and after shots I took of a breakwater we built in St Petersburg, Fl just offshore of the War Vets Park where Bay Pines Medical center is. Robin and Laura did all the hard work, lining up designers, builders, surveyors and such while I took pictures and played in the water. There were lots of requirements to be met, one being to stay off of the existing sea grass, you can see that we did.

See, here I am hard at work making sure that it won’t fall down. We were a really tight group, I loved working with them for 12 years.

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