Everything that was changed during the refit seems to be working as it should. There hasn’t been much wind to get out for a spirited sail yet, but I also enjoy floating peacefully on calm waters and working Idle Queen into places under sail. It’s like a meditation for me. I have time to watch the jellyfish, the birds, and the reflections in the water. Dolphins surfacing or pelicans diving are loud enough to be startling. Such quiet moments are precious. There will be plenty of wind on other days.
From mid-November to mid-December of 2013, Idle Queen was underway traveling between Cape Cod and North Carolina. Below is a video compilation from that trip. I now have a waterproof housing for my camera after missing lots of good action due to bad weather on that trip. I look forward to being able to film in all conditions this season.
Click here to watch the video on YouTube in a new window.
Idle Queen has been immortalized in pottery now…
I have been to a lot of museums over the years, and some of the things that have survived the best from thousands of years ago are pieces of pottery. Even when there are only shards because a piece has been broken, they are still recognizable. Where the pottery was painted and glazed, the finish has often survived in good condition. So, I like to think that the painting that I did of Idle Queen on this bowl will be around for a good, long time to come.
This bowl is the product of my second visit to a pottery studio where you get to paint your own pieces. There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to figuring out what the glaze is going to do after it is fired, so I am pleased with how the Idle Queen bowl came out. The experience was more fun than I had anticipated, so I am looking forward to visiting the studio again in the future. Maybe I will even try visiting a place where I can experiment with the pottery itself instead of just painting on pre-made pieces… Then again, the last thing that I need is another hobby.
Update to post: Sirocco has been sold. Thanks for looking, and please read on if you would still like to learn more about this unique vessel.
After a long period of debate and a lot of internal reflection, I am finally officially putting Sirocco up for sale. The asking price is a very modest $19,500 to encourage interest in this unique vessel.
Sirocco is a William Atkin designed “Ben Bow” cutter. She was professionally built in Airex-cored fiberglass by Falstron of Sarasota, FL, and first launched in 1981. Her build quality is first-rate, and only the best materials were used throughout. The hull is faithful to the “Ben Bow” lines, but the rig is that of a modern Marconi cutter with a bowsprit. This gives her plenty of sail area while keeping the rig height modest and gives her a look very much like the popular Lyle Hess Bristol Channel Cutters. The deck is built on laminated beams and is sheathed in fiberglass. The nonskid media is set in epoxy. She has traditional finishing touches, including bronze portholes and cowl vents (set on teak dorade boxes); teak deck hatches; and teak cockpit coaming. The heavily-built rudder is set on oversized bronze gudgeons and pintles. The underwater portion of the hull is barrier coated with epoxy. This is a solidly built, confidence-inspiring cruising boat.
Down below the layout is very practical and easy to live with. Access to the engine room is through doors beneath the companionway ladder. Immediately forward of the ladder is a full-sized chart table to starboard with the icebox below the forward portion. The galley is to port, and features a 2-burner stainless Shipmate stove with oven, and a nice, deep sink. Forward of the galley, two settees face each other in the saloon, with storage in seat backs and outboard. The main saloon can be converted to a large double bed by adding a filler between the settees. Forward of the mast is the head and another berth to port, which can be converted to a double. The head is to starboard, with additional storage. There is a spacious anchor locker and storage area in the very forward end of the ship with plenty of extra hanging room for spare lines, etc.
Auxiliary propulsion is provided by a 28-hp Beta Marine diesel engine driving a 3-blade propeller. The engine has less than 2,000 hours. Recent improvements to the machinery include a new cutless bearing; new bronze stern gland with dripless packing; new shaft coupling; new flexible coupling; new engine mounts; and new ball joints and ends on the shift cables. Valve clearances were checked at 1950 hours and everything is within specifications.
Systems are simple and easily accessed for maintenance. The well-insulated icebox has electric refrigeration. The galley faucet is supplied with pressure fresh water. The manual head flushes to a holding tank or directly overboard.
Electronics include a fixed Standard Horizon VHF; Raytheon speed and depth sounder; Raymarine ST-4000+ autopilot with electric linear drive; and Garmin Oregon 400C GPS chartplotter. Additionally, there is a flat-panel LCD television; DVD player; and installed stereo system. The masthead tri-color light and anchor light are LED, and the anchor light has a sensor for automatic operation.
Ground tackle includes a 35-lb CQR anchor on 40′ of 3/8″ chain and 250′ of 3-strand nylon rode. Anchor handling is assisted by the manual windlass.
The spars are aluminum painted with Imron polyurethane. The main mast is stepped on a massive support at the level of the cabin sole. This keeps the heel of the mast out of any potential bilge water, preventing corrosion problems. There are two deep reef points in the main sail. The yankee is roller furling, set on a Profurl roller furling unit that can also be used for reefing. The staysail is hanked on to the inner forestay and has a storage bag.
Also included is a 7-foot Eli Laminates rowing dinghy that fits on the cabin top. This dinghy has been reinforced with extra layers of fiberglass and epoxy on the chines to take the abuse of being hauled up beaches, etc. New main thwart installed in 2011.
The “Ben Bow” design was William Atkin’s own cruising boat–the one he did for himself and his family. She is a beautiful little cruising boat that is just right in proportion and balance. What designer wouldn’t pay extra attention to detail on his personal craft? She sails well and with a good turn of speed, has a very kind motion in a seaway, is dry, strong, and has an inviting interior. There is little else that one could ask of a good cruising boat. The video below shows her underway in perfect conditions one hundred miles off the coast of South Carolina.
Sirocco is out of her element for the time being so that I can get a few jobs done below the waterline. On the list was the cutless bearing for sure, but that sort of ballooned into a bigger project that involved removing the engine all because I couldn’t get a coupling to come free of the drive shaft! Well, there are many things that I can accomplish now that will only make Sirocco even better: repainting the engine and engine room; replacing the engine mounts; replacing the wiring on the engine; cleaning the keel tank below the engine; cleaning the bilge, etc. I will be busy for weeks to come!