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Selling Wicked Pissah

Updated: Dec 10, 2018

As spring approached and brought life back first to the crocuses, the forsythia and then to the trees, our slumbering wanderlust thawed too. Recalling the frustration of lapping Alum Creek on Wicked Pissah, we decided we really wanted to be able to move with greater freedom to slake our travel thirst.

Over the winter we continued gathering information on the Loop. The biggest takeaway was that 70% of the loop was not sailable! We had actually read this but it really did not sink in, so enamored were we of the romance of moving under the power of the wind and the economy with which one can circumnavigate the eastern half of the US on a sailboat.

What finally brought this fact home for me was the effort of working on the boat with the mast laid from bow to stern across the cabin. Some folks will step their mast up north after leaving the Great Lakes and ship it south to step it again to sail the Gulf and around Florida to avoid this hassle.

Were either of us true, raised on a boat, sailors, and had we already a right sized vessel for the journey (and the comforts our age requires?), stepping the mast to change bodies of water, shipping the mast south, and motoring most of the way, would not seem such a drag. But because we are starting fresh, as it were, we felt it made more sense to get ourselves into a vessel that started out as more of a "sailboat without a mast" to begin with.

Back to Wicked Pissah ...

Freeze and thaw of winter brought with it a soggy bottom, of the cabin sole that is. Apparently the cockpit drain in WP decided to fail. It filled with water and froze, then split in three places. So at the next thaw(s) the water, instead of draining out the transom, drained into the v-berth and then into the bilge and then finally started filling the cabin sole ( the floor inside the boat).

Unfortunately I did not discover this until my first (and as it turned out only) prospective buyer wanted to see the boat. He had learned to sail on the very same type of boat a dozen years earlier and fortunately wanted the head room below that this particular boat had. I let him down below before I went down. He found himself standing on several inches of ice. WHAT???

Sure enough. The cracked cockpit drain hose, which happens to pass through the v-berth, leaked enough over the ensuing weeks to start filling the cabin. Yup, another leak. This time from above.

To make a long story short I set about thawing the frozen water in the bottom of the boat with a propane heater and used the bilge pump to remove the water. Obviously I replaced the cockpit drain (West Marine) hose before starting this. As the days passed and the temps increased and the ice thawed it raised the humidity in the cabin and started mold to growing on all of the organic surfaces.

As there is no electricity at the storage site I had to come up with another option for absorbing the moisture in the air. That is when I discovered Damp-Rid. Deciding that was too expensive to use that approach for the amount of moisture I was dealing with I decided to find out what is the active ingredient. Turns out it's just calcium chloride. Tiny little white balls of salt sometimes used to melt ice on drives and walks. You can buy it by the 40 pound bag at home improvement stores for about $10 (has to be pure stuff, not a blend). I placed 5 paint bucket liners around the cabin with a few inches of salt in each. It did the job nicely. I then set about cleaning all the surfaces and soon Wicked Pissah was back in ship shape.

My buyer did leave me with a deposit contingent upon my completed restoration work and proof that the boat was completely functional with a test drive in the spring. Which as you might have guessed, went fine.

In the end, our sailing and boat ownership education cost us about $1500. Not bad for learning that we really don't want to use a sail boat to circumnavigate the Great Loop.

NEXT: From Sailing the Air to Airstreaming.

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