13 May 2015

Life Lately On Tickety Boo - Will The Boat Projects Ever End?

So, as you know, we bought a sailboat. If you assumed that we would be out sailing, then you would be wrong. Very wrong.

Boats aren't meant for sailing. They're meant to keep you busy, frustrated, tired and a bit grumpy. They're also great for depleting your savings account faster than Scotty can beam you up on the transporter to the USS Enterprise.

What boats are good for is keeping your beer cold in the fridge. That's assuming your fridge works and fixing it isn't on your never ending list of boat projects. And, as we all know, after a long day of boat projects, an icy cold beer is a very welcome thing. Almost better than a box of kittens (or fluffy ducks if you prefer a Kiwi turn of phrase).

Fortunately, our fridge works (knock on wood). Unfortunately, lots of other stuff doesn't work. That's where boat projects come in. If you want to read all of the gory details and boring technical stuff, then check out our new Boat Projects page. Otherwise, here's the Reader's Digest version of what we've been up to lately trying to get everything tickety boo.


We started off on the hard. For all you non-sailors out there, the expression "on the hard" is one of the few exceptions to the confusing world of speaking Nauticalese. It means exactly what it says - your boat is on the hard ground. If you fall off your boat, you hit the ground hard. I imagine it would hurt, that is if if didn't kill you first. Surprisingly, given how klutzy I am, I didn't fall off of our boat once. 

The main focus of our time on the hard was to take care of some major repairs and maintenance that can only be done out of the water. 

One of the big ones was fixing the steering and rudder. The rudder is that long, blue thing you see on the left hand side of the photo above. It's basically like some sort of tail. It turns left and right and steers your boat through the water. Our tail was kind of broken. It was rubbing up against another part of the boat and it was hard to turn the rudder back and forth. Scott fixed it. He's such a clever chappie.

Scott also painted the bottom so that icky critters won't grow on our keel and slow us down. Bottom painting is nasty work. Scott spent two days sanding the bottom of the boat. It was grueling. I know because I tried it for five whole minutes. Then I gave up and handed the sander back to Scott. After sanding the boat, Scott painted it with some super expensive paint. I'm assuming it has crushed up diamonds in it so that it looks sparkly underwater. That's the only possible explanation for the cost. (You can read a silly post I wrote once about anti-fouling here.)

We replaced three of our thru-hulls and seacocks. If you're going to have holes in your boat below the waterline, you really want to make sure they work properly. Otherwise, water comes flooding in when you don't want it to. 

We changed out the anchors and chain that came with the boat with new ones. Then our windlass (the magical device that raises and lowers your anchor without you having to expend any energy whatsoever, other than pushing a button) was possessed by some sort of ghost and decided to start turning on all by itself. And off again. And on again. Scott and two wonderful pals of ours fixed that little problem. They claim that it had something to do with corroded electrical wires and connections. I'm still going with the whole ghost thing. 

There is a whole bunch of other things we did on the hard, but it is all to boring to go into now. Check out the Boat Projects page if you have a case of insomnia tonight and need something to make you feel sleepy.


Then the big day came and we put Tickety Boo into the water. It was a nerve-wracking moment. Would the straps on the Travelift break and drop our boat before she even hit the water? Would Tickety Boo sink the minute we put her in the water? Would the engine start? Would the fridge continue to work so that we could have cold beer at the end of the day? Would the Duchess of Cambridge have a baby girl or boy? These and many other questions haunted me as the day went on. 

So here's the good news. The Travelift crew didn't drop Tickety Boo. (They're actually awesome and really experienced so the odds that this would happen were extremely slim. But I like to worry about things that aren't ever going to happen. So worry I did.) Tickety Boo floated. The engine started. And we took off on a little sea trial down the St Lucie Canal.

This was the first time that we had a chance to helm the boat and really test her out under power. Scott did a lot of practicing and maneuvering out on the water so that he could get a feel for her. The boat ran great. 

Then Scott went down below to check on things. Then he came up and said that there was water gushing in from the engine stuffing box. He seemed calm. I felt unnerved, but quickly distracted myself by thinking about what an amazing maternity wardrobe that the Duchess of Cambridge has. (Can you tell there was an old issue of People magazine at the marina that I might have spent some time looking at?) Scott fixed the "whole water gushing into the boat thing" and we carried on. 

Then it was back to the marina to reverse into an impossibly small slip. Honestly, I don't know how Scott did it. There isn't even 1/4 of an inch on either side of our boat between the dock and the pylons. He's amazing. But don't tell him I said so. It will just go to his head.

After some well deserved cold beers and a good night's sleep, we started in on boat projects in the water. Actually, there's no such thing as a good night's sleep after you've just bought a boat. You're up all night thinking about what needs to be done, how you're going to do it and how much it's going to cost you. 

So what projects have we been working on on the water? 

Lights is a big one. You need lights on your boat so that other boats can see you, know which way you're going and what you're up to. Our stern light (the one at the back of the boat) and our anchor light (the one at top of the mast) didn't work. We have some wonderful friends who have been helping us out with this. They're brothers with the most amazing beards - one looks like Santa Claus and the other looks like one of the guys from ZZ Top. 

The lights work now, but it was a struggle to get there. At one point there was smoke coming out from the control panel. You'll be glad to know that I kept my cool and got the fire extinguisher out and ready to go should a fire have started. Fire on our boat actually hadn't been one of the things I regularly worry about. I've since added it to my list. 

While the boys were busy fixing the lights, I experimented with our Force 10 oven. I haven't had an oven in years. So I was so excited to try it out and make some brownies. If you like brownies with burnt edges and an undercooked center, then I'll happily share my recipe with you. I'm still trying to figure out how the thing works. 

Just so you don't think it is Scott doing all the work (although that's probably true), I washed the anchor locker, anchor chain and rode. It's always exciting to scrub mud off of things. Why spend money on a manicure when you can color your nails brown with mud instead? I've also got a slew of other cleaning things on my list as well - like sanitizing our water tanks and getting mold and mildew to disappear (at least for now, I do realize that it will be back). 

I've also nominated myself to be Safety Officer. It sounds like a very important job, doesn't it? I've been busy ordering new flares, organizing for a Coast Guard safety inspection, making sure our fire extinguishers are up to scratch and rearming our PFDs with new CO2 cartridges and chargers. I'm positively giddy with the power I have as Safety Officer. 

That's probably way more than you wanted to know about our boat project list. I'm getting bored and hungry, so I'm off to eat a brownie with the burnt edges carefully cut off.

[Note: This Boat Projects update is as of 4 May 2015. Hopefully, by the time you read this, we'll have finished our list and are out on the water making our way to the Bahamas.]

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  1. Hope you are floating away to your next destination by now... 😄

    1. We managed to get everything done and we just got back from a great month cruising in the Bahamas :-)

  2. Well, I am reading this so I am hoping that you are now sailing the high seas! Hope all the other projects have gone as planned and that the fridge is still working and keeping those beers cold so that you can give yourselves a pat on the back to a job well done and a toast to good sailing weather.


    1. Thanks Ruth! The fridge worked fine - only problem is that we didn't bring enough beer with us to the Bahamas :-(

  3. This is awesome! I hope you are out sailing today and having a lot of fun. I would have been freaking out if someone calmly said gushing water while I was out sailing :)

    1. I have to say it was a little alarming when he came up and mentioned the water gushing into the boat. But he was so calm about it and sorted it out quickly so it was all okay in the end.

  4. Boat restorations are not for the faint of heart. We have done a number of them and from experience I can honestly say that you have got to start with the right boat and the desire to see the project through. The pay off in the end is a boat that you know inside and out. What a reward!

    Kent Garner @ Whites Marine Center


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