I posted my interest in a Peep Hen on the Hensnest list a week ago, and three minutes later got a response! Not only was it within my budget, but it's one of the better-appointed models. I think it was made by Sovereign, so the mast bolt may not be bushed, but that's fixable. I'm picking it up in a week- a 600 or 700 mile round trip, but it should be fun. The boat:
Don't know if she has a name; I have a couple in mind, one of which was the name of my mother's first car, a black '49 Ford.
Janet and I took Scout out for what may be my last sail in her on Sunday, to check the new rigging and of course just to enjoy the day. Winds were very light- 3-4mph- which was fine with me as I like relaxed sailing. The new boom-end sheeting worked great- much better than the old system, and it lets you sit farther forward, too, which really improves the trim of the boat. The boom vang wasn't all that functional in such light wind, but it worked well and was easy to use. I also tested my new simplified tiller-tamer: A line tied across the stern cleats, with 3 turns around the tiller. Works great. I'm half tempted to keep both boats, but I don't really have the room.
One funny moment: The boat kept wanting to point into the wind, despite the tiller being pushed far over. I sculled the rudder to get us pointed the right way, and she turned into the wind again. This was puzzling until a little light went on and I hauled the centerboard up a few inches and we started off on a broad reach again. We'd run aground, but we'd been sailing so slowly that I didn't even notice we'd stopped moving.
Peter and I picked up the Peep Hen last Saturday- a fun 14 hour round trip- and she's sitting in my driveway where I have a few things to work on. The condition of the rigging is not as good as I'd hoped, she really needs a proper sail cover and boat cover, and we'll see what else she needs when I raise the mast this weekend. I'm hoping she doesn't need a new sail. I'd planned to take her out on the lake a week from this coming Saturday. If she's not ready, maybe we'll sail Scout again.
I registered her at the Secretary of State office on Monday, but couldn't get plates as I didn't have trailer documentation. The seller mailed me all the docs- including the Peep docs, and I went back Thursday and got the plates, and corrected an error on the boat registration (typo in the hull number). There were so many cruisers and geekers in the lot I nearly had to park elsewhere.
I've gotten a few calls on the Potter, but no one has showed up with a fistful of cash to buy her yet. i I do have an interested party in Pennsylvania- not all that far away. I accepted an offer from a couple in Ohio- and never heard from them again! It would be nice to get her out of the garage by the time winter rolls around. I'm not pressed for cash, but I would like the space back, especially as I have my eye on a smaller boat- something around 10'-12'- for impromptu day sailing...
I launched her last weekend... and almost lost her, owing to a combination of dumb moves. Mainly, I didn't reef when I should have, and then gybed, which resulted in a knockdown. The boat should have righted, but I left the portholes open, and she filled up and had to be towed in. Not a lot of fun. I'm still cleaning her out and making a few repairs and mods. A better door (I'm going to cut one out of 1/2" HDPE), better wood panels in the cabin, more changes to the rigging, foam in the mast, sleeve the bottom of the mast, etc.
There's probably more, but this is a start.
I managed to get her cleaned out with the aid of a new portable electric sump pump (Home Depot, $64.95) and a garden hose. I wanted to use the pressure washer but the gun has sprung a leak, probably from water freezing inside over the winter. (New gun, $35.10 plus postage). I found more detrius inside, including my cell phone, the rest of Peter's gear, and a bag of what was once peanut butter sandwiches.
I found a piece of HDPE large enough to make a cabin door and hope to get to that in the near future. I also removed all the wood panels from inside as I think the glue had weakened from immersion and maybe from heat and age, too. I may just reinstall them with new glue (3M 5200) or I may make some new panels from solid teak. The barometer appears trashed, and probably won't be reinstalled. The new interior will have, eventually:
Above decks I have a number of additional mods I'd like to do as well:
Weather's turning cold, so sailing season and kayak season are probably over. Still haven't sold the Potter; I have a couple of interested parties, one of whom is supposed to contact me in a week or two, and the other who is selling another boat. IN the meantime I've been working a bit on the Peep Hen, and of course I've discovered more items to be fixed.
One is a missing snap fitting on the starboard side that's needed to fasten the bow dodger section of the cabin. That shouldn't be a big deal assuming I can find that screws or rivets in place. Then there's the matter of the smell. Seems to be related to getting moisture inside, so I assumed it was mildew. I sprayed a good deal of 10% bleach solution in the boat on Monday (two days ago), but the smell seems to have returned. I'm going to go inside and spray some more either tonight or tomorrow. I might have to crawl in farther aft with my trusty sprayer. I also plan to give the inside a good washing with my newly repaired pressure washer.
I didn't mentioned earlier that the trailer wheel bearings were pretty hot when I dragged the boat home from her first outing. Don't know why, as I'd hauled her 375 miles with no problems other than one bearing getting slightly warm. I suspect the bearings may have been overloaded on the trip home, although a few hundred pounds of water shouldn't have made that much difference. When I pulled the covers off the Bearing Buddies I saw that all the grease had oozed out, a sure sign of severe overheating. I should defintely replace the bearings before I haul her anywhere again. That means I have to pull one hub, measure the spindle (I think it's 1-1/16", but it could be 1"), replace the hub, buy the bearings and seals, pull the hub again... Actually it's a pretty simple job. I replaced the wheel bearings on my Mother's Oldsmobile back when I was a teenager, and this should be even easier.
I have obtained a few items for the boat in the last few weeks. A sail cover for (ouch) $260. A Weems & Plath hand compass- actually two compasses- via Ebay. They were, respectively, $35 and $45, and considering that West Marine sells them for $130, I couldn't resist. One can stay in the supply box in the cabin, and the other with me on deck. I still could like to install a compass permanatly but that will wait until I find a good deal on a bulkhead-mount compass, I think. I also purchased some line and blocks to make lazy jacks, line to replace the ratty mast rings (which is backordered), and some eye straps to mount the lazy jack rigging. I only need to mount one eye on the mast, and one or two on the boom. Last, a yard of Sunbrella to patch the bimini. I'd intended to do that over the winter, but I may instead take the bimini and the material to an canvas/awning shop and have them sew a couple of reinforcing strips on. I also intend to stuff the boom with foam for positive flotation, and to keep water out.
I made the new HDPE cabin door, only to discover the material is just a tad too think. It's also pretty heavy. I'll probably route or file the edges to fit, but I think I'm also going to make a 3/8" plywood door as well. I also got some 1" HDPE to make gaff jaws, but I think I want thicker material- at least 1-1/4" for wood, and maybe 2". Still looking for some good locust.
I'd like to install a VHF antenna on the mast head, but I'm concerned with how I'd run the cable at the base of the mast. GIven that the Peep is intender for shallow water and coatal cruising I may just stick with hand-held VHF, or perhaps a VHF unit mounted below deck, running off a 12V battery, and an antenna mounted on a short mast on the bow. HF would require a proper ground, which would require drilling through the hull, and I'd prefer not to do that.
So right now the to-do list is as follows:
I replaced the missing screws from the hinged cockpit bench. One down...
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The new Peep Hen Pages
I finally rearranged the garage and managed to get the boat inside, along with all the two-wheeled vehicles that live there. It's out of the weather, and wion't get full of leaves, or suffer from sun damage, or wood rot while it awaits the major refit.
I've decided to put the boat aside for a while- until 2009, actually. I plan to retire in January of that year, and that will give me a lot more time to play with boats and other projects. Mor eimportantly, it will allow me to go sailing on weekdays instead of fighting ramp traffic on weekends. That will make for a lot more relaxed sailing, and isn't that what it's all about?
In the meantime I'll still be updating The Peep Hen Web Site and planning updates and fixes for the boat, and sailing my kayak. Stay tuned...
Update, June 2008
After two more years of inaction, I put a notice up on the Henboats group to the effect that I was going to be hauling it out of the garage and prepping it for sale. A few hours later I get an email- he's coming through the area in a few days- can he look at it? Two days later the boat was sold on a handshake, and a week or so later it left on its way to the Toronoto area, and possibly a winter in Florida.
Now to look for a new boat...