Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Louis's new sailboat

Louis's 1979 CS 27
While we were in Isla Mujeres, Teresa and Louis, the wonderful couple who own and manage the Color de Verano apartments where we always stay, mentioned that Louis had just bought a fixer-upper sailboat. It had been moldering for more than five years at Oscar's Marina, just a few doors down from where they live on Laguna Macax. According to Oscar, the owners had sailed the boat, a 1979 CS 27, from Ontario, Canada, where it was originally built, through the St. Lawrence Seaway, down the eastern seaboard, and across the Gulf of Mexico to Isla Mujeres--quite the adventure in a 27-foot boat! They left the boat behind when they returned to Canada and eventually stopped paying the dockage fees. Oscar claimed ownership and sold the boat to Louis at a very good price.

Louis and Nan in the cabin of Louis's 1979 CS 27
The boat was not exactly sail-ready, but Louis needed only to motor about a hundred yards farther into the lagoon to tie it up at his own pier and begin what will be an elaborate refitting project. But Louis, an expatriate from France, is an artist and a master craftsman, with the skills to turn the little sailboat into a work of art. He designed and built both of the art deco Color de Verano buildings, the one next to Jax Bar and Grill downtown and the one where he and Teresa, who is originally from Mexico City, live on Laguna Macax, including all of the beautiful wooden furniture that each contains. At one time, he owned a furniture factory in Cancun, but he is mostly retired now, with plenty of time to put into the refit.

'Ain't it the truth?!' / CS 27's manufacturer's plate
Nan and I agreed to meet Louis at his home one morning during our recent stay to see the boat and discuss his plans for it. When he led us out back to his pier, we were surprised to see the boat in better shape than he had described. The worst thing about it was the three or four inches of marine growth on the hull. Louis said he planned to haul the boat out and address the hull situation later, but first he wanted to do all the work he could right at his own pier. We stepped aboard and started taking note of all the repair issues. The boat looked like it had been subjected to some heavy dock thrashing, as there was some fiberglass damage along the rails, a few of the life line stanchions were bent or missing, and the stern arch, which had once been the mount for the boat's solar panels, was mostly destroyed. None of this dampened Louis's enthusiasm. He fired up the diesel engine for us, and it hummed like it had been well maintained, not neglected for years. Then he led us down into the compact cabin to show us all the nifty design features built into the interior. He explained how he was going to spruce things up to make them as comfortable as possible so that Teresa would be willing to do overnight sailing trips to Cancun and other destinations with him. He was excited by the possibilities that the little CS 27 opened up for them, but he confided that his long-term dream is to get the boat into tip-top shape, sail it locally for a year or two, and then upgrade to a larger boat with a greater range.

Louis, we wish you the best of luck with your refitting project! We can't wait to see the results the next time we visit your island paradise!

No comments: