Dulcibella's Story

Bruce Vecchioni sent this story to us September, 2019:

  I bought DULCIBELLA from a brokerage in Ft Lauderdale, FL, probably around 1990, or so.  I moved her to Coconut Grove in a slip behind my apartment.  The previous owner, a retired doctor, had let her go, and she was in rough shape.  She was named TARNHELM then.  I had the hull awlgripped a dark green with gold pin stripe, and that pretty much broke the bank.  I managed to replace all the standing rigging, and running rigging,as well as all cushions.  The engine looked like a rust bucket even then, but it ran well.  I was so angry at the old doctor that I changed the name to DULCIBELLA.  I got the name from an old spy novel, RIDDLE OF THE SANDS.  It's a very good read, and includes lots of sailing.

  I sailed her down the keys and over to the Bahamas, but did not have any time to do ocean voyages, as I was working long hours as an FBI Agent in Miami. 

  When Hurricane Andrew threatened the coast of Florida, I sailed south to get her away, but got caught by the bridges closing to evacuate the Keys.  We anchored in Barnes Sound off of Key Largo and prayed.  The hurricane went right over the top of us that night, and we were lucky to make it out alive.  I have read that several died in the same sound that night, and they are still finding skeletons.  We heard people screaming.  It was horrible.  I wrote up the story, but lost it in a brown out.  The boat ended up in the mangrove trees on a small islet. 

  She fared amazingly well.  Mostly cosmetics with a small bit of glass work in the starboard bow.  Still, the bill was 25K,  covered by insurance thank God.  I was so traumatized by the event that I sold her to my brother, because she reminded me of the storm every time I saw her.

  We shipped her to Boston, and he sailed her happily in New England waters for many years.  In 2000, the FBI transferred us both to San Diego ( my brother was an agent as well.)  He brought DULCIBELLA along, against my recommendations.  The sailing is boring over there compared to the east coast.  She sat in a nice slip until he donated her last year.  I saw her just a few weeks ago for sale in  BajaMexico for 14K.

  I have owned several sailboats, Catalina 27, Voyager 26 and Bristol Channel Cutter 28'.  They were all good boats, but none of them as good as the Allied.  She was built like a tank, had beautiful lines and tracked like she was on rails.  My one complaint would be that she was so spartan below.  After her, I always looked for nice interiors!