Back to Sailing in the Golden Isles

Rob & Dilys bought another boat !!!

We had been looking for a new sailboat for about a year. We sailed the West Coast of Florida for about 10-years, sailing a shoal draft Hunter 31 which was fine for the shallow waters of the Gulf. We sold her in late 2008.

Since that time we have had a second 18' Hobie Cat, a 15' Glastron Ski Boat and a 24' Bayliner 2452. All were nice boats but they were not a Blue Water sailboat with enough space for 4 or 5 people, to spend 2 or 3 weeks up in the Chesapeake Bay or down in the Florida Keys.

A Floating Vacation Home

Lake Hartwell or the Caribbean?

During last winter we started thinking about buying a vacation home in the Carolinas. We go to Carolina Shag Dance Events 3 or 4 times a year, and often meet family and friends there. Lake Hartwell looked promising and a lake-front cottage can be had for $150,000 +/-. We have had 2nd homes in the past and always found ourselves doing yard and house work, rather than getting the R&R.

Having owned vacation homes and sailboats that were a 4 - 5 hour drive away we decided that a close at hand vacation home was better. If we kept a sailboat at St Simons Island we would pass it every week on the way to Ziggy Mahoney's, it would become a regular part of our lifestyle to use and enjoy.

Our timetable for the future is quite relaxed. We think that Years 2 and 3 will be required for a comprehensive refit. By Years 4 and 5 we expect to take in the Florida Keys, and maybe up the intercoastal to the Carolinas. From year 5 forward we should have sufficient knowledge to take on the Caribbean and particularly the Exumas.

Sailing Rua Fiola with a Crew of 2

4 Sails and Self Tacking

We chose a cutter ketch because with 4 sails to choose from, the right sail management plan can be adopted for any wind strength between 5 and 25 knots without the need to reef sails. Above or below that, a 75HP diesel does the job.

Roller Furling on both the Head Sail and Jib plus the Main and Mizzen should make the boat easy to handle in most weather conditions. Add to that, by making the Jib self tacking relieves the constant work of sheeting the sail to Port and Starboard as you make way windward. Power winches for Jib, Main and Mizzen will be a necessary retro-fit, as the current sails will task even a 40 year old to raise or lower manually.

... GPS, Radar, Wind, Autohelm ...

A critical part of safe sailing is the full complement of electronic navigation instruments. Rua Fiola is well complemented in this respect. She has state of the art Garmin GPS, True and Apparent Wind Speed / Direction, Full Depth Sounding, 24 mile range Radar and Automatic Identification System (AIS). She has EPIRBS for overwhelming danger and a 6 person life-raft with which to abandon ship.

A Personal Journey

... finding workable solutions ...

The sailing community is a sociable and friendly place. Good Marinas and Yards are easy to find based on their reputations as expressed by other sailors. Skilled marine trades and technicians are found in good places and we already have a growing list of people willing to help us on this next voyage.

Dilys and I tend to be Producers rather than Consumers. The essential purpose of this site was help us to prepare and do a major refit. Because we are old - 75 yrs+ we suffer from failing memory, thus to maintain and keeping a complex boat operational, requires always having at hand - good documents.

The site is quite viewable on an iPad, but to examine the CAD PDF's requires a PC plus a 22"+ monitor, allowing Zoom levels up to 1,000%.

Rua Fiola ~ Using this Site

The web site portrays the state of Rua Fiola up to current. As the first 18 months were all about starting in on a major refit, most of the web pages detail this. A good place to start is the Work Plan menu as its pages give a description of thoughts or reasoning on how we were going to approach the various ship board systems. The ships log gives the month by month activity of this major refit. At times when we get depressed with jobs still ahead we do look back through the log to rebuild our sense of accomplishment.

... Rua Fiola at the Dock ~ August 2014

We keep a CAD drawing up to date of the changes we are making. For the purposes of the site we reduce various layer of the CAD database to individual PDF's for viewing with nothing but a web browser on-line, but it takes a large monitor (22"+) to be able to see thing in sufficient detail. We keep everything about the boat, including this site on a memory stick, so at any time we can use CAD or a browser to view content when no Internet is available.

Live Aboard ~ On the Hook

We have been asked whether Rua Fiola would be suitable for a couple to live aboard while on the hook for extended periods. We do know that she spent almost 2 years off the coast of Venezuala and we took this into account as we developed the Refit Plan. You can find a Refit Plan PDF for On the Hook ~ Cruise & Live detailing additional work required. It is also in the Passages Chapter under Offshore to the Caribbean side menu.

While we included this in our plans, we realized that at our advancing age we were not likely to exchange 4,000 sqft of home residence for 400 sqft on board for much more then 4 or 5 days at a time. Never the less, the additional work and $ required are found in the PDF.

Rua Fiola ~ Facts and Figures

She's a Blue Water Boat and can cross Oceans

When we bought the first Rua Fiola in St Petersburg there was a large 51' Cutter Rigged Ketch for sale called Heritage. It was $170,000 and way out of our price range. It had armchairs, a salon that converted to a dance floor and a walk-in engine room ... it made quite an impression ... one day!!! If you have ever seen the movie Captain Ron, Heritage was a very similar boat.

The classic ketch designs all hail from a design period between the 1970 and 1980's. George Stadel III designed the Vagabond 42 and a larger Mariner 48 which had nearly everything the Heritage offered but in a better size for short handed sailing. It was easy to look on-line for a classic ketch, and we found about 5 or 6 between Maryland and Florida, but only two Vagabond 42's.

Rua Fiola is a 5 year major project which balances needs to Execute and Enjoy.