I lived in either apartments of on my own boats for about 15 years in Marina del Rey, Ca.

During that time I owned  several different sail boats. 

  1. The first was a 26ft home built plywood "Thunderbird".  The Thunderbird was originally sold in Popular Mechanics as a build it yourself set of plans.  The two guys who cam e up with the original concept and plans got such a demand to actually start building them they opened their own Thunderbird factory in Oregon.  It had been owned by a manager at eth Pontiac Firebird factory in Van Nuys, Ca.  He took the boat into the factory and had one of the most beautiful pain jobs I have ever seen on a boat.  It even went down below the waterline to the keel.  Being  a hard chine the boat heeled over and showed her great under water paint work.  I owned her for about 3 year during which time I sailed her to Catalina Island several times, mostly solo, and she was my introduction to the "beer-can" racing series at Cal Yacht Club.
  2. Morgan 38 - which was previously owned by a father who let his son live on the boat while he was in college.  I owned this boat in partnership with my (then) girlfriend Glenda who turned into a class-A... well need I say anymore... but she is long gone and I have moved on.  The Morgan has a huge interior that was very male (black and brushed aluminum) with a big V-Berth and a 1.4 berth that was an entire private room that you could stand up in.  It had a huge 4 cylinder diesel engine and sailed sideways very well, but wouldn't point into the wind to save a life.  The boat had a shoal keel, that means it didn't really have a keel but had huge billets of led (4 large 2ft round ingots) built into the keel space.  Over the couple of years I had the boat I worked with Catalina Yachts, who now owned the rights to the Morgan boats, to rake the mast back so I could get the boat to point better and add a bit of speed to her.  Oh, and she had a huge 6ft+ freeboard and a lazerette that was so big I could stand up in it and close the hatch, it was like having an apartment down below.
  3. Choi-Lee "Lion" 36ft full keel sloop named "Simba" that was a pet project boat.  I had always loved wooden boats and their gracious lines.  I bought this 1960 Lion from a wife, son and daughter who's father could not sail her any more because he had a stroke and were selling her out from under him.  Oh, and it had sunk in the slip a year or so before I got her.  I spent the next year and a half every day and weekend sanding and varnishing and painting every nook and cranny of that boat.  But when I sailed her to the Isthmus, Catalina almost every time at least on power boat would haul on past me then come to a grinding halt turn around and do a couple of circles around me taking pictures and giving me a wave and thumbs up.  She was a looker that was for sure.
  4. Islander 36 - "Mouse Pad"  I still had "Simba" up for sale at the time when a friend called and said he just saw an Islander for sale at a great price.  I jumped in the car and drove over to Del Rey Yacht Club, where she was berthed.  took a long hard look at her and chatted with her owner and made him an offer without taking her for a sea-trial.  We agreed on a price then I had to have all the money to him by 11:30 the next day or he was selling to another buyer who was standing outside with cash in hand.  He had ordered a new Morgan 45 from the factory and Morgan lost their sales to the Moorings who switched from Morgan to ?????.  So Morgan was stuck with 6 yachts ready to deliver and no buyers, so they started making calls and was offering the current floor plan but instead of about $145.000 each they were offering current order customers for $95,000.00 A deal that could not be refused.  Of course I made it there before the deadline, but only by a few minutes.  Mouse Pad became my home and lover for the next 15 years.  I always felt safe and comfortable with this boat and she returned the feeling in like.  This is the boat that I sailed over 16,000 nautical miles under her keel without a moment of fear.  I loved sailing her, she was a rigid built glass fiber that sailed straight and narrow and pointed up to about 28 degrees on a good day.  I never regretted a moment of having "Mouse Pad", I still get choked up when I think about her.  They say the happiest day of every mans life is the day they buy and the day they sell their boat.  Not so for me Buying her was one of the happiest days but selling her was the saddest day of my life and to be honest I still cry over not keeping her and getting my butt in gear and back out on the water.  Maybe I can buy a small power boat to get my out there again.  Please see the Mouse Pad web site for a complete history of her and all the incredible place she let me sail her too.
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Posted by PJS Tuesday, June 2, 2015 3:01:00 PM Categories: Boats Sail Boat South Pacific
(c)1995-2016 Phillip J. Seaman
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I am not sure where these memories should fall with the context of any of my writings so as I they come to mind I will jot them down here and maybe some day they will make there way into the main body of work.  Until then please enjoy my ramblings...


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I hope you enjoyed reading these ramblings and will check back often as more little things come to mind and I jot them down here.