The Story of the Merit 23

As James mentioned, this isn’t our first boat restoration rodeo. When our first son Matthew was 6 months old, we purchased a mid-80’s Merit 23 that needed a serious amount of work. The entire hull needed to be redone. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have agreed to the purchase of the boat had I known exactly what “soft hull” was and what the repairs would entail.

Chalk this up to why naivete can be a good thing for boat owning newbies.

What followed the purchase of the Merit was months of James covered in epoxy as he filled in the hull to prevent further structural failure. Months of evenings spent alone with our kiddo while James buried himself in the boat.

It was not fun. Newborns are hard people! Boats are hard! Apparently, somehow, we thought we could do both.

Thank goodness we were that naive.

The boat project was a beast, there’s no getting around that. But the payoff was immense. For an entire summer, we had weekends full of fun for only the cost of a lunch that we could take aboard. Thanks to the Merit and my husband’s duty station at the time, USCGC Tampa, our eldest son grew up as comfortable walking on boats as he was walking on land.

He first experienced swimming in a river, which, in my mind, is hands down the best place to swim.

We saw dolphins and huge container ships and other sailboats on a regular basis, which in the world of a one-year-old is freaking awesome.

So it is with some sadness that we say goodbye to the Merit, named Proteus but never christened.

But, I’m not gonna lie, I’m really looking forward to not having to pee in a bucket.


  1. So is the Merit really and truly gone? As in out of the driveway and belonging to someone else???? And we didn’t even get to say goodbye?



    1. Nope! It’s still there. This was just a draft post I found languishing today and got up. We have a potential buyer coming this afternoon though!



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