Tools For 2009 Projects
Getting all of the tools for projects on DREAM AWAY started around Christmas of 2008. Kitty and I were in Atlanta visiting our children and enjoying the holiday. Stacy and I were sitting around, slowly sipping adult beverages, when he asked me what I thought I needed to get DREAM AWAY ready to leave the dock and go cruising. We talked about what all could be done, and what was really absolutely necessary to get DREAM AWAY ship shape and sea worthy. I made a list of projects, and what I thought it would cost to do them.
Stacy and I looked over the list, and he asked me why the dinghy davits were so expensive. I explained all the reasons, and told him that most of the cost was the labor involved. Then he asked me if I thought I could build my own davits. I told him I probably could, but I did not have any of the necessary tools, and it had been a long time since I had done any welding. The cost I had estimated for purchasing the davits was somewhere between $7K and $10K. Stacy asked me if I could build the davits more cheaply if I did them myself. I told him I did not really know because I did not have any idea what the tools would cost, nor what the cost of the consumables might be. We came up with a list of tools that would be needed to build a set of davits, which included a TIG welder, a large vice, a pipe bender, a chop saw, a drill press, and various consumables. I already had on hand all of the necessary sanders, grinders, and hand drills. I also had on hand a Oxy-Propane Torch. This unit was very handy for cutting steel, bending metal, and sometimes you need a lot of heat to get parts apart. It was nice because the system used the propane that was on the boat for the stove and the grill. The system, as the name implies needs oxygen. This is supplied by a 100 cu. ft. bottle I keep on board DREAM AWAY. Stacy wanted to make all of the tools capable of being stored aboard, and used aboard, DREAM AWAY, but, because of their size and weight, that was just not possible. We did make sure we could find a TIG welder that would operate on 120VAC, and that could weld both stainless steel and aluminum as I had only 120 VAC available on DREAM AWAY, and I wanted to be sure I could use the TIG welder at sea, if necessary. This was very exciting because, if we did get a TIG welder, I had many other projects on which I could use it, including rebuilding the main and mizzen masts, both of which were unfinished at that time.
Stacy and I got on the Internet and started looking for the parts on our list. Most of them were pretty easy to find, so most of our time was spent looking for the welder that precisely fitted our needs. We finally settled on the Miller Dynasty 200 SD welder. We added up the cost of the welder and other tools, and found that the total cost was less than half of my estimated top cost for purchasing the davits, and the cost of materials would add about $500.00. It was about this time that Stacy made me an incredible offer. He offered to buy all of the above mentioned tools, and everything else needed to complete all of the projects we had identified as critical to sail off on DREAM AWAY, and to hire me to work on DREAM AWAY to do the projects! He also insisted that we include a SCUBA compressor, as he thought it was necessary on DREAM AWAY both for my love of diving and to operate air tools aboard ship. I was astounded! What could I say? At some point he must have discussed the concept with Tina as she was very supportive. Then we told Kitty about this incredible offer. How could I say no, though I wondered how could I ever repay him? We decided to go for it, and Stacy and I spent most of the next two days scouring the Internet, looking for each item on the list, finding the best one available, then finding the best price for it. By the time Kitty and I drove back to Texas, we had all of the tools and consumables ordered and were on their way to Texas.
Not every individual item is shown in the following pictures, but all of the big ones are there. It was an amazing Christmas, receiving them all. I know I am late getting this onto the web site, but I want everyone to know that Stacy's enthusiasm and generosity were a huge part of our being able to start our cruising lifestyle when we did, and we will always treasure what he did for us. We did use all of the tools, and undertook all the projects. The projects and results are covered in the pages on this web site, and there will be additions in the months to come.