List of Boat Work Completed on Sunspot
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Basically just the hull and keel, since the rudder, through hulls, prop, etc. are all part of other systems.
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- Build temporary staging - Before I could do the hull and caprail work, I needed some staging consisting of risers and platforms (similar to scaffolding) since some of the areas I had to work on were about 12 feet above the ground when the boat was on the hard. So I built three seven-foot-tall risers out of 2x4's and plywood, but built only one eight-foot-long platform. I was going to build another platform but I wound up borrowing several 16-foot-long oak planks from a boatyard worker, which worked much better than my short 2x4 plywood platform. I return, I gave him the staging when I was done with it. I also built a 12-foot-tall ladder out of 2x4's to get up to and down from the cockpit while the boat was on the hard.
- Hull work - I first washed the hull to get rid of the algae. Then I broked open some blisters, let them drain, then washed the hull. Then I sanded the bottom with my Porter-Cable random orbit sander with a dust collection adapter hooked up to my shop vac, while dressed in a moon suit with a respirator. I also sanded off the old bootstripe paint. Then I washed the hull again and ground out about 60 blisters with a die grinder. Then I washed the hull again and filled the blister pockmarks with fairing compound, then sanded them with my palm sander. Then I washed the hull again and put on about four coats of new bootstripe paint, sanding between coats. Then I put on two coats of bottom paint, then had the boatyard move the jackstands, then put two coats of paint on the bare patches.
- Blister survey pictures - While the boat was out of the water, and after I repaired the blisters but before I applied bottom paint, I took a bunch of pictures of the hull areas that had blisters. The next time I do a bottom job, I will compare the current blister situation with the old pictures, to see if the blisters are getting worse or occuring in new areas. So far, the blisters are not structural but are merely cosmetic.
- Compound and wax the hull - The gelcoat on the hull was in fairly good shape, but it was a little oxidized and had lost almost all of its gloss. I compounded the entire hull to remove the oxidation, then waxed the entire hull with 3M boat wax. I bought a nice Makita buffer for this, which seems to be a popular tool around the boatyard. I haven't done the deck yet, so the deck doesn't look that great.
- Install new zincs - Remove the old zincs, clean up the mounting area, install new zincs (with caulking if required): propeller zinc, three shaft zincs, two hull zincs (connected to the boat's grounding system), one rudder zinc.
- New boat name - I peeled off the old boat name and hailing port from the stern, then removed remaining adhesive with MEK solvent. I then visited a few sign companies that did boat names to look at what they had. After selecting a company, I worked with them to design the new boat name style and layout. As part of the deal, they installed the name on the boat. Since my boat has a "canoe stern", it requires the installation of two names, one on each side.
Includes the deck, coachroof, all attached gear that is not part of some other system, cap rail, pulpits, cockpit and lockers, hatches and ports, companionway.
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- Get new dodger made - The previous owner indicated that I "could get one more year" out of the existing dodger, but what a miserable rag it was, falling apart at the seams and full of holes. I had a local canvas guy make a new dodger and bimini, and it came out really well. I had the guy add two bracing struts to the front of the metal framework to make the structure more rugged. This also eliminated the need for two existing nylon straps that braced the dodger to the cockpit coaming (and got in the way of the winch handles). I also had the guy add grabrails of stainless tubing on each side of the dodger to assist you when walking the side decks. Then instead of a crossways pipe tied to the backstay to support the trailing edge of the bimini (which I always feared was going to break loose and bonk me on the head) I had the guy install another tubing bow on the stern pulpit which was then braced to the pulpit with nylon straps (that didn't get in the way of anything). Overall, the dodger/bimini came out really nice, and is one of the nicest features of the boat.
- Refinish caprail - The boat has a very nice teak caprail on top of the bulwarks all the way around the boat. The finish was peeling off, so I sanded off the finish down to bare wood (very time consuming), then refinished with three coats of Cetol. I also removed the old caulking on the inner and outer edges of the bulwark and recaulked with new caulking. I moved some small cleats and fittings on the caprail, and drilled out and bunged the old holes before doing any refinishing. I still have quite a bit more exterior teak to refinish, I can only hope to get to it before the caprail needs refinishing again.
- Portlight repair - The previous owner replaced the old portlights with new ones that were a little better, but still made of plastic. However his installation left a lot to be desired. He didn't caulk them properly so several portlights leaked, including the one over my berth and the one over the chart table. Plus, he didn't use big enough screws to bolt them down. I had to remove all the portlights, scrape all the old caulking off the portlight and from around the hole, then properly rebed them in caulking. I also used the correct size screws. As part of this process, I wound up removing, cleaning, and rebedding the trim rings on the outside. Plus, the gaskets that sealed the opening portlights to their frames were already deteriorating, so I scraped all the old gasket material off and installed new ones. This whole process was incredibly time-consuming and tedious, and it showed how important it is to do the job right the first time. An additional problem was that some of the portlights were caulked with 3M 5200, which is a permanent caulking. It made it extra difficult to get those portlights out without breaking themin fact, I wasn't able to remove one portlight and just had to recaulk it from outside.
- Install jerry jugs on deck - It seems like every cruiser has jerry jugs on deck, so I had to install some. I installed two diesel jugs, two gasoline jugs, and two water jugs, three on each side of the coachroof (one of each type). Each jug is secured by two ropes tied to eyestraps screwed into the side of the coachroof, a fairly secure system. The diesel and water jugs are for "emergency" use, although I use up the contents regularly and refill them so the contents don't get too stale. I use fuel stabilizer in both the diesel and gasoline jugs, and add some chlorine to the water jugs to keep algae from growing. By the way, I also learned not to tighten the vent caps on the gasoline jugs. The pressure built up so much that the jug got very bloated like it was about to burst. So now I always leave the vent caps slightly loose so excess pressure can vent to the atmosphere. Although the jugs have "blowout plugs" which are designed to pop to prevent excess pressure, that can spill gas all over the place. I read about someone whose boat burned up when a gasoline jug burst and a flash fire occurred (the ignition temperature of gas vapors is surprisingly low, and you don't need a flame or red hot surface to ignite gas).
- Install fender storage racks - I used to keep the five fenders in the cockpit lockers, but once I loaded up the boat for cruising, I didn't have any room in the lockers for fenders. So I got two fender storage racks, and installed one on the bow pulpit and one on the stern pulpit. Each rack holds two medium fendersthe big fender I just tie to the stern pulpit.
- Repair hatch dogs - Each of the two overhead hatches is secured with two hatch dogs. The brackets for the dogs were pop-riveted to the aluminum hatch frame, but the pop rivets were corroding so one bracket fell off. Naturally the bracket that fell off occurred just as Hurricane Floyd was approaching Annapolis, so half a bucket of rainwater leaked through that hatch before I could repair it. I drilled out all the pop rivets and replaced them with screws, then caulked around the screws to prevent leaks.
- Repair Vetus deck vent - These vents have a saucer-shaped stainless steel cover that screws down over the vent body. The screw became corroded, then when trying to forcibly screw the vent closed, the spot welds attaching the screw to the cover broke. I epoxied the whole thing back together, after cleaning up the corrosion on the screw. This vent had to be rebedded, because the old caulking had deteriorated, allowing leaks.
- Make holder for GPS - I have a really nice small Magellan GPS unit (plus an identical spare). I looked all over for a bracket to mount the GPS to the steering pedestal, but I didn't find anything that I liked. I wound up making my own fairly complicated mounting bracket, which works very nicely. I made it out of plastic cutting-board material, which is similar to "Starboard" marine-grade plastic. Since you can't glue this stuff (it has very low adhesion), the bracket is held together with stainless steel screws.
- Number boards for boat and dinghy - The boat used to have the registration numbers on the hull. Once I got the boat federally documented, I wouldn't need to have state registration numbers. For the time being, I took the numbers off the hull and made teak number boards, which I attached to the bow pulpit using stainless steel brackets. Once the documentation process is complete, I'll remove the numbers from the number boards and put the boat's name on the number boards (plus the documentation decal). The inflatable dinghy never had a registration (which is illegal), so I got a proper registration and made up some number boards with the registration numbers, to hang from the dinghy tubes.
Includes spars, stays, shrouds, and associated hardware.
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- Replace standing rigging - This was a big job that I did while wintering-over in Florida. I had the boatyard unstep/restep the mast, and had a rigging company make up the new rigging wires, but I did all the other work myself. I first prepared a detailed plan to list everything I needed to do, in the proper order, and to list all the supplies and tools that I would need. Then I removed the sails, removed the boom, and had the mast unstepped. I removed all the old rigging wires and took-off detailed measurements. After making up detailed drawings of the new rigging wires (including some changes from the old rigging), I got quotes from suppliers and ordered the new rigging. I then installed the new rigging wires and had the mast restepped. This sounds quick and easy, but it took quite a while. The worklist was eight pages long, and included many other related tasks besides just replacing the rigging wires.
- Install mast steps - While the mast was unstepped, I installed mast steps to make it easier to climb up the mast. They are attached to the mast with stainless steel screws threaded into holes I drilled and tapped in the mast. They work really well and I'm very pleased with them. But so far, the only reason I have gone up the mast (after finishing all the rigging work) was to get a good viewpoint from which to take pictures.
- Refurbish boom - While the mast was unstepped, I refurbished the exotic rotating gooseneck fitting that attaches the boom to the mast. I also repaired the padeyes where the reefing lines are attached to the boom. They were attached with screws threaded into the metal of the boom, but those screws were pulling out. I reattached them with through-bolts and backing plates.
- Repair spreaders - The spreaders had a lot of corrosion on the tips that required refinishing. They also needed drain holes drilled in them, to prevent water from accumulating and corroding from the inside. The clevis pins that attached the spreaders to their mast flanges were too loose, so I drilled out the fittings to take the next bigger size clevis, which would fit more snugly. I installed new spreader boots once the mast was restepped, using a type that allows air circulation to reduce moisture that causes long-term corrosion.
- Remove and rebed chainplates - I did this while the mast was out. The chainplate deck fittings were leaking and the deck core was being damaged from the water. After removing the eight chainplates, I scraped out the damaged deck core, dried the areas, and refilled with epoxy. I cleaned the corrosion off the chainplates and reinstalled them, rebedding the deck fittings.
- "Tune" the rigging - Once the mast was restepped, I statically tuned the rigging so the mast was true. Later on, while sailing, I dynamically tuned the rigging so the mast and rigging was correctly set up.
- Paint spinnaker pole - The spinnaker pole was very chalky, so every time you touched it, your hand would get white. I removed the pole from the boat, scrubbed off all the chalking paint, then repainted with two coats of Brightside polyurethane. It came out real nice, and looks almost brand new.
Includes halliards, sheets, vang, all winches, associated hardware, furling lines but not furlers themselves.
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- Replace running rigging - As part of replacing the standing rigging, I also replaced the running rigging. I put in new halliards, sheets, reefing lines, outhaul, topping lift, one furler control line, flag halliards, and bimini hoist - 16 pieces of new rigging, altogether. Most of the old running rigging was quite old and due for replacement.
- New masthead sheaves - After the last bit of sailing we did going to Florida, it was very difficult to lower the mainsail. It turns out that one of the masthead sheaves broke, plus the others were greatly sun-damaged. I replaced all the sheaves and refurbished the associated gear.
- New mainsheet blocks - The mainsheet has a mid-boom attachment that uses several large blocks for mechanical advantage. The old blocks were cracked, and also were fairly high-friction. I replaced them with very nice Harken ball-bearing blocks, so the mainsheet now has much less friction.
- Rebuild topping lift - The old topping lift wire had corroded swages, so I replaced it with a new wire. Also, the mechanical advantage of the hoist was only two-to-one. With a heavy boom and sail, this made the topping lift difficult to operate. I replaced the blocks so there would be a four-to-one mechanical advantage, which also required a new hoist line.
- Rework spinnaker pole control lines - Originally, the spinnaker pole was raised and lowered by a recirculating line that had only a primitive friction control to secure it. This was very unsafe, since the line could suddenly slip, dropping the pole on my head. Also, the pole is quite heavy, and there was no mechanical advantage. I reworked this so there are separate uphaul and downhaul lines, each with its own mast cleat. I also added a block and padeye so the uphaul now has a two-to-one mechanical advantage. I did this before I installed my mast steps, so I actually paid a couple of guys to go up the mast to install the required padeye. Without mast steps, I found it too difficult to go up the mast by myself.
- Repaired boom vang tackle - The multi-part tackle used as a boom vang and preventer had a worn-out cam cleat that refused to grab the line securely. I replaced the cam cleat.
- Install furler control line hangers - There wasn't any way to securely hang the coiled-up furler control lines in the cockpit. I installed a couple of cleats on the lifeline near the cockpit so the lines can be hung up out of the way.
- Replace traveler - One important thing the surveyor missed was that the original traveler was just barely held on by a few bolts-the remaining bolts were loose. Unfortunately, the loose bolts couldn't be tightened, because they were bedded in epoxy which had failed. To remove the loose bolts, I had to cut them off, which also required cutting through the traveler itself. Therefore I needed a new traveler. I installed a nice Harken unit, which is nicer and beefier than the original Lewmar unit. This was a fairly involved job, since the new bolts are also bedded in epoxy and you basically only get one chance to do it right. As part of this job, I also made new traveler control lines.
- Service all winches - This was time consuming and messy. There are a total of nine winches (jib, staysail, mainsail, reefing, mainsheet, two jib sheets, two staysail sheets). Each winch had to be completely disassembled, all the parts had to be cleaned in kerosene to remove old grease and dirt, then the parts had to be relubricated and reassembled. To find what works best, I am trying three different kinds of grease: Superlube synthetic grease, Lubri-plate waterproof grease, and trailer wheel-bearing grease.
- Fix winch override problem - The winch for the mainsheet had a problem with the line wrapping over itself. I reoriented the self-tailing assembly so the override problem mostly went away. The real problem is that the lead to the winch is not quite correct, but this is very difficult to fix as it is a design problem.
- Service all sailing hardware - All the existing sailing hardware had to be cleaned and lubricated, such as the blocks, cars, furlers, gooseneck, outhaul, spinnaker pole fittings, etc.
- Install line bags - I installed some line bags in the cockpit by hanging them on the lifelines. Whenever possible, the tails for the jib and staysail sheets are flaked out into the bags so they won't get all tangled up in the cockpit.
Includes all sails and furling gear, but not sheets or furling lines.
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- Replace jib furler - As part of replacing the standing rigging, I had to replace the headstay and the inner forestay. Each stay had a furler on it, for the jib and staysail. The staysail furler disassembled easily enough so I could get the wire out, but the jib furler was extremely uncooperative. I spent days trying to get it apart, including at one point tying the rig to a piling so I could stretch the wire from the other end with a block and tackle to try to grind the end fitting off. There were additional problems: the furler was a relatively primitive design from the early 1980's that didn't use a turnbuckle, and some important pieces were corroded together and impossible to disassemble without breaking them. I eventually decided to get a new furler, since the old furler had too many problems to be worth saving or spending any more time and effort. I hadn't originally planned to replace the jib furler, so this was a significant additional expense. However the new furler, a Schaefer, is a beautiful unit, and it went together very easily. So other than the additional expense and time lost screwing around with the old furler, everything came out very well.
- Service staysail furler - As part of replacing the standing rigging, I disassembled, cleaned, and lubricated the staysail furler. This furler is still in pretty good shape, plus it's a more modern design that uses a turnbuckle.
Includes windlass, chain and nylon rode, chain locker, anchors, anchor rollers, associated gear.
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- Install electric windlass - The boat originally came with a Simpson-Lawrence 555 manual windlass, which is a fairly well-respected windlass. Although it was very stiff to operate, I assumed I could recondition it so it would work well againwrong assumption! The gears on the inside were quite rusted, and I couldn't get the gears off the shafts to disassemble the unit. The insides were so messed up that I decided to get rid of it (sold it for $250) and installed an electric windlass. I had planned on doing this eventually, but didn't really want to do this right away. It was a major job, requiring lots of wiring to install very heavy 2-0 cable from a new 150 amp circuit breaker to the windlass, then back to DC ground. There was additional wiring to install remote control outlets in the cockpit and on the foredeck, plus more wiring to install the control box in the chain locker and hook it up to the windlass, etc. The physical installation of the windlass wasn't that bad, since there's only really one place to put it. I had a local carpenter build the teak windlass bed, since the foredeck is curved and you also want the windlass to be raised up a little. Then there were the little details, that took a surprising amount of time, like drilling numerous holes to route the big wires, installing a conduit in the chain locker so the wires wouldn't get abraded by the chain, mounting the manual handle on the foredeck bulwark (which I did backwards so the pipe fills with water, duh!), attaching hooks to the remote controls so you can hang them from your belt or the pulpit, installing about a zillion wire ties to secure all the wiring, etc.
- Make spare windlass handle - The electric windlass has a manual backup mechanism, and they give you a handle so you can operate the windlass this way. In case I lose the handle (which is on the foredeck), I made a second handle (which I keep in a locker). Since in all likelihood I will never use this handle, I just made it out of a piece of pipe.
- Repair windlass hand controllers - The electric windlass is operated by a hand controller that plugs into an outlet on the foredeck or in the cockpit, instead of the more traditional footswitch. The hand controller is supposed to be waterproof, but guess what? It isn't. The wires inside the connector got corroded and broke. I already had two controllers (one for the cockpit, one for the foredeck), but since they looked to be somewhat unreliable, I got a third as a backup. I disassembled all the connectors and repaired the wires, then packed the connector bodies with silicone sealant to try to waterproof them.
- Rework chain locker - The chain locker had a divider which was kind of cockeyed, so I removed it and reattached it in a better location. I also added two U-bolts to attach the bitter ends of the primary and secondary anchor rodes. Then I added a retainer clip to hold the chain locker door shut, since it can sometimes spring open if the chain falls on to it. TBD, see later note.
- Rebuild anchor rodes - The boat came with both a primary and secondary rode, but the primary rode was so rusty and corroded it was one of the first things that I removed and threw out. The secondary rode was still OK, but I now keep it as a spare in the cockpit locker. The boat also had a spare length of chain, which I now use as the secondary rode chain. I bought a new length of 3/8" chain for the primary rode, plus new 5/8" nylon line. I connected the rope and chain with a rope-to-chain splice, which I learned from a book. Then I marked both rodes with colored wire ties every 10 feet, including the nylon section, and installed them in the two compartments in the chain locker, lashing the bitter ends to the U-bolts. Then there was the quest for good anchor shackles. Everybody sells cheap-looking Chinese shackles that supposedly meet all kinds of impressive specifications, but look like they're made by some peasant in his backyard using a forge fired by water buffalo dung. I finally found good ones from Jamestown Distributors but it took a lot more effort than it should have to find something so basic. TBD, see later note.
- Rework chain locker and anchor rodes again - This is the "later note", referred to above. During my Chesapeake Bay shakedown cruise before I left for Florida, it quickly became apparent that the primary anchor rode was not working well. When I retrieved the anchor with the windlass, the chain would pile up in the chain locker until it reached the deck. As the windlass tried to feed more chain into the locker, the chain would jam and the windlass circuit breaker would trip. I would then have to run from the foredeck, dash below and run forward to the chain locker, knock over the chain pile, then run topsides to the foredeck again. Then I'd have to run below again because I forgot to reset the windlass circuit breaker. This fire drill happened in several different locations, and it was a serious problem. While I was doing all this running around, the boat could very well be drifting through the anchorage on too-short scope, and this could be dangerous. The basic problem was that I was trying to squeeze too much anchor rode into a too-small chain locker. Rather than make the primary and secondary rodes smaller, I decided to remove the secondary anchor rode from the chain locker, remove the chain locker divider, and use the entire locker for the primary rode. I store the nylon rope for the secondary rode in a cockpit locker, coiled inside a big line bag. To make the chain from the secondary rode easier to handle, I cut it into two 50' lengths, and store the pieces in the cockpit locker flaked into two sturdy canvas bags. It's clear that the secondary rode is no longer an "impulse" item. You really have to want to use it now, and you have to allow enough time to set it up. The primary rode now works fine; I had no trouble on the trip to/from Florida.
- Improve anchor mounts - The secondary anchor (a Fortress FX-37) used to be stored disassembled in the cockpit locker, which was not very usable. I assembled it and mounted in on the bow pulpit using some lashings. It's not a very pretty job, but at least now you can use it if you have to. The same with the stern anchor (a Danforth 19), which used to be stored in the locker. Now it is mounted on the stern pulpit using a Danforth anchor bracket and some lashings.
- Make up anchor snubbers - When using less than 150 feet of anchor rode, you wind up with an all-chain rode. To keep from jerking the chain, I made up several snubbers consisting of 1/2" nylon rope with an eyesplice/thimble which is shackled to a chain hook. The snubber is attached to the chain and cleated off, then more chain is let out so the snubber nylon takes the strain.
- Make up anti-chafe hoses - To keep docklines or anchor lines from chafing in the chocks, I made up some anti-chafe hoses out of split vinyl tubing. Each piece has a length of light line attached, so you can secure the hose to the dock line to keep the hose from sliding up or down.
- Make up fender boards - I made up a pair of fender boards which can be deployed when docking close to a piling, to keep the hull from rubbing against the piling.
- Improve primary anchor deployment - Whenever you deployed or recovered the main anchor, the shank used to vigorously bang into the fairlead arm of the jib furler, and I was surprised that the arm hadn't broken off yet. I repositioned the arm so the anchor shank wouldn't hit it, but this required that the furler control line be repositioned on the other side of the boat to keep the lead fair. Since there is a staysail furler too, I moved both lines. Sounds simple, but it required moving all the control line hardware, too, as well as two cleats that were on the caprail, which required bunging the old holes, etc. Nothing is ever so simple as it seems. [Later note: I did all this before I junked the old furler and replaced it with the very nice Schaefer furler. The Schaefer furler does not have a fairlead arm, so this problem doesn't occur anymore.]
Includes pedestal, radial drive wheel, rudder, autopilot, wind vane, and all associated gear.
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- Rebuild the steering system - This was another big job, since everything that I looked at needed work. I wound up completely removing the steering pedestal and dismantling the whole thing. The old steering cables were frayed where they attached to the radial drive wheel on the rudder stock, so the cables had to be replaced. The pedestal steering bearings were all dried out, so they had to be cleaned up and relubricated. The pedestal brake pads were worn out, so they needed to be replaced. The idler plate with sheaves underneath the pedestal was rusted out, so I replaced that. The sheaves were the wrong size (this was original equipment), so they caused the steering cables to lead on to the drive wheel at too high an angle, causing chafing and friction, so installed sheaves of a different size. The rudder stops on the drive wheel also rubbed against the overhead woodwork, so I removed them and ground them down. Also the main rudder bearing at the top of the rudder stock was all dried out and worn, so I dismantled it,
refurbished it, and regreased it. To avoid getting dirt in the grease, and from getting grease on things you put in the cockpit locker, I installed a vinyl cover over the rudder stock. The emergency steering handle was all corroded, and didn't fit together, and didn't fit on the rudder stock. I ground it down and refurbished it so it works (although even at best, it's not very good). There was one really big problem in taking apart the pedestalthey bolt together the top of the pedestal using stainless screws threaded into an aluminum casting. Corrosion, and lack of maintenance, had completely frozen the bolts; they were absolutely unremovable, even with an impact wrench. I wound up having to grind/drill the heads off the screws, which allowed me to dismantle the pedestal, but now there was no way to bolt it back together. Luckily, the top-most piece of the pedestal was fairly thick, so I machined away about 1/2" of the metal where each screw sticks out, to make a recess to fit a nut and some washers. Then I had to drill new holes in the compass housing, and tap new holes in the top piece of the pedestal, so I could attach the compass to the pedestal. I was pretty upset at Edson (the company that made the pedestal), for designing it with incompatible metals that could easily corrode and seize-up. It was a huge effort to repair this problem.
- Install "Monitor" windvane - The boat has an electrically operated autopilot, but for long-distance sailing, it is useful to have a wind-powered autopilot. I installed a Monitor windvane on the stern for this purpose. It was a fairly difficult installation, since there were many holes that had to be precisely located and drilled through the stern, then mounting bolts had to be installed in difficult-to-access locations. One mounting bolt was inside a water manifold, so I had to cut the manifold open and install a waterproof access plate to get at the bolt. Other mounting bolts could not be through-bolted, so I had to bed those bolts in epoxy. I also installed two double blocks in the cockpit area for the control lines, and installed the windvane control hub on the boat's wheel. I haven't used the windvane much yet, since my planned trip to the Caribbean didn't occur. Since the windvane sticks out from the stern, it is in a vulnerable location. Two boats have hit the windvane (doing minor damage) when they were leaving their slips and didn't leave enough room to avoid hitting me.
- Refurbish autopilot arm - There is a below-decks autopilot that steers the boat via a control arm on the rudder stock. This control arm was full of dirt and the grease was dried out. I disassembled it, cleaned it, and regreased it.
- Autopilot control improvements - The autopilot mechanism is actuated by pushing or pulling a knob in the cockpit. The old knob was too fragile (i.e. I broke it), so I replaced it with a sturdier knob. Also, it was too easy to accidentally bump the knob and push it in, thus disengaging the autopilot. I made a guard out of a strip of stainless steel and mounted it over the handle to protect it.
Only things directly attached to engine and part of propulsion system, does not include rest of "drive train" or engine accessories. Also includes throttle linkage, exhaust system including through hull and water injection, engine water pump and heat exchanger.
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- Install raw water strainer for engine - The surveyor noted that the raw water that cools the engine heat exchanger did not pass through a raw water strainer, so I installed one. It was a tricky installation, since there was exactly enough space to install one (as if it had been planned), but if you were off by even a quarter inch in any dimension, the hoses were going to chafe or not fit right, since everything was very close together. Miraculously, everything fit perfectly, and the installation was actually pretty easy. This was one of the first projects I tackled, and since everything went very well, it gave me a lot of confidence to tackle other projects, including some that didn't go nearly as well.
- Replumb the engine coolant lines - This was one of those things that made me wonder "what were they thinking" when they designed it. The engine coolant lines ran down and across the front of the engine, then back about half way, then up across the fuel area, then back down to the oil cooler. This consisted of about 14 separate pieces of rubber hose and metal tubing, plus handfuls of hose clamps. In addition to the inlet and outlet, the whole thing was supported in exactly one other location, and halfheartedly at that. The whole thing could wiggle like a big eel, as loosely as it was supported. On top of that, in one place, a metal tube unavoidedly chafed against a metal part of the engine. The previous owner had added some chafe protection in the form of a piece of aluminum sheet cut from a beer can wrapped around the tube and secured with wire. The whole thing was ridiculous, and this is how it was designed! I spent a lot of time re-engineering it (as an engineer, I'm good at that), and now have a nearly ideal system consisting of just two pipes, with hoses to attach to the inlet, outlet, and to connect to two pipes. The two pipes are each supported by two sturdy brackets bolted to the engine. And nothing chafes, nothing whatsoever! I had a guy bend up the pipes for me; they cost me only $20 each since he didn't know they were for a boat. I got the hoses from the rack at Pep Boys. As part of this job, I also replaced the engine coolant.
- Refurbish heat exchanger - As part of the replumbing job, I also dismantled the heat exchanger and cleaned the heat exchanger core. I cleaned the outside of the core (which was slimy) in very strong cleanser, and cleaned the inside of the core tubes using a long metal rod. I also replaced the rubber end caps of the heat exchanger, but these little rubber pieces were shockingly expensive.
- Clean water injection assembly - The raw water that cools the engine heat exchanger is injected into the exhaust system in the water injection assembly. I originally dismantled it because I thought it might be worn out and I might need another one. It turns out that my boat has a very unusual water injection assembly, and nobody had one. But the one guy who even knew what type it was said that they last a long time. So I soaked it in degreaser to clean it, then banged it on the ground to loosen internal rust. I picked out as much rust as I could using coat hanger wire, then reinstalled it with a new gasket. The gasket contains asbestos, and had all kinds of warning labels on it.
- Engine raw water impeller - I replaced this, it's pretty easy to do.
- Service fuel injectors - I removed all four fuel injectors and sent them out to be rebuilt. When taking them off the engine, I noticed that two of them had loose nuts, so it was a problem waiting to happen. After reinstalling them, I had to bleed the whole engine fuel system. I made a BIG mess, because I had some air leaks and had to keep bleeding over and over. All the while, I didn't notice how much fuel was bleeding out of one of the bleed fittings on the back of the engine. Finally I noticed this big pool of diesel fuel in the engine pan-what a mess! I had to siphon it out and clean it up, since you risk a $5000 fine if you pump any oil overboard. Then I had a problem with one of the injectors, and the engine ran like s**t. Turns out I bolted it in cockeyed, so it wasn't sealing the combustion chamber. I finally got everything working OK with no damage to things. The engine now starts and runs beautifully.
- Install new throttle and transmission control cables - The old cables were in doubtful shape, so as part of rebuilding the steering pedestal, I replaced these cables (they terminate at the pedestal). They were fairly difficult to route, since they go underneath a blind part of the cabin sole (a small area that can't be accessed). The cables just go in one end of this little compartment, and magically come out the other end, but there's no way to get inside the compartment. So I just had to fish a string through the compartment using a plumber's fish tape, then pull the cables through.
- Install new belts - I installed new belts (one for the alternator and water pump, one for the reefer compressor) just to be on the safe side. I have a nifty belt tensioner tool so it's not too difficult to set the proper tension.
- Engine zinc - I changed the engine cooling system zinc, which is in the raw water inlet line.
- Build remote starter switch box - When doing things like bleeding the engine fuel system, you need to crank the engine, but it's very helpful to be sitting next to the engine to watch the results. I built a switch box with a long cable that I can plug into a connector I added to the back of the engine instrument panel. The switch box has switches and relays for "on", "crank", and "stop" just like the engine instrument panel. This way, you can crank, start, and stop the engine without having to go into the cockpit.
- Adjust engine valve clearance - Regular maintenance. I also replaced the valve cover gasket, which was a painthe old one had baked on and was very hard to remove.
- Change engine oil and filter - Regular maintenance. One really nice thing about the engine installation is that the oil filter is super-easy to get to, and using a Zip-lock bag to hold the filter as you unscrew it, you don't get any drips. Compared to the typical difficulty of changing your car's oil, changing the boat's oil is surprisingly easyafter all, the engine is practially sitting right out in your living room. I also have a nice system to pump the old oil out of the engine, and even a nice system to get the new oil into the engine. In general, I find that it is very helpful to contemplate things and work out good ways to do things. If I find that something is hard to do, being an engineer, I can usually come up with a better way to do things.
The rest of "drive train", including transmission, coupling, shaft, stuffing box, cutless bearing, strut, prop. Also includes transmission lever linkage.
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- Propeller servicing - The feathering propeller had some excessive play in the blades so I took the prop off and sent it to Max Prop to be serviced. Sounds easy, but NOOOO! It seems the idiot who installed the prop didn't feel like drilling through the prop nut to install a retaining pin. So instead, after tightening the nut, he just hammered over the threads on the end of the prop shaft. So to get the nut off, I first had to use a die grinder to grind off the mutilated threads. This didn't work very well, so I wound up stripping the nut as I took it off (at least it was bronze, so it was softer than the stainless shaft, which wasn't damaged). Then I had to clean up the remaining mutilated threads with the grinder and a file. When I sent the prop back, they lost the piece of paper with my name and address, so the prop sat there for weeks while I thought it was being worked on. Finally that problem was solved and I got the prop back. Boy was it beautiful, it looked brand new. The installation went very easy, including drilling the nut for the retaining pin.
- Repack the stuffing box - This little bugger took hours, since the old stuffing was very awkward to pick out and had hardened like concrete. But I finally got it all out, and the new stuffing went in easily.
- Replace cutless bearing - After my shakedown cruise, I decided the cutless bearing needed replacing. I couldn't figure out an easy way to get the old one out of the strut, so I paid a guy $60 to do the job. He had exactly the right tools and it went very easily.
- Remove shaft lock brake - The propeller shaft used to have a shaft lock that worked like a disc brake, with the ring-like brake rotor bolted in the middle of the shaft coupling. The feathering prop doesn't require locking the shaft, so a previous owner had removed most of the shaft lock. For whatever reason, he left the brake rotor installed, so I disassembled the shaft coupling and removed the brake rotor.
Includes fill port, fill line, tank, vent, supply lines, return lines, filters, any control valves, etc.
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- Replace fuel fill hose and vent hose - The old hose wasn't fire-resistant and the surveyor (and insurance company) said it should be replaced. On my boat, the fuel fill deck plate is all the way forward at the bow. The fill hose passes through the chain locker, and it had a lot of abrasions on it from the chain. This was a difficult job because of the very cramped working space inside the chain locker. Much of the work was accomplished half in and half out of the chain locker, resting uncomfortably on the chain locker bulkhead. I had black and blue bruises on my ribs for weeks. After rebedding the deck plate and installing the new fill hose, I installed a protective cover over the hose so the chain couldn't abrade it. I made the cover out of a piece of heavy PVC sewer pipe.
- Replace engine fuel hoses - The engine fuel hoses had to be replaced, too, with fire-resistant hose. This job was relatively easy, compared to the previous job.
- Add fuel valve by engine - The surveyor said this was necessary to keep fuel from siphoning out of the fuel tank if a hose breaks or pulls off by the engine. I also refurbished the Racor fuel filter.
- Fuel tank maintenance - When I bought the boat, the 10 gallons of diesel remaining in the fuel tank were absolutely awful, a cloudy grayish-brown crud. I paid a tank cleaning service to clean the fuel tank, then remove and discard the cruddy fuel. They didn't do a very good job on the tank cleaning, but at least they got rid of the cruddy fuel. I always use an additive like Biobor when I fuel up. This is especially important for a sailboat, since the fuel sits there for some time as it takes a while to use up a tank of fuel. The engine ran noticeably better after I got rid of the old fuel.
- Replace fuel filters - Regular maintenance. I do this every 100 hours of engine running time. Surprisingly, this is not too messy if you use Zip-lock bags to hold the filter as you unscrew it to capture any fuel drips.
Includes things relating to plumbing system in general, that might apply to each plumbing subsystem, where you don't want to list them multiple times, one in each subsystem.
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- Service all the seacocks - Some of them I could disassemble easily enough, so they could be cleaned and greased. But unfortunately the big ones were so tight I couldn't disassemble them without fear of breaking something. So those I greased by feeding grease in from outside (while the boat was hauled out) then operating the handle back and forth. Also, there is a fitting on the side of the seacock which I read is a drain, but it accepts a grease fitting, so I used that too.
- Hose maintenance - Tighten up hose clamps, double-clamp things. Some important hoses can't be double-clamped because there is not enough space on the fitting.
- Replace deck plate O-rings - There are four deck plates (fuel, two water, waste), and I replaced the O-rings in the deck plates so they would seal better.
- Wooden plugs - Some people recommend putting a correctly-sized wooden plug next to each through-hull, so you can jam it in the through-hull if the hose comes off or if there's some other problem. I put wooden plugs by most of my through-hulls, but hopefully, I'll never have to use them.
Includes fill ports, fill lines, tanks, vents, supply lines, filters, any control valves, faucets in galley and head, pump, water heater, etc.
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- Clean and sanitize water tanks - There are no cleanout ports in the water tanks, although I might add some in the future. When the water got skunky, I dumped it all out by pulling the hose off the center water tank and letting the tank drain into the bilge, where the bilge pump pumped it overboard. (This also washed out the bilge.) I also turned on the hot and cold faucets to drain the system (especially the water heater). After reattaching the hose, I refilled the tanks and added a significant amount of baking soda solution. After letting it sit overnight, I dumped the water, then refilled with baking soda solution again. Next time I dumped and refilled with water to which I added a significant amount of chlorine bleach to disinfect things. This water is not drinkable. After letting it sit overnight, I dumped the water and repeated the chlorine treatment. After letting it sit overnight, I dumped the water and refilled, this time adding only a little chlorine bleach. This is the way I leave it; the small amount of bleach is not harmful to drink. After each step where I filled the tanks, I turned on all the faucets in the boat so the solutions flushed out all the pipes.
- Backflush water heater - Like the water heater in your house, the boat's water heater can accumulate sediment and other crud. It's also warm, wet, and dark, which is an ideal place for bacteria to grow. One way to avoid problems with maloderous hot water is to periodically drain and backflush the water heater. It's not enough just to drain it from the hot water faucet, because the internal pipe arrangement usually prevents sediments from coming out the hot water pipe. Instead, you have to remove the cold water feed pipe, then drain all the water out through the cold water inlet. Then you actually feed water into the hot water outlet and let it drain out the cold water inlet, thus backflushing the water heater. The first time I did this on my boat, the last few cupfuls of water were full of disgusting black crud!
- Repair hot water hose - The hose had aged and partially collapsed where it was routed through a bulkhead. This caused problems with water pressure and temperature when you were taking a shower or washing dishes. I replaced the hose and widened the hole in the bulkhead so the hose didn't have to bend as much.
- Move fresh water pump - The pump used to be in the middle of some valuable real estate on the floor of what I call the equipment room. I could potentially install other equipment there or just store things there, so I moved the pump out of the way.
- Replace leaking check valve - A check valve started to leak and had to be replaced. Unfortunately, the new one had different size fittings so some hose had to be replaced.
- New shower nozzle and holder - The boat came with a very inconvenient method of taking a shower in the head. I installed a new shower nozzle and holder that was much more convenient. I also made a wraparound shower curtain and installed snappers around the head, so you could keep it dry when taking a shower. I also installed a rack on the bulkhead to store the shower curtain when not in use.
- Remove and sell watermaker - The boat had an old PUR watermaker of questionable functionality. It didn't seem likely that I would be using it anytime soon, and it would just deteriorate further. So I removed it and sold it on consignment. I also removed all the associated plumbing and wiring.
Includes raw water supply, through hulls, seacocks, hoses, pumps (but not engine water pump), strainer, galley salt water pump and faucet, control valves, washdown pump, etc.
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- Install new anchor washdown system - The boat came with a washdown pump with a hose on the foredeck, which the surveyor had no complaints about. But upon closer inspection, it had lots of problems. The pump had a big motor that required a solenoid, and was wired up to the engine starting battery. This way, you drained down your starting battery when you washed the anchor or decknot very bright. To activate the pump, you had to step on a deck switch embedded in the foredeckanother dumb idea, since you had to stand in one place to keep your foot on the switch. Finally, the pump was worn out and wouldn't hold its prime. You had to pour water into the end of the hose to prime the pump. Yikes, what a disaster. I ripped it all out, including the feed hose from the pump to the foredeck, and redid the whole thing, this time doing it right. I first installed a raw water strainer by the seacock, since this inlet also fed the galley saltwater tap and you don't want all kinds of sea creatures clogging up your plumbing. Then I installed a pressure washdown pump that runs off a circuit breaker on the DC panel, and off the house bank, not the starting battery. Now you just turn on the breaker, the pump builds up pressure in the hose and shuts off. Then you go topsides and squeeze the nozzle handle, water comes out, the pump turns on, more water comes out, etc. When you release the nozzle handle, the water stops and the pump stops. Just like it's suppose to. Now you can move around and use the hose to wash other things.
- Install raw water scoop for engine intake - While the boat was hauled out, I installed a scoop on the outside of the hull where the engine's raw water cooling inlet is. This is supposed to keep big trash from plugging up the inlet, and also to help direct water into the inlet while the boat is in motion.
Includes plumbing fixtures, hoses, through hulls, sea cocks, etc. associated with gray water: galley sinks, head sink, head shower sump, reefer drain, bilge and bilge pumps, cockpit drains.
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- Bilge pump improvements - I installed an electromechanical counter that counts how many times the bilge pump operates, until you push the button to reset the counter. This is useful since sometimes the bilge pump runs without you knowing it, and you really want to know every time the pump runs (maybe your boat has a leak). I also installed a much nicer bilge high-water alarm, using a robust float switch and very loud alarm, instead of the really cheesy and unreliable components that used to be there.
- Emergency manual bilge pump - The boat didn't have an emergency manual bilge pump that could be operated from below, so I designed a system that would work. The pump isn't permanently installed, since there's no good place to put it. However, all the components are readily at hand and can be installed in a couple of minutes.
- Remove cockpit locker drains - There used to be a drain for the starboard cockpit locker, however (supposedly) at high angles of heel, seawater can actually flow into the locker via the locker drain. So I removed the drain fitting and hose, installed a plywood plug in the cockpit locker floor, and capped off the through-hull. There also was a drain for the port cockpit locker, which is actually the propane locker. This drain could not properly drain propane vapors, so I installed a proper locker drain and removed and capped off the old drain.
Includes toilet, plumbing, Y-valve, holding tank, deck pumpout, etc.
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- Rebuild toilet - I removed and completely disassembled the toilet. Then I cleaned all the components and replaced all the parts that came in the rebuild kit. Then I reassembled the toilet and reinstalled it. This went surprisingly well. Even after many years of use (and neglect), all the components of the toilet disassembled easily and there was only minimal corrosion with no ill effects. The Wilcox-Crittenden Company obviously knows how to build a complicated mechanism that lasts for decades in a saltwater environment. It is a very nice designeasy to work on with no incompatible metals or flimsy plastic parts. Unfortunately, once I completed the job the toilet didn't work. It turns out the raw water through-hull (for flushing water) was clogged up, which I couldn't fix until the boat was out of the water (at which time, of course, you can't use the toilet).
- Redo toilet plumbing - I replaced all the plumbing associated with the toiletthe raw water hose, waste hose, Y-valve, and anti-siphon loop. The waste hose was completely deteriorated and obviously leaking, in some places barely held together with electrical tape. The Y-valve and antisiphon loop were clogged up with some kind of mineral deposit. This was a difficult and messy job. I initially couldn't get at the holding tank, so I had to cut a hole in a bulkhead so I could reach where the intake hose attached to the holding tank. Both the waste and raw water hose are routed through some nearly inaccessible locations. As part of this job, I also rebedded the waste pumpout deck plate. Now the whole system looks really spiffybrand new and perfectly functional with no problems.
- Holding tank alert - When you flush the toilet into the holding tank, and the tank is already full, sewage backs up into the tank vent line and clogs things up. To avoid this, I added a float switch to the holding tank and installed an LED indicator in the head. Now, when the holding tank is pretty full but not completely full, the LED comes on and you know you need an imminent pumpout.
Includes engine-mounted and 120 V compressors, refrigerator/freezer and all associated hoses, wiring, plumbing, etc. Only includes hoses/wiring/plumbing up to the point the reefer's h/w/p connects to the main boat's systems.
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- Note: The refrigeration system currently doesn't work, and it would be a very big and expensive project to replace it. I am currently doing without refrigeration and have decided to defer any repairs for the time being. I can always use the reefer as an icebox.
- Install pipe insulation - The refrigerant lines run right behind the stove, and when the oven is in use, that area can get quite warm. I installed some fiberglass pipe insulation and a protective metal conduit for the refrigerant lines.
Includes tanks, regulator, solenoid, fuel lines, control panel, stove, heater.
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- Completely rebuild the propane system - This was one of the things the surveyor really messed up on. He had no complaints about the propane system, but once I learned more about the boat's systems, and about propane systems, I decided that it had all kinds of dangerous problems. The main problems were that the tank was unusably rusty, the locker was not gas-tight and could leak propane fumes into the cockpit and belowdecks area via multiple routes (including a spare hose that actually would pipe the fumes right from the propane locker into the main cabin), and a tank drain that was hooked into the rest of the boat's plumbing system instead of going directly overboard. This was a big job and took lots of time and money. I gutted the propane locker and installed new everything: tanks, regulator, solenoid valve, gas-tight hose seals and lid gasket, mounting brackets for the tanks, tank drain (with new hose going directly to a new through-hull). The only thing I kept from the old locker was the propane warning label, and I moved that to a new location. I also sealed up all the miscellaneous screw holes in the locker. I installed new hose to the appliances (stove and cabin heater), because the old hose had junctions in it along the way (I also found a huge chafed area on the stove hose that was pretty scarythe hose was almost chafed through). In the galley, I installed a new propane control panel that also has a propane sniffer hooked up, with an alarm and automatic reset circuit so it shuts off the propane if gas is ever detected. Everything is now first-class and as an added benefit, it's not likely to blow up the boat like the old system.
- Remove gas-fired water heater - The boat had a propane-fired water heater inserted inline in the hot water line, along with a conventional water heater that uses electricity or engine heat. However the previous owner told me that the propane heater had been taken out of service because the fan from the refrigerator compressor (which is mounted nearby) would blow out the pilot light of the propane heater. I didn't really like this heater anyway, because it was a complicated gizmo with electronics, propane, flames, a flue vent, water connections, etc.lots of stuff to go wrong, and it was mounted in an almost inaccessible location. So I ripped it out and sold it on consignment for $150.
- Move and remount cabin heater - The cabin heater had been disconnected and dismounted, mostly (I guess) because it used to be right in the middle of the main cabin, where you would likely bump into it and get burned, or maybe grab the flue pipe as a handhold and get burned. So as part of the propane system rebuild, I reinstalled the heater in a relatively protected location at the side of the main cabin. I also had to move the deck vent to the new location, but luckily, when the boat was built, it originally had a heater in the location I was now using, so there was already a hole in the coachroof at the right location. I had to get a new flue pipe made. Everything looks (and works) quite nicely now.
- Replace heater vent cap - I accidentally broke the old heater vent cap on the coachroof, so I replaced it with a new one. Naturally, the new one is not the same size as the old one and has a different bolt pattern, so I had to drill new mounting holes.
- Galley control panel - There were some controls mounted in a bulkhead by the galley, but I was going to add several more items (including the new propane control panel) and there wasn't space for all of them. I designed a wooden box to mount on the bulkhead and had a carpenter build it (I was rushed for time at that point). The front panel of the box was big enough for all the things I wanted to install plus the existing items in the bulkhead.
Includes things relating to electrical system in general, that might apply to each electrical subsystem, where you don't want to list them multiple times, one in each subsystem.
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Includes house batteries, battery selector, wiring, alternator, regulator, main battery charger, starting battery charger, energy monitor.
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- Replace and rewire house bank batteries - When I bought the boat, the house bank batteries were kind of old. I was hoping to keep using them, but during my Chesapeake Bay shakedown cruise before leaving for Florida, I had a lot of problems. The battery bank wasn't even powerful enough to run the masthead anchor light all night. It took a couple hours of charging the next day to recharge after minimal usage. This just wouldn't do for ICW cruising, so I decided to replace the house bank batteries. By reworking the woodwork in the battery compartment, I was able to squeeze in an extra battery, so I now have four 86-amp-hour batteries in the house bank. The batteries have sturdy straps and wooden cleats to hold them in place. I also greatly disliked a lot of the old battery wiring-it was undersized and connectors were corroded and even falling off. Because I rearranged the battery locations and added an extra battery, I needed to install new battery wiring, and I made sure it was the right size and had good connectors. I also added a 400-amp fuse to protect the boat against an unexpected house bank short circuit.
- Electrical system improvements - All along, I wanted to improve the electrical system. The old system was only so-so, and I wanted to make it more sophisticated with some additional gadgets. I spent quite a while (and quite a lot of bucks) on this project. I started out by building a sizable wooden box on the aft cabin bulkhead which would contain all the new electrical system goodies. The front panel of the box has the switches, indicators, and meters to control all the goodies. The old shore-power charger was overheating badly, and it only put out about 10 amps, well below its rated amperage. I replaced this with a 55-amp three-stage "smart" charger. This is able to recharge the battery bank much more quickly, plus you can leave it on continuously when connected to shore power so all the DC devices run off the charger rather than the batteries. The charger has a battery temperature sensor, and it adjusts the charging voltage/current to always provide optimum conditions for long battery life. I installed a separate, small, DC-to-DC charger to maintain the starting battery, which is separate from the house bank. This charger senses when you're charging the house bank, and siphons off some current to recharge the starting battery. Since this is a separate charger from the house bank charger, the starting battery is only recharged when it needs it. This is much better than the usual approach of always charging both battery banks at the same time from one charger. I installed a new alternator regulator that has "smart", three-stage charging plus a temperature sensor. This also treats the house bank kindly, like the new shore-power charger. I replaced all the old wiring between the alternator and the regulator and battery bank-the old wiring was all undersized and had poor connectors. I installed an energy monitor, which monitors battery status and charge/discharge currents. This monitor uses a 400-amp shunt in the main battery connection to monitor current. The monitor displays various information on an LCD screen on its front panel. I did a whole bunch of related wiring to hook everything up, and did a good job on everything (proper size tinned marine-grade wire, good crimped connectors, a label on every wire). I installed a separate shunt and ammeter to monitor charging current, since the energy monitor only shows the net current in/out of the battery bank. I also installed a 100-amp charging system fuse, to protect against alternator shorts. I also designed and installed monitoring LEDs and a warning beeper if the system detects a problem. This was a big and expensive project, but the electrical system is now sophisticated, robust, and reliable.
- Repair alternator - While replacing the wires going to the alternator, I managed to strip the main output stud on the alternator so the nut couldn't be tightened. I had a spare alternator, but I didn't want to chuck out the other one just because of this problem. I took apart the alternator, removed the old stud, and refitted the alternator with a bigger stud that works very well.
Includes inverter, shore power, generator.
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- Generator - The boat doesn't have room for a built-in AC generator, but I wanted to have one as an extra power source. I bought a portable Coleman "jobsite" generator which I keep strapped-down to some padeyes in the cockpit. It runs on gasoline, so it can not be stored below. I can use the generator for a few things. Although the boat has a 600-watt inverter, this is not enough to run the vacuum cleaner when at anchor, so I use the generator. Also, at anchor, I can run the shore-power charger from the generator to recharge the house bank, so I don't have to run the boat's engine. Running the engine just to turn the alternator so the batteries get charged is a very costly way to charge batteries.
- Fix inverter problem - The survey turned up a problem with the inverter that turned out to be a broken terminal on the circuit breaker in the inverter outlet box. I replaced the breaker and the inverter seems to work fine.
Includes 12 V panel, meters, etc., misc wiring that is not part of any other system.
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- 12-volt outlets - I added several 12-volt "cigarette lighter" style outlets on the boat. I put two in the cockpit below the engine instrument panel, to power the GPS, cockpit light, low-power anchor light, etc. I put two on the bulkhead at the chart table, to power the cell phone, GPS, and portable inverter (for the computer). I put one on the bookshelf behind the settee just under the SSB radio, to power various radios or electronic equipment in the main cabin. The outlets are all wired together and powered from a fuse. I also obtained various DC power adapters: one for the GPS, one for the shortwave radio, one for the portable CD player, one for the cell phone. I modified the RDF power cord to use the new 12-volt outlets.
- Install new fuse block - This is behind the DC panel, and services "hot always" circuits, bypassing the battery selector switch. Right now, this is just used for the stereo receiver, to keep its station memory intact.
Includes 120 V panel, meters, etc, misc wiring that is not part of any other system.
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- Clean up AC panel wiring - There used to be some quick-connect splices with undersized wire behind the AC panel. The splices and wires would actually get very warm when running the electric heater, which is only 10 or 12 amps. I replaced the bad wiring with proper-sized wire with crimp terminals and a terminal block on the back of the AC panel.
- Install new AC transfer switch - The old switch that transferred the AC outlets from shore power to inverter kept burning up, even though it was rated at 20 amps and should have worked OK. It really had no safety margin, so if you ran the vacuum cleaner and the electric heater, the switch would get warm, and over time, deteriorate. I could not find a small toggle switch rated high enough, and the fancy marine-quality transfer switches were not only very expensive but also too big to fit in any convenient location. So I installed two DPST heavy-duty Leviton switchesthey are still rated at 20 amps, but conservatively unlike the small toggle switches. They are installed in the wiring chase behind the electrical panel, since there wasn't room on the bulkhead. Also I had to use two DPST switches, since DPDT switches were not available.
- Fix the AC panel - The AC panel had some fittings glued on to the back, and when I was moving the panel around to do wiring, the old glue failed and a terminal block and the ammeter transformer fell off. They had to be reattached with nuts and bolts by drilling holes in the panelnot pretty but it works.
- Install GFCI for AC outlets - The way the AC wiring was set up, I could install one Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter which would protect all the AC outlets. This gizmo detects current being "siphoned off" from the normal AC circuit and shuts off the AC supply. This can happen if AC appliances develop grounding problems that might make the appliance "hot" and cause shocks.
Includes interior and exterior lights of all types.
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- New interior lights - I removed all the old incandescent cabin lights and installed high-efficiency fluorescent lights instead. The new lights provide twice as much light and use one-third the current. Plus, the lights have a high/low intensity switch, and most of the lights have an LED night light (also with a high/low intensity switch). In the head, there used to be two lights, which I replaced with a single high-intensity fluorescent above the mirror. This is a different style lamp without intensity selection or LED night light. I left the original reading lamps in the boat, but I don't use them because now the regular cabin lights are bright enough for reading.
- Rebuild running lights - The running light fixtures were so corroded that just touching one wire caused the wires to fall out of one fixture. The two bow and one stern light fixtures had to be completely disassembled and cleaned up. The wires also had to be cleaned up, including repairing a corroded splice below deck. Then everything had to be put back together, trying to make a good seal against the elements. It turns out the previous owner had installed the wrong light bulbs, just automotive brake light / tail light combination bulbs. These bulbs were completely wrong, and worked extremely poorly (very dim). I installed the proper bulbs (unfortunately, they cost about $9 per bulb, because they are special navigation light bulbs).
- Second anchor light - To reduce energy consumption when anchored out, I made up a second anchor light that consumes less current. This light is mounted on a pole that attaches to the boom gallows, temporarily, when anchored. This also places the light source lower down than the masthead light, so it is easier for other boats to see. The light plugs into a cockpit 12-volt outlet. I had to fabricate a mounting fixture for the light.
- New cockpit light - I also got a more efficient cockpit light, which also plugs into a cockpit 12-volt outlet. I stitched some velcro loops to the dodger to suspend the light and wires.
- Repair steaming light - This just needed a new bulb. The light is halfway up the mast, and this was before I had mast steps. It was too hard to go up the mast by myself without steps so I paid two guys to do it.
- Refurbish masthead light - While the mast was unstepped, I cleaned up all the corrosion in the masthead light, which has a tricolor (for sailing) and the anchor light. I also replaced the bulbs.
- Replace spotlight connectors - The boat has two handheld spotlights that plug into special cockpit outlets, but the connectors were very poor. There was no positive locking mechanism, so it was very easy for the connector to pull out of the outlet while you were using the spotlight (presumably when extra illumination was important). I got a set of industrial-quality locking connectors and replaced the old connectors on the ends of both spotlight cables plus the two outlets in the cockpit. The new connectors work very well.
Includes all electrical devices that are attached to12 V system that are not part of any other system, such as electronic instruments, radios, appliances, etc.
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- Install new stereo and speakers - The old stereo was a piece of junk and pretty well worn out (scratchy controls and balky switches). I removed the old stereo, old speakers, and associated wiring (since I wanted to put the new stereo on the other side of the cabin for easier access). Installing the new stereo was a big job, since it required a fair amount of finish carpentry to install a new shelf, panel, and molding, then to mount the new cabin speakers. Then there was wiringlots of wiring. The stereo needed two power feeds and a ground, plus two heavy pairs going to port and starboard sides of the cabin for the main speakers, then two more heavy pairs going aft (then port and starboard) for the removable cockpit speakers, then installing the connectors for the cockpit speakers, then installing the speaker mounts, then making a pair of adapter wires to connect the the connectors to the speakers, then a coax wire to an external antenna, then installing the antenna preamplifier and hooking it up to power and ground, and then finally hooking up a pair of wires for a small fan to ventilate the stereo compartment. But it sounds really great and was worth it.
- Install amplified antenna - To improve the stereo's reception, I got an amplified antenna (Dantronics UFO) and installed it on the mast while the mast was unstepped for rigging work. I mounted the antenna pretty far up the mast, but not at the top (no room). I ran the coax down the inside of the mast, more-or-less following the other mast wiring. Before I mounted the antenna on the mast, I had it on a pole on the stern pulpit. After I put it on the mast, I removed the pulpit mount and rerouted the wire inside the boat to get to the mast step.
- Fans - I installed several Hella two-speed DC fans throughout the boat. There was a fan in the forward cabin, which I moved to one side and added a second fan, so each berth would have its own fan. I added a fan on each side of the main cabin bulkhead. I put a fan in the head, one by the chart table, and one in the aft cabin. There was an existing fan by the galley. All the fans are wired into the cabin lights circuit. The boat doesn't have air-conditioning, so in the summer, a fan is really a necessity.
- Remove old LORAN - Unlike what the previous owner reported, the old LORAN never seemed to work, so I removed the main unit and the wiring and antenna and got rid of it. One less gadget to worry about, plus it freed up some room for more gadgets!
- New EPIRB - The boat came with an old, primitive EPIRB that had an expired battery. I sold that and got a new satellite EPIRB and mounted it near the companionway. I mailed-in the form to register the EPIRB with the government.
- Fix up VHF radio wiring - The previous owner did lousy wiring, including for the nice Icom VHF he installedjust a hank of wires cobbled together spilling out from under the radio. I redid the wiring properly, including removing the redundant fuses (it already has a dedicated circuit breaker on the DC panel). I also moved the wire on the microphone bracket (that detects when you hang up and reselects channel 16) and hid it behind some woodwork.
- Install new VHF radio speakers - There used to be a single speaker in the companionway, which was not a good solution. It was neither here nor there, and you would always bump into it going up or down the companionway ladder. So I installed two speakersone right next to the radio by the chart table, and a waterproof speaker in the cockpit. They are wired up to a switch by the radio so you can select either speaker or both speakers. I also installed a cutoff switch in the cockpit, to enable/disable the speaker in the cockpit. This is for when you want to talk to someone on channel-16 using the handheld VHF in the cockpit, while the main radio is also on channel-16. To prevent horrible audio feedback, you first have to cut off the cockpit speaker.
- Install holders for handheld VHF - I installed a holder by the chart table where the handheld radio is stored while not in use, and I installed a holder in the cockpit for when you're at the helm.
- Remove whip antenna - The boat came with a huge whip antenna on deck aft of the cockpit, 23 feet tall, for the SSB radio. I didn't really like this big thing on the boat, and it took up space along the stern pulpit that I wanted to use for other things. So I removed it and sold it on consignment.
- Install backstay antenna - As part of replacing the standing rigging, I had antenna insulators installed in the new backstay so it could be used as an antenna for the SSB or the portable shortwave radio. I installed new wiring between the antenna tuner and the backstay antenna, including a small plastic conduit to hold the wire away from the pulpit and grounded portion of the backstay. I also installed a coax switch near the SSB in the main cabin, to switch the backstay antenna between the main SSB and a portable shortwave radio.
- Refurbish masthead antenna - While the mast was unstepped, I refurbished the masthead VHF antenna. I disassembled it and cleaned it, and replaced some excessively corroded connectors.
- Replace the depthsounder - While on my Chesapeake Bay shakedown cruise, the old depthsounder began acting erratically and I couldn't get it to work properly (this was a known problem when I bought the boat). Since this model was no longer available, I replaced both the indicator in the cockpit and the transducer in the hull. I then rerouted the wiring between the indicator and transducer so the new wire would fit (it was shorter).
- Reinstall speedo sensor - The previous owner had removed the speedo sensor and installed the dummy plug, so while the boat was hauled out, I removed the dummy plug and reinstalled the speedo sensor. Later on, I had to clean the sensor again, since this is a regular maintenance item.
- Cell phone - Living on the boat, I tried to do without my own phone, but it gets to be a nuisance always having to find a pay phone. This turned out to be one of the annoyances that interfered with the "joy of cruising". I finally broke down and bought a cell phone. I made a small teak holder for it so it hangs on the bulkhead by the chart table, just like the wall phone in your kitchen. I have the DC adaptor for it, and plug it into one of the 12-volt outlets by the chart table. I keep the phone on all the time, since it is running off the boat's battery and consumes little power.
- Laptop computer - Just before I left for Florida, I bought a laptop computer and a bunch of accessories. I like to have a computer around, and I use it a lot for writing and email and to view DVD movies (I don't have a TV). I don't currently have or plan to get any electronic charts, since I don't like to use the computer when I'm actually underway. The computer normally runs off AC shore power, but I have a small inverter designed to run the computer and a printer off the boat's battery. I also got a waterproof hard case to safely store the computer whenever I'm not actually using it, since laptop computers are not particularly compatible with the marine environment. As usual, getting all the software and accessories installed and working properly consumed an inordinate amount of time, since everything is fairly complicated and sometimes buggy.
Includes all electrical devices that are attached to 120 V system that are not part of any other system, such as the outlets, etc.
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Includes all gauges, sensors, starter, starting battery, starter solenoid. Does not include alternator.
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- Starting battery bank improvements - As mentioned earlier, I replaced the starting battery, and installed a special battery charger just for the starting battery.
- Rework and repair engine wiring harness - There was a bad splice that had to be repaired, and the harness had to be retaped and resecured to the engine. As part of adding the new charger, the DC feed for the engine electrical system had to be rerouted.
Includes woodwork, table, galley counters, bulkheads, drawers, lockers, sole, etc. All woodwork whether structural or not, headliner, settees, berths, etc.
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- Install cabin accessories - To have more storage space, I installed a bunch of teak accessories: two magazine racks (one in main cabin, one in aft cabin), one bookshelf (aft cabin), and a spice rack (galley).
- Install locker shelves - To make better use of the space in two lockers in the forward cabin, I made and installed wooden shelves. The shelves are easily removed so you can get at things in the bottom of the lockers.
- Install aft berth shelf - There was a lot of space over the foot of the aft berth-an ideal spot for a good-sized shelf. I made a very nice shelf out of stainless tubing (for the support rails) and teak battens. The shelf was somewhat complicated because the width tapers quite a bit going aft, so the batten spacing had to be different at the front and back of the shelf.
- Install cork board in main cabin - I wanted to have a little space to post messages, hang up a calendar, etc., instead of taping things to the teak bulkhead. So I did a little trim carpentry and built a frame out of teak molding, trimmed down an office corkboard until it would fit, and mounted it on the bulkhead.
- Convert drawers to hold CD's - The drawers in the forward cabin bureau were just the right size to hold compact discs, except once you put them in the drawer, the drawer wouldn't shut. I had to recut the opening in the front of the bureau to make the rectangular holes a little bigger.
- Install eyestraps for securing gear - I have a lot of stuff: lots of toolboxes, a footlocker, stuff on the forward berth, a bicycle, etc. If I just piled it up, the stuff would certainly start crashing around as the boat heeled. So I installed a whole bunch of small eyestraps, screwing them into the woodwork whereever necessary, then attached cords to them to tie down the stuff so it can't crash around. Sounds simple, and it really was, except I installed over 60 eyestraps and more than 80 cords (since some cords could just tie on to railings and didn't need eyestraps). Some of these were on deck, such as to lash down the folded dinghy, jerry jugs, my little Coleman generator, etc.
- Remove closet rods - It didn't seem too likely that I would ever use the hanging lockers as hanging lockers, since they are crammed full of stuff. And you can cram in more stuff if you remove the closet rods.
- Mount coathooks - To make up for the lack of hanging lockers, I mounted some coathooks in strategic locations. I put two double coathooks in the forward cabin, two in the aft cabin, and one big brass coathook with multiple hooks in the head. In the aft cabin, I had to replace the door retainer hook with a longer one, since the coathooks wouldn't let the door swing open as much.
- Install netting on chart table shelf - Unlike the other main cabin shelves, the chart table shelf didn't have any netting, so I installed some to keep stuff from falling off when heeled. It might not have been necessary before, but now I keep my GPS receivers on that shelf, and I don't want them falling off.
- Interior fabric cleaning - I laundered and ironed all 10 sets of porthole curtains, then had all the cushion covers dry cleaned (except for the aft berth cushion, which I was always using).
- Stove crash bar - According to the surveyor, I needed a "crash bar" in front of the stove. This is a sturdy metal bar bolted to the cabinetry just in front of the stove that you can crash into, instead of into the hot stove, if the boat rolls unexpectedly while you're cooking. I designed the bar, then took the drawing to a local metal fabricator. They did a beautiful job and the installation was very easy.
- Head door holder - I like to keep the door to the head open when not in use. The previous owner used a bungee to hold it open, but this let the door bang when the boat rocked severely. I installed a nice brass door retainer, and even installed a brass eyebolt so you could hang up the end of the hook when the door was in-use.
- Fix door latch - The door to the forward cabin would close, but the latch wouldn't engage. This would allow the door to pop open if any pressure was applied, like if you bumped into it while changing your clothes. I fixed the latch by enlarging the opening in the striker plate by grinding it with my Dremel tool.
Includes inflatable dinghy, hard dinghy, outboard motor, all associated gear.
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- Get new outboard motor - I serviced the old outboard motor (new plugs, new water pump impeller and gaskets, fresh lower unit gear lube) but I accidentally broke the twist grip handle. The metal actually fractured at the site of an old repair where it had been broken before and spot welded together. I decided it was too much hassle to get the handle fixed, plus I was concerned about the heavy weight of the motor making it hard to manipulate. I decided to get a new smaller outboard and got a 3.5 HP Nissan, which is very light (less than half the weight of the old motor). So far it has been very reliable, very easy to use, and relatively easy to handle.
- Refinish dinghy floorboards - The floorboards for the inflatable dinghy were all scratched and worn, so I sanded them down and refinished them with Brightside enamel.
- Get new dinghy - As a birthday present to myself, I bought a 10' Portabote folding dinghy. It is made out of semi-rigid polypropylene plastic, with three seats and attached foam panels to make it "unsinkable". This is much nicer to use than the inflatable dinghy, since the Portabote is bigger, more comfortable (and drier) to ride, faster, easier to assemble, and is actually fun (and efficient) to row. The main reason I got it was that inflatables are very vulnerable to puncture, whereas the Portabote is practically indestructible. I store it folded-up against the lifelines.
Includes lifelines, lifesling, ring, jacklines, harnesses, PFD's, fire extinguishers, etc.
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- Jackline system - The boat had some old jacklines, but they were sun-damaged and unusable. Also they were just cleated to the fore and aft cleats, and could easily slip off with repeated tugging. I got some new webbing and cut two jacklines of the proper length, then had a local canvas worker sew loops into the ends. The forward ends loop through and around the foredeck cleats so that they can't slip off. I installed a sturdy padeye aft on each side of the boat for the aft attachment points (via caribiner clips). I installed several other padeyes around the boat for clipping-in your harness tether.
- Install carbon monoxide detector - This is mounted in the main cabin near the chart table, and is powered from the boat's battery. Since I now have the propane cabin heater hooked up and I use it, I think it's important to have a carbon monoxide detector. It has actually gone off when I was running the heater with the boat closed up too tight.
- Install propane sniffer - This is described in the section about the propane system.
- Install smoke alarms - I installed battery-powered smoke alarms in the main cabin, forward cabin, and aft cabin.
- Add more fire extinguishers - The boat was pretty well equipped, but I put an additional extinguisher in the forward cabin, and one in the cockpit locker.
- First-aid kit - I made-up a first-aid kit, although it is pretty simple and doesn't have any prescription drugs. If I make a major offshore trip, I will have to get a better kit.
- Abandon ship bag - I made-up an abandon ship bag, but it is not fully stocked yet since I haven't made a major offshore trip yet. Right now it has a nifty (but expensive) emergency watermaker that you can use in a liferaft.
- Storm shutters - In case a porthole is broken during a storm, I made wooden covers, one for each size porthole, that can be screwed over the porthole opening.
- Replacement drop-boards - The companionway hatch has two Lexan drop-boards, but under extreme conditions, it's possible for them to accidentally slip out and fall overboard if the hatch is open. Using the Lexan boards as templates, I made a set of plywood drop boards to keep around as replacements. I coated the boards with epoxy to waterproof them.
Includes work not covered as part of any other system.
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- Ship's bell - According to the regulations, my boat is just long enough to require a ship's bell, however it didn't have one. I got a bell and made a fairly complicated mounting bracket to attach the bell to the dodger frame in the cockpit.
- Chronometer - I installed a Plath chronometer on the main cabin bulkhead, next to the existing barometer. I moved the barometer over to make the spacing more appropriate.
- Chart table clock - I mounted a small digital clock on the bulkhead by the chart table, powered by one AAA battery.
- Interior compass brackets - I installed two mounting brackets (one by the chart table, one by the aft berth) so the Plastimo handheld compass could be mounted below. The mounting bracket is a small piece of plastic, but it costs an astronomical $13.00-what a ripoff!
- Thermometers - I first installed an old-style mercury thermometer, that also captured the minimum and maximum temperatures. I later decided that I wanted an indoor/outdoor thermometer, so I got an electronic version and installed it next to the other thermometer. I think I am all thermometered out now.
- Lead line - During my Chesapeake Bay shakedown cruise, the old depthsounder proved to be very unreliable. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, and it never worked in shallow water, which is when you needed it most! Temporarily, I was taking soundings with my Stanley steel measuring tape, just sticking it in the water to see if I could touch bottom. I later made an official lead line, calibrated in feet using heat-shrink tubing on the rope.
- Winterizing/commissioning - Regular maintenance. Except for when I went to Florida (the year without a winter), I winterize the boat in the late fall and commission it in the spring. While living on the boat full-time, I try to keep the freshwater system running all year. I winterize the other vulnerable systems, though.
- Trace out all wiring, plumbing, rigging, engine details, etc. - This was a major job that took several weeks of poking and probing around with a work light, mirror, and notebook. I traced out all the boat's wiring and plumbing, and took detailed notes on all the systems (like propulsion, fuel, steering, ground tackle, rigging, propane, refrigeration, etc.). I did this just after I bought the boat; the information has been invaluable when working on the boat.
- Vise system - I had a nice workshop when I lived in a house, but I had to give that up on the boat. But I did want to have a usable vise, to clamp things for cutting and drilling. I rigged up a system using a board, some clamps, and a lightweight alloy vise.
- Toting system - I wanted some way to lug around fuel jugs, because sometimes I just top off the tank from my jugs and refill the jugs on shore. I got a collapsible luggage cart and made up some plywood boards and bungees. This works pretty well, plus it stores compactly when not in use.
- Folding bicycle - Before I left for Florida, I sold my car and went car-less for over a year. I didn't want to have to walk everywhere, so I got a folding bicycle that unfolds into a full-size mountain bike. It needed a lot of accessories to make it reliable and practical as my only mechanized transportation: fenders, headlight, tail light, bell, mirror, rack, two panniers, water bottle and cage, air pump, tire repair kit, trip computer. During my car-less year, I put over 1,600 miles on the bicycle, and most of that was "casual" usage rather than big, planned trips.
- Radio licenses - Since I might travel out of the country at some point in the future (like the Bahamas), I got an FCC station license and an operator license. You don't need these if you stay in the U.S.
- Coast Guard documentation - I filled out the forms to get the boat federally documented; the process was much easier than I expected. Once I got my official vessel number, I permanently applied it to a bulkhead in the forward cabin.
- Make checklists - I'm a big believer in lists, and I have all kinds of lists. I made up a set of checklists for operating the boat, mostly so it would be a simple, brainless operation to get the boat underway without forgetting to do something.
- Obtain gear, supplies, and provisions - This looks like a minor item, but there's actually quite a bit of planning and logistics involved in outfitting a boat with all the gear, supplies, and provisions that you need. This is especially true if you're going to live on the boat full-time and go on a long trip.
- Trip planning - This is another item that looks minor, but it takes a lot of time and effort, especially if you're a stickler for detail and don't like to "wing it".