Tuesday, May 5, 2015


We are in the third year of sailing the 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 Over a period of two years, the creamy tan has been replaced by a darker tan.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.


Brandon Ford said...

She looks good. What's the cruising plan for this year?

EyeInHand said...

Looking mighty fine, Mr. D.

doryman said...

Thank you, friends. For the moment, it simply feels good to be on the water.
Brandon, I think my cruising plans to some extent depend on yours. We should put our heads together.

Alden Smith said...

Hi from New Zealand.

Pardon my ignorance - but is this an S S Crocker design, she looks a bit like a 'Stone Horse'. Is she hard chine?

Whatever, she looks great!!

doryman said...

Yes, Belle Starr is a Sam Crocker classic, built of plywood in 1982.
Her story can be found here:


Sorry I left that link out of the article.
Thanks for visiting the Doryman community!

eebe4 said...

I see you have a Fatsco stove in Belle. Can you comment on its use? Use coal? How often do you stoke it? How long will it run once stoked.
Been looking for a dry, efficient and easy heater to use in a small boat. Appreciate the input-

doryman said...

I use wood scraps from my shop, but the stove is rated for coal. I find coal to be messy on a boat. This is Fatsco's smallest version so it takes very small pieces which need to be replenished often. It will warm the boat quickly and most importantly here in the Pacific NorthWet, drive out condensation.
The Fatsco stoves are well made and less expensive than other options, too.

eebe4 said...

Thanks D. I've recently acquired a Rozinante and I'd like to reconfigure the layout to Francis' ideal so I can stretch the season. Perhaps it is just a romantic notion in wanting to have what I've read and re-read for years. Now "Luna" has 2 cabinets port and starboard. I'll post info in a few weeks after she hits the water here:



doryman said...

My favorite design by my favorite designer. You lucky dog.