Not Our Day to Paint

We have been in the yard for just over four weeks, too bad my patience for being in the yard barely lasted three weeks! 

I was all gung-ho at first and in true-to-our-style fashion we ripped into ALL the projects at once. We are not the “finish one project before you start another” kind of couple. The aft cabin (our bedroom) was yanked apart to pull off the rudder, the paint was sanded off the hull, the galley cabinets and countertop were ripped out for the update, the workroom rearranged for the new battery charger wiring…..  Basically we made a mess of all our living areas all while ensuring that we wouldn’t be able to just skip out on some of the projects.  The gung-ho-ness, however, quickly faded in the Florida heat.  That, and something about the climbing down a ladder, playing labyrinth in the suck-your-shoe-off mud puddles, navigating two temperamental locked gates, and crossing the street all because you have to pee in the middle of the night “might” have played a part.

The final kicker, though, was the paint job.   The paint project on the hull has been a doozy because of the super hot temps that kick the paint off before we even have a chance to put it on.  The fact that it rained on our fresh paint two separate times didn’t help either.  Then of course there was the tractor running around dragging a grater behind it trying to level out the fore mentioned puddle mess creating clouds of gritty dust and do I need even need to mention the neighbor, who hasn’t touched his boat since we’ve been here, who pulled out the belt sander for his bottom paint as we try to paint right next to him! Aghhhh! We gave up on trying to get an acceptable finish after a low, low moment when we were both thinking (and admitting out loud) that being at work sounded more fun than what we were doing.  Instead of trying yet another coat of paint, I sanded out all the roller marks, dirt, and bugs (did I forget to mention the love bugs came out -they love wet paint).  I then wet-sanded the entire boat three times with increasing grits.  Yes, by hand.  Up and down scaffolding a gabazillion times or at least it felt like it.  After all that work and a very sore shoulder the end result resembles thin, faded gelcoat, the kind in need of a paint job. I burnt through too many areas of paint.  At least it doesn’t look like a kindergarten class painted it anymore.  We will revisit the paint job again on the next haul-out.  For now we are done with it.  Well, after it gets waxed.

Enough whining……we do have good stuff is going on as well.

For starters, Keith has fixed our rudder issue. BIG YAY!!! I had planned on doing a whole post on the rudder work, that was back in my gung-ho phase. In stead here is the quick and dirty version: the bottom part of the rudder had too much play and the top part of the rudder wasn’t secured beefily enough to prevent the play resulting in the offending clunking sound.  So, the bottom part got reamed out and sheaved and the top part got a new fancy bearing put in.  No more clunking!  It sounds so simple but it really was a bit involved.  The whole process was slowed by the fact that we gave the lower gudgeon piece to a well known local machinist who said he could do the job in a few days.  Then he’d have it by next weekend.  Then the following week.   Then no answer by phone.  Then he calls and says he is coming by to drop off our part, he doesn’t have time for it….and this is why we do things ourselves!  Keith got the part back and had it finished up by lunchtime the following day.  The part, not the project.  It feels good to have the clunking issue resolved!

^^ removing the ill-fitting gudgeon.

^^ a plan comes together.

^^hole in gudgeon reamed out and a new bushing ready to be pressed in.  This is the part that clunked. Not any more!

^^gudgeon removed. It wasn’t that easy to get off and definitely was not that easy to put back on.

^^ new big bearing and mounting bracket.  

And on with more good stuff, I have a leak-proof galley countertop.  Believe me, YAY!  The plan had been to add a double sink and a Corian countertop and remove the top-loading storage cubby that kept getting filled up with water from drippy dishes.  When it quickly became apparent  that this mini renovation was going to cost the same as several months worth of cruising, I settled for the most important item on the list which was sealing the countertop up. I’m quite happy with the update.  I even like the new paint color, which was lucky since only Keith has a mode of transportation (I DO NOT ride the scooter) and I had asked for all the creamy, off-white, beige, light yellow paint chips the store had so I could pick out a color.  I got about eight contenders to choose from 🙂

Keith also got a slew of miscellaneous projects done in between the big ones.  A new battery charger, some engine alarms, tightened the loose pedestal….  You know, boat projects.  We’ve also had time to spend with friends, thank goodness! As much as I am completely over being in the yard, I have to admit it is nice to be already strapped securely to the earth during hurricane season, quiet or not, so we plan on finishing up the to do list and reprovision while here and plan on being back in the water and cruising again in two weeks.


Hello, Ball Bearings. Welcome Aboard!

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. Keith, being that his background is an airplane mechanic, doesn’t really follow this rule very well.  In his world if it breaks the plane falls out of the sky, therefore you fix it BEFORE it breaks.

This logic was applied after taking a look at our main traveler.  It definitely wasn’t up to making the long haul with us. So, in our continued effort to make the mainsail more manageable we decided to upgrade the traveler and main sheet. We replaced the old and very stiff traveler that was running on warped brittle delron wheels and only had a 1:1 purchase with a new traveler from Garhauer.  (They even match drilled the new one to the existing holes so it was super simple to install) The new one has ball bearings and a 4:1 purchase.  On top of that we switched out the very aged and also brittle 3:1 mainsheet to a new 4:1 mainsheet, again now with ball bearings.

WOW!!!  What a difference!  

We also switched out the jib sheet cars as they looked like they might be one robust gust away from shattering. That, and they were also horrid little feet eaters-there has been many bloody footprints to vouch for that. 😦

I think with these simple upgrades we just cut our sailing work in half and maybe prevented a few loud and scary failures as well. (Hopefully there will be less bloody footprints on the deck, too)




Tiny triumphs

Two weeks into this not-really-retirement retirement and it is kind of hard to see that I have earnestly been plugging away on the lets-get-out-of-here list. For the most part, I have been trying to finish up the not-quite-complete projects and the should-only-take-five-minutes projects before digging into the doozeys on the list.

Several days have been spent pretty much on the ropes/lines/rhodes. I washed them, dried them, sorted them and then stowed them all back. (Hence my invisible efforts). I have all of our anchor set ups sorted out with new shackles safety wired on and new eye splices made for the ones with rhode. I hadn’t tried a splice before, that been Keith’s arena, and I found that Animated Knots by Grog site/app was by far the easiest for me to follow. My splices aren’t perfect, but I am pretty pleased with my first go! So much so that I decided to tackle the double braid splice after I replaced the mizzen topping lift. A bit more complicated, but successful. Yay! (And, no, that’s not the shackle that I used when I was done) All the lines that didn’t need splices got their ends whipped up nice and tidy.

Another it’s-bitsy project was to finish switching out the one last light fixture to LED an bulb. For some reason only one fixture on the boat used the bayonet instead of the G4 bases so I had missed one ordering when I originally switched all the bulbs. I was about to buy the one wayward bulb when I ran across the best solution ever. Marinebeam makes (or at least sells) bases that convert bayonet bases to accept G4 LED bulbs. They cost less than five bucks and even swivel so that the bulb will fit no matter the light bracket orientation. This tiny doo-dad totally made my day and now I still only have to carry one type of bulb! Done.


More visible, but arguably of lower priority, I finished planting my little herb garden. I think it’s kinda cute. Kai thinks it’s kinda tasty. I’ve got basil, hot and spicy oregano, garlic chives, lemon balm, mint, thyme, and parsley. They should go a long way in sprucing up the menu when the fresh veggies start running sparse. Of course that is if I can keep it alive and Kai leaves some for us!


Tiny projects, tiny triumphs. The list is shrinking ever so slowly!

Where were we ONE year ago: Sewing, Stowing, and Solar

Gearing Up

Keith has been working crazytown hours this weekend giving a fire-breathing dragon a pair of wings. Because, of course, all fire-breathing dragons need wings! (And apparently they have huge ones) I’ve barely seen him at all this weekend, he left before I woke up this morning and I haven’t seen him yet-it’s about ten at night. Not exactly the long, three-day weekend most people were enjoying.

Since he has been slaving a way I thought I should do some work too, here on the waterfront. Today’s choice of project was the winches. They are supposed to be taken apart and serviced on a yearly basis. So how, in all my years of us owning boats, is it then that I have never even seen the inside of one our winches? On any of our boats?

I started with Google and YouTube, dug out the winch rebuild kits and grease (at least we had those on board already), and grabbed my camera (so I could see where all the pieces go). Turns out they are pretty easy to take apart, but gunk-omolly were they filthy!! The first one I tackled was a tiny one that we never use. Seemed like a good one to practice on. It took about four and a half hours (including my research time). No worries, I moved on to one of our our main cockpit winches next, figuring it would take me about an hour now that I had it all figured out. It still took me about four hours. The larger winch had a bunch more pieces and a bunch more dirt. Two out of seven done today, it’s a start. Besides, I learned a few things today: “white spirits” is UK speak for mineral spirits; just because it fits, doesn’t mean it’s right; and that the all-crucial piece for the winches is the teeny-tiny spring-see those four springs in the pieces pic? Crazy, I know.







2000 Nights at Anchor

I recently did some math and figured out that we have nearly 2000 nights (and days) of being “on the hook” ahead of us in the near future. Woohoo!!! Now as much as I’d love to believe that they will all be with a gentle breeze-just enough to keep the mosquitos away- and always out of the forecasted direction-and never squally, I am pretty sure that’s not going to happen!

Thus, prompting us to take another review of our ground tackle inventory and deciding to add one of the “new generation” anchors to the mix. The videos of how quickly the Mantus anchor set, and reset, were pretty darn amazing. I tried (really hard) to be skeptical since Mantus is the one who performed and videoed all of the trials and comparisons but was still pretty impressed!

So………..guess what just came in the mail?!

Yep, a new Mantus anchor! ( never in a million years would I have thought I’d pay for shipping for an anchor to be mailed 🙂 ).

We played around with it on the pier after assembling it and no matter which way it is laid it would immediately self right. Kinda can’t wait to try it out for real–you know, is some crystal clear Bahama water were we can see it set. Unfortunately, we didn’t measure well enough and it won’t fit on our bowsprit next to the Delta with out some modifications to the bow roller, so for now it is disassembled and stored neatly in the anchor locker. A bonus until we get things reconfigured!





Where were we ONE year ago: Water Pump Leak

Big Beefy Chainplates

Replacing the chainplate has been on the list since we bought the boat. Since way before we even put the mast on but like many of our projects it got stuck in the “research” phase. The original chainplates are welded A-bolts (think pointy U-bolt) that fasten to large backing plates on the bulkheads. We were surprised to find these on a boat built by Oyster Yachts as they are not the best design. We were not surprised however to find that they could be of no help in replacing them as they long, long ago switched from this design. In fact, though we searched hard, we found no off-the-shelf options for replacements. We looked into changing them to the external on-the-hull style but our rig design didn’t allow. Eventually we checked out just having new ones fabricated but the quotes we got were insane and it seemed ridiculous to spend that much money on an already weak design. Finally, Keith resigned to designing and fabricating his own.

He used high 316 stainless and had his designs drawn up and the pieces cut out by water jet. He then spent hours rough polishing the individual pieces to a smooth finish. Then the two pieces are double welded together for a very strong full penetration weld. Several more hours polishing with a buffer that he now has set up in his workroom onboard, and the end result is a big, beefy chainplate.

He has 4 made, 2 installed, and 13 total. This project will be in progress for a while. But still, I think they are kind of sexy looking. Hey, something shiny, sparkly and expensive just in time for Valentines Day. Gifts made from the heart are always the best!





Where were we ONE year ago: ‘Minty Fresh Backinplates