Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

Uncovering Chip Ahoy for the 2008 Season!
Saturday, April 12th

Click thumbnails for a larger picture


As late as last (Friday) evening the weather forecast called for continued rain, heavy through today and tapering off late tomorrow; the temperature only reaching perhaps the low-50s.  But this morning the forecast had abruptly changed:  The rain would stop and the sun would push through the clouds by mid-morning, the temperature would climb into the low-60s by early-afternoon, reaching into the 70s by Thursday, with no further rain in sight until at least week's end.

This year it's been a tricky call.  With all the teak trim removed last fall and refinished over the winter, once the tarps are taken off the cabin will be wide open until I can get it put back together.  I figure I'll need a good two days to reinstall the teak so I can get the boat closed up, two uninterrupted rain-free days.  It suddenly appeared that I had those near-perfect conditions about to be delivered unexpectedly.  It was a late start already by two weeks -- last year I uncovered Chip Ahoy on March 31; in 2005 it happened on March 30, mid-March in 2004.

The big day had finally arrived -- it was time to move, to pull Chip Ahoy out from alongside to in front of the house where my projects are done and uncover it.  Season '08 was upon me at last, it had arrived!  It's time to get to work.  (Apr. 12, 2008)

Barbara joined in to lend a hand and serve as the big event's official photographer.  Our first task was to untie all the lines holding the tarps secured over the boat for the winter.  I added the brown tarp last fall to cover an area of the blue tarp that showed signs of wearing out.

With all the tie-down lines unfastened and removed the annual big moment was at hand.

Ta-dah!  Chip Ahoy is revealed for Sailing Season 2008, exposed to sun and sky for the first time since November 9th, five long and plodding months ago!

I pulled the tarp out of the way, spread it out over the lawn, and inspected it for wear and damage.  It's gotten pretty thin in places, I found more new holes to patch with duck tape -- it might be time to consider buying a new one for next winter.  Chip Mate, the dinghy, is in the foreground still assuming its winter position, bow resting elevated on a sawhorse.  It too still needs work.  With me recovering from a broken shoulder, it never saw the water last season, or got the repairs it needs.

It sure is a big sucker of a tarp.  I recall it cost quite a bit a few years back, somewhere around $40.  Maybe patched up a bit more it'll make it through another winter . . . ?  Oh well, I'll worry about that in the fall.  Today I have better things on my mind!

The PVC pipe skeleton frame needs to be removed next.  The solid one-piece frame covering the cockpit came off "Carpe Diem" after I bought it from Wally Riddle.  He did a nice job of cementing together all the pieces into one solid unit.  Forward of that are six of the individual pipes with elbow ends cemented on that I've used for a few years.  The combination worked beautifully supporting the tarp throughout the winter.

The skeleton frame disassembled into its component parts and ready to be stored away until next fall.  Wally's creation leans against the covered picnic table and lawn furniture.  I suppose I can uncover them as well, unstack and set up the furniture for the summer ahead, if I ever find the time now.

As soon as I can recruit another able body the mast will come off next and be laid across its three sawhorses alongside in the yard.

A shot of Chip Ahoy uncovered, taken from my bedroom window above.

Close-up of the cockpit and cabin top with teak trim removed

I planned to get right to work installing the most critical teak trim, so I could slide the companionway hatch shut and drop in the cribboards to close up the cabin, but by early afternoon the temperature had dropped to chilly with the onshore easterly breeze, and the sky had turned gray, increasingly threatening.  It felt like the approach of rain -- but that couldn't be, according to the morning's weather forecast.  Regardless, it sure did feel like it, more so by the minute . . .

Close-up of split sliding hatch rail remnant
Split hatch rail

My plan was interrupted, the fine weather was deteriorating quickly.  I dug out the small pup tent tarp and covered the open cabin top with it, tying it off to the trailer -- and none too soon.  The unexpected showers arrived and quickly turned into a downpour accompanied by thunder and lightning that's lasted for hours and is ongoing still this evening.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day -- and today Chip Ahoy got uncovered and is accessible and waiting from now on!

Sailing Season '08 has officially begun!