I had purchased this boat about twelve years ago from an local friend. Not knowing anything about sailboats other than having some first hand knowledge from my first and only season with a 16' Hobie Cat, I didn't really know what I was buying into until it was way too late to reverse course. I just remember that the basic problem with the Hobie Cat was that two people and a six-pack (ok, two or three six-packs) was pretty much a full boat. Oh, don't get me wrong; the hobie cat was a very cool first sailboat. It was fast and fun, and in a lot of wind, it was a real good time. But not very social, and not very practical for an "only" sailboat.
So after just one season we sold the Hobie Cat. My brother and I then just jumped into the first bigger boat that just happens to come our way. It just happened to be a 1972 South Coast 22, in reasonably poor to very poor condition. I didn't know the difference back then. My first indication that I may have just paid way too much for this boat and trailer was when I got a flat tire on the trailer before I even got the thing home for the first time. Now that I think about it, that was the fist of many times I spent on the side of the road for one reason or another. The very next thing I realized (upon closer inspection after getting her home) was that I needed to pretty much gut, and then replace the whole central interior and every thing under the rear deck from the front of the cotpit to the stern. I even had to replace the built-in cotpit transom before we could even use the boat.
How do you say, "Let the fun begin". I can still remember my neighbor (who was a sailor of big bucks) pulling up in his car up to the boat beside the garage on a hot August afternoon (after about three or four weeks of working on the boat), and playfully asking me, "So how do you like sailing so far?" Knowing I was still so far away from getting anywhere close to water, I remember, I didn't really think it was very funny at the time, but I have since developed a sense of humor about all things boat related. And so the journey began.
As it turned out, the boat that I had purchased was not just any South Coast 22, but one that has some major modifications by a previous owner. The major modifications that I refer to consisted of moving the swing keel and housing from inside the boat to under the boat, and moving the six hp Johnson outboard motor from the transom mount to a well installed in the stern of the cotpit. No small undertaking!
Besides providing a keel in the water even when the keel is completely up. Besides lowering the center of gravity an untold amount (substancial). Besides providing for a keel that when completely lowered pulls 8-9 feet of depth. Besides making the boat handle much better in all conditions. This change made this SC 22 increadibly seaworthy. I know because I have tested it, hard over a long period of time in many harsh conditions. This change also moved the keel housing out of the interior of the boat. This is also major! This allows for much easier movement around inside of the boat. It also makes the interior more spacious than it would outherwise be. This was in my eyes a major improvement over the way that the the boat was originally delivered by the manufacture. Not that the original boat was of weak design, I think the SC 22 to be a very sound design built with good strong materials, with great advantages and few weaknesses.
The other change that was almost as major as sticking the keel under the boat (but much less work), was relocating the motor from the transom mount to an in-the-cotpit, through-the-bottom of the boat motor well. This change made "El Corko" (the boat's original name) manuverable like no other boat in it's class. This allows you to steer with either the rudder or the motor or both (generating much emphisis in contorl as well as direction)! El Corko as recieved was able to spin 180 degrees within it's own boat length or do a 360 in just over a 25 foot diameter circle. My sailing friends use to tell me "Don't get used to this boat, all other sailboats don't handle this way". Well I have had "Kickback" for just about 15 years now, and I am completely spoiled with how well she handles weather docking, mooring, trailering or just running with the breeze.
I actually met this fellow (the original owner) many years after I had purchased the boat. I purchased "El Corko" down on the Chesapeak Bay from a local friend where I grew up. Many years later after I got married, relocated, had our first child, the original owner (the one who put the keel and keel trunk under the boat and relocated the original motor), as it turned out was a local parishiner. One day "Kickback" was parked in front of the garage on aSunday morning, and the original owner, his wife and family were on their way to the local church (right next door). He saw the boat sitting in the driveway and could not belive his eyes, there before him was his baby which he had sold many years before. He was completely sure that this was his boat because of the keel modification. She was definitely a one of a kind. We talked briefly, and then he went on his way. I would like to meet him again someday, I have so many questions I would have liked to ask him before he had disappeared. Anyway, in addition to the major keel housing and swing keel, he also rigged "El Corko" for a Genoa and Spinnaker. This was the boat that I had purchased almost fifteen years ago.
This is where "Kickback" spends most of her season on the Delaware River, the rest of her season in the club boatyard. I am and have been a regular member of QCYC for about 5 years now. The club is fairly close to home. It takes only a half hour car ride to get to the boat from home. The boat is already in the water, ready to go. Just hop on the tender for a short ride out to the mooring and you are ready to go, or not go, whatever! .
Delaware River has a fairly strong current and tide. At times the entire river
can rise and fall as much as 10 to 12 feet and run at 2 to 3 knots. The wind
(which can be very fickle), can be very strong at times, or not nearly enough
to simply fight the current. The wind around here comes and goes as it pleases.
Therefore the local saying "Lets go out and race the buoys". Quaker
City Yacht Club is a great place to call homeport. It is a great club with a
large club hall, staffed bar, great yard facilities including a good ramp and
heavy travel lift, easy 24/7 access, and the nicest bunch of people (boaters)
that you might want to know.
My wonderful father has a beautiful house with a long T-stage platform dock on the back bay in Brigantine NJ, to the north of all the casinos in Atlantic City. In this place, where the (strong) wind can be counted on daily, it tends to be a northeastern wind that is strongest from the morning until mid-to-late afternoon. In the mid-afternoon the wind reverses direction (on shore breeze or off shore breeze) and will hold steady until late day. Did I mention, daily? I remember breaking two masts back there, for that matter right in the same spot of water.
The first mast went down and died an honorable death. It was a metal fatigue failure in a lot of wind with big sails, while pushing the boat hard on a beautiful sunny windy day. So much for that afternoon, as well as the balance of that season. The mast snapped over the backside and tore the aluminum mast from spreader hole to spreader hole. The second mast (the replacement mast) snapped in the same place the same way (only two seasons later), but due to an oversight. You have to remember to tighten those darn turnbuckles before you go sailing. Even if you did put the boat in two days ago. Even if you didn't set it up then. Even if you didn't use it until a few days later and forgot to tighten up those turnbuckles. What a great place to sail during the day, and even more fun to sail at night.
As a result of the poor condition that I had purchased this boat in, I was constantly replacing, repairing, and upgrading almost anything and every thing to do with this boat. You know things keep breaking from all directions. You have (for the most part) no idea what is coming at you next, or when. As a result, over the years I have spent much more time in dry dock than I would to have preferred. Hopefully at this point, things have changed, the tide has changed. This was simply nothing more than an outright war of atrician. It was a very tough battle that lasted at least the first 8 to 10 years of the fifteen years that I have owned this boat. At an average cost of about one thousand to fifteen hundred dollars per season (due to repairs, replacements, upgrades & maintenance, you know the routine. What is next? Or is it. "What is it now"? One by one, problems tackled would slowly disappear, only to be replaced by other problems. If you get the idea that this was a tough relationship to maintain, you are right. Where we stand today, the battle of attrition has been won (for the most part). I have replaced, repaired or upgraded almost every thing on this boat from bow to stern and now it is time to redo some of the earliest repairs
I was asked to "put to paper" some of my ideas and some of my experiences so as to help our other owner's of twenty to thirty year old South Coast Sailboats. The original thought was that just maybe this site may be of some help to you in your journey, and maybe not, but you will surely enjoy the trouble that this sailboat has put me through. I have been through a lot with this boat, emotionally and monetarily.
And Now to the Good Stuff:
Link to More Specific Photographic Detail shots of my SC22
Links to Original South Coast Sailboat Documentation
Dear Friends and Fellow South Coast Owners,
I have already been getting a great response from other SC owners and enthusiasts, in reference to the R/R/R (repair, replace, rehab), not to mention U/M (Upgrades & Maintenance) information contained within this web site. I want to thank you for how well received this web site has been (This was my first web site attempt).
I know that there are many of us out there that have been going down the same roads that I have been year after year. I think that as a group, we have picked up many insights, through trail and error, about how to deal with problems presented to us by a twenty or thirty something year old sailboat. If you feel that you have an experience, insight or story that you would be interested in sharing with other SC owners, please feel free to e-mail me the information that you have to contribute. I would be glad to incorporate any relevant information and or content to the knowledge base that is this web sight.
1972 SC 22' # 261