Over the winter and spring, the pages of PropTalk have included three installments about the refit of a long-neglected Legacy 32 by a perhaps slightly delusional new owner: me. What follows is the final installment of this rehab tale. 

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In the paint shop at Haven Harbour Marina.

The goal of the refit was the transformation of an ugly duckling to the proverbial beautiful swan. Initially all the work was to be done over the winter, while trying to not break the bank. Spoiler alert: we went a little over budget and the coronavirus pandemic slowed us down a bit. 

The freshly painted boat was launched from the paint shop at Haven Harbour Marina just before the Independence Day holiday. She had a few little things to finish up before her first cruise but approached what building architects and generalcontractors would call “substantial completion.”

Here are the headlines: Thanks to the Coronavirus related shutdowns, we are almost two months behind schedule. The boat looks amazing! There are a lot of quality craftswomen and craftsmen from around the Bay to thank. 

Let’s talk paint! 

After consultations during the October boat shows, I chose Haven Harbour Marina to restore the hull with Flag Blue Awlcraft 2000. This paint and color were intended to be the most significant visual step in the transition from neglected to Bristol.

After adjusting to the pandemic shutdown, the boat arrived at Haven Harbour Marina for her trip to the paint shop on the last day in May. Dockmaster and director of service operations, Greta Sommers, met me at the slip and went over the work plan with me. Every few days after, we talked or emailed. Of course, the work list grew (we are talking about a boat after all). 

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The freshly painted boat launched from the paint shop at Haven Harbour Marina. Photo courtesy of Haven Harbour Marina

The paint shop pros, Ricky Nordhoff and Tony Brilz, stripped or covered with painter’s tape everything from the rub rail to the water line. They also covered the deck and cabin house in plastic. After that, on went several different coats of primers and topcoats of color. Who knows how much sanding went on in between? 

The first photos back from Greta made me think about all the work to restore her hull luster. I saw photos from her in several shades of primer, including a grey that made her look like a PT boat. There were nine coats of paint altogether: three high build primer, three regular primer, and three flag blue topcoat.

When she sent photos of the flag blue final coat, I thought they were files from the wrong boat. Only after connecting in my head that the bottom paint color and boat profile matched our boat did it sink in that this was our boat. What a shine!

So, you know when you paint one room and the next one suddenly looks dingy? Well the fresh and perfect blue hull virtually screamed at the chalky and stained white gelcoat on the deck and cabin house. It was Haven Harbour to the rescue again as crewmate Bobby Fisher went about removing stains and left-over varnish drops, followed by aggressive compounding and waxing. Hours of labor later we discovered that the gelcoat was actually a cream color, not sun-bleached white. Who knew?    

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L to R: Mary Begley and Stephanie Feild of Custom Canvas Coverings, and Joe Reid of Mast and Mallet. In this photo they are hanging the canvas for the first time.

Launch came at the end of June. At about 9 a.m. on a warm sunny morning I proudly motored out of Swan Creek headed for the open Bay. As I did, I just knew everybody was admiring my new looking and #beautiful boat. Then she overheated.

As I watched the temperature gauge climb beyond normal, I made a quick U-turn and headed for the mooring field at neighboring Swan Creek Marina. I shut the engine down and drifted down on a mooring ball, snagging it from the stern. I then called Greta for a tow back to Haven Harbour and a new service request.

At the dock, Bill Neff, the service manager, met me and directed one of his mechanics to determine the problem. Turns out the impeller was fried and needed replacement. Loyal readers will recall in an earlier installment how I fried the impeller by starting off with the seacocks closed. I promise you that this time they were open!

Bill’s theory is that there was an airlock in the engine raw water intake system left over from the time in the paint shop. The impeller was not quite able to overcome it and gave up. 

In the old days, an impeller could last for years and suffer massive neglect. I am not sure I ever replaced the one on my old sailboats. Clearly, we need to be able to expect more from our impellers! 

So, anyway, impeller replaced and cooling water flowing, I was off to my next appointment on the #beautiful trail. It was time to stop in and see Stephanie Feild, owner of Custom Canvas Coverings, and her co-worker Mary Begley for the final canvas installations.    

The canvas plan for the boat is what I call a “half a pup tent.” Those of you who served in the Boy Scouts, or camped as a kid, will best relate to this analogy. The canvas will slope from the cabin top to the transom. It will come with zippered-in sides that are essentially the tent flaps. The flaps will come in two flavors: full enclosure and screen. As an added bonus, the aforementioned sloped piece will double as a sun awning. 

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Winsome Winn at her home dock.

Stephanie and Mary met me at Mears Point Marina in Kent Narrows and made quick work of the final canvas install. They are such a good team. Given the banter between them as they completed the install, it is clear they enjoy their work together.  

On that leg, the broker who sold us the boat, Tom Jones, ventured out in one of his boats and met me as I entered the Narrows. Tom wanted some on-the-water photos and otherwise to see for himself the duckling/swan transition. He was all smiles.

Canvas work complete, the boat arrived home, maybe 90 percent done. I have some work to do (this may be an understatement). The most critical is the repair or replacement of the built-in coffee maker. This is actually a crisis of mammoth proportions. Unless and until I can have morning coffee she is not certified to cruise.

Let’s talk about $$$$$$.  

The initial decision on purchase price of this boat was based on what turned out to be a fairly realistic set of estimates of the costs to bring her back to her glory. After considering the market value for sisterships in much better shape and the costs of the rehab, we set the purchase price at $150,000 and the refit budget at $100,000. The logic in this was that the market value for a well-cared for Legacy 32 was around $250,000.  

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Winsome Winn was the name of my wife’s father’s B-17 from World War II. He was a 21 year old B-17 pilot and flew missions on Winsome Winn from September through December 1943. This is our fourth boat with that name.

As you can see from the expense graphic below, the total cost to date is $268,000. So, yes, we ended up over budget by about seven percent. The final total includes survey and taxes as well as dinghy, engine, and davits which were in the initial budget but may not be reflected in the market value.

]I take great comfort that we were not wildly over budget and that this Legacy 32 would now represent the top of the market with all her refit work. Please don’t burst my bubble!  

In the end, it was a worthwhile venture. I know the boat better for the refit. The cosmetics, electronics, and other key components are new or newly rebuilt. Most importantly, adventure awaits.  

There are a lot of highly skilled, innovative, and talented craftswomen and craftsmen available to us in the Bay region. Yes, they are sometimes also quirky and maybe overworked seasonally, but their skills shine through. I would do it again and be happy to have them as my partners in such an endeavor. 

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Restoration expenses.

By Mike Pitchford

To catch up on Part One in this restoration series, click to New Life for a Much-Neglected Legacy 32.