"Does it normally take months to get a boat ready to go on the water?"
Obviously, the person who asked the question isn't a boat owner. A boat owner shudders when you ask that kind of question because no one knows the answer. Actually, that's not true. They do know the answer:
"It depends and, no matter how long it takes, it will cost you a lot of money. Partway through, you'll seriously consider setting fire to your boat and walking away."
In case you were wondering what the heck we've been doing and why it's taking so long, here's a roundup of some of the boat projects we've been doing since the end of December. If you want to know how much it's costing us, we detail almost every penny we spend on this page.
If you're into boats, you may find this update fascinating. You might also find it somewhat depressing because you have some of the same issues on your boat or you're bound to at some point.
If you're not into boats, you may find this update utterly boring. Honestly, I wouldn't blame you if you tuned out now and went to find a blog that posts about kittens wearing tiny, adorable hats instead. But, if you do stick around, I'll throw in a random picture of a dinosaur to liven things up. Plus, it might be marginally interesting to read about what crazy boat owners get themselves into. It'll make you feel better about your own life.
Thorny, The Beast That Consumes Oil & Diesel
|The alternator on our Thornycroft diesel engine
We affectionately call our Thoryncroft T80D diesel engine, Thorny. He's a cantankerous sort of British chap who we make live in a small cupboard underneath our cockpit. Kind of like Harry Potter, but without the magic. Magic would have made things so much easier. But no, we had to deal with things the old-fashioned Muggle way, using screwdrivers, wrenches, multi-meters and the like.
Thorny took up a huge amount of our time. First of all, we had to find out why he wouldn't run. Once we were feeling all smug with ourselves that Thorny was purring like a kitten, then we went and hydrolocked him. That was a huge drama, which you can read more about here. Fingers crossed that it's all sorted.
In the end, Thorny got a new exhaust elbow (complete with new bolts as we had to cut the old ones off), expansion hose, shiny hose clamps, end cap and glow plugs. We changed the impeller (easier said than done). We realigned the alternator (three times) so we could tighten the belt. We adjusted the idle and Thorny had the usual transmission fluid and oil changes.
Goodbye Leaks! Hatches & Portlights
|Tickety Boo's trailer trash look - plastic sheeting taped over the leaky hatches
For quite some time, Tickety Boo has looked a little bit like trailer trash in the marina due to the plastic sheeting I had duct taped over two of our hatches. While it wasn't a good look, it did keep the water out of the boat. Remember, if you own a boat, you always want water on the outside of your boat, not the inside.
One of the big projects on our list to tackle when Scott got back was to replace and rebed the acrylic in the hatches, along with fixing the leaking handles. Our friend Matt from MJ Sailing was a huge help with this project, helping to cut the acrylic to size and recommending what sealant to use (Dow Corning 795).
|Cleaning up the hatch frames
A supposedly straightforward job that wasn't due to having to drill out old, broken rivets, not being able to re-rivet and having to go with screws instead which required tapping the holes and grinding down the heads. One of the arms broke requiring redrilling, retapping and putting a new bolt in. The frames and handles were a nightmare to clean up because one of the previous owners used a lot of caulk and sealants to try to address the issue.
And then there were the many emails to Lewmar to try to find out the size of the O-rings in the handles. You'd think they'd have this information on file and readily to hand. They don't.
Now we've traded in the trailer trash look for bright, shiny hatches that you can actually see through.
While we were at it, we also sorted out the leaking portlights in our aft cabin/bedroom by removing the gaskets. We replaced some of them and cleaned and re-purposed others. It took ages to prep the frames for the gaskets due to one of the previous owner's love of, you guessed it, caulk and sealants.
|Lewmar portlight in our aft cabin.
We also bought two very expensive Lewmar screens (honestly, do they need to cost that much?) so that we can keep the portlights open at night and get a cross-breeze, minus any pesky biting insects.
Sew, Sew, Sew Your Boat
|Repairing the headsail on our Sailrite sewing machine
I did a number of sewing projects (which I'll post more about at some point). Two of the big ones were restitching the bimini and dodger and fixing our headsail (huge thanks to Behan and Jamie from Sailing Totem for their advice). While I was at it, I also whipped up covers for our water jerry cans to protect them from UV damage, a cover for our barbeque, a cover for our new generator, a mosquito net for our companionway, two harnesses (using the Sailrite kits) and one jackline.
Electrical Systems: The Case of the Disappearing Amps
|The insides of our current solar charge controller
At the time of writing this post, we're currently investigating <<The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Amps>>. A case certainly worthy of Nancy Drew (remember her investigation of <<The Case of the Missing Anchor>> last year?) One problem, Nancy had some sort of breakdown, dumped her beau, Ned Nickerson, and ran off with some shady dude in a motorcycle gang and is now living in a beat-up old trailer somewhere in the Southwest.
Without Nancy around, it's been a lot harder to solve this case, but we think it's the solar charge controller. Hopefully, by the time this post is published, we've cracked the case, installed a new controller and are in the Bahamas basking in all of the energy produced by our solar panels.
We tackled some other electrical system related projects. We removed an obsolete CD changer from under the chart table and pulled out tons of wiring that led to nowhere. We replaced our lightbulbs with LED ones (much more energy efficient). We installed two Caframo marine fans (super duper energy efficient). I think we're really going to love these fans when we disconnect from shore power and don't have AC anymore.
We also had an issue with our navigation lights - neither the stern nor the bicolor on the bow were working. The stern light was a simple fix - new bulb. But the bicolor was a bit trickier to troubleshoot until we found a wire that looked like it had been chewed through and needed to be sorted out.
|Could this dinosaur be responsible for chewing up the wire to the bicolor navigation light?
Along with <<The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Amps>>, we still have one other electrical issue we're working through which involves our stereo speakers in the cockpit. No matter what we do, we can't seem to get them to work. Yes, we've tried it all - rewiring, new switch, offerings to the gods - you name it.
In addition to our solar array, we also have a new generator which will be great for providing power on those cloudy days. We spent some time marinizing it per Sailing Totem's helpful tips so that it will hold up longer in a marine environment.
Are you still here? I don't know about you but I need a bathroom break and a snack. I just read the draft of this post and it's way too long. So I've decided to stop here and we'll be back next week with Part 2. I bet you can't wait. There'll be some scintillating stuff about our galley, anchoring set-up, rigging, safety stuff, our potion box and more.
Have you ever had a boat project or DIY project go wrong? Have you ever wanted to burn your house or boat down in frustration?
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