HOMESometime in late 1998, I drove from Northern Virginia to the Chesapeake Eastern Shore to look at a Westie that’d been sitting almost 15 years, waiting… Capella, Hull #425, was in rough shape. Her third owner had the best of intentions to restore her and had gone to the trouble of ripping everything out – plumbing, electrics, rusty engine, water and fuel tanks. The wooden mast was warped, having been improperly stored with only one end blocked up for over a decade. There were no deck drains so rain would need to rise to the level of the hawsepipes to drain. The teak decks were crunchy indicating the underlying sealant had dried past critical. UV had pretty much destroyed the plastic ports, allowing water to drip inside (the butcher block galley countertops had come unglued). the bilge had a foot of standing water in it and I swore I saw fish in the murk. The interior was a depressing dark cave of varnished wood. The foredeck was a goner after water had worked its way past the old caulk at the sampson posts, and the teak turtle – well, don’t step there! The cabin top was covered in old Treadmaster but peeling at the edges. After poking about for an hour or two and making mental lists of things that would need to be replaced, restored, rebuilt and/or refurbished, I declined the opportunity. A month later, the owner called me and told me he’d just bought an in-the-water Westsail and asked if I’d be interested in making an offer. I hesitated, gave him a number, and the rest is history.

For all intents, Capella was a bare hull. She’d been barely built by a fellow in North Carolina as a weekend retreat and launched on Lake Norman. Owners Two added an engine and sails and enjoyed her for a few years on the lake. Owner Three let her sit. Owner Four (me) took a pig’s ear and made an expensive pig’s ear.

Here’s more shots I took to reinforce my decision to take a pass. There are no photographs of the decision to buy – it just sort of happened…


GALLEY3  HEAD1looking aftSALONsole_in VBERTH







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