Catalina's New Home

     A functional sailboat comprises of several integrated systems. Their efficiency enables the flotation and transport of a comfortable living space across the water’s surface. System maintenance requires a wide range of skill-sets and a variety of tools.

     In his book, “Fix it and Sail,” Brian Gilbert details the renovation of a 1972 MacGregor 222, and recommends preparing an alternative work-space. Working in the boat’s cockpit, on deck, or down below is not always a viable option.I understood the necessity for a workshop.

     First, I considered our basement, which is warm in the winter and stays cool in the summer. With a 7 ft. high ceiling and floor space of around 1,100 sq ft. (the size of a decently sized bungalow), it satisfied my self-inflated ego. However, we currently use 300 sq ft. as a home office. We have a small laundry area, a 20 ft. x 12 ft. yoga and exercise room complete with a kick bag, martial arts equipment and a flat-screen TV on the wall. My wife uses the rest of the space as a multi-media artist’s studio. A lot goes on in our basement. I thought better of sharing my latest idea.

Chickens     For several years we kept chickens in a coop. Since all six of the birds stopped laying about a year ago,  I mulled the idea of re-purposing their home.  Within the structure’s 24′ run I could store the Catalina’s mast, keeping it mostly under cover. Then, similar to a kitchen on a teardrop camper-trailer, I imagined a drop-down, pull-out workbench for the side of the coop. The chickens would have to go, I decided. However, I didn’t have the heart for butchering the “girls,” so the structure remains as it is: an assisted-living facility for old hens. We nicknamed the chicken coop, “Government House.”

     Finally, I addressed the possible remodeling of our neglected, and over-filled Spacemaker  shed. Almost every year, we speculated upon its fate. “It would make a great tiny house,” my wife said. Situated a little more than fifty feet from our house beyond a large wooden deck with a fire pit, converting the shed into a human habitat required more work than I could imagine. Besides, my “tiny house” was a sailboat now, and a workshop only needs electricity. This time, necessity moderated our high expectations, and with 160 sq ft available the shed matched my new-found modesty. 

     Buying the Catalina 25 was ambitious, but then so were many other things I enjoyed in my life. I made a living from writing music and settled here in the United States. I married an Irish-American woman and love her unconditionally. I fathered my son and encouraged my step-son, both of whom became exceptional young men. Each experience enriched my life beyond my imagination. When I took on a challenge, it altered my perspective and many times resulted in success.

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     Admittedly, a few of my quests didn’t go as expected and the odd one brought me to tears, but at this stage of the game, accommodating the boat and converting the shed was a win-win opportunity for everyone. I designed two new electrical circuits, one for the deck and another for the new workshop. In my view, the wiring project killed two birds with one stone; much better I thought than lopping off the heads of six aging hens with an axFor now, at least, the chickens are safe, and according to my wife, since I started this project I am “much easier to live with.” So, I wondered. Am I fixing the Catalina or is “she” fixing me? I look forward to reading your comments.

Until then, have a great week!


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