First things first, a bath, a scrubbing, and an inspection were in order. An initial scraping of the keel hull was essential to remove all sorts of bizarre sea growth that had taken residence on her. Once she was clear of most of that I was able to powerwash her hull with evident success.
While I had not intended to erase her boot strip, it lifted off effortlessly with the powerwash and left the ablative red paint and a bit of the underlying grey base paint evident on her hull. Too she showed layers of others' labors over the years and like a mystery unfolding revealed that there was much more work to do, and much life left in this Cape Dory.
In a telling photo the hull reveals both the residue and the clean hull after the wash:
We had thought we'd name her Baby Halcyon at one time. But that was early in our relationship with her. Time and work on the vessel has had an effect on us. The closer we get to the Dory the more we begin to think she's got a name we're trying to discover. And besides the fact that later on we find 2 names on her transom, we realize that the name is more the relationship we have with her than "the name" she ought always to have had. So for now, before she becomes Baggy Wrinkles, she is La Belle Vie.
Intro to the Cape Dory
Time and weather had taken their toll on La Belle Vie, but underneath the grey teak and the dusty fiberglass deck was a sturdy sailing vessel that was soon to undergo sea trials. Just another lesson for us all that have long since been seduced by all things digital, that there are some things that get better over time, although old and out of production, this Dory is a bit of living history. She doesn't beep and click when you touch her but she touches you when you get close to her. She draws you in to her history and makes you feel alive again. And if she can do that, she's more magical perhaps than historical!