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Altair's Cruz Nuz
cruising, vb, kroozing, working on your boat in exotic locations around the Caribbean....Dudley and Becca
Three years in the making...
Becca B, first mate, only mate
01/31/2008, CGSC, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Boat Yards

This is where Altair sat for almost three years while preparing for this trip. The Coconut Grove Sailing Club is Dudley's other love next to me and this boat. Not necessary in that order! This is where he poured himself into the virtual rebuilding of our precious Tartan. It's been a labor of love for my retired fireman, a reawakening for me.

I've been waffling...and Dudley knew it...should I stay or should I go? It was a very sticky topic ever since our 5 month mini cruise in '04. He's retired and I'm not. Might as well be though, 'cause I'm not blazing trails to stardom, YET, nor on any who's who list anywhere. Everytime I've had indications that my biz (Murals by Becca) was growing with referrals he'd want to take off again! That damned sea is always calling him! Ok, Altair and his mistresses, i.e., the CGSC, sailing and that big blue sea. What's a woman to do? Follow my man, that's what. I can paint anywhere and I really love him, love sailing and love traveling too! I'll find a way to secure my old age...some's never too late and I'm sticking to that dream too.

So let's take a look at what He DID!!! Just so there's no misunderstanding, I'm only going by the list on board of what we've done to refit this little sloop of ours. We had so many 'master' lists, we had to restock our legal pad supply!

"Some" of Dudley's 'done' list:

Remove old autopilot, install new linear drive Simrad system. He claimed to love drilling thru the 'quadrant' shaft...not! He replaced the old helm pedestal and installed a new narrow and taller one. Of course that included running cables thru it for our new chartplotter and Simrad control panel, drilling thru the cockpit floor to secure it and attach it to the binacle. No small job either. He then moved the circuit board to the other side of the bulkhead so he could finally get to everything. This was something that's always bugged him and it was a small nightmare to reroute all that. While he was in the wiring mode, he rewired most everything that was old, worn out or's a 1976 boat for crying out loud, what do you think?

He purchased a SSB on e-bay, then had it checked by someone who came highly respected and that learning curve took a while. He got his tech license; installed a ground plate during the haulout in 2005 and installed the insulated back stay, tuner and cooper ground strip thingy!

We're just beginning! We hauled the boat in 2007 to really inspect the rudder, install the depth sounder sensor, painted her bottom with some kill the nature stufff and checked all the thru hulls. He removed the compressor for the old fridge and made room for a new flexible water bladder! 30 more gallons, very important. The trials of working in a small boat where all spaces are extremely tight! He installed that bladder, under the cockpit (pain in the... everything) and my quiet, calm, patient man was cussing, groaning and banging or scraping every spot on his bod. He revised the old deep fridge space, put shelves in and new lid and made me a huge pantry. As if that wasn't enough, he replaced old lazy jacks, rebuilt the whisker pole, mount and related blocks on front of mast! The rigging was worked on and checked, a new mainsail installed and tested. Righto, we got a chance to sail! New reading lights, new stereo and speaker system for cds and ipod connections, to appease your's truly, and a new ipod to tame the beast. He invented and made a model for the rain dodger, which is the tops. We had that made before I started sewing. He replaced the steps on the swim ladder with starboard; redid all the varnish down below with captain's varnish, to replace the water based varnish he tried and hated years ago. That was a major project that took months, taking it all home, you know the drill, but it was a break from mechanical stuff and he could get something done without interuptions from anyone, but me, of course! He purchased a new portable fridge from Engel, which we love, then he had to install a home for it while in use next to the galley, and a home while underway...that meant two more 12v plugs and more wiring. He moved our ridiculous chart table at the end of our quarter berth, now our 'garage', and extended my galley with it...very cool! That move is only 2' away on a 34' sloop, but the return is huge. Purchased and installed a new and deeper sink, built a box shelf for soaps, etc. and put in a new shelf under the galley stove for more organized galley storage. Really great!

My guy did so much to make our trip comfortable and I betcha to entice me along!

Just months before we left, he decided to add solar and wind...These were our last minute 'big' installations! Smart move though!!!! My major contribution to those jobs was following him around with a bucket to catch the wd40 and stainless drilling debris from falling into the water. He loved that!

Oh, yeah, he bought two new AGM 4d, or something like that, batteries, a new laptop, Skype-in subscription and headset. Whew!

I can't even begin to remember everything else, but he was a busy man! He loved every minute of it though. One of the main reasons it took three years was everybody came to the dock to help. They were wishing they could go cruising too and just plain coming around to find out what the new project was. I betcha he could've bought a bigger and more cruising ready boat for all the money he spent refit Altair. hmmmmmm.

When I wasn't painting for Murals by Becca, I was his helper:

I got the best help I could ever dream of when my friend Pat Zumpfe loaned me her NEW Sailrite walking foot sewing machine. Amazing that she brought it to our house, set it up, trained me and let me use it, and it is fantastic, what a dream. I had finally killed my Singer after making everything from tank covers, bags, wheel and binacle cover, bimini, port curtains. etc., and spent a lot in repair bills at my favorite 'SW Sewing Center' in the Gables. Then I made the dodger and connector (bimini to dodger awning) and phifertex curtains to completely enclose the cockpit, way cool. Her generosity also extended into her mentoring me, how blessed am I?

I also painted everything I had time to paint. He's said that he is afraid to stand still for fear I'll paint him too. The toe rail, coamings, traveler bed and hand rails on deck are all teak! The big hurricane of '92, Andrew, took out a lot of this teak! He patched, marine texed, (is that a word?) and painted the bandaged wood with Awl Grip. When I arrived in his life, I faux'd painted everything to look like teak! I would love to do the faux treatment in awl grip instead of easy poxy...I can find awl grip anywhere it seems, not easy poxy! Some other time maybe.

There is so much more to tell and to do yet, but the biggest news of all is we stopped working on Altair at the dock and decided it was actually time to work along the way. There will always be some-thing to do on a boat that goes cruising, hence the description of the blog, hehe.

Just makes you want to go cruising, huh?

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Who: Dudley Clark and Becky Butler
Port: Coconut Grove Sailing Club
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