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.



A lot has gotten done around here, and a lot still seems to need to get done as well.  Of course. 

Here is an abbreviated status of the To-do list as it stands now.


ON the list:

  • Install new cleats on bow for anchoring (in progress)
  • Replace traveler and mainsheet (ordered-still waiting on delivery)
  • Replace Genoa cars (ordered-still waiting on delivery)
  • Fix leak(s?) along toe rail (I am dreading this task)
  • Finish painting cockpit (SO, SO, close to being done!)
  • Seal teak in cockpit and put on another coat of varnish on coaming (perpetually on the “on” list)
  • Strengthen large outboard motor mount
  • Install windvane, lightning disapator, radar reflector, flag halyard (sounds like a lot but just one trip up the mast)
  • Paint depths on anchor rode
  • Treat Sunbrella with waterproofing and switch out snaps on enclosure to twist-locks, Polish windows
  • Sew rainproof wind chute for aft hatch (still stumped on design details)
  • Splice mizzen halyard snatch hook
  • Patch mizzen sail chafe points
  • Run jacklines
  • Pack abandon ship bag
OFF the list:
  • All Mizzen rigging replaced
  • Mizzen Lightning disapator installed
  • Deck repainted (that project got away from me-ugh)
  • Dorade vents painted
  • Re-caulked teak in cockpit
  • Paddleboards stowed (chocks, covers, and tie-down straps)
  • “Soft dock-box” made for second dinghy, life jackets, hose, and other junk
  • Outboard motor lift installed (life just got much easier with this one!)
  • Phifertex/sunbrella covers over all hatches (they will hopefully keep us cooler)
  • Cockpit cushions 
  • New diesel Jerry-cans
  • New ipad with gps for backup chartplotter
  • SSB channels programmed 
ON the list:
  • Install exhaust fan in galley (final design finally nailed down-just gotta do it)
  • Wire in new fans, including one for Kai; wire second galley light; wire 12v sockets (almost done with all of these)
  • Add opening port in head (started)
  • Fasten down everything to keep from falling, slamming, crashing, and breaking (NOT almost done according to last weekends sail) 
  • Set up solar shower system, and buy solar shower bags
  • Order spare exhaust parts
  • Finish engine spare part order (almost complete)
  • Add off switch to high-water alarm (it’s really loud-hard NOT to panic if it’s going off)
  • Order spare toilet pumps and rebuild kits (this was crossed off, but we’ve already used most of them up) Yuck.

OFF the list:

  • Add shelf/drawers in galley cabinet
  • Move all heavy spare gear from stern to bow (and from port side to starboard side) why are we still listing?!
  • Strip companionway and stairs, revarnish, add non-skid
  • Revarnished all floor boards
  • Replace battery bank 
  • Install Victron battery monitor
  • Replace exhaust elbow
  • Made plastic mesh screens around all bilge pumps to protect the motors from dog hair

ON the list:
  • KEITH-resign 
  • Kai’s Bahama import license (we did our part, waiting on the govt. to do their part)
  • Buy new snorkle gear and spear bands
  • Last set of vaccine shots for Keith
  • Renew passports (we did our part, waiting on the govt. to do their part)
  • Sell cars
  • Provisioning
  • Check out of this crappy marina

OFF the list:

  • Swapped folding bike for TWO folding bikes and made storage brackets for them in workshop
  • Dental work complete for Deborah
  • Vertigo resolved for Keith
  • Fishing gear (still needs to be organized better)
  • Sailing more regularly- to find and work out kinks (kind of on-going)
You see, we are getting there.  I also know that some of these items might still be on the list when we depart.  Not many of them are deal-breakers.  Except maybe the passports.  Those are probably pretty important to get done 🙂


One of the biggies on the to do list has been to sew some sort of “stack-pack” style sailcover. It wasn’t a convenience thing it was a serious safety thing. Take a peek at our boom, we can’t reach most of it. Not only is it very high, but with the bimini and dodger it was completely inaccessible. Bringing down and flaking the mainsail in the flat calm river was an ordeal, as was putting on the sailcover. Reefing at sea?-eeeek. It required balancing on the varnished (slippery) coaming and the top of the lifelines with nothing to hang onto except the bottom of the boom itself. Stupidly dangerous.

So, I set about making a new sailcover with lazyjacks. It’s basically two, flat pieces of canvas. Attach it to the boom and hang it from the mast. Easy.


I started with the Sailrite PDF instructions and the free full instruction video, but I wanted to make some custom changes. (If I hadn’t it really would have been easy) Namely, I wanted to use the slide slots we have in the sides of our boom as the attachment points for the bottom of the cover, line the entire sail cover with Dacron, and keep all of the weight-bearing seams away from any sun exposure. Decreasing windage was also a big priority while at the same time being mindful that we can’t even reach the boom, we really can’t reach the top of the sail cover and shove the sail in, it had to fit in the cover on its own when it’s lowered. And so began my complicated easy project.

I thought the dodger was the hardest piece of canvas to sew. That took me four full days. This sail cover is coming in at just under four weeks! I did make a mock-up using the old sail cover, so technically, I made two in a month. (The mock-up version is the second photo with the striped, tablecloth looking fabric on the bottom)

At times I got quite frustrated, like when I discovered it made a spectacular rain catcher :/ , but I think I finally got all the kinks worked out. It no longer catches rain, it does catch the sail, it is fully lined to protect from chafe, none of the working seams are exposed to the sun, doesn’t interfere with reefing lines, and it looks pretty tidy too. And most importantly, no more standing above the lifelines!


20140821-215536.jpg^don’t judge this one-it was my pattern!





I’m going to forget for a little while longer that I still have a second mast and sail to tend to.

Where were we one year ago: All Aboard

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

Found It!

I found my “to do” list and spent a day updating it. Yes, I know, that time could have been spent actually tackling one of those items, but I just seem to spin my wheels without my list. Keith, on the other hand, has not been so happy to welcome back its presence. He does just fine without one.

Tonight we get to cross off:
1. Finish installing side solar panels (this was a big one!)
2. Order silt reduction kit for watermaker
3. Order sample LED light bulbs (still looking for one I like)
4. Boat cards
5. Cut bolts so headliner can be reinstalled
6. Post kayaks on Craigslist sold!

And to mix in a little play with that work, I made a mini pool on the deck by using an old sail and a hose. Kai had a blast splashing around.