We first met Grace and her new owner back in November, so it’s high time for an update on these two mates.
To recap, Grace is a sweet Union 36 full keel cutter and her owner is Maria Naples, who bought the sailboat in Port Orchard a year ago while still living on the East Coast. Then, shortly after relocating to the Gig Harbor area from Massachusetts last November, Maria dove in with an active role working on her boat at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard.
“This is my baby,” said the first-time boat owner as work was getting under way last fall. “I have to learn how to take care of her.”
So she has been, working alongside experienced shipwright John Iverson — “a great teacher,” says Maria — the lead on the project of refurbishing Grace. Maria pitched in throughout the winter and into this spring as Iverson removed the cutter rig’s rotten deck core and rebuilt the deck using no-rot Coosa board, then laminated and fiberglassed over it.
“The decks were ripped out and totally redone,” Maria reminded me when I caught up with her this week. She was once again hard at work on her boat, and that day the boatyard crew was busy reinstalling Grace’s bowsprit.
“John supervised my sanding on the bowsprit for two months. Two months.” Maria said. “It needed a lot of tuning up and then Jason did the paint job on it.”
Next up for Grace, the boatyard crew will be looking into work needed in the engine room and on seacocks, with Senior Service Technician Chris Hawke also taking a look at the cutter’s through-hulls.
Each project completed gets Maria one step closer to her dream of living aboard and sailing in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. After a women’s sailing conference, a few cruising lessons and then a week of sailing in the San Juan Islands about four years ago, her course was set.
“I absolutely fell in love with it,” she said.
“This is my baby. I have to learn how to take care of her.” – Maria Naples
So she started watching listings to get a sailboat of her own. After years of searching for just the boat that met all her must-haves, the right one was found in far-away Port Orchard, Wash.
“So I came out here to sail Grace,” Maria said simply.
Read earlier blog on Grace and her owner.