Aeolus at Reid Harbor
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In April 2008 I fulfilled a long held dream of becoming a boat owner, purchasing a 1985 Wauquiez Pretorian, a 35 foot sloop rigged fiberglass sailboat.
Under my father's guidance I've sailed off and on my whole life. Some of my fondest childhood memories are from our annual cruises in the San Juan Islands on the family Thunderbird #542, Thatuna. Dad sold Thatuna and bought a J/30, Diva, about five years ago, which we raced and cruised until he sold it in the summer of 2007. Being boatless simply wouldn't do, so I took matters into my own hands and started regularly checking the brokerage listings for a suitable family boat.
My Dad's priority had always been racing. He is currently the Commodore of Seattle's Corinthian Yacht Club which has the distinction of starting more races each year than any other club in the country (primarily due to their operating on both Lake Washington and Puget Sound). Diva was Corinthian's "Boat of the Year" for 2007, and was once ranked 8th in the top 25 racing boats in the Northwest by 48 North Magazine.
My priority is more skewed to cruising. We had a couple of selection criteria: Kim wanted a boat with an enclosed head where you can shut the doors, something Diva and Thatuna both lacked. I wanted to be able to stand up in the cabin so I wouldn't get a stiff neck and back while cooking and doing dishes, and I wanted a well-found boat that could handle more than I would be dished out in the Northwest for coastal cruising and have adequate performance characteristics.
The Pretorian fits all of these criteria, and is regarded as a very well built boat. It is a "go anywhere" boat...several have circumnavigated, and one local boat participated in the Vic-Maui race this year, coming in third.
The boat is named Aeolus, which is the greek god of the four winds. I felt this was a fine name, much better than the boat's original name of Phyllis Joann, and not wishing to incur the bad luck that befalls anyone who changes the name of a boat without following the correct ceremony, I kept the name as-is. I did change the hailing port from Bellingham to Seattle...a simple task of dropping by Prism Graphics on Lake Union.
It's a Race!
When I bought her, Aeolus was already the most-upgraded Pretorian out there. Some of the many upgrades and refittings by prior owners include:
- Custom aluminum radar arch/dinghy davit
- Swim step
- Dodger with solid windshield
- Re-powered in 2006 with a Volvo D1-30
- All thru-hulls replaced
- Deck re-painted
- Midship mooring cleats
- Converted from wheel to tiller
- All exterior teak replaced with StarBoard
- All galley tile replaced with Corian counters. New stainless double sink. New stove.
The price I paid reflected these many upgrades and the generally excellent condition in which I found her. The brokerage actually had three Pretorians for sale at the same time, so I was able to make comparisons and do the math on what the upgrades were worth. I am guessing that they biggest upgrades' value are about $20k for the repower, $10k for the arch/swim step, and $5k for the dodger/windshield. These alone more than accounted for the price difference, so I decided to go for it!
Projects I completed in 2008 include:
- New 15 gallon holding tank and all new sanitation hose
- Replaced seized deck fitting for port freshwater tank
- Corrected loose and rusted engine mount bolts
- Installed three blade Max Prop feathering propellor (nice work done in the water by Emerald City Diving)
- Replaced broken B&G wind instruments with TackTick wireless instruments
- Installed Garmin 3205 chartplotter and depth sounder
- Replaced navigation PC and connected to Garmin Chartplotter via NMEA 0183
- Connected Simrad TP-30 autopilot to Garmin Chartplotter via NMEA 0183
- Installed Xantrex XBM battery monitor
- Installed Xintex-Fireboy fresh water and holding tank sensors and monitors
2009 projects completed and underway:
- Haulout for bottom paint and replacement of B&G thru-hull depth sounder and paddle wheel with TackTick triducer
- Dropped the rudder, honed out Delrin bushings that were binding to restore free (and silent!) tiller movement
- Replace the two group 27 house batteries (185 amp hr total) with six Dyno 6 volt batteries (735 amp hrs).
- Rewire battery compartment with AWG 2 cabling, install fuses where missing, install echo-charger for charging the starter battery
- Replace faulty holding tank level sensor (yuck!)
- Get Simrad TP-30 autopilot serviced, or replace with under-deck autopilot (ouch!)
Sailing in 2008
This summer we worked in as many day sails as I could muster crew for. We also conducted the following overnight cruises:
- Wauquiez Rendezvous in Port Townsend with Greg Janssen and Pat Okell
- Family shakedown cruise to Bremerton
- Family cruise of the San Juan Islands
- Cousins cruise of the San Juan Islands with Elizabeth, brother in-law Troy Palena, and nieces Olivia and Sophia Palena
Relaxing at the dock
Summer 2009 Cruise
With the exception of a little run in with a rock in Howe Sound that resulted in a 6 week visit to the CSR boatyard, dropping the keel, removing the mast, and a big insurance claim, the summer cruise was a big success.
I was out for a month cruise in three sections:
- 10 days with Joe James, Joe Palena, and Roland Eisner (old farts crew) from Seattle to Vancouver, including a rip-roaring reach across the Straits of Georgia in 25 - 30 knots.
- 10 days with Kim and the girls, Vancouver to Howe Sound. Lots of time in Vancouver...Granville Island, Stanley Park, lots of fun
- 10 days with Greg & Katherine from Vancouver to Seattle. Swimming, hiking, and a run-in with a fog-enshrouded nuclear sub in the Straits of Juan de Fuca
Summer 2010 Cruise
Planning another month long cruise.
Looking for crew to join me to take the boat from Seattle to Vancouver, Aug 1 - 10 (approximately). Get in touch if you want to go! See the Summer 2009 crew recruiting page
for approximate details on what it is all about. Ignore the dates on that page, the rest of the info is pretty accurate.
Kim and the girls will embark in Vancouver on or around Aug 10.