"Walrus" the Westsail 32 Refitting and Restoring a 1975 Westsail 32…With No Previous Experience

(Another) 2013 Update on Walrus the Westsail 32

  December 2013 Update

Ok, so I'm still decades behind on updating this blog.  But I now have the mast up, all new rigging, and I even sailed Wally for the first time last week.  Here are a few pictures.

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Older Update

Due to extreme writing laziness, I have neglected updating this site for over a year.  My goal was to be proactive with updates of my progress in restoring a 1975 Westsail 32 named Walrus, but I soon found that the project I decided to take on was much more than I expected it to be.  As a result, updating this site became low on my priority list.  I am happy to report, however, that I have been extremely dedicated to the restoration, and the results speak for themselves.  Below are a few photos of where the boat was when I bought her, and where she is now.

This is the first time Wally's bottom saw fresh air after being in the water for at least 20 years:

Here's Wally after a year "on the hard," right before being dropped back into the water:

Although Wally is FAR from being completed, she has certainly come a very, very long way since I first bought her last year.  It has been an absolutely incredible experience, and I hope to share what I've done over the course of this restoration in order to get her looking like she does today.  In addition to the thousands upon thousands that I have spent on the actual materials, I also spent the past year working every day, twice a day, nearly 7 days per week.  I would get up at 4:30am, make the 5-minute drive to the boat yard, work on the boat until I had to go to work, then return directly after work until after sunset, night-lights blazing.  If I had to estimate my average daily time spent on the boat working, I'd say it was approximately 4-5 hours per day during the week before and after work, and another 14-16 hours on the weekends.  I've never been so dedicated to a project in my life.

I don't think a single person reads this blog, so I'm sure no one out there is disappointed in my absence.  However, if someone stumbles across this page and wonders what it's like to restore an old sailboat, I will share the same advice as many others before me: Do it!  I can't describe how it felt looking through the past year and a half worth of pictures just now.  I have grown as a man.  As cheesy and deep as that sounds to write, I feel like I can do anything now.  And since I have no readers to make fun of me about being so arrogant, why shouldn't I express how I feel?  I understand that I am far from knowing it all, but I have a different confidence level in what I am able to learn and achieve.  Over the past year, I've gone from not really even understanding different bolt sizes or threads, to being able to weld a high-rise exhaust system.  I can fiberglass.  I can restore and make beautiful a piece of wood that most would throw away.  I understand Ohm's Law, calculating appropriate wire sizes, loads, and circuitry.  I can rewire a boat, or even a home, electrical system.  I can install an engine.  I can splice a line.  I can successfully mix a 4-part linear polyurethane paint in different temperatures, depending on where the sun is during the day, and how quickly it will cure while applying it.  I understand thinning and accelerating anything from paint to varnish.  I understand rigging.  Now when I see a problem, or something that needs to be fixed, I know I can figure out a solution.  Most simply, I can fix shit.  These skills aren't important to most people, but to me it is a little bit defining.  I strive to be a real "boat person," and this has helped me at least get remotely closer.

It's a strange thing, but when you start figuring out how to do these types of things, it's like a light clicks on in your head.  You just feel like you're more capable of applying these skills to everything in your life.  I have spent way more money and more time than I ever thought I would on this boat, but it has paid me back in more ways than I can describe.  I have never felt so proud of something, and perhaps now I can help someone else looking to do the same thing...if I actually dedicate myself to the blog as I have with the boat.  We'll see.  The boat is my therapy, but perhaps the blog will be my legacy.