S/V Bandit The story of the $60.00 sailboat

Bandit is a 26' Tanzer sailboat that we bought in Solomons Island, Md in November of 2013 for $60 by my family and I. We spent around two years restoring her back to her glory and this is her story....

As a captain/sailor with an interior design degree and do-it-yourself background, I wanted to see what I could and could not get away with in a boat. A lot of my captain friends told me that the stuff I wanted to do - such as tile a boat or paint the boat something other than white, were things I shouldn't even consider as it would crack, make the boat too hot, etc.... well, I did my research.... and LOVE everything we've been able to accomplish on her.

In November of 2013, my Dad received a phone call from his good friend, Al. He told my Dad that there was a little boat that needed some work at his marina that may be up for sale soon - since the owner could no longer afford its dockage.

That next weekend, my parents drove down to Solomons Island, Maryland from WV. They were equipped with their recently gained sailing knowledge they acquired from a sailing class taught by myself and their phones to take photos and face-chat with me. (I was on a charter in Miami, FL at that time).

Bandit was a mess - no worse than that.... a disaster. There was garbage everywhere, she smelled really bad, had a few torn sails, leaking deadlights, missing fiberglass....

But the owner was only asking $50.00 for her.... and she floated. With my families' do-it-yourself background and my interior design degree/ sailing knowledge, we thought anything was possible. In the end, we ended up paying $60.00 for her - neither my parents nor the owner had change to break a $20.00.

Soon after my parents took on the large task of bringing her home to West Virginia. It included acquiring a trailer, welding the trailer to make it strong enough for her journey, and battling the winter weather that was quickly approaching.

My parents worked very hard cleaning her up and sorting through all of the parts and trash that were left on board. 12 bags of trash and many buckets of bleach later, she was finally ready to start her transformation. .

During this time, I was still in Miami teaching learn-to-sail sailing charters. I created multiple Inspiration Boards and 3D Renderings on my initial thoughts on what our little boat should look like. After the plans were semi-finalized, the to-do-lists were created and parts list of what needed ordered first so that I could begin the fun of putting her back together during my Christmas Vacation at home. Amazon and Lowes became our best friends during this process as boat supply stores were hard to come by in land-locked West Virginia.

One of the first things that we did, was to remove the original diesel engine. We tried everything we could to get the seized engine to turn over - including enlisting the help of my uncle who was a retired diesel mechanic. All with no such luck. The solution of putting an outboard on her transom was soon accepted.

During my week home, a lot was accomplished. From refinishing the original wood, converting a closet into a head vanity, texturing walls, to fresh interior paint.

In the summer of 2014, I took advantage of the calm, hot humid summers of the Florida keys and came home for a few weeks to work on Bandit. I ordered as much parts and materials as I could in advance so everything was waiting for me when I arrived.

During the day/morning my Dad and I would work on projects together and by the afternoons my Dad would have to leave for his afternoon shift at work. I would work on finishing up the projects we had started along with making my own - wood burning designs, sanding, running new wires, crimping new ones, installing electrical boxes, painting, and much much more.

Some of the very last things we accomplished before taking her back to the water were to set up her mast, install new rigging, and finish last minute details such as cockpit storage hatches and labels for our new fresh water tank.

As my summer came to an end - it was left to my Mom and Dad to tie up all of the loose ends and prepare Bandit for her road trip south to open water. Bandit was soon on her way to Oriental, NC where I was working as a captain at that time.

My Dad's friend from work, and his family, helped to haul Bandit from Morgantown, WV to Oriental, NC. It took them a bout 12 hours to make the trip due to the heavy load and rain storms, and traffic they encountered along the way.

Once Bandit arrived, it took us a little over half of a day to get her off the trailer and all set up. The ramp at her new home, River Dunes, was at a lower tide than usual due to the change in wind direction leaving it minimal to get her to float off the trailer. It was in the upper 90s with full sun making for an extremely hot day to be working outside. That night we took everyone out for bbq and a sail aboard the 45' sailboat I was then working and living on.

The next morning my parents and I took Bandit on her maiden sail around Broad Creek in North Carolina. There was hardly any wind but she still managed to do 2 knots under full sail. We were so excited to have her finished, out of the driveway, and back on the water!

Created By
Stephanie Mansberger



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