Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” That ladies and gentlemen for us is the restoration of Whistlin Riggin’ a Union Polaris, double-ender, cutter rig manufactured by the Union Yacht Company in 1979.

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Following our wedding, Abby and I headed cross-country from our home at Port Annapolis Marina in Maryland to Newport Beach, California. This is where we began the first day of our restoration project at South Coast Shipyard on July 3, 2017 to bring new life to Whistlin Riggin’ in pursuit of our dream to cross the seven seas.

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On haul out day, we had a pretty good idea of the work that needed to be done, but to have a holistic understanding of its depth we needed to do a bit of “demolition” to get see all issues and concerns that were necessary to address before moving forward.

Unfortunately, what we found was exactly what we assessed it to be, though larger in scope. There was significant oil-canning on both the starboard and port sides of the hull directly beneath where the original 100 gallon steel water tank that was fiberglassed to the hull used to be. It had been replaced by three polyethylene tanks that were stacked on top of one another. Unfortunately, the installation of these polyethylene tanks didn’t provide the same structural rigidity the original steel tanks provided. When removed, and without adding the structural support taken away,  the entire hull’s structural integrity was compromised. Additionally, the foam coring within the hull had also completely delaminated and had to be removed.

To make matters worse, we also found out that the compression post was about 2 feet short of the base of the keel and resting on rotting plywood with 3 of the 6 fasteners missing to hold it in place, all of which were on its port side.

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The time did eventually arrive when we got all the burned out wiring, stinking plumbing, outdated electronics, rotting wood delaminating fiberglass and foam coring ripped out – even the water heater, holding tanks, batteries… I think you get the idea. This never ending list of things were all removed from the boat to make way for the NEW STUFF!!!

IMG_0809So after 28 days, no more demolition, grinding fiberglass and being left feeling itchy all day from it! No more tearing out the foam coring and finding it in your pants and socks at the end of the day or having your hands permanently clenched shut from all the wiring and plumbing that needed be cut out or coming home smelling like mold and 30 year old poop and pee.

We have finally moved on from the ‘disassembly phase’ to the ‘rebuild phase’! Where we will still be itchy from fiberglass, but also get a nice chemical high sure to melt every brain cell left from acetone and epoxy resin, yippie!!!