Tag Archives: Annabel Lee

It may not look like much right now…

but three layers of biaxial fiberglass/mat cloth, laid up with epoxy resin, is truly a thing of beauty.

bridge 003

bridge 031

Everything is level and smooth, flush and even.  Next step, one more layer of biaxial, covering the entire bridge from end to end. Yes, it might fall along the range of overkill, but once I’m done this deck should be reasonably resistant to leaks, as well as missiles and/or the zombie apocolypse. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

As for those hole running along the sides of the bridge, I’ve cut access so I could pour in epoxy, filling the gap between the inner and outer walls of the bridge where it meets the deck — which was probably already completely sealed in previous steps, but then again, if you’re going to go with the overkill approach, you might as well go all out.  It was an interesting process involving a funnel and section of hose, but sorry, no pics. Whe I’ve saved the cutouts, which will be glassed back in place and faired out when all is done.

Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the boat, the new rudder bearing is securely in place. Progress moves forward.

bridge 019

bridge 025

I know I haven’t been posting much these days. I’ve been a bit busy, between hurricane damage to the house, the marina where the boat is, and the marina where I’m working. But rest assured, work aboard the boat still continues, and I still continue to write.  Something has to give, and these days it seems it’s my online time….along with my sanity. But that’s another topic.

I know…

I’ve been making myself pretty scarce lately… online at least. I’m still around and going like mad, so long as you know where to look for me. Best bets for finding me are 1.) locked in my little office typing away as fast as my little fingers can go, or 2.) down at the boatyard, hunched over a space-heater, Mix-N-Measure pot in hand as I stir metered pumps of West Epoxy to slather onto strips of biaxial fiberglass cloth, or 3.) in transit to, at, or from any of the surrounding hardware stores for lumber, drill bits, fasteners, sandpaper, masking tape or whatever else I suddenly need. This schedule will continue for another few weeks at least as I work to wrap up No Wake Zone to ship it off to my editor and the weather becomes too cold for epoxy and polyester resin to set. At that point I do plan to once again start posting here a bit more regularly, but until then, I have at least been fulfilling my posting schedule at Write On The Water, where I post each Thursday.  Today: Sorting Boats.
Last week: Thanksgiving already?
And the week before:Who? Me?
I think that’s where I left off.  Once the manuscript is finished and the fiberglass dust settles, I’ll post some more pics of the (hopefully) finished overhead.

On this day in history…

… on a blustery and fateful day in 2007, we threw in the towel on sanity and bought Annabel Lee.  Enough said.

On another note, it’s Thursday!

Silver linings?

It had been a long, brutal day, heading bow on into driving southwest winds, spray, then thunderheads ahead and astern. So we duck into a sheltered harbor and tied up, soaked, cold, miserable and questioning our reasoning on many levels. No sooner than we tied up the sky began to clear… everywhere but directly above us. It was like something from a cartoon; there was a single black cloud hovering over Annabel Lee,  pouring down, and Frank remarked that it pretty much summed up the way things were going at that point.  As we plodded up to the marina office to pay for the dock this lovely craft caught my eye and I snapped a quick picture. Around us I noticed several people stopping and staring back from where we’d just come and Frank said, “I wonder if the boat’s sinking.”  We turn to see this…

And suddenly everything didn’t seem so bad.

Quote of the day:  If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.   – Lewis Carroll

Still floating…

I haven’t posted much these days not for lack of stuff to post, but for lack of time to post stuff. If that makes sense, you have my sympathy. Needless to say, I’m still feeling meh, overtired, underslept, and finding not enough hours in each day to make a dent in the things I need to do.

Such is life.  Oh, and it keeps raining.  Lots of rain. On the bright side the bridge canvas fits like a glove and all is dry above and in the cabin.


Floating fine…

As of yesterday. Annabel Lee fired right up and the stuffing box required only minor adjustment. All is good, except I have a horrendous cold that went into my ears (painful!) and I’m out of commission, weak, tired, and getting by on antibiotics and Nyquil. It’s not fair!

The pictures say it all…

They run off the screen, but I’m too wiped to play games resizing for now. For the big picture, go HERE and scroll down.

A Lee bit crazy…

As promised, here’s a little story of the Lees. Myra Lee, Laura Lee, and Annabel Lee.

In the beginning, there was Myra Lee. A lovely little Marshall catboat, delightful to sail. She’d been renamed, awfully, I might add, but I learned Myra Lee was her original name, and I returned her to her rightful title. I had many years of pleasant sailing, but I must admit I was growing tired of crouching headroom and the outboard on the stern. I began considering a Flicka, which wasn’t much larger, but more ocean-capable, with a modest cabin and inboard engine. Yet…

…I’d been working in a nearby boatyard, and languishing in a far corner was this lonely little trawler, Laura Lee. Not really that little actually. 32 feet, but built like a tank. Bigger than I wanted, and lacking a sail of any sort. The owner, having driven her hard onto some rocks, found himself on the rocks financially as well, and stopped paying the yard for storage.

Years passed.

A friend at the yard constantly kidded me. He’d say “there’s the boat for you. I see you with that boat someday.”
“Yeah, right,” I’d laugh. But the thought stuck. And when the yard leined her, I began to think about it. Consider it. Click the link, you’ll see, she’d be one hell of a project. The potential was there, though. Everywhere she wasn’t built of absurdly thick, uncored fiberglass, she was solid teak. Only some interior trim was teak veneer. And the engine… a 80 horse 4 cylinder Ford Lehman diesel. With that big, slow turning prop and a full displacement hull, she wouldn’t go anywhere all that fast, and she’d barely sip fuel in the process. In short, they don’t build boats like this anymore. They didn’t build all that many to begin with. Best I could determine, there were maybe a dozen or so of these little Hong Kong built Cheoy Lee Shipyards trawlers world-wide. We started looking a little closer. There was lots of work, but it was do-able. Being that I worked at the yard, boat storage was free, one of my benefits. I got parts at cost. I had access to the tool shop, the wood shop, lifts, everything. The yard owners said if, come spring, I paid storage owed, I could take title. They shook my hand. I sold Myra Lee to a fellow who’d for years been begging me to sell her to him. I started gathering my tools, getting ready.

Then the owners decided they wanted to spiff up the yard, change the image from a working yard to a more ‘yacht-club’ style facility. They began denying storage and docks even to paying customers with less than ‘desirable’ boats, telling them to leave. They told employees we no longer had free boat storage as a benefit. And they told me they would NOT be selling me Laura Lee. In fact, they told me they intended to cut her up and crush her.

I tried to negotiate. Pleasantly at first. I tried to go around them and contact the long-gone, out of the country former owner, seeing if I work some arrangement with him. No go there. I tried every reasonable thing I could think of, none worked. Needless to say, I no longer work there. There was no reason to anymore. I’d sold one boat, didn’t have the other, the owners were lying pricks driving away all the customers I liked and schmoozing the yuppie scum I loathe. There was no reason to stay.

There was another of the same trawler for sale, hours up the coast in north Mass, but too expensive for our budget. We looked at other boats, but none compared, and none were what we wanted. The year passed. Laura Lee still sat there, and as winter approached, the price on the Massachusetts one crept down. One day we went for a ride, took a look, and made a low offer. The seller accepted. We shook hands. By time surveys were complete and contracts signed, it was November. We spent three days moving her down the coast to Cape Cod, near my parents, to wait out the winter.

Spring came, the cover came off, and we’ve begun getting her back in order. I’ve said I prefer not to rename boats, but this one had been through two other names, neither very good. A boat should never have a name that’s unpronounceable or confusing. Names should be clean and elegant. You don’t want to offend the water gods. So the old name came off. I would have carried on ‘Myra Lee’, but the original Myra Lee still bears that name. The consensus, for many reasons, was that Annabel Lee suited this boat perfectly.

Now the funny part(s). One; the old yard must have realized how expensive it will be, both in labor and disposal fees, to get rid of 20,000 pounds of boat. I was told I could buy her if I was interested, and I’ll admit it felt good and bad at the same time to tell them “No, I already have one.” And two; our dear Annabel Lee seems to be quite admired, with many people stopping to comment. A few have asked if we’d consider selling her. Amazing what some proper maintenance can do, considering her last owner struggled to sell her. One fellow asked if we knew of any others like her, as he’d never seen a Cheoy Lee trawler. I laughed, and told him about Laura Lee. He wanted more information. Then my phone rings, and there’s another fellow, heard there’s an abandoned Cheoy Lee trawler, he wants information too. I set up the pictures online, sent them both links. I suspect the phone at the old boatyard’s been ringing today. Maybe Laura Lee will float again, rather than wind up landfill.

Why I’m exhausted…

Too many hours on the road. Too many hours in the bilge. In the engine room. Too many things to list. Too tired to even list them. I’ll just let the big picture speak for itself.

She looks quite respectable, and by Saturday, she’ll be floating. Amusingly, over the last few days, I’ve had several people approach asking if I’d consider selling her.


Asking if I knew of any others like her.

Now, that’s funny.

Best I can guess, there’s about a dozen of these little Hong Kong built Cheoy Lee Trawlers in existence, scattered around the world. Including the very neglected, abandoned Laura Lee, about 15 minutes from my house. But that’s another story, and another post. Yes, coming tomorrow, the sad, tragic story of Laura Lee, a story which may at last have a happy ending. Tonight I need some sleep. Much sleep.