Finding Thimble

  • Post by Ken Hebb
  • Jan 01, 0001

A tale of naïve optimism.

I have long planned to “retire” on a sailboat. Not dreamed, planned, it was going to happen. But I didn’t really have a a specific vision for it. So I guess it was a dream.

In the summer of 2017, the year following the closure of a couple of businesses and a string of difficult life events, Julie and I decided that we would get a “smaller” boat to learn to sail on and get into the lifestyle. It was so great! We were so excited.

This was about the same time that we were taking my daughter Lexi all over the northeast looking at colleges. I especially liked going to the places on the coast, obviously.

On one of these trips, when Lexi was on campus at SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island, I went to nearby Port Jefferson situated on a harbor of Long Island Sound. There was a boat yard right down on the water, so I went wandering through the yard. The owners pointed out a few boats for sale, and eventually one that had been essentially abandoned. They said I could have it for the cost of paperwork if I either took it away or paid the storage fees.

Thimble getting ready to move north to Rouses Point, NY.

It was a 1977 C&C 29 mk1. One of the drain hoses of a cockpit scupper had detached, so there was a bunch of water in there, but other than that, thing seemed to be in pretty good condition. So we went for it. Actually took possession in the fall of 2018. Summer of 2019 got in there and did a bunch of work.

Turns out the motor sat in the water some, and had low compression. So we got a replacement Atomic 4 to put in there and got the old one out of there. The main sail required repair, so we sent that off to the shop to get done. Because the motor had sat in water, there was a lingering gasoline/oil smell, so we cleaned like crazy to get that out. We sanded all the wood and put new finish on. We took out the cushions, to clean them and wash the covers and stuff. So much work.

Summer of 2020 we had the boat moved up to Rouses Point on Lake Champlain so it would be closer to work on. I had hoped to do the trip on the boat, but there was so much work to be done that it just wasn’t realistic. That summer I spent a bunch of time aboard in the yard working on the electrical system and getting the engine ready.

Thimble’s galley where I spent a lot of the summer of 2020.

We are going to rename the boat Thimble, after the Tom Waits lyric “all the good in the world, you can fit inside a thimble, and still have room for you and me.” Which in its original context, I know, is a little dark, but for us, it is part of the escapism of sailing off together away from all the darkness of 2014-2016.

So, 2021 we are going to get Thimble into the water. Needs bottom paint and some other stuff before splash, but mid May, she should be in a slip in Gaines marina on Champlain.

A peaceful, late season morning in Gaines marina, aboard the next story in the journey…

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