Table Transformation

As soon as we could call Thisldu our own, we came up with a long list of projects to take care of. One of those projects was to fix up the table in the settee berth. It was slightly too big—it jutted out into the walkway—and, well, we thought the overall aesthetic could be improved.

Like most of the boat projects so far, fixing the table was born and finished from Garrett's vision of what needed to be improved and what needed to be done to make those improvements. He is really, really good at visualizing things and making them come to life. I, unfortunately, am not.

Here are the before and after pictures (please excuse our mess!). The most obvious difference is the table top: the black has been replaced with a vintage map. Would you just look how it brightens up the space? The (maybe) less obvious difference is the size: Garrett cut down the table on the starboard side, and also built in hinges to allow the table to break down on the port side. (Look at me using all of those sailing terms!)

thisldu table DIY before
IMG_0430.JPG

Garrett put together the below diagram to help illustrate the upgrades. In it, you can really see how much the stable size was reduced, which allows us more room to move around the cabin.

thisldu boat table DIY diagram

Not only do we love the table revamp because it looks better and gives us more room inside of Thisldu, but also because Garrett got to work on the project with his father, David. Together, they cut down the table, made another side foldable, removed the black top, and adhered the vintage map to the wood. Projects are made all the better when you're working on a good team, don't you think? (Come back, David, we have more work for you!)

table diy
sailboat table DIY

After all of the resizing and recovering was done, Garrett mixed and applied an epoxy surface on top of the map. This part was *slightly* nerve-racking because the ratio of water:epoxy solution has to be just so, but Garrett did a good job of eyeballing the mixture and spreading it out across the map with the flat side of a credit card. Maybe one day we'll follow instructions closely and use the proper tools required. But until then...

sailboat table DIY

If you ask me, the table came out great. We're so happy with how it looks and how it fits into the tiny space of the cabin. And I have to admit that I'm pretty impressed with Garrett's handy work. Aren't you?

sailboat table DIY
In Tags

First 30 Days of Boat Ownership

We've officially been boat owners for one whole month! It's been a busy 30 days, full of paperwork, boat projects, and sailing. Here's a recap of what we've been up to, with the fun stuff (sailing!) up first. 

(PS - You can get an insider look at all of this by subscribing to our YouTube channel)

Sailing

thisldu sailing blog

Collectively, we've taken the boat out three times. For the sea trial, Garrett sailed her out of the Gate (which means he went under the Golden Gate Bridge toward open water) and she handled beautifully.

After that, we had some friends join us for our "maiden voyage," during which we motored over to Angel Island, grabbed lunch, and briefly raised our sails on the way back. The wind was low that weekend, so we didn't move much if not under power.

We traveled to Park City, Utah at the end of September and then opted out of sailing during the chaos of Fleet Week after that, which meant we took a 2-week sailing hiatus. A pretty big storm pushed through the San Francisco Bay during the following weekend, so we decided to wake up early on a Saturday to take advantage of the only storm-free window. We brought Thisldu in and out of the docks pretty easily and had a great cruise around the empty Bay on our very first double-handed trip together. A move in the right direction, I'd say!

thisldu sailing blog - san francisco storm

The days are already getting noticeably shorter, which means most of our sailing from here on out will take place on the weekends until spring. That being said, we hope to get out at least once every weekend. I'll be a salty sailor soon enough!

thisldu sailing blog

Boat Projects

The good news is that if we wanted to sail to Mexico tomorrow, we could. Well, the boat could. She's in great shape and pretty much ready to go wherever, whenever. That doesn't mean there aren't projects on projects on projects, though. I think I'm starting to get the sense that owning a boat means doing lots and lots of projects. There will always be something to work on. 

Here's what we've knocked out so far:

thisldu sailing blog
  • Cleaning and brightening the teak are two out of the three steps we took in restoring the wood to its natural state. Over time, the elements got to the teak, leaving it dirty and gray. We spent a couple of hours scrubbing the wood with teak cleaner, and then a couple more applying teak brightener. The third and final step is applying teak oil, which we'll get to shortly (we've been delayed by wet weather and diminishing daylight). 
  • Oiling the hatches, since they were stiff and difficult to open. A little bit of elbow grease and WD-40 made this project a quick one.
  • Measuring the cushions for recovering, since the current cushions have been on board since 1979. We're replacing the brown vinyl with a nice cream and blue cotton plaid. We picked out the fabric (thanks to those that voted!) and got one cushion done before our sewing machine broke. Now we're looking into other options (ahem, affordable labor) for getting the cushions recovered in a less headache-inducing way.
  • Organizing, organizing, and more organizing of all of the items left on the boat. This project was harder than it sounds because I'm still not totally up to snuff on the what's what when it comes to boats. A lot of things had collected over the years, and a lot of them looked important. Deciding what to keep and what to toss took a lot of careful consideration and me asking, "Garrett, what's this?"
  • Purchasing a roller furling unit was Garrett's top priority after buying the boat. He decided on a Harken furling unit, and we placed the order last week. We're hoping that it'll be installed and functional within the month!

Paperwork

Bored by the word "paperwork" already? Me, too. But, like any other big purchase, buying a boat came with lots and lots of paperwork, such as:

  • The boat survey which, lucky for us, was completed by the previous owners a few months prior. It was great to have the survey results on hand when considering the boat.
  • Insurance was one of the first things that Garrett took care of, as it was required by the yacht harbor where we're docked. After painstakingly looking for a company that would insure a boat manufactured in 1979, we landed with Safeco Insurance, and so far, so good.
  • Registering the boat in our name was one of my least favorite activities as it involved going to the DMV. I ended up bringing more paperwork than what was required, but in the end, had everything I needed. Except for handing over a sizable check, the registration process was easy enough.
  • Transferring the slip to our name was also a smooth process. Thankfully, we were able to take over the same slip at the yacht harbor where the last owners kept the boat. The harbor is easy to get to from both our apartment and work, and it's really nice. Great, clean facilities and proximity to a market, bar, and restaurant. It also looks over the city, and is a great place to catch the sunset and sunrise. Really, it can't be beat! Here's what we look out on:
thisldu sailing blog

After our first full month of sailing, writing checks, and busting out projects, I'm glad to report that we love being boat owners. Phew. 

To get a better look into the day-to-day of our adventures, follow us on Instagram (@svthisldu), like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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Newport, Rhode Island: International Yacht Restoration School

When in Newport, make it a point to visit the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS). The school is open to the public (there's a donation box near the entrance if you're so inclined) and offers an impressive walk-through, whether you're interested in boats or not. 

The building itself is beautiful, open-aired and filled with sunlight. The wooden boats that line the floor and hang from the ceiling are pristine, no matter what restoration stage they're in. You immediately appreciate the oft lost skill of working with one's hands, of building and restoring something with strength and elbow grease.

In my opinion, the best-kept secret of IYRS is the restoration of Coronet, a 131-foot schooner yacht that first launched in 1885. According to the IYRS site, she featured a "marble staircase, stained glass doors, mahogany paneled staterooms, and a piano in the main salon." The yacht served as an absolute representation of the Gilded Age until it was purchased in 1905 by the non-denominational religious organization The Kingdom to be used for missionary work. For a fuller read on the Coronet's colorful history, click here.

IYRS has been restoring the Coronet since 1995. It's been one of my favorite projects to follow since I was a girl, when we spent weekends and summers in Newport, to now, when I return to the island once a year. The progress has been slow, careful, and astounding. It's a superb thing to see. And, being the romantic that I am, I'm always given pause by the articles from the ship that line the walkway. Take a look at the piano, the chairs, the anchors, the shackles, the everything that made this schooner beautiful in her heyday.

The International Yacht Restoration School provides a unique and awe-inspiring glance into an entirely different world. Below are pictures from our last visit to the school, but they hardly do it justice. Go yourself and see the students work on their boats, the history buried in the bones of the Coronet, and the peaceful walkway along the water behind it all. The IYRS Newport campus is located at 449 Thames Street.

The International Yacht Restoration School, Newport, RI
The International Yacht Restoration School, Newport, RI
The International Yacht Restoration School, Newport, RI
The International Yacht Restoration School, Newport, RI
The Coronet Restoration at IYRS, Newport, RI
The Coronet Restoration at IYRS, Newport, RI
The Coronet Restoration at IYRS, Newport, RI
The Coronet Restoration at IYRS, Newport, RI
The Coronet Restoration at IYRS, Newport, RI
The Coronet Restoration at IYRS, Newport, RI
The Coronet Restoration at IYRS, Newport, RI
IYRS in Newport, Rhode Island
IYRS in Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island