That time of the year again and Brenda’s birthday looms on the distant horizon! There seems to be much talk of boating, and indeed it is in her genes as they say.

Brenda grew up in a boating family and they spent a large portion of their time out on the lakes of New York state. Her father, was and is, a perfectionist carpenter by trade and her brother Rick followed family traditions restoring many a boat and vintage car. I saw a beautiful Chriscraft boat that they were rebuilding on my first visit to NY.

While we were in Phoenix in the days of “money no object” Brenda bought herself a gorgeous boat and had it moored at Lake Pleasant but sadly it never got used as much as it should and with berth fees and other desires it was traded in against the current Cadillac Esc, so it’s memory lives on!

During one of her visits to our local fresh produce shop on the way into town Brenda sees a boat for sale on the same lot. I glance at it on my way to work and it looks like it might be worth a look. Further investigating reveals the engine is non standard and doesn’t run, the seats have been recovered badly, and the current owner has no title to either the boat or the trailer?

More research into other boats is done via Craig’s list but nothing meets her criteria for her next project. Of course with my 160 miles a day of school bus driving I see many roadside offers on all manner of things and now the radar detects a similar vessel on Highway 491. Leaving no stone unturned she comes out for a quick look on the Tuesday that we are both in town. She quite likes it! Details are taken, more research completed, and the owner contacted. Seems it runs, its been out on the water recently and the owner works in a shop behind where it is sitting, and the owner has titles to everything!

Being a non boater person, although I did own one in AZ, I stop after my afternoon run on Wednesday to check ball hitch size and ease of access to get it out. Another boat has also been parked along side in the shape of an ocean going cruiser and for some reason this reminds me of the old childhood books of Thomas the Tank Engine and the big express loco Gordon.



Still thinking kiddies books I can vaguely remember ” Scruffy the Tugboat” and flash that up on Google only to find that the little red boat was actually called “Scuffy the Tugboat”, however in this case, the boat will here and forever after be called Scruffy!


Brenda looks over Scruffy with Gordon the Gin Palace right behind

Thursday and armed with new marine battery and the correct size hitch we arrive and haul the boat, Scruffy, away from Gordon the floating Gin Palace to a water source to hear the motor run.


“Scruffy” backing up for the hose game


The mighty Mercury fires up, water everywhere and Brenda is impressed.

Negotiations begin and Scruffy’s fate is decided after some $ talk which I understand is the language of the “Boat People”.

Scruffy is towed home but with a full RV park he has to go out front and wait for Brenda to come back from her LA visit.  Well many locals have seen Scruffy and some even know the make, have restorer friends,  and of course are full of advice.

Now all the fun of playing with her birthday present begins so watch this space for more riveting nautical and pirate yarns as Scruffy begins her transformation from ugly duckling to graceful swan.


TONY DOWN  …… in dry dock






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