And so it begins…

And so it begins…

I’m getting excited.  I have a trip scheduled to go to Selkie the end of January.  It will be the first time I have seen her since I was on board to purchase her.  It still seems amazing to me that Libbie and I took that first big step to do the Great American Loop (otherwise known as the Loop) by purchasing Selkie last fall.

I have not felt this excited in a while.  The last was probably our decision to pull up roots from our home of 30 years and move to the Lake Tahoe area.  Of course, that does not include our two grandsons arriving (and a third on the way by the way).  But I think its safe to say that this idea of doing the Loop has energized us together in a really good way.

We still must get through commitments we’ve made (which are not hard commitments, really… I mean, teaching skiing is not like taking care of an elderly parent, for example, something we’ve done).  But when mid-May comes, we’ll be off on the first part of our adventure, which will be to take Selkie from the East Coast of the US to the Great Lakes.

Before then, there is a lot of preparation to do for Selkie.  We don’t know what’s on her. We do know there is stuff that was left by the prior owner with our blessing.  Selkie is pretty turn key.  But exactly what is on her (other than the very detailed list of spare parts for repairs), we don’t know.  So, we need to know before we can outfit her properly.  That’s why I’m going the end of January. 

Once I have completed the inventory of things on Selkie, we then can decide what we need to do to augment everything.  This includes, dishes, utensils, cookware, appliances, bedding, towels, safety gear, navigation guides and anything else we need to make our trip an enjoyable and safe one. 

The other things we need to do to Selkie are maintenance items that are part of the normal wear and tear of a 21-year-old boat.  We must:

  • Replace some fuel hoses
  • Replace the cutlass bearing (which supports the propeller shaft coming out of the hull),
  • Correct a couple of wiring issues
  • Replace the stabilizer seals (the stabilizers are big fins on the bottom that help Selkie from rolling in heavier seas)
  • Modify the anchor windlass to add a capstan, the winch drum part that helps raise more than one anchor
  • Replace one anchor with an newer design anchor (the main one is one we had on While I Can that we had difficulty setting some times on San Francisco Bay)
  • Inspect and repair the anchor rode (all the anchor rope and chain)
  • Repaint the bottom to prohibit marine growth. 
  • …plus some other minor stuff

Some of these things I can do in January, but most will be done in April when I return and move Selkie (with the help of two retired Coast Guard relatives, a brother-in-law and nephew I’m looking forward to seeing) to a boat yard that can do most of this work.  Some of these items I can do, but most will be done by the yard.  With any luck, we will have everything done and ready to go in May.

In the meantime, Selkie has been winterized and shrink wrapped and sits in Baltimore’s inner harbor at her slip.  She looks like a huge marshmellow.  I can’t wait to see her in person.

Stay tuned for more news.

By Tad Sheldon

I'm a retired Silicon Valley Technologist and Director. I teach skiing as a 4th (5th? 6th?) career for fun, and am passionate about Boating. I'm even more passionate about my family and friends. I volunteer occasionally for non-profit Boards, and currently serve as the Secretary of the Board for Western Division of the Professional Ski Instructors of America / American Association of Snowboard Instructors.

13 replies on “And so it begins…”

Let me know when exactly you plan to be at inner harbor, and how long you might be there in April. If it’s a nice day, a bike ride to see you off and maybe some lunch or dinner, would make a nice destination. Otherwise, good luck on what I anticipate will be a journey wrought with many adventures to add to your already full life experience.


Excited for you. Sounds like you are ready for another chapter of adventure. Glad you are taking your anchoring seriously. We appreciate the update.


very much looking forward to following your adventures aboard Selkie. Also looking forward to seeing Selkie in Northern Lake Michigan!


Very exciting stuff! I’d never heard about the Great American Loop before. Looking forward to updates and wishing you both an amazing adventure in your new marshmallow.


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