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Showing posts from June, 2014

Bella Gets Wet

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Once I decided to leave the starter issue to later, I went to work on my other priorities. The mast went up, the rigging up and the boat was launched by the guys at Pier Milwaukee; a great boatyard. I had been calling around about getting a tow down to the McKinley Municipal Marina where I had reserved a slip. There is a dearth of tow boats in Milwaukee. I have tow insurance through Boat/US but their nearest franchise was in Kenosha, a good distance away. As a non-emergency tow I would responsible for half of the charges from Kenosha to me, the tow to the marina, and their trip back to Kenosha. Chris, the owner at Pier Milwaukee, suggested I talk to the boat next door. He had heard that they were going downriver to McKinley that evening.

When Bruce showed back up with his wife, son and dog along, it turned out that he was planning to piggyback on my appointment to get under the railroad bridge. Instead of following me through, I followed him because he agreed to tow me down to the m…

Greeting Bella

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I found Bella too soon in my plan. Without the help of my friend Nancy I wouldn't have been able to do the deal. Nancy is one of my oldest and dearest friends, so I was happy when we hatched a plan for her to give me a ride over to Milwaukee. She is important to the whole project and I wanted her there for the launch and to give her a ride on Bella. More on the lack of sailing later.
Back in April I ran over to Milwaukee to spend a long morning poking around Bella and doing some measurements. Mostly, I just wanted to spend some time with her again, but I did use the measurements to order a stove and some graphics for the stern. The logistics were easy when I was driving over and then back home again. It was more complicated when I needed to get to Milwaukee but then sail back to Michigan. Getting a ride solved that problem.
The rest of the plan got a little sideways. I planned spend a couple weeks in Milwaukee prior to Bella's launch. The first two weeks of June were to …

Meeting Bella

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As explained in a previous post, I didn't mean to find a boat so soon. But when I found s/v Bella on the Milwaukee Craigslist, she sounded too good to be true, but after talking to the owner for a while on the phone, she sounded more true than too good. I had to see her.

On a random Thursday last December, I was home for a couple days from my truck driving and arranged to meet the owner in Milwaukee on his lunch hour. It was 11 degrees in Hudsonville when I woke, 3 degrees in Milwaukee. By the time I drove through Chicago and around the lake to Milwaukee, it managed to get to 11 or 12 degrees there.

It was love at first sight. I struggled to not try and buy her right then. Bottom paint is made to wear off and most older used boats have a splotchy bottom as more paint was just splashed on. The previous owner (PO) was wet sanding the Bella's bottom paint every fall! From the water line down, she looked like a brand new boat.

Then looking up toward the deck, I saw double lifeli…