Friday, June 26, 2015

"Help Me Rhonda" Is For Sale

"Help Me Rhonda" anchored at "The Pool" - North Channel, Baie Fine, Canada

We have decided to offer "Help Me Rhonda" for sale.  She is exactly what we like in a trawler, was perfect for the Great Loop Cruise and other travels, is in great condition, and is very comfortable for day trips or just having a "condo on the water." However, I am back to riding motorcycles again with a great "FAITH Riders" group at our church that is occupying a lot of my time, and we have lots of other traveling to do to places not accessible by boat.

So, here are some of the details.

- 1979 44' Gulfstar Motor Cruiser, semi-displacement trawler, made in the USA.
-  Coast Guard documented and AL state-registered.  MSD Inspection (Alabama requirement) good through Sept, 2016.
- 39,000 lbs, 4-foot draft, vertical clearance is 17'5".  That can be reduced to 16' by removing the radar (4 bolts), TV antenna (3 screws), spotlight (4 screws), anchor light (loosen nut), and dinghy davit (lift out of place).  None of those are very difficult to do and will reduce the vertical clearance to the top of the flybridge hardtop.
-  AB 10-foot hard bottom dinghy with 15 HP Evinrude outboard, electric davit for launch and recovery.
- Twin 130 HP Perkins diesels, naturally aspirated, stand-up engine room, easy access to engines and all equipment.  3400 hours each.
- Averaged 8.2 MPH and 2.5 MPG for all travels the past 4 years, approx 7000 miles.
- 7.5 KW stand-alone Onan Generator plus an additional 5 KW generator clutch-belted off of the port engine for 110 power during the day while cruising without having to run the Onan or use inverter power.
-  Heart Interface 3000 watt inverter and 140 AMP charger with LINK 10 monitor.  Separate 40 AMP backup charger for cranking batteries.
-  All tankage is fiberglass, molded into the boat, no possibility for rust or corrosion.  500 gals fuel, 250 gals water, 100 gals for aft head holding tank (Lectrasan for forward head). 12 gallon water heater.
-  Bamboo floors and teak interior throughout.
-  Queen walkaround in aft cabin, V-berth in forward cabin.
-  LazyBoy leather recliner, 2 barrel chairs, adjustable table, and 39'' VIZIO HD flat screen TV in salon.
-  Upper and lower helms with Garmin 740s Chartplotter and Garmin 18 HD Radar (both new in 2013 and can be used at upper and lower helms).
-  2 VHF radios (Standard up and Sitex down).
-  2 Humminbird Depthfinders (up) and one (down) displayed on the chartplotter. Both Humminbird displays new in 2015.
-  Sitex Autopilot (up and down).
-  Rudder indicator (up).
-  DUAL stereo/CD and speakers (up).
-  RC spotlight (up only) and handheld spare/backup.
-  Hailer/megaphone (up only).
-  Omni-directional analog TV antenna.
-  2 reverse cycle Crusair ACs, 32,000 BTUs total , 3 air handlers, with electronic controls.
-  Stacked Washer/Dryer.
-  SK Watermaker, currently pickled.
-  Electric fuel polisher system.
-  All electric galley with full-size refrigerator, microwave, coffee-maker, toaster, and reverse osmosis purification system for drinking water and ice maker.
-  Aft head has tub and shower, forward head has shower only.
-  Marquipt Articulating Sea Stairs (attachments for both sides).
-  7-foot dock box on huge aft deck with wicker couch and 2 accessory wicker chairs.
-  Ideal Windlass with SL 66 lb Claw anchor and secondary Danforth.
-  Lots of spare parts to include 2 shafts and 2 props, a Lectrasan unit, fuel injection pump, raw water pump, freshwater pump, air conditioning water pump, 3700 GPH bilge pump, and assorted parts/hoses/filters.
-  Excellent exterior night-time lighting with LED floods on radar arch and outside of flybridge.
-  2 round fenders, 6 cylindrical fenders, all 8 covered with plush material for hull protection, easily removed for locks/rough walls.  Two 4-ft fender boards.

"Help Me Rhonda" has had 3 owners, the original in Florence, AL on the Tennessee River for 21 years, second owner in Corpus Christi, TX for 10 years, and us as current owners for the past 4 years for completion of the Great Loop Cruise and side trips, currently docked at Lucy's Branch Marina, "back home" at mm 287 on the Tennessee River.

"Help Me Rhonda" previously docked at Joe Wheeler State Park Marina.

We made a significant change to the flybridge after completing the Loop.  HMR already had a custom hardtop when we purchased her but we took it a step further, replacing the isinglass and canvas and fully enclosing the flybridge with combinations of fixed/sliding/hinged tempered glass windows. This has been a tremendous plus - the view is awesome and there are numerous possibilities for airflow with the window combinations.  We took a 3-week late fall trip in 2014 to Nashville and back and had temps as low as 13, 19, and plenty of low 20 and 30-degree days.  We put a radiator heater in the flybridge and never had temps below 65 degrees.  Another obvious advantage is that you will never have the expense of replacing canvas and isinglass again.

Seven months after completing the Loop, our home port marina at Lucy's Branch was hit by an EF3 tornado.  HMR had no structural damage at all but some cosmetic damage.  We had a good insurance settlement and took that opportunity to make significant improvements to the boat along with some post-Loop changes. 

-  New canvas and isinglass with screens for the aft deck.
-  Some of the forward hand rails were damaged and had to be replaced. 
-  New hull paint from rubrail down.
- Stripped bottom down to original fiberglass for 4 new coats of Interprotect 2000 and 3 coats of Interlux Micron Extra bottom paint.
-  New dripless shaft stuffing boxes.
-  New cutlass bearings.
-  New bronze hull intake guards.
-  Refurbished the teak swim platform and access ladder.
-  Seal kit for main hydraulic steering unit.
-  New AP hydraulic pump.
-  New electric motor and pump assembly for aft toilet.
-  New (2) 4D cranking/house batteries.  (The eight T-106 inverter house bank batteries were replaced during the Loop in 2013).
-  New Group 31 battery for windlass.
-  Both Perkins starters serviced and rebuilt as necessary.
-  Starboard Perkins heat exchanger replaced (port side replaced in 2012).
-  Portions of both Perkins exhaust hoses replaced as needed, plus several others.
-  New zincs.
-  New fuel injectors and valves adjusted, both Perkins engines.

After all the repairs and improvements were made, we had the boat re-surveyed, both in and out of the water.  The introductory statement of the survey report reads as follows: "Beautiful, meticulously maintained "HELP ME RHONDA", presents in above‐average condition for its age, and is one of few we've seen preserved this well."  She surveyed as "Above Average Condition" at a value of 102K with only 2 items needing attention - (1) the yearly inspections of the fire extinguishers and the CO fire extinguishing system in the engine room were out-of-date and (2) there was no "Waste Management Plan" posted, both items corrected of course.  The surveyor noted that the boat is in excellent condition, is built like a tank, and has many more years of cruising ahead of her. Current Yachtworld comparisons on this earlier version of the 44 Gulfstar range in price from 69K to 140K, so the surveyed value of 102K seems reasonable and is the selling price for the boat.  The boat is free and clear of any liens or mortgages.

"Help Me Rhonda" with new hull and bottom paint.

"Help Me Rhonda" docked at Grand Harbor, Iuka, MS for the in-the-water portion of survey.

The October, 2014 survey is available on request which will give you all of the details with additional pictures.  Our extensive blog is also a great source of her past 4 years with us - .  There are plenty of details and pictures that will document her performance, reliability, and the changes/upgrades we have made.

"Help Me Rhonda" after the survey, docked at downtown Nashville, TN, fall cruise, Cumberland River, 2014.

Aft cabin looking aft.

Aft head.  Note full tub and shower combo.

Stairs and starboard hallway from salon to aft cabin.  Stacked WD is on the right, storage on the left.

Salon looking aft.

Salon looking forward.

Galley looking to port.

Forward head with an enclosed shower (not shown) to the right of the Lectrasan toilet.  Don't be confused by the storage areas above the lavatory - those are mirrored sliding doors showing images of the door to the hallway and the microwave in the galley!

Forward cabin, looking forward from galley hallway.

Access to stand-up engine room.

Port engine and 5 KW generator (yellow) clutch-belted off of port engine.  The 7.5 KW Onan stand-alone generator is in a separate engine room, forward of this one, with battery banks and water-heater.  Forgot to get that picture, sorry, but it is on the survey.

Inside view of the stairs, starboard engine, racor filters, one of the 3 bilge pumps, and fuel polisher (on the wall behind the stairs, never had need to use but it does work).  I forgot to get a pic of the SK watermaker system also - on the forward port wall - sorry.

Top of the flybridge hardtop.

10-foot AB hard-bottom dinghy with 15 HP Evinrude, bottom paint, and electric dinghy davit.

Looking forward from aft starboard corner of aft deck hardtop.

Aft deck (14 x 14) looking aft.  Note all isinglass and screens are down, all new with clear visibility,  There is a 7-foot dock box behind the sofa and an escape hatch from the aft cabin underneath the sofa.

Aft deck looking forward.  Note full-size teak door access to salon (modification from the original hinged hatch).

Starboard walkaround looking forward from aft deck.

Bow pulpit and electric windlass.

Port walkaround.

Note that access to the aft deck from both walkarounds can be closed with canvas/isinglass/screen.

3 of the 8 fenders with one of the 2 fender boards underneath.  All fenders have plush covers for hull protection.  Covers are easily removed for rough walls/locks/etc.

Marquipt self-adjusting steps with handrail.  These can attach to both port and starboard sides of the boat.

Newly refurbished teak swim platform and swim ladder.  There are also teak steps from the aft deck to the platform (behind the flag).

Since completing the Loop, we have made several shorter trips - the longest in the fall of 2014 to Nashville, a 200-mile run up to Guntersville and back, and a one-week/130-mile trip to Ditto Landing in Huntsville in October of 2014 for our son's wedding to our new daughter-in-law, Rachel. For new owners, the Tennessee River is a great body of water to get accustomed to the boat with lots of easy trip and cruising possibilities.

"Help Me Rhonda" performed flawlessly for us during the Loop and we would not hesitate to leave on her again tomorrow.  Above, "Help Me Rhonda" docked at Delaware City Marina with other Loopers, preparing to cross Delaware Bay for Cape May, NJ.  The Great Loop Cruise is, without a doubt, some of our greatest memories and adventures in our 38 years together!

Gold Loopers as of September, 2013

If you are specifically looking for a Loop boat, consider the following:

1.  Recently tried and tested, proven reliable with no problems to note.
2.  Load your personal effects, and she is ready to go again - now, today.
3.  Read the spare parts list again - usually found on veteran loop boats only.  You don't have to learn the importance of spare parts the hard way.
4.  Read the tankage again - 500 gals fuel in a single beam-to-beam tank.  No juggling of fuel from tank to tank for balance.  100-gallon holding tank and 250-gal freshwater tank, almost unheard of on most Loop boats.  This lessens your pumpouts and fill-ups, and increases your ability to stay out independently longer and travel further without stops.  All tanks are fiberglass, molded into the boat, no possibility for rust.  Read the horror stories of rusted tanks, replacement and expense.
5. Stand-up engine room and ease of access to all equipment. While traveling, we usually make engine room checks every couple of hours during the day.  Easy-in/easy-out, full view of everything. Go crawl around in some tight, hot, and "difficult" engine rooms before you discount this tremendous plus.   You will spend lots of time here.  To quote a few mechanics - "I love your engine room."  You will too!
6. Note again some of the big-expense items recently completed such as resin barrier/bottom paint, new hull paint from rub-rail down, and canvas/isinglass/screens for aft deck.  There are many thousands of dollars in these 3 alone.  Keep that in mind if you are considering "project" boats.  We have already spent the money and completed the work!
7.  MSD flexibility with the aft head/holding tank and forward head Lectrasan (and new spare). If you don't think marine sanitation devices are important, you will sooner or later.
8. Tempered glass-enclosed flybridge with hardtop.  Everyone loves our flybridge!  The view is awesome, the protection from the elements is wonderful, and you never have to spend thousands of dollars again to replace canvas/isinglass or limit your visibility while dreading to get the work done and spending the money.  This is where you spend most of your time, might as well enjoy it.
9.  Old boat, new boat?  We know a lot of boaters after 38 years as owners and travelers.  In our opinion and experience, the older boats are simpler with less to break down, and these Gulfstars are literally built like tanks.  One more thing - our interior windows don't leak either!
10.  Ever heard of a boat with a second generator, clutch-belted off of one of the mains to provide an option of 110 power without having to run a stand-alone generator?  It's a wonderful thing.  And remember, the 3000-watt inverter is available also.
11.  Planning on spending time in the Bahamas?  Just have the watermaker un-pickled and serviced by the manufacturer in Ft. Lauderdale and you will not be buying freshwater by the gallon.
12.  14x14 aft deck.  You have probably read the comments by now - "Probably the greatest thing about Looping is the people."  Well, you have plenty of room to entertain and enjoy company on this boat.
13.  Stacked washer/dryer.  There is an old saying that goes something like this - "There are 3 necessities you don't risk passing up when traveling on a boat.  Fuel, pumpout, and laundry facilities." I have already covered two of those and the 3rd is now noted.  I have not heard many good reviews of the combo units out there and you would be surprised how many marinas do not have laundry facilities.  That leaves two options - dirty laundry or load it up and find a commercial facility.
14.  Storage space.  Our visitors are "wowed" by the amount of storage space on "HMR."
15.  Walk-around decks.  You have 360-degree access to lines and docks via the aft deck and the wide forward walk-arounds with high stainless steel rail protection.  Great for children, pets, and anyone with "unsure" footing or fears of falling overboard. 

OK, I'll stop there.  The point is this - "Help Me Rhonda" is not a new boat but she has been tried and tested, has many positive features worthy of consideration, and while there is no perfect boat, she has been close to that for us!
Our contact information is as follows:

Wayne and Rhonda McManus
256-444-1223 (Home, phone only)
256-614-2931 (Rhonda cell and texts)
256-374-6133 (Wayne cell and texts)

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