Discussion Forums
Where R They

Gulf Star logo


The Northern Lights Story



Click images enlarge

"Northern Lights " - a Gulfstar 37 Aft Cockpit in the USVI's.

Purchased in the middle of a refit from owners in Tortola - the current owner is n the process of preparing the boat to live on and sail through the Caribbean and the Americas.

A host of interesting changes are in store for Northern Lights before she heads out.

The boat's name is Northern Lights.  The current owner has been kind enough to let us feature his boat in the wake of the GS37 questions we've been receiving!

The first thing we noticed is a modified rundder and skeg.  It was done by a previous owner and we don't have any other information on it.

Northern Lights was previously registered in St. John and then was put on the hard for 2 1/2 years over on Tortola BVI. The boat was then purchased by a friend along with an associate for a rebuild and live aboard while they worked on it.  It was actually purchased by the current owner prior to completion.

"I have had to do quite a bit of work on it so far and lots more to complete" in order to get it the way I envision it. "It is my hope to make the boat comfortable to live on and sail it for extended trips through the Caribbean and the Americas."

The work began by with rebuilding the electrical system - that includes an inverter, wind generator and a solar panel. The battery bank is four 6 volt Trojans along with a single isolated starter battery. I will be changing out the starter battery because a single (easy to handle) battery just is not enough for the Perkins 50 hp engine if it is hard to start. The interior is pretty much the same as original. A new refrigerator was added and with the above electrical system in can be left on most of the time. On a long trip we do not have to start the engine everyday just to keep the batteries up. Our last trip of eight days we made ice and running the engine a few minutes every other day to go on and off moorings was more then enough to keep the batteries up. One change I did was to change the volt meter to a shunt type which greatly improved the operation of the alternator (80 amp type).

I have added Davits that support up to 550 lbs each to which I carry a Carib 12 double hull dinghy with a 30hp Yamaha. (Anyone adding davits should take a serious amount of time evaluating all the hows and whys. Ours has turned out extremely successful as we went through a 7 hour sail in 30 to 35 knot winds and waves in excess of 13 feet.) We have two kids and they have lots of fun with that kind of power.

Last year I added a Fulex rig for the jib and have new sails (7.5 oz) with a full batten main from Lee sails and they have worked out great. The jib is a 130 which works great. I had a 150 hank and it was just too much for the boat down here. We are fortunate in that the winds here are usually 8 to 15 knots year round. After 22 to 24 knots the jib should be reefed. I added a cabin deck mounted 6' Harkin traveler for the main. This has been great as it gets the sheet out of the cockpit and allows for easy and more extensive trimming of the main. I have the original round boom and had to have some custom padeyes made at the cost of about $45 each (3). These are half round stainless steel brackets with 3 bolts each side. These work great. I had tried using a heavy duty standard pad eyes and they simple did not hold up to the strains. I also added a vang using the same custom pad eyes. I also add a stainless steel bracket on the chain plate to both sides that will except the vang and act as a perventor. During the winter wind shifts of up to 90 degrees is common and that can cause a jib for even the most experienced sailor.

I am planning on installing a windlass but not yet decided on the hows and wherefores yet. Any ideas are more then welcome! Another thing is a hot water heater. Not sure if the boat ever came with one but I will have to figure that one out. The biggest addition is going to be the scoop step I am designing for the stern. This is going to be added this summer if all goes well.

For more questions and info - create a posting in the Discussion forums...

Send us your photos and your stories and we'll feature your boat on the home page!