Wednesday, October 1, 2014

End of projects? Projects never end!

I imagine that many non-boaters don't quite understand why it seems like we have been working on boat projects for so long.  Like ... what could we possibly need to do to prepare the boat?  Just a few years ago we did a two month trip to southern California, so what more should be necessary?

The way that boat maintenance projects seem
 to come (one of my favorite comics,
from Omni magazine, June 1979)
Well, I thought it would be illustrative to list the projects that we have accomplished in the past few months to prep for the trip.  This is all from my memory, so I'm surely missing some.  Most of these were done by me, except for a few that we outsourced to professionals.  Some of these projects were major upgrades and were quite involved, taking a week or so to do; others were simple & quick ...well, actually, almost no project is ever simple, as there seems to always be some complication in even the seemingly simplest project!

Folks say that all cruisers have a list of projects to do before departure, which cannot possibly all be accomplished before departure. The only choice is to either leave with some projects not done, or never leave!  Of course we were no exception -- the biggest undone project was the installation of solar panels.  We have them on board, and I will likely install them within the next few weeks, somewhere along the CA coast.

And, naturally maintenance projects never end -- just today I had to do a quick adjustment of our transmission lever linkage.  We were taking the boat over to the pump-out station.  When we were backing the boat out of our slip, it refused to go into forward gear!  Our momentum almost took us into the boats behind us, but luckily the forward gear clicked in just in time.

Cruising Prep Projects (in no particular order):


  • Replace standing rigging (outsourced)
  • Add fixed topping lift (outsourced)
  • Replace six  shroud chainplates
  • Install new Tigres electric windlass
  • Fix mounting of bow anchor rolller
  • Install padeye for solent stay
  • Install eye-strap on inside of bow chainplate
  • Design and fabricate custom turnbuckle to connect solent stay padeye to chainplate eye strap (partially outsourced)
  • re-mount Monitor windvane system
  • mount Monitor emergency rudder (MRUD)
  • Test MRUD
  • arrange old anchor rode in chain locker to optimize space
  • install new anchor chain and line

Boat yard bottom work

  • Bottom cleaned & painted (outsourced)
  • remove all below-waterline seacocks and thru-hulls  (outsourced)
  • install new Groco seacocks and thru-hulls, with G10 mounting plate
  • install two new thru-hulls for in-water sensors
  • replace propeller shaft (outsourced)
  • paint propeller with zinc
  • replace prop shaft seal 
  • install 10ft copper plate on hull
  • remove, clean, and rebed the rudder post plate
  • water-proof grease on rudder post
  • fiberglass around rudder post


  • clean & wax hull
  • repair some gelcoat scratches
  • remove old DMV registration numbers
  • replace home port letters on transom
  • strip and sand exterior wood
  • coat exterior wood with teak sealer
  • add a dorade vent cowl
  • replace clear vinyl in dodger panels
  • fix leak in cockpit cubby
  • bend stainless tubes for new bimini
  • sew bimini cover
  • create bimini extension over dodger
  • remove liferaft for reconditioning, replace
  • install outboard engine mount bracket
  • install outboard engine hoist


  • replace wire bundle in mast (7 cables)
  • tighten radar cable to alleviate slapping
  • fix loose wires, tape to mast
  • install LED spreader light
  • install loud hailer
  • remove cracked mast plate extension
  • add new mast top plate with two U-bolts


  • rebuild fuel injection pump (outsourced)
  • replace exhaust mixing elbow (outsourced)
  • clean heat exchanger (outsourced)
  • replace heat exchanger boots (outsourced)
  • replace cooling hoses (outsourced)
  • replace raw water hoses (outsourced)
  • replace holey nipple (outsourced)
  • remove cylinder head for servicing (outsourced)
  • resurface cylinder head (outsourced)
  • rebuild fuel injectors (outsourced)
  • reinstall cylinder head, new gaskets
  • replace raw water anti-siphon loop
  • relocate raw water strainer
  • adjust idle speed
  • adjust tachometer (WIP)
  • replace alternator pulley to match belt
  • replace belt
  • adjust shifting linkage
  • replace plastic shift & throttle handles with stainless steel


  • remove, clean, repair main fuel tank (partially outsourced)
  • convert forward water tank to diesel fuel tank (partially outsourced)
  • install pickup tube and sensor tube in main fuel tank (outsourced)
  • install pickup tube and sensor tube in secondary fuel tank
  • install new vent line for secondary fuel tank
  • add sound-proofing material inside engine room on doors
  • build sound-proof enclosure around engine (WIP)
  • create fuel switching manifold system


  • repair wash-down pump
  • install 2nd holding tank (outsourced)
  • upgrade holding tank valve systems (outsourced)
  • install macerator pump
  • install Spectra water desalination system
  • repair Spectra water desalination system
  • install service kit for manual bilge pump
  • replace sump pump


  • replace four AGM batteries
  • replace battery charger
  • install wind generator
  • install wind generator charge controller, wiring
  • install solar panel wiring, charge controller
  • design and fabricate solar panel "wings" (WIP)
  • install solar panels on bimini (WIP)
  • install new circuit breaker panel
  • install circuit breaker for windlass


  • Design & build tank level sensor system (based on air pressure)
  • install sensor tubing for all six tanks
  • replace binnacle guard tube to accommodate new Navpod enclosure
  • install Navpod enclosure for new chartplotter
  • install Simrad NSS8 chartplotter system and other instruments in Navpod
  • install Simrad speed/depth/temp sensor
  • install Simrar wind speed/direction sensor
  • install Simrad 3G broadband radar, on self-levelling mount
  • install Simrad network
  • install fuse block for Simnet devices
  • create new navigation station electronics mounting panel
  • install new VHF radio
  • install new SSB radio
  • install SSB radio tuner & antenna wiring
  • install antenna for SSB DSC
  • install Pactor modem (WIP)
  • install & test software for radio email, weather fax etc. (WIP)


  • Sew cloths for main saloon shelves
  • create line & pulley system to help raise aft bunk 
  • repair mounting holes for engine room doors
  • add shelves in two hanging lockers
  • Sew and install lee cloths
  • Build shelf in garage
  • Add tie downs and brackets in garage for storage
  • Remount galley sink
  • Replace galley sink drain
  • Add aluminum trim pieces around sink
  • Install LED lights in bathroom

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