Meet our new neighbors, Greg Kerkof, Sheryl Alfson-Kerkof and Jake, formerly of Mukilteo. They are moving to town with their almost completed cruising sailboat, Toccata. You will find Toccata in the Boat Haven yard near the PT Rigging shop.
After some final touches, they plan to leave for a summer of cruising up north and then back to PT to live aboard next winter. It sounds like they are already settling in. They’re planning to sell their house, enjoying long walks around town and calling their trips back to Mukilteo “retuning to the dark side”.
Talk about an odyssey; they started constructing Toccata here in Port Townsend 26 years ago (actually I believe the Odyssey took only 20 years), when they had the hull fabricated by Bernie Arthur of Skookum fame. The hull was then trucked to their backyard in Mukilteo, where they put a building up around it and started building their dream boat. This hull is an Ed Monk design; 50’ long with a 13.5’ beam.
Toccata is back in town to get rigging and sails. The spars are being put together and set by PT Rigging, and the sails will be made by Hasse & Co Port Townsend Sails. Toccata will be put in the water for the first time soon, and after some ballast adjustments and the water line marked, she will be hauled out for the BUMs to do the bottom paint. So, if you discount the 20,000 man-hours Greg and Sheryl have put into her, you could say that this is another boat manufactured in Port Townsend.
Greg has all the right skills for the job, having been a Boeing mechanic/engineer and having constructed several houses. In the beginning, they expected it would only take a couple of years to put this boat together. Sounds familiar! “How long could it take?” One reason that it took so long is that they wanted to do things the right way. From the ash interior to the maple counter tops, they certainly have a beautiful boat.
I had not consider that one of the issues that you run into on a project that takes this long now days is that technology changes so fast. They built in compartments and table tops because it was a priority to make it easy to use paper charts. For some reason they did not anticipate that GPS would be available. They say that the hull design is now old fashioned, although still quite happy with it.
They have also already repowered her even though she hasn’t been wet yet. The maker of the original engine went out of business and instead of fighting parts availability issues they opted to replace it. They are also currently installing LED lighting. Sounds like you could get trapped in an endless cycle of trying to keep up, if you are not careful.
Notice the unique steering wheel design, all the natural light in the pilot house, and fine work below. I am sure that those of you more knowledgeable than I would revel in their innovations and war stories. They talk about how crazy they are for doing this project; I think they will fit in quite well here. Stop by and welcome them to town when you get the chance.