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June 2006
Dear Friends:

I have often heard tales of the horrors of home rebuilds, Larry and I have often been the folks on the other side of boat rebuilds, but until we decided to bite the bullet and fix up the 40 year old beach cottage that is our home base, I didn't have sufficient sympathy for the victims.

Here are the first pics of our rebuild (partially finished, have gone sailing to take a break before starting the next part of the rebuild). - this is Larry and I proudly displaying the new front room wall and the Col Wild Trophy we took home from the International Classics regatta as half of the Bailey Design racing team.

The day after sailing Thelma home from the big city and a very satisfying regatta, Tim Barnes, a builder who lives just across the cove, arrived at 07:30 and began literally tearing the walls out of my office. Larry began milling timber, I began moving my office into the downstairs play room, and the phone calls started. I was officially designated "The Contractor". That meant I was responsible for anything that didn't work right, any materials that didn't arrive on time and any coffee break that was delayed. At the same time, as you can guess, work on the Care and feeding had to be kept up, along with keeping food on the table etc. As we live on an island with no shops, all supplies have to be purchased at a village on the mainland which means buzzing over in our 14 foot run-about, driving 8 kilometers to the shops and, if it was a large load, towing our barge (which can carry 5 tonnes of materials) from the island to the mainland, arranging for everything to be delivered to the jetty, then, in most cases, hand-loading each piece of timber, each bale of insulation, onto the barge.

Now I have my own special workspace, the Elf Office. Larry named it and now, if I tic him off he can tell me to Elf off.

Larry did not have any less of a load, only six weeks after getting his hip rebuilt, he was milling materials, moving materials, working alongside Tim, building doors, fitting intricate pieces of wood into the original pine floors to repair them so we could put a clear shiny finish on the lovely pine timber we found under the old wool carpets. Along with the barge work and of course occasional diversions to help folks who had to bring their boats into our little repair yard to use the tidal grid, he often put in 15 hour days.

Since half of the upstairs of the house was being removed for rebuilding, and since we were putting tongue and groove cedar on the walls and ceiling, we had to learn to enjoy sawdust; in our food, our clothes and eventually even in our bed. As it was summer, with particularly good weather this year it was okay to have walls missing for days at a time. And, though it sounds like a bad time, we actually had a lot of fun, making decision after decision as the three of us worked together, coming to appreciate Tim's skill, watching as Larry and Tim initiating each other into the different methods used by boat builders and House builders. To lighten it all, we had just the right number of drop in visitors to encourage us with the project.


Not easy to show you the whole bathroom, but from the entrance you can get a taste of the whole, those are the double sinks - not sure why, in a boat, Larry and I can find ways to do our morning ablutions without getting into each others way, but in a house we need separate sinks to get the same job done.

Siggy and Carol Baardsen who were caught in the Queens Birthday storm off New Zealand several years ago, came to visit. (They are the folks who contributed their story and lessons they learned for the last section of Storm Tactics handbook). They have now sailed their Rhodes 40 around the world and are based in the California Delta. Now, like many returned cruisers, they are having some time with family and trying to decide how to get out cruising again, should they refit their current boat, look for a different one…

On the one really raining weekend, we had a grand lay in, then folks from three New Zealand cruising boats came in to wile the day away. They included Des Townsend, a 72 year old yacht designer who regaled us with wonderful stories of the history of New Zealand yachting, America's cup gossip. No one seemed to notice the missing walls, the piles of timber in the front room, the sawdust and general disorder as the talk of boats and things carried on through the afternoon and long into the evening. The next day the real chaos began, with a friend from the far part of the island deciding he had time to help Larry frame up a new office for me, just 40 feet from the house. "I know you will settle down and write a new book if you have a proper place to do it," George said. What he didn't warn me was, with two building projects going at once, I would also be a candidate for a nervous breakdown. But some how, it all did come together and, after six weeks, with less than 24 hours to go before the big three day regatta that was scheduled to take place at our home, we cleaned up to find I had not only a new bathroom, new bedroom but a lovely new office and guest room.

And here is Larry's Lair, the boat shop. It's nice and tidy, but often during the rebuild it was two feet deep in cedar shavings. The shop only seems to get this clean when we are planning a party or regatta.

Not much sailing talk in this newsletter, but we did get out on Thelma for a few hours each week, and Larry did manage to get her scrubbed and ready the regatta weekend that turned out to be a grand finale to what was a grand southern hemisphere summer.

May you have the wind on the beam more often than on the nose,

Lin and Larry

P.S. If you are near the Puget Sound or Seattle, we will be doing two talks in June. Click here for details.

 

 







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