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How the Hole Thing Started | Pt 1 of Restoring Our Steel Boat

After six months of cruising, and seven months of owning a new to us Van De Stadt Norman 40, we hauled her out of the water in Nanaimo in October of 2021. At the time she was 25 years old and had already had quite the life. Built in Amsterdam in 1996, she sailed the Med for years before being brought over to Canada where she sailed the waters of the west coast from Vancouver Island to Alaska. She was capable, strong, but also showing some signs of rust and design flaws getting the best of her. In fact, in May of 2021 we had attempted to repaint her chain locker and instead ended up punching holes through the hull, which was far from ideal.

At the time we patched her up the best we could to keep cruising for the season, but knew that if we wanted to fix things properly we were going to have to haul out of the water and do some major work.

When October rolled around, we pulled her out not only with chain locker issues showing themselves, but also clear holes developing in the bulwarks. We didn't know how bad either project was going to be, but we did know it was going to take a few months for us to get it done.

Soon after we had her up on the hard, we became aware that a good chunk of the front of the boat was going to need to be cut off if we were going to do the repair work properly. We cut into the bulwarks to see how bad things were and it became apparent that they were also quite a bit worse than we had hoped and we were going to be in for some big repairs.

On top of that, the weather had been extremely windy and wet since the day after we lifted the boat (that fall/ winter actually set records for wind and rain) and due to the placement of the boatyard, doing the work we needed to do was going to be next to impossible.

So, soon we were on the hunt for a new place to put the boat to work on her. This wasn't an easy task, especially because the only truck on Vancouver Island that could move her was on the other end of the island and things were about to get even wetter, but we will get into that in the next blog post...

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