1980 Cape Dory 33 Sanderling

I purchased Sanderling in 2011 from the original family who had ordered her from Cape Dory in 1980. Aside from the fact that she was a Cape Dory with lovely lines, teak joinery below, and blue-water able, there were a few other points that interested me. She had been updated with a Yanmar diesel, which I had experience with and preferred over others.

splash for sea trial and purchase

Previously I owned and refitted a Cape Dory 24 Trawler (see Viola refit post). The Trawler was my first real boat. I had looked at many Cape Dory, Allied, and other boats back in 2006 before eventually buying the CD 24 Trawler instead of a sailboat. It was a say day when I sold Viola, but I was pretty psyched to trade up to a larger boat that could potentially sail anywhere.The owners of the 33 in Oxford (Stan & Mary) were wonderful, it was an emotional closing as Sanderling had been a huge part of their family for decades.

Stan and me, Mary taking pic

Since I had experience as a delivery captain, sailing instructor, and merchant mariner, I knew what to expect in a used recreational boat. I did my own survey and knew where to look and found pretty much what I expected. I took a huge bag of tools expecting to have issues, and headed to Oxford, Maryland. Below is my proud new owner face. Sanderling and I sailed from the Chesapeake to Narragansett Bay without a single hitch.

pic of smiling new owner
proud new owner of Sanderling CD 33 Sloop

Though my dreams included blue-water sailing, I was pleasantly surprised at home much I enjoyed sailing my new Cape Dory 33 in light wind. On a gentle June day in 2011 on my way home from the purchase in Maryland, we had 5 kts of SW wind in Long Island Sound, and gently moved along at 3 kts wing and wing (full main and 120 Genoa).

view of sails wing and wing
wing and wing northeast bound long island sound 3 kts

As we entered Block Island Sound the late afternoon sun penetrated the first 10 feet of water with dancing golden rays. We glided through a thin group of dogfish swimming upwards toward the surface. The visibility of the surface water was crystal clear. You could see their subtle green and black coloring vividly. It was one of those oceanic moments (they looked like miniature whale sharks from above in that clear water). The afternoon sun shot through the companionway and lit up the teak & holly sole.

cabin sole afternoon sun
afternoon sun

I sailed Sanderling on Narragansett Bay for the 2011 season. She weathered Irene in August on a mooring in Wickford, with just a little bit of Easterly exposure which abated after Irene’s rotation tracked to become S where she was fully protected. She has been on the hard ever since, being refitted ever so slowly.

pic of sanderling on the hard
snug in my yard

I only had the patience for the extended refit because I worked as a delivery captain, taught sailing, and crewed on commercial boats. Those activities kept me out on the water a lot. So some big projects were started that I knew would take longer than I wanted, but not feeling pressured made it work. I grew to really enjoy losing all track of time and then having Amber knocking on the hull saying “let’s eat”, or one of my nieces climbing up the steps and poking her head into the cockpit and saying “whatcha doin?”.

Amber keeping me company on a delivery in 2014

But ten years is enough, the below waterline work is all done, and this boat is going in this season not matter what.