Vela Llena

 

Vela Lleña (1976 Columbia 8.7)
Vela Lleña is a 1976 Columbia 8.7 that I purchased new from Ted & Ginny Von Zielinski of Solomons Island Yacht Sales in the summer of 1976.  I sailed Vela Lleña for nearly a quarter century before I sold her.  I would still be sailing this boat today if my sailing ambitions had not changed from coastal to off-shore voyages. 
She has a new owner now who appears to be getting as much pleasure from this vessel (under the name Full Sail) as I.
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Vela Llena Anchored in Leadenham Creak. 
Photo by Gene Limerick
The vessel rafted on the other side of Vela Llena is Fred Selover's Tartan 27, Empathy.  Fred was a sailing mentor to myself and most of the other sailors in our group back in the late 70's.  We all miss him greatly.
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Motoring Out of the Patuxent River. 
Photo by Joe Kewer
Vela Lleña motoring out of the mouth of the Patuxent River on an unusually foggy summer morning.
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Motoring Into the Little Choptank River. 
Photo by Joe Kewer
Later that same day, motoring into the Little Choptank River.
In this picture you can see the original port lights on Vela Leña.  They are simply 1/4" sheets of Plexiglas screwed into the inside of the trunk cabin.  These port lights were a source of deck leaks on almost all Columbia 8.7s until Columbia changed to framed ports a few years later in the production run.
I replaced and re-bedded the port lights in an attempt to stop the leaks.  This worked for a few months, but after a couple of hard sails the leaks resumed. 
Finally I installed 3/8" Plexiglas sheets on the out side of the cabin trunk and bedded them with a generous amount of GE Silpruf sealant.  The leaks stopped for the final 12 years of my ownership.  With these port lights in place I was also able to install opening ports.  The Lewmar port lights can be installed on a wall thickness of 3/8", so I installed them in the Plexiglas.   To have installed a standard opening port light in Vela Lleña would have required doing a great deal of fiberglass work to reduce the size of the port cutouts in the cabin trunk. This installation was a much simpler and allowed a great deal of light in the cabin.
The new port lights are shown in the picture at the top of this page, and those below.  They may not be elegant, but they worked well.
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Full Sail Motoring on the Patuxent River
The pictures on the left and below are of the same boat 4 years into it's new ownership.  I believe the current owner changed the name to Full Sail.  He's obviously made a number of upgrades (AKA boat ownership blues).
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Full Sail Motoring on the Patuxent River