|Mark breaking down the engine to figure out why it wouldn’t start…|
There are a million sayings to describe what “Cruising” really is:
- Cruising = Fixing your boat in exotic locations
- B.O.A.T. – Break Out Another Thousand
- 1 Boat Dollar = $1000
- If you wait until your boat is ready, you’ll never leave the dock!
We thought we were ahead of the game on this. Our plan was to buy a boat that didn’t really need a lot of work and then make some improvements to make it comfortable for us to live on. And, you know, maintain some stuff along the way.
|Guess we need to go on a trip so we can get new pics with the hardtop!|
Some of the things we’ve done so far:
- We opted to add our hard top and are working on an enclosure, so that we basically double our living space by creating a sand-gnat-free back porch. In the long-term this solution is actually cheaper than paying someone to replace our canvas every 5 years or so. I will have to maintain the enclosure, of course, but that’s much less work than a bimini, dodger and enclosure combined.
- We’ve replaced our salon cushions and modified our table so that we can convert to some serious couch-potato relaxation below decks. It’s also really comfortable when underway in crazy seas. And yes, we added a 12v (thus battery/solar powered) tv/dvd player for those rainy couch-potato days.
- We replaced the a/c in our salon rather than try to rebuild the original unit. (Trust me, you need a/c when living in Savannah!) The cost was similar, so we opted for the “long-term fix”
- We cut-to-fit a real mattress for our aft cabin, so we can truly sleep/live on our boat.
- We replaced our really old life raft with a much smaller, modern valaise version that saves a ton of space (and will hopefully never be needed). It also cleared up our line of sight above decks, as the original one was right in front of the dodger. This also frees up a possible deck location for SCUBA tank storage
- We completely stripped the bottom paint and repainted with CopperCoat – a long-term solution of epoxy filled with copper dust. We will let you know how long it lasts…
- We bought a new Hypalon inflatable lightweight dinghy with an aluminum bottom, to reduce risk/occurrence of leaks/repairs. And a new outboard motor for that dinghy. (it will basically become our car once we leave land-life)
- We replaced 4 of our 9 seacocks/thru-hulls, and re-bedded all 9 of our keel bolts to keep water out and the boat upright.
- We replaced our raggedyass original laminate countertops with Corain. This was undeniably cosmetic, but it sure is a nice change.
- We will have all rigging and sails inspected/repaired/replaced as necessary before we shove off long-term.
|Shiny new copper bottom paint|
Each project we plan/complete is done with long-term maintenance cost in mind. We plan to be unemployed as long as possible – unless we find somewhere we want to really hang out for an extended period of time. So we want to spend as little as possible on the standard upkeep and maintenance of our boat. We’re trying to keep it fairly simple – yet not so simplistic as to feel like we’re roughing it. We are not planning a year cruising – we are looking at a potential lifetime of exploration.
- The new dinghy leaked a considerable amount of air. But we still haven’t found a hole… Possibly due to severe temperature swings that are happening at the moment?
- The dinghy motor Would. Not. Start. Turns out the carburetor was just gummed up. Today I get a lesson on how to clean a carburetor. Good to know, right?
- The a/c in the aft cabin would not turn on. That’s the old unit. Thankfully it was just a “trigger” that failed and was easily ($60!) swapped out. Research suggests this is a common occurrence. Maybe we need to keep a spare while we are still working on land. Of course, we won’t have much use for the A/C’s when we are no longer connected to shore power at the dock!
- The smell in the heads (aka toilets) was awful. Turns out, we left some water in the lines. Oops. We flush with river water. Lots of living things are in the water – and apparently they died in the lines. Mmmmmm. Delicious.
So for the most part, all of these repairs were due to lack of use. I can accept that. Our boat really prefers to be in the water, doing her thing in her natural habitat. But man, that first week back in the water sure seemed like the boat was going to shit. Non-stop trouble-shooting and repairs were really taking a toll on morale.