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The Hunky Dory
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The dory that could sail an ocean!

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The Hunky Dory at Shoreline Lake in Mtn. View

This 16 foot home built dory has been a great intro into sailing. These boats have been around in one form or the other since before the 1800's and possibly earlier. The Hunk Dory was built as a class project at a local high school in the early 1980's. The teacher had it on the SF bay for several years and then sold it to the gentleman I bought it from, Don. He had put up a 3 x 5 card advertising a wooden sailing dory for sale. At the time I was looking for a small sailboat (read: inexpensive) and this one fit the bill. For $450 I would get the boat, the trailer and a 505 rig with jib. There must be something wrong with this boat if it's that cheap, I thought. But what the heck, I called the number. Don lived a few miles away in Fremont so I went over for a visual inspection. He pulled off the cover and here was an amazing boat that could take me on a wonderful journey. It was constructed of marine plywood and looked like a well built craft. It would need a paint job, Don said. Not knowing a thing about painting a boat, I said I would like to take it to the lake to see if it floats. He assured me it would but still followed me down and set it in Lake Elizabeth. Connor (three at the time) and I jumped in and went for a row. It floats! Only a few small leaks. So I went home and convinced my wife it was a great buy and the end of January 1998 we purchased the vessel. I was excited and couldn't wait to get her out even though she needed paint real bad. I took her over to the closest ramp I could find. Only two miles away and there is a small tidal slough called Newark Slough near the Dumbarton Bridge. I got her to the ramp and it was steep. Backed her down and decided to let roll off thrailer freely. Bad idea. As she came off the trailer, the rope disconnected from the the trailer winch and off she went into the water. The tide was flooding and there she goes down the slough! My new boat is drifting up stream all by herself. What a way to begin with my first boat. Fortunatly the slough had a bend and I was able to get down to her and retrieve her. Went for a little row and got her back safely. Whew! Next was the painting. After speaking to several folks at West Marine it was obvious I needed to strip everyting off and redo her completly. Removing old paint is not easy!!! I spent about two months during my spare time just removing the old stuff. Had I only known how tuff it would be. Then I had to sand everything down, oh my! Then came the primary and secondary coats, more sanding and finally she was ready to sail in mid May. I called Don and asked him to show me the ropes (so to speak). He met me back at Lake Elizabeth and was very pleased with my paint job. We took a spin on the lake and before long I had the hang of it. Next up was the big launch date and the party to celebrate. I invited about 10 friends to join me for the first official sail of the Hunky Dory over Memorial Day weekend. They met me at a local logoon over in Redwood Shores. We gathered with food and fermented beverages for the occasion. We set up the boat and then hand launched her from the beach off the trailer. All was good so far. I invited a windsurfing friend to join me for the first run. We got out and did a short tack or two and he was excited. This is cool. We tacked again and the jib sheet got tangled. I was focusing so hard on this when a gust of wind caught us and before you could say Helm's alee we were in the drink! Luckely we were in four feet of water and near shore. The only damage was to my pride. We emptied the boat and I took out my good friend Frank next (very reluctantly on his part I might add). We sailed out to the main portion of the lagoon on a reach and we were flying in no time. Frank is digging it and I am talking away as we approach the bridge. Not thinking wether the mast will fit under this bridge, we continue and as we go under I look up and realize that this could be close. No matter, we go under and no problemo. Back at the beach I ask if anyone else would like to go for a sail. No takers after the tip over. Oh well, their loss. Since then, I have taken her up to Lake Tahoe,to many of the lakes in the Bay Area and out on the bay in winds up to 25 knots. This boat is amazing. I have also had up to five passengers on board for sails. My favorite place to take her is Lake Del Valle in Livermore. What a beatiful lake. I have been there for day sails and several camping trips with the boat. Last year Sierra and I were out in the Newark Slough and a photographer was out and took two color pics of us that ended up in the local paper. Don even saw it and called to congratulate me. What a cool boat. And I have read that these open boats have even crossed the Atlantic several times. Now there is an adventure for you (no you, not me!). Went out this past weekend 12-22-02 for a classic sail at Quarry Lakes and had a ball. I hope to have her for a long, long time! Wanted to add an interesting finding to the problem of leaks on a wooden boat. I was reading Sailing the Reefs by Moitessier and he found a cool way to stop leaks. He sunk his boat on a reef in the middle of nowhere in the early 1950's. In order to get off the island he had to build another boat from scratch. After many months it was ready to go in the water. It had lots of small leaks so he threw a bunch of saw dust into the water and viola! The leaks sucked the sawdust into the holes and swelled to stop the water in its tracks. Since the Hunky lives on a trailer, I put 5 gallons of water in and throw in some saw dust and I have stopped 90% of the leaks! I have to do this each time I go sailing because the saw dust dries and stops doing it's job. Thank -you Bernard!!!

Captain Craig on a sunset cruise!
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