(Captain Bruces’ words, for more information see www.blueworldexpeditions.com)
I bought this vessel in 2001 in Texas. Since then it has been upgraded to something quite different. It was a vessel I wanted to buy years ago. Now over the years it is almost there. There is always something else to buy or fix. But sometimes you just have to leave. The R Heritage Too is our home. It is a 1978 Gulfstar 50 MKII, ketch rigged, built in St. Petersburg Florida. It is Canadian registered and can haul over 3 tons of aid for our charity, Friends of Isle La Vache, Haiti . The ship has been extensively rebuilt, redesigned, over the last 5 years but has been dreamed about for the last 50. It has taken many years to get to this condition.
Improvements include but are definitely not limited to the following:
- A hardtop was added with enough solar panels that the engine never has to run to charge batteries
- All systems where replaced or rebuilt including a new Yanmar Turbo Diesel Engine
- A wind generator to charge batteries at while at sea
- 4 man life-raft, 2 Satellite phones, 2 chart plotters, 2 auto pilots, 2 depth sounders
- double jib system with a cruising sail and heavy weather storm jib
- all rigging rebuilt with turnbuckles and chainplates inspected – many replaced
- all sails new with new self bagging system
- 9 layers of fiber glass added to the bow for a crash pad – designed to de skin if you hit a floating container
- rudder removed and whole shaft system rebuilt
- shoe of keel cut off and rebuilt with solid glass – about a foot of solid glass before 5000 lbs of lead
- all thru hulls removed inspected and most replaced
- stern cut open and stairs added so you can walk down for dingy boarding
- skeg rebuilt with 20 layers of glass – so we can hit a log
- wide and clear deck for easy access to bow all new port lights and hatches
- new life lines and stanchions
- AC refrigeration all electronics, plumbing, wiring replaced
- sea cocks, auto pilots, chart plotters, hot water, VHF, Spot, WiFi all new
- stereo system inside and in the cockpit
- bow lights, hardtop lights, aft lights, running lights sails and sail bagging system
- hardtop designed for a roll over – very heavy duty with opening windows cockpit is dry even in a storm
- all winches serviced, new genoa tracks installed, all new engine controls
- most importantly the work never ends – maintenance is key
WHY DID THE CAPTAIN CHOOSE A 1978 GULFSTAR 50 MKII?
I specifically wanted this vessel over new, over other makes and saw over 10 before I found the hull I wanted. It was built in 1978 when chopper guns where not used to lay up a hull. Oil was cheap so lots of glass was used. The hull and deck are bolted together and then glassed together. The chainplates are solidly glassed tabbed to the hull. The lines of this vessel are what I wanted. It is sleek, sturdy and beamy but still can move fast with a hull speed of 9.5 knots. The designer knew what they were doing and had lots of experience with cruising vessels. The masts and rigging are heavy duty with a low profile so it is not tender. It is a fast but dry boat.
There is 6000 pounds of lead in the keel well positioned so I can load the vessel up without a problem. The 4 cabin layout makes for a lot of room that can be well utilized by Captain and crew. The rudder is up out of the way so when you hit bottom it is protected. The prop is protected too. A monohull can head up wind better than a catamaran and if it rolls you do not lose the vessel.
It can scoot downwind in heavy swells safer than multihulls. It costs less to dock and per dollar more boat. A centre cockpit is a dry, a very workable way to set up the vessel. The hardtop makes it a dream to work on. The mizzen mast is good for steerage but great for radar, GPS, wind generator, lights, and satellite communications. The engine can be accessed by all sides easily. The engine room is compact and very workable. The flaws or design errors are well known and easily fixable. It has over 35 years of a good track record. In short it was the vessel the Captain wanted.