Friday, November 11, 2016

The Anatomy of a Summer Refit

In case you're new to the blog or actually have a life, you may not have gathered that coming here to Snead Island Boat Works for the summer meant a lot of hard, uncomfortable work for Tim. But it also meant he didn't have to deal with The List. He hates The List so deeply that he turned it over to me a couple years ago. He hates it so deeply that when I showed it to him yesterday with all the check marks beside everything, he almost fainted. This summer, The List became my project. It's been a long summer of very hard work, but it's been a great summer for me because I've learned to do so many things that I didn't know how to do before, and I've become intimate with Kintala like never before.

I thought that any of you who are actually considering doing such a thing as full time cruising might like to see what happens after you've cruised for three years. So without further adieu, here's the summer refit. some of them have been linked to the post that talked about the project.

  1. Refinish hatch screens. The original finish was four years old and was getting grungy from all of the humidity. Humidity is your enemy in every way.
  2. Make jerry can covers. We have them for the fuel cans, but the water cans needed them.
  3. Make chafe guards. I found that Sailrite's boat blanket makes terrific chafe guards and they have the side benefit of being able to install after the lines are set. You just wrap them around and velcro them. They have held up well through some pretty tough winds this summer.
  4. Make shelf support for electronics shelf. After using the shelf for a year, it became apparent that it needed a bit more support in the middle of the span since we were putting so much stuff on it.
  5. Install iPad mounts on binnacle and dodger hand rail. We wanted mounts in both places so that we had options.
  6. Install new sump box and repurpose old sump box. Kintala had a large, deep fiberglass box that the shower and head sink drained into that was attached to a sump pump. The sump pump quit, and rather than replace it, we opted for one of those self-contained shower sump plastic boxes with the pump built in. I installed it under where the old box was. Then I cut the old box in about half depth-wise and built a wooden bottom for it. We now use that box to store soda and beer.
  7. Move fridge drain to drain into sump box. In the attempt to have as dry a bilge as possible, I moved the fridge drain hose so that it drains into the sump box.
  8. Install 12v plug in cockpit for iPads. I installed this close to the iPad mount on the binnacle.
  9. Repair stern nav light. Turns out that installing the 12V socket allowed me to find a loose wire that fixed the stern light. Things rarely turn out that easy.
  10. Install LED light strip in forward engine area.
  11. Install LED light strip in aft engine area.
  12. Install Mantus anchor swivel.
  13. Send headsets in for evaluation and/or repair if financially feasable. It was, and we're back in the headset business for anchoring and docking.
  14. Make windlass cover. Our windlass leaks a lot of water into the chain locker through the chain tube and we are trying to limit the amount of water that ends up in the bilge.
  15. Rebed all salon ports and repair teak. Long, long, involved project. The teak under the port frames had rotted and rather than scrape all the teak off the fiberglass (it was glued) and replace it, I elected to dig out the rotted teak, and fill it with fiberglass body putty then prime and paint it white. This lightened up the interior substantially.
  16. Replace headliner. A job that actually turned out to be easier than I thought, and that rarely happens. Took about a week total. A link to another post. And one more.
  17. Locate and repair water leak above port settee. After removing the headliner it was easy to see that it was the block on the deck that the main halyard would travel through if it was fed to the cockpit. Removed, rebed, and replaced.
  18. Make flag sleeve. We needed a sleeve to cover the flag when we aren't flying it. The flag gets filthy and there was no reason to have it deployed all summer.
  19. Replace galley faucet. We had a leak at the faucet head where it had cracked. While replacing it, I also added a water saver that I absolutely love.
  20. Mount battery bus bar. We had too many power wires coming off the battery terminals so I added a heavy duty bus bar to clean up the installation..
  21. Install remote oil filter and change oil. The summer refit items were mostly to add to either comfort, beauty, or ease of living. As a result, the remote oil filter was top of the list. Changing the oil always meant shedding blood and now it's super easy to do.
  22. Add new bilge pump and move existing one.  We wanted a bit more redundancy in bilge pumps. I added one of the new low-profile pumps and then moved the existing one. I also added one of the three-way bilge pump switches on the new pump. Our existing one was just a breaker so there was no test function.
  23. Change heat exchanger zinc.
  24. Change fuel filters / add electric bleed pump. Another one of those projects that you cringe at on a Tartan 42 with a Westerbeast is bleeding the fuel system. I wired in a small electric bleed pump that bleeds the system up to the high pressure injector pump. You do still have to bleed that injector pump and crack one of the injector lines, but it's a whole lot easier than it was and much less human bleeding while fuel bleeding.
  25. Remove alternator, send out for overhaul, reinstall. We have a Balmar 75 alternator that costs a fortune to replace. One of the benefits of working at a boat yard is that they know all kinds of places to get things serviced. Our alternator came back from the shop looking almost completely new for a fraction of the cost.
  26. Overhaul raw water pump. I originally was going to just change the impeller, but once I got inside I discovered that the whole pump was pretty shot. We ended up getting a new one. I still may overhaul the old one just to have a spare on board.
  27. Sew new cushion slip covers. We have white salon cushions and one of the ways we've found to deal with that is to make slip covers out of fleece blankets. The back cushions we leave the white, and use the slip covers only on the bottom cushions. I had made one set last year along with some new striped throw pillow covers, and this summer I made a second set with one of the other colors in the pillow stripes. This way we get a chance to change the look of the salon just by changing the slip covers.
  28. Replace head sliding mirror doors. We have a cabinet behind the sink that has two sliding doors that are mirrors. When it gets hot, the boat swells in just the right way to make the mirrors catch on the shelves. It made it almost impossible to open the doors and the silver was getting rubbed off the back. They looked tacky. I was able to get some thinner acrylic mirror so now the doors slide easily.
  29. Replace salon fan.
  30. Send compass out for overhaul.
  31. Replace compass light.
  32. Replace throttle, shifter, and fuel cutoff cables.Without any doubt the hardest job I have ever tackled on this boat.
  33. Run new control line for wind vane.
  34. Replace plexiglass engine instrument cover.
  35. Replace below decks down stay for inner forestay. We found that one of the strands was broken on the stay when we were looking at something totally unrelated. Good lesson to always be observant.
  36. Replace or repair whisker pole. After looking unsuccessfully for a newer one that was the right size for our boat, I decided to repair ours. We couldn't afford a new one. It was a bit of a job that took most of a week in addition to waiting for parts.
  37. Find a spare anchor. Our old Danforth spare that lived in the anchor locker literally rusted away. We discarded it and have been on the lookout for one at used boat part stores but finally caved and bought a new one.
  38. Repair crack in bowsprit. We had a very small crack in one of the welds in the bowsprit. As it turned out, a boat next to us was getting a welding job done and so we were able to have him haul the welding hose about 10 feet over to Kintala and do ours for $20. Better lucky than good.
  39. Repair bimini aft support. One of the rivets had worked loose and, while it was no structural issue, the rattling noise was driving  me crazy. I ended up drilling it out and using a screw and nut.
  40. Wire new galley A/C plug to inverter. We have a power strip on our electronics shelf that connects to the inverter, but I wanted a plug in the galley so that I could use my mixer and Magic Bullet.
  41. Replace topping lift. Ours is getting frayed at the top.
  42. Replace the staysail furler. Our staysail furler was one that came off the kids' disaster boat and, while we were incredibly glad to have it the last two years, it needed replaced. Friends of ours gifted us a newer Furlex furler when they replaced theirs so we had to install it.
  43. Replace staysail halyard. The old furler had a different kind of halyard that attached directly to the furling unit so with the new furler we needed a new halyard.
  44. Replace masthead wind transducer. Thanks to a very fat osprey in St. Lucie, ours was broken. 
  45. Refinish salon floor. Many previous posts about this. You can search by the floor refinishing tag. The decision was made to refinish rather than replace because replacing a boat floor while living on it full time is nearly impossible. Refinishing it while living on it was just barely tolerable. Worth mentioning the stain remover again here. And another post link.
  46. Make screen cockpit enclosure. We don't need the plastic enclosure at the moment because we're not going north into colder weather, but we wanted a screened in cockpit so we could sit outside in the evening.
  47. Sew new shade cover. 
  48. Replace holding tank vent filter.
  49. Replace exhaust hose and clamps.
  50. Service rudder stuffing box.
  51. Tons of logistical items. We had a whole list of things like doctor's appointments, dental work, renewing the Coast Guard documentation, renewing the Customs sticker, canceling and then renewing the Delorme InReach, getting Florida drivers licences, replacing expired fire extinguishers, checking and updating flares, registering to vote in Florida, registering and recertifying an EPIRB that was gifted to us, and tons and tons of research for parts and instructions on all of the above projects.

The things we didn't get to cross off the list that will either get done in the islands or next year:

  1. Modify lazy jacks. Ours hang up on the sail battens and need to be adjusted to minimize that.
  2. Refinish exterior teak.
  3. Polish stainless.
  4. Paint deck nonskid.
  5. Paint bilge (easier to do when hauled out so maybe next year).
  6. Replace aft cabin and v-berth fans (may yet get done before we leave).
  7. Repaint aft hatch by wind vane.
To be fair, it's been longer than a summer refit. Tim started working here April 1st and, with the exception of the departure prep list, I'm just now finishing up my project list. Eight months of pretty much four or five full days a week. So if you think that retiring onto a boat means you actually get to sit around and do nothing, this post might disabuse you of that notion. It's a bit like childbirth though - once you're sitting in the cockpit looking at the beautiful Bahamian waters, you tend to forget about all the pain of the refit. And I'm soooo going to enjoy sitting in my bug-free cockpit!


Robert Sapp said...

Are you going back to the Abacos or down to the Exumas this time? We've been told to avoid the Abacos in the winter, so I think we'll be heading further south.

Robert & Rhonda
S/V Eagle Too
Pensacola, FL

Deb said...

Robert our plan is to stay in the Abacos this time around since we don't have a lot of time. We're talking about starting out in the Berry Islands though at Great Harbor Cay for checki in. We have some online friends there that we'd like to meet. We have to be back here May 1st.