Hull #208 - Free Spirit
- Model: Cruising
- Year Built:
- Hull #: 208
- Vessel Name: (last known as Free Spirit)
- Owner Name: (last known as Mike Hillard)
- Hailing Port: (last known as Bolles Harbor, Monroe, Michigan)
October 27, 2020 – Mike Hillard has moved on from the boat since 2014, writing “Sadly my work moved me from Toledo Oh, to Plano TX a day for want of a trailer I let her go to a guy who was going to refit her for an around the world trip. He then decided she was too small, and gave her to another person last I heard she was in disrepair on the hard at Anchor Point Marina where I formerly sailed from. You may be able to find out from the marina owners if she’s still there. I’m too heartbroken to ask…. I had to downsize to a mac 25 on a trailer for texas pond hopping, but still one day hope to reclaim her….At the time I didn’t own a vehicle who could tow her. But I do now!“. Here’s some images of the boat from when Mike owned the boat:
~2013 – I bought it from one of the boat angel ministries auctions last fall. The auction was bad, it said must be moved within 5 days, and that there was no trailer. From the pics I posted and the ones in the auction it looked like it was in someones backyard. But its actually at a nice marina and happens to be on the back row by the houses behind it. Came with a nice electric start evinrude, 4 sails, all equipment. The guy who donated it was retiring.
I have all maintenance back to the 80’s on it. Besides dirt, and a few minor fixes she will go in the water today maybe. I am sailing this one this year, while I repaint the Coronado I am fixing to sell. I don’t want a profit as much as to learn the methods of repair, then Ill fix this one next fall and winter. Sails come back from the sail guy next week, but I was going to launch and rig the mast today, hoist permitting. The paint scheme is actually a blue/white mix like robins egg, its not been sanded it does need new paint but its not as bad as it looks.
November 7, 2020 – I [Mike Hillard] loved that boat so much, it had(s) an alado fuller from Brazil, and had so much loving restoration for a boat I bought for 475 dollars on ebay. When I was told the guy I gave it to was lanning a circumnavigation id thought, thats what her destiny is! I’d planned to ride along in spirit, and id given it to him basically if he paid the back years storage off, it was about $1000….the previous owner who sold it on ebay had donated to boat angel, because he’d sold it, and on the way to pick it up the other party died in an auto accident. He was 90, and decided to take the tax write off.
I got her so cheap because id been stalking ebay for the perfect storm. A sailboat, in November, in Ohio, in bad shape. But I lucked out because of the terrible wording of: no trailer, just be moved within 30 days of auction close. The boat pictures looked like it was at someone’s house in a backyard, but I asked and although they wouldn’t say which one, they did confirm it was at a marina. Id really bought her just for the 15hp evintude long she came with, and hence my max bid of 475. Then when I got her she she was in such immaculate but dirty shape, I abandoned the Coronado 25 I was fixing, sold that, and went with her instead.
I bought her in November, washed her, and splashed her without adding a dime that spring, and sailed her till way late November. I was the last boat pulled every year, and the first in at trouts yacht basin. Then bought a dockominimum at anchorpointe because it was so much closer to my house and also my primary sailing target “put in bay island” . Shes seen the battle of Lake Erie recreation, and sailed so many miles and overnights. Id just take her out in any conditions, and drop Anchor anywhere.
On the morning of he 2nd day at 4am we set out on the way back from the battle of lake Eerie. Put in bay, to near Luna peir Michigan harbor. We’d waited a day extra because the weather was rotten, then the next day decided to head to home a 30 mile sail, because already missed a day of work and the forecast was for clearing later that day. It started out 2-3 waves with a 3′ wavelength, very rough and choppy, with a gusty instable15-20 headwind. We were really feeling it, and we were tacking and making almost 0 headway. We dropped sails and motored right into the waves instead. About 10 miles offshore, I was giving my 2 grown daughters a lesson on how the emergency button on the radio worked, and considering letting CG know we were ok, but late.
We didn’t know, but the buddies in the sailing club there had already reported us as “late, condition and communications unknown, overdue, and considered in peril to the coast guard.” My cell was dead….. by 10am we were seeing 3-5ft waves and the fore sail was starting to loosen, so I went out on the bow to tighten it. While I was there, I saw a rouge wave. She was tall, and moving fast, about a 7-10 ft wall of water. I have a bad leg, and wear a brace, but I ran back aft, told my girls to batten the hatches, and be ready on the button, then went on the deck and steered into then face of the wave so we wouldn’t be broadside and broached. Luckily id seen that wave, tied myself in with a couple of sheet line bitger ends, because when we hit the wave it was like running a boat full throttle into a dock(How I know that- well that’s another story bro lol). She stopped dead, started to climb the wave, and then it broke over us and washed everything loose on the deck off, and pushed me from the front of the cockpit to he rear stay. As the cockpit drained my daughters were screaming what the fuck! Because water had just came in every little seam, and every piece of loose hardware under the deck was now on the floor, or tossed willy nilly around the cabin. It was as close to losing a boat as I’m likely to come.
After the wave, it started to actually calm, waves went to about 2ft steady, and the wind became a manageable 10-15 steady about 30 points north off of our 240 degree due west ideal course. We had then put up full sail, including the 175 Genoa, fully extended in her fuller, and we were healed over 20 degrees tacking in those miraculous long tacks towards home, standing on the side walls of the cockpit with the girls sitting on the bow rail as a counter weight. We made it in at about 7 pm, and the marina called the coast guard off, just before they mounted a search. We didn’t know anyone had even reported us late, but that’s how sailing rats take care of their own, or we would have radioed in and let them know we were ok, and just adventuring.
Now, I sail a plastic bathtub, in a millpond, on reservoirs in Texas. But im gearing up for my next port, and hoping to sail the gulf next spring, and possibly move into the ny/philly/DC area in the next year depending on work, and or the apocalypse lol. But that’s my biggest, and best true unembellished sailing tale. We never once worried about the hull of that boat, she was and inch thick, and still as sound 40 years later as the day she sailed out of the factory. If I could, now that I’m in better circumstance, and have a vehicle worthy of pulling her (2017 Chevy Colorado z71 trailering special, with the crewman and baby Duramax turbo diesel.) I would happily reclaim her, refit her, and sail her in a proper body of water like the gulf of Mexico, or the east coast of the US somewhere. Now that my job is %100 remote, im a digital gypsy, and im free to roam the world.
October 22, 2014 – She is now for sale [on Craigslist], I have to move to north Texas and Don’t want to plunk her in a puddle.
July, 2014 – Free Spirit was painted this summer. He also added an auto tiller and a roller furlor. [Here’s some images of these improvements]
July 13, 2013 – We have been to put-in-bay and a few places now, no worries, no problems , and no old boat failures. I am really pleased with her and plan on sailing her till I can trade up to a 35′ or so.
May 19, 2013 – She is in the water now, I am finishing up the rigging and details before a shake down cruise to put in bay.