The Columbia 29 Tranquility arrives in Brunswick

While on their way south for the winter, Kate and Fabio stopped in Brunswick aboard the 1965 Columbia 29 MKI cutter Tranquility that they had recently purchased a year earlier in Fairhaven, MA. The C29MKI is of a similar design and era to Atom. Their boat has electric propulsion provided by a 48v inboard motor and 240 AH battery bank. We met through this website and communicated a few times by email during their initial fitting out. As new owners of an old boat with an extensive list of planned upgrades, the couple wisely decided to tackle just the essential jobs and then get sailing as the icy gales of winter chased them south.

Kate and Fabio decided to winter over here in Brunswick, which led to finding a job ashore and then extending their stay through 2014. Meanwhile, Fabio has helped me with several boat jobs as they continue the refit of Tranquility. They have an insightful blog of their travels and life afloat at Just Squidding.

"What have we gotten ourselves into?"
The Columbia 29 Tranquility, in Fairhaven.

Allied Seawind 30 Update

Another sailing friend on the move this year is Brian aboard his Allied Seawind 30 sloop, Dawn Treader. Brian took an extended leave from his job working in the control rooms of oil platforms in the Gulf Of Mexico in order to complete a major refit of Dawn Treader. Jobs done include new paint, sails, rigging, building a two-part nesting dinghy, and all the rest of the uncountable details involved in preparing a boat for a long voyage. This year he undertook a successful Atlantic circle cruise from Brunswick, GA to Bermuda, Azores, Madeira, Canaries, Cape Verde and the trade wind run back across the Atlantic to the West Indies. We look forward to seeing him next Spring when he returns to the U.S. East Coast.

Brian and Dawn Treader in Brunswick, GA
Dawn Treader sailing towards Bermuda.


Alberg 30 Launched

This summer we completed the refit of a friend's 1968 Alberg 30, Bells. The owner, Tim, a financial advisor from Boston, had commissioned us to completely rebuild the boat, combining his specific plans for modifications along with ideas inspired by alterations and improvements we recently completed on Atom and other boats. Bells was launched a bit too late in the summer to allow us time to order new sails and dodger and sail her up to Boston this year as was planned, so in October the boat was loaded on a trailer for transport home to new England. Highlights of the completed project are covered in the following video clips:

Refit (Exterior and Sailing) - Part One

Refit (Interior) - Part Two

The Alberg 30 Bells ready for launch.
Sailing with the owner on the Georgia ICW.
Alberg 30 Bells moored in GA before new
sails and canvas are added.
The tilt-up outboard well on Alberg 30 Bells.


Another Albin Vega

A few years ago we had assisted an owner of an Albin Vega 27 with fitting out his boat. That boat was sailed locally here by the owner for a year until his Navy job transferred him and the boat to Norfolk. This summer I was contacted by Richard, the owner of another Vega, named Alpha Lira. His boat was in Charleston and he was looking for a place to do some upgrades to enable him to make extended offshore passages. Since my trailer and shed were available after the Alberg 30 was launched, I met him with my trailer at Ft McAllister Marina, near Savannah, and hauled the Vega back to our shed. This is the same marina where Atom was hauled in 2010. Because the facility uses a rail-mounted lift instead of a travel-lift, and caters normally to launching fishing boats directly on and off the owner's trailers, they charge as little as $50 to haul our small sailboats.

Ever since Alpha Lira arrived at our shed, Richard has been doing most of the work himself with some consulting and hands-on assistance from me as needed. Plans are for the boat to be completed and launched in spring 2015.

The Albin Vega 27 Alpha Lira


Atom is launched

In November we finally launched Atom after an on and off refit during the past four years. Those years raced by as we busied ourselves with many tasks: other sailors and their boats came and went, I completed my first book, bought and sailed an F-27 and later an F-24 trimaran, and struggled with an ongoing tick bite illness. I must have worked on a hundred other boats and projects during that time, while Atom waited patiently in her shed. Eventually, bit by bit, I tackled the numerous jobs on the boat in my spare time. My vision of Atom's latest reincarnation came to reality after a final months-long push to complete her painting and reassembly. Because I didn't need two boats in the water at the same time, I brought my F-24 home on her trailer for the winter.

A friend gets a shot of Atom as he sails by in
St Simons Sound. December 2014


Since Atom's launch, we've been out on a few local daysails, while I continue to finish off the final details on her dwindling job list, such as ordering new sails, canvas and cushions. Now that Atom is afloat, Mei and I look forward to another sail through the Bahamas. Beyond that we don't have any plans for a particular voyage. But it's nice knowing the boat is ready when we are.

Because we needed a new and lighter dinghy, I designed and built my own 6-foot fiberglass/plywood pram. I also designed a stretched out 6'6" version that I built for an Alberg 30 owner. A detailed description of the Atom 6.5 dinghy and complete plans are available at the link below:

Build the Atom 6.5 Dinghy

Now that Atom is in the water, I decided to sell her trailer to the owner of a Seafarer 26. Using my F250 pickup, I hauled the trailer up to the Chesapeake. There I loaded the Seafarer and delivered boat and trailer to Kansas where her owner plans to refit the boat in his backyard during the coming year.

After 10 years running our boat repair business in Brunswick, during the next year we look forward to semi-retirement. We will still accept a few jobs that are interesting to us, including consulting and local sail training for customers, but plan to take more time for sailing Atom and other interests.So far, semi-retirement in my case means I've figured out a way to work just as hard for a lot less money!

Since my first book came out a few years ago, describing my first solo circumnavigation, many people have let me know how much the story inspired them and have asked me for a follow-up book. That next book is now more than half complete and I plan to publish it in the coming year.

Launching Atom in November 2014
View of Atom's outboard well.
Atom at her slip in Brunswick, GA before
her new sails arrived.
December 2014. James at ease aboard Atom.

Video tours of the completed Atom refit:

  1. Pearson Triton Atom Refit Part 1 (interior)

  2. Pearson Triton Atom Refit Part 2 (exterior)