One would think that with all the recent expansion of Yachts and with newer, bigger and increasingly higher tech boats coming down the ways the last thing on the mind of Tom Morris would be his and Chuck Paine’s original collaboration the Francis 26. However very prominent on Tom’s frontal lobes is his own 1980 Francis 26, “Wildwood”.

Since having sailed her back to Maine from Montauk NY. this spring, Tom has been hard at work on the boat updating most of the systems himself and on occasion tapping into the wealth of expertice offered by the crew of the Yachts Service Dept.

Some of the items in the project list so far are:

  • New stern rail with Harken main sheet traveler system.
  • New autopilot with a beautifully crafted stainless bracket for attaching the tiller drive unit.
  • New electrical panel and wiring.
  • New Furuno GPS.
  • Complete replacement of the head hoses and waste holding system (Tom was seen about the yard wearing rubber gloves and carrying some very smelly parts and pieces!!)

Perhaps the most interesting work being done are modifications to both the bottom aft end of the keel and lower rudder blade. Fiberglass materials have been added to the keel at this point to straighten what was a gentle rise up from the lowest draft area. The rudder has been deepened to match this addition to the keel. Tom expects this work to eliminate a vortex which can develop off the keel when sailing at speed.

Still to be done is the refurbishing of the interior and some exterior cosmetics.

By the time “Wildwood” goes back into the water she will deserve a launching ceremony as a brand new 21 year old boat.

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