The Voyages of s/v Lucky Bird

21 August 2019 | Straits Marina, Mackinaw City
06 August 2019 | Village of Brockport
30 July 2019
27 July 2019
21 June 2019 | Wickford Cove Marina
20 May 2019 | Antlantic Yacht Basin
13 May 2019 | Homer Smith Marina, final Salty Dawg Destination
21 April 2019 | Frenchtown, St. Thomas V.I. Easter Celebration
20 April 2019 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas VI
11 April 2019 | Nanny Cay Marine, Tortola, BVI
28 March 2019 | Green Cay Marina, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
25 March 2019
24 February 2019 | Jolly Harbor Marina, Antigua

Ready for the Big Splash

10 June 2009
It is very hard to believe that one full year has passed. Lucky Bird arrived in Chicago back in May of 2008 and since then has been transformed into our up-to-date cruising home.... soon to be. Lots of labors of love and hours of sweat equity have gotten us to this point in time. Next Tuesday afternoon, June 16, the travel lift will pick her up so we can paint the keel bottom and the pad areas. Then Wednesday morning.... SPLASH!!

One whole year and now in just a few more days we'll be on our way. Thanks to Defender Marine for all your great deals, Ultimate Passage for your help with our Furuno gear, to West Marine for your local store and some great guys; thanks to the very helpful staff at Crowleys Yacht Yard in South Chicago and thanks to our family and friends who have given their time, energy and support. Most of all I thank Alice for all the hours spent handing me tools, going for this and that and offering her gems of wisdom.

This has already been a journey just to get to this point and now we are ready to start a new page in a new chapter. To all the sailing families who might find this page who are "in the process" we hope to meet you and share your experiences helping add to ours.

We are ready to begin!!

Time is getting short

18 May 2009 | n41 50 49.9 w87 39 0.6
There has been a considerable amount of action around Lucky Bird. Last week end Alice and I decided to install our Hydrovane self-steering device. The job went like clockwork do to the excellant engineering and very thoughtful design of this incredible machine. The most difficult aspect was mounting the fist bracket, the "H" bracket, because of the location. It has to be mounted on the lowest part of the transom which is also the farthest reach from inside the lazarette. Once the H bracket was in place we used a 1 1/2 inch piece of pvc pipe to achieve vertical alignment and to measure and cut the "E" bracket arms. Hydrovane has done an extraordinary job engineering this unit down to a means for expanding the brackets to provide for more easily sliding the rudder shaft and flange. The whole project took four hours with a break for lunch and a beer. Not too shabby for us older folks.

Once that task was complete we moved on to the bottom. I really wanted to see what the boat looked like under the paint so we started stripping. First by sanding with an orbital sander and 40 grit paper. Far too slow and costly in terms of paper. Then we found Petit Bio Blast paint remover and we were off to the races, well sort of. We painted on a layer of the remover, waited and then exerted an awful lot of energy to strip away a paint layer or two, then another coat of the remover and repeat the process. A 42 foot boat looks very large when removing four layers of paint a few inches at a time. A final ordibtal sanding with 80 grit cleans up the gel coat and we are now ready for three to four layers of barrier coat and three of antifouling.

I've also started work on the aft arch having mounted our KISS wind generator and brought down to the boat our new Furuno radar. We'll have the wind gen, the radar, a solar panel, two GPS antennas, two VHF antennas and a WIFI antenna mounted back there on the arch. Just imaging the fun wiring all these devices and building a NMEA 2k and NMEA 0183 network all hopefully before we splash Lucky Bird around June 16th.

Saga of the Fuel Tank

26 April 2009
This picture is explained a little further into this storey. I haven't discovered how to control where images are inserted. In any event this is the First Mate hugging her newly recondition fuel tank just before it was set back in its home.

It turned out the bottom of the fuel tank was slowing rusting through near the foward edge. After the boat returned from the paint shop we noticed a small amount of diesel fuel in the space just below the engine. We cleaned it up and checked the fuel hose fittings and went home after one of our work sessions. The next time down again there was diesel fuel under the engine and this time a LOT more. Argg!!

I pulled the aft cabin floor boards and discovered a slow but persistence flow from under the tank. We had a leaking tank with about 20 gallons of fuel. Double argg!!

What insued next were the steps of emptying the tank; removing it; flipping it and discovering not one but two holes; unsuccessfully attempting to have a plate welded over the rusted areas; determining to fiberglas the tank; and finally cleaning the inside, painting the outside and dropping it back into its home.

The original builder had mounted the water separation filter on a bulkhead beside the tank under the aft berth. So I took this opportunity to relocate the filter to engine room where I can easily see the bowl at the bottom to check for water; where changing the filter will be far easier; at the same time I replaced the fuel supply and return lines.

I forgot to mention when I was looking for someone to weld a plate on the bottom, one fellow assured us he could do it if we filled the tank with water. We did go to the trouble of sealing the tank and filling it with water in anticipation of his emminent return. All calls went unanswered and he was never heard from again. So, before the water could freeze we had to empty the tank by running a hose from the tank, through the boat and out the thru-hull for the speed transducer. That's a triple arrg!!!

The To-Do List

26 April 2009
The surveyor's report served as a starting point for our project list. As we dove in and looked deeper we found more items to add to the list...... no kidding. It's analogous to buying a fixer upper to move into figuring the money you save on the purchase price plus your sweat equity will yield an updated place to call home. Such was our plan and as with an older home on an older boat you find things to continually add to the list. For starters we decided to:

1. Replace the existing dc systems and add several ac circuits
2. Replace the water heater giving us the option to heat water by ac, by dc and running the engine
3. Replace the stove with a LPG three burner w/oven
4. Add a 110/240 volt battery charger
5. Switch to LED lights throughout
6. Replace the bearings in the Kiss wind generator
7. Reupholster the cushions
8. Purchase a Hydrovane self-steering device
9. Upgrade navigation equipment including Furuno Navnet 3d charplotter, radar, AIS B, ICOM VHF and SSB radios, Pactor modem
10. Replace the head liner in the main cabin
11. Install an electronic tank monitoring system for the holding, water and fuel tanks
12. Repaint the boot-stripes
13. Stip the bottom paint and add a barrier coat and antifouling
14. Paint the bilge and aft lazarette
15. Mount a new pedestal for the charplotter
16. Relocate and rewire the bilge pump
17. Refinish the folding table in the main cabin
18. Purchase a new main sail with the shorter version vertical battens for the in-mast furler
19. Purchased a Gale Sail
20. Reconditioned the roller genny
21. Passed HAM operators license test, both of us
22. Install a Spectra watermaker

This is by no means the complete list and in fact the one of the most significant items deserves mentioning in more detail in the Saga of the Fuel Tank.

Getting Started

25 April 2009 | 41 43.2 N 87 32.9 W
We start our cruising updates about a year into the project.

Last April, 2008, we traveled the US east coast looking for a boat that would suffice our needs for a voyage to the Caribbean and then to the Mediterranean. Working with a broker from Beaufort, NC we climbed aboard and crawled through many boats in the 40 to 45 foot range. We found a Moody 422 that cought our fancy but seemed a bit pricey and had an engine that probably needed replacement. But the Moody seemed interesting so after returning home we searched the Yachting World web site for other Moody's and found a model 425 with a slightly different iinterior design. Another trip, this time to Florida, and we liked what we saw. The boat's name was Lucky Bird, a 1990 Moody 425 in need of work but seemingly sound. The surveyor's report gave us lots of projects but no show stoppers.

Negotiating with the owner then living in Europe was simplified by the Florida based broker who had shown us the boat and managed the sea trials. So after several weeks Lucky Bird became ours and her first trip was on a flat-bed truck back home to Chicago where she sits today as we work on the extensive to-do list.
Vessel Name: Lucky Bird
Vessel Make/Model: 1990 Moody 425 cc
Hailing Port: Kenosha, WI
Crew: Robert & Alice Smith
Alice and I have spent considerable time together on the water; cruising and racing on the waters of New England, the Caribbean and Lake Michigan.

Sailing is our passion and together we've been fortunate to experience the thrills, the camaraderie and the enjoyment boating provides. [...]

We seek the freedom, excitement and challenges of voyaging.

Lucky Bird's Photos - Main
This is our second journey south to the Caribbean. This time we've chosen to exit Lake Michigan and proceed south through the in-land waterway system to Mobile. We'll start around Labor Day and take our time exploring the history of middle America.
207 Photos
Created 28 July 2017
30 Photos
Created 12 July 2013
101 Photos
Created 17 July 2012
Bob and Alice return to Lucky Bird after spending the summer in Addison.
31 Photos
Created 4 December 2010
Heading into the Windward Islands and further south
108 Photos
Created 22 February 2010
121 Photos
Created 11 June 2009