Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

My Introduction to Boat Restoration and Sailing:
The Even Song (1975-76)

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The next weekend we took Even Song up to Gloucester Harbor to check out our new hull restoration.  That's Rip, my yellow lab and all around boat wonderdog.  (Jul. 1976)

While Even Song still didn't have its mast restepped -- we were working on refinishing and upgrading it in an empty lot across from our dock -- we motored for the perfect July weekend.  Linda and Brad at the wheel, or above it.

My very first boat-lettering job!  Using my skill with an airbrush, self-taught while a student at Mass. College of Art, I added a sunset scene between the boat's name and home port.  We'd recently restored and refinished the mahogany transom.

Simultaneously during the same period, we'd removed the mast before hauling out, stripped off the old paint and completely refinished and re-outfitted it, including a lightening rod.  Shortly after re-launching the boat, we re-stepped the mast.  That's Jeff Lawton giving a hand to the crane operator's assistant, my then-girlfriend Monica looking on.  Jeff had moved aboard, intending to join the crew for our long-planned year's cruise to the Caribbean.  (Aug. 1976)

The crane operator's assistant, Jeff, Monica, and Jeff's girlfriend (Monica's apartment roommate) Karen.  Both ladies had decided to come along with us to the Caribbean in the late fall.

The following weekend we took Even Song out under full sail on a calm day, now coming close to fully-restored.

Under sail, photographed by me from the launch.

The Even Song crew and guests, from left to right:  Brad, and my then-girlfriend Monica at the rear; front left sitting is Shelby Jackson in the striped shirt (friend, not cruise crewmate), next Linda, Karen and Jeff.  That's Rip the Boatdog's backside between Jeff and his girlfriend Karen.

It was a picturesque and languid evening, with a perfect sunset to the west as a full moon rose over the horizon on the east.

The Shakedown Cruise

In late September, 1976 we took Even Song out for its  shakedown cruise.  We sailed it hard so that if something was going to break or let go, it'd do it then in Salem Sound, before we cast off within a month for our long-planned and worked for destination, the Caribbean.  (Sep. 1976)

Jim (foreground), a friend of Brad's family and reputed sailor of experience, agreed with Brad's father (commodore of the Beverly Power Squadron) to come along with us on the first leg of our cruise to the Caribbean.  He would accompany us as far as New York where he lived and would disembark.  He was to insure that we got off on the right foot, as none of us were experienced sailors.  Jim came up to have a look over Even Song and for this shakedown cruise, to give a hand putting it through its paces.

Pushing Even Song hard.  On a beam reach Even Song cooked right along without a problem other than a few adjustments and further tuning.

Linda, Brad's girlfriend, holds on to the pilot house overhead as she works on getting her sea legs, still considering whether she'll joining us for the upcoming big cruise.  In the end, she remained at home.

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