Our 1973 MacGregor Venture 21 came without a name. We really had not thought about a name until our daughter who was creating a logo for her father's company reversed two of the letters in the company acronym, thus creating BECI (pronounced Becky). The logo she created, in good humor, to go with this acronym was the lower half (waist down) of that famous Marilyn Monroe photo minus the ventilation grate and donning a polka-dot dress. To tweak our daughter for her inadvertent mistake and her sick sense of humor, we started calling the boat BECI. Of course, the Captain is now fully invested in the boat since it is still an acronym of sorts for his company. We took BECI to Lake George for her maiden voyage. The result was a new trailer (the old one really proved to be a rust bucket) and purchase of a OB motor that actually had forward-neutral-reverse rather than just different versions of forward. Below are photos of the boat as we prepared her for winter. We plan to refinish the tiller, rudder, and teak over the winter which have already been removed and is the reason why you do not see these items on the boat in the photos below. We also need to grind down and repaint the keel but that project might wait until spring. Enjoy the photos!

FALL 2003







With the advent of summer and a somewhat reduced workload, it is time to get cracking on the boat projects. This summer we decided to focus only on those projects that would improve the safety and structural integrity of the boat. Cosmetics were not a huge concern. The first project was to remove the keel. It is a good thing we did not cut the swing set frame up into firewood.

First, we lowered the tongue of the trailer and inserted a support beam (4x6), wedges, and styrofoam under the boat just behind the end of the trailer. The wedges were attached to each other with drywall screws.

Next it was time to attach the come-along to the swing set frame.

Then it was time to attach the tow strap after looping it around the bow of the boat.

Wa la!

Time to put the front support beam in place.

Mission almost accomplished and then the come-along and strap will be removed. Nice! We simply placed the crib (see below) under the boat and while I lowered the back end of the keel with the winch, my husband made sure the keel remained aligned with the slot. Once the back end was down and in the slot, a jack (car or motorcycle) was placed under the front of the keel just in front of the crib. Before doing any jacking, try to make sure the nut on the pivot bolt can be loosened, and as a matter of fact you can remove the nut from the pivot bolt at this point. With the nut removed, raise the jack to relieve the tension on the pivot bolt making removal possible. I did need to persuade the bolt out with a baby sledge hammer. Once the bolt is out, slowly lower the jack and the keel will slip into the crib slot without a struggle.

As for getting the keel sandblasted, I knew a man who knew a man. The man is not suppose to be working at all because he has a serious heart condition but he cannot not stand not working. While I felt horribly guilty giving him the work, I also believe in self-determination. BTW, the guy is not over-weight at all. His shop is a hole in the wall by the tracks and AFB. The keel was lifted from my trailer with an engine puller and, again, no effort. He bolted the chain through the lock down hole and up it went. He charged me $40. I paid him more out of choice because he insisted on helping me put on the acid pre-wash and the two coats of epoxy undercoating before I took it home. The two coats of bottom paint were applied after getting the keel back home.

This is what the keel looked like after it was sand-blasted, acid-washed, and painted with two coats of epoxy and two coats of bottom paint. The crib is resting upside down to the right of the keel. Basically, the crib is 4' long 4x4s placed far enough apart to accept the keel as it is lowered. The skids are also made out of 4x4s, and the cross piece you see on the bottom-side is a 2x4 used to stiffen and strengthen the crib. Lastly, I bought a drill bit to re-bore the pivot bolt hole so it would accept a half inch pivot bolt. Had to do the same to the two pivot holes in the keel trunk. Drilling the hole through the keel was like slicing cake. It was much easier than I anticipated given the keel is steel, as was drilling out the holes in the keel trunk. There was a lot of anxiety about doing the drilling that was for naught. The other thing Mitch got me to do was use two tangs to attach on either side of the rear cable hole on the keel and then bolt the stainless steel cable to the tangs rather than directly to the keel.

Next, the keel was placed back in the crib and positioned into place under the boat, all with the use of the motorcycle jack, tow straps and lawn tractor (no muscling). The keel was realigned with the keel trunk slot before starting to jack up the front end. I imagine there is an optimal distance between the boat and crib where the boat is not so high that only a tiny portion of the back of the keel rests in the slot after it is lowered by the winch compromising stability.

Here is a closer look at the set up. It is all in the preparation.

Doesn't the newly painted bottom look nice?

Tada! Sorry there is no photo of the actual lift of the keel into place but I had to jump in the boat to insert the pivot bolt otherwise the Captain and I may have had words.

Time to reverse the process.

Here we are removing the front supports.

Realigning the trailer. This is by far the easiest time we have had placing the boat on the trailer!

We are almost there...

Removing the tow strap and come-along. I like to think of it as father-son bonding. An additional task for which I do not have photos is the controlled pour of expandable styrofoam under the v-berth done by my husband and daughter. Since both of them have worked with expandable grouts, this task was left up to them and they did a great job. The nice thing about the expandable stuff is that it is resistant to insects. They did build forms to make a wall that left the trunk and bolt holes exposed and completely accessible and placed a visquene liner between the hull and styrofoam. I will try to add a photo soon.

Here's a happy Mechanical Engineer.. now he can get back to restoring his /5.

And, this is how we towed the boat to Maine... Were the neighbors happy to see us pick up the clutter in the yard!

Here's when the fruits of our labor were realized! Pemaquid Harbor, ME.

BECI on the mooring.

Is it unusual for the number on the sail not to match the number drilled into the boat?

Out for a tune up sail on Lake Pontoosuc, Pittsfield, MA, after the trip to Maine, of course! The winds were extremely light.

Next summer the goal is to restore the interior of BECI. The cushions have already been re-upholstered. Stay tuned...


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