Sam Crocker Stone Horse, Belle Starr.
Each year is better than the last.
While she is hauled-out over the winter months, she gets a fresh coat of paint. When a boat is neglected or damaged, it takes a while to make her right again. I prefer to use the boat in the mean time. The first finish, after a few repairs had been made was a little rough. Rather than use fillers and hours more sanding, Belle Starr was launched.
Last year saw another make-over and the results were very satisfying. A well maintained boat sails best, don't you think?
This year's maintenance had a few setbacks but at last, Belle Starr has come to town for the season. New topside paint (same electric blue color), dazzling brightwork, a new asymmetrical spinnaker (can't wait) with some rudder repair and a new tiller.
The old rudder cheeks and tiller were made from Black Locust, a very springy and robust wood. The system still worked but was warped and weathered.
(you might remember, that boomkin was new three winters ago).
I had no Black Locust but did have a 5/4 plank of Purple Heart for the cheeks and just enough Teak for a new tiller. Some quick repairs to the rudder head and I now feel much more confident about Belle's helm.
The first time around, the cabin coamings and the mast were a pale shade of tan. From a distance the mast looked as though it were anodized aluminum. Over a period of two years, the creamy tan has been replaced by a darker tan. A subtle but pleasing difference.A venerable spruce stick should never be mistaken for an extrusion.
Last year saw a new genoa, which has basically replaced both jib and staysail, making Belle Starr a sloop rigged cutter. This year we'll be breaking in an asymmetrical spinnaker for those light-air Salish Sea summer months.
She needs and deserves a new mainsail. New standing rigging would not be a bad idea. While we're at it, the mast rakes too far aft.
Stay tuned for that, in years to come.....
All photos were taken today, between rain showers while anchored in Mystery Bay.