News from # 59

Last year I decided to put SS59 in the water after a one year break. The southern part of Narragansett Bay is not exactly SS friendly, but that is where I live so for me it is do or die. Fortunately the good folks at Conanicut Marina in Jamestown , RI are kind enough to let me put SS59 [for free] in a spot that no one else wants to use. The reason is that while it is protected [by local standards], it is not so great because it goes dry at low tide.

I don't mind the boat sitting on the mud , but there are also rocks. Add to that the situation where a strong easterly wind comes up [happens all of the time] and you have a situation where waves come in to bounce the boat with no water underneath. This happened several times last year. I HATE it!

SS59 is a Hallock boat built in 1924, and she is relatively rugged, but I am always vigilant when she is floating in these treacherous waters. When I do find time to sail, I must mind the tide. It is possible to sail at full velocity and not be able to keep pace with the current. More than once, I have had to "self rescue" by grabbing a mooring ball or sailing into a rocky shoreline where I had to drag the boat "up tide" to safety. Long Island sailors- count your blessings!

Last year, I undertook a major boat project that kept me in the hot sun, on land, and away from the exciting activities [however SS unfriendly they may be] in and around Newport Harbor. In late August, I dropped everything, and gave chase to SS59. After 10 days, she looked like this:

SS59 has been thoroughly gone over, and preserved, but one thing that I compromised on was the mast base. Two of the four original wrought iron through bolts were clearly rotted, so I "sistered" them with Sikaflex and some long stainless steel screws. That was back in the early 1990's and everything was fine. Clearly fine. :-)

This past season, I got exactly 3 one hour sailing sessions [to go up against something like 25 hours of preparation work] and each of the sessions was in more wind than I like. An unstayed mast puts a "buttload" of pressure on various and sundry places, and I find too much wind to be nerve wracking. Nevertheless, all went well, even for the final session with wife and youngest daughter when we only sailed over to the boat ramp to get out of the way of an approaching late November storm.

When I got the boat back to safety at home, I did the usual lever lift off the trailer using saw horses and planks [with auto batteries as counterweights]. When I went to flip the boat I did the usual 2"x4" in the mast hole and into the mast base. I had the boat vertical on her rail[ working alone BTW] .

When I went to slip the 2"x 4" out of the way so that I could turn her upside down, the mast base came away from the frames- stuck to the 2' x 4" and NOT attached to the boat!

If that connection had let go while sailing the whole deck would have exploded all over the place and I would be telling a whole different story.

Best wishes for a great season! SS59 will sit this one out while I finish last year's project, and make a new mast base that won't rip away from the frames :-)
Good wind, and happy sailing in your beautiful magic boats.

-Will Tuthill. Jamestown, RI