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Yesterday at the Santa Cruz Harbor hoist, a gathering of the Tribe celebrated the Pi-24 NELLYBELLE’s relaunch after Alan Wirtanen and Melanie Kett rescued her from sure demise in a Texas junkyard. Alan had built NELLY in 1971 to a design by Steve Fennell called PI. PI was fast, but her 250 pound keel was too light, and she capsized and turtled in a gale in the Santa Barbara Race, June 27-28, 1975 off the Big Sur Coast with the loss of the Fennell brothers.
NELLYBELLE’s only other surviving sister is LOOSE. Alan has deepened NELLY’s keel to a design by Larry Tuttle and increased its weight to 750 pounds. As well, the rig has been shortened slightly so Moore-24 sails fit.
Shortly after NELLYBELLE’s christening and relaunch, Alan and crew of Morgan, Mario, and Dennis set sail and flew the spinnaker off the dock. Welcome home, NELLYBELLE!