By Stacy Smith - College Grove, Tennessee - USA

Good evening Chuck. Well, I think I've finished the interior woodwork on my father's Montgomery 17, my summer project. Fitting out the galley lockers and trim has taken me about 8 months to date, working evenings and weekends. I still have the interior painting, caulking and oiling the teak left, but I hope to have that complete for an October launch. The owners, Jerry and Gayle Smith will sail from Bluewater Bay in Niceville, FL. My goal was to make the boat as inviting below as possible and keep true to the interior style Lyle Hess incorporated in his Bristol Channel Cutters, one of which Dad and Mom circumnavigated in the 1980's.

This cruising layout of the 17 was by special request and involved the builder eliminating the V Berth and adding two bulkheads to form a galley and head section. The builder roughed in some of the fir MDO panels that joined the hull. Our project was complete the framing, finish out the surfaces, build a simple "bucket" type head, and add the teak trim. We used an off-white special order gloss laminate that matches the fiberglass color very well. The galley will feature a two burner gas stove, and stowage for cruising.

I only bought one piece of teak; some of the teak trim was cut from scraps I received from Cap'n Ron Thweatt, and the tongue and groove on the front of the head was "golden teak" from my kitchen floor project, planed thin to the natural wood. The trim around the oval opening took about a month to complete. I first glued a wide, thin strip in place around the opening, scarphing the ends together, then a second layer. Next, I added thin strips to the outside in the same fashion until I ended up with about 7 laminations. We will oil the teak using Rebecca Wittman's book, Brightwork as a reference.

This afternoon I sat in the quarterberth sipping a cup of coffee, surrounded by beautiful teak, bronze and the fair sheer lines curving around me. The beamy cabin seems larger than the 17ft hull would suggest. It was easy to imagine myself anchored in a quiet cove just out of the range of the mosquito, as the sky and water began its dance through all the colors of the spectrum. When I finished my coffee, I would go topside and watch for the elusive green flash as the sun hit the horizon, knowing it is only the complementary optical echo of the disappearing globe of light on my eye, but enjoying looking for it just the same. Later, after thanking God for the treasures of the day, I would slip into the quarterberth and sleep the sleep of the happy sailor, and my dreams would be much like my day.

Stacy D. Smith


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