Refit: The Endless Project.

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I wish now that I'd kept a list of all the things done to the boat. When we were in Florida getting ready to bring her home we had old stuff flying off the boat and new parts coming aboard by the boxful. The boat was up on jack stands and we were throwing stuff over the side, making a big pile of trash, while carrying things up the ladder at the same time. Sometimes the person carrying things up had to dodge the junk coming down. We filled a dumpster in nothing flat. The weekend in Marathon we hit West Marine and spent a grand, then went back that afternoon and spent another, then went back and spent $500, then a trip where we only spent maybe $250, and finally some $100 trips. The guys there kidded us that we must be getting done since our purchases were getting smaller. On Cudjoe we did the same thing on a smaller scale each time we went down to work on it. We were to busy to keep track of things, but it would have been interesting to look back at what we did. All I remember is the big stuff; new batteries, head, some hoses, engine maintenance things, some safety equipment, propane tank, and a long list of miscelleneous boat stuff. Now that she's home I've done a little better job of keeping track; at least now I'm saving the receipts.

The Island Packet websites and maillists have given me lots of great ideas and saved me many boat bucks, (a boat buck, for the non-nautically minded, is a hundred dollars on a 15 or 25 foot boat, but on a 40 footer it's a thousand dollars) as I learned what other people did to save money or solve a thorny problem. You can throw money at any boat problem and probably solve it, which I had to do a few times on the way home, but it's much more fun to figure out the best and cheapest way to go. One example: I paid a guy $200 or so to come and suck the water out of our fuel tank in Palmetto because we were trying to beat the weather. If I'd had a pump and some time I could have done it myself for free. So now I have a dedicated oil change pump mounted in the engine room which is rigged so that I can clean out my fuel tank if it ever becomes necessary again. I paid $100 for the pump, half what I paid that guy.

I must say I'm having a blast. Researching the best equipment and learning the boat and seeing it come together is very satisfying. A boat is like a souped up car and a house combined, both of which I enjoy fixing up. It's the ultimate guy-who-likes-to-tinker thing.

Speaking of cars, if you're considering this kind of project and perhaps wondering about the cost, here's a different way to think about the money.

One of the best looking changes so far is the addition of a Edson instrument pod. This is what we used to get home, a broken off board, handheld GPS and some wire ties:

This is what we have now:

That is typical of how things are going, from old and decrepit to new and shiny. Very much fun!

Things yet to get/do:

Lazyjacks. Garhauer rigid vang. Roller furler on staysail. Electric windlass. Pull the fuel dip tube and inspect, then add a switchable Racor filter. Fix the water tank level guage. More batteries, Trojan T-105s probably. Battery charger/inverter. New sails. Replace the rest of the lines and halyards, add a spare halyard. New dodger/bimini. Solar panels. Pick up a Honda generator. Install a/c unit. Mount 19inch flat screen for computer/TV. Convert sailcover to top zipper opening to work with lazyjacks. Ratlines. Radar reflectors. Get properly sized anchors, the ones that came with the boat weren't big enough for me and new all chain rode. I'll keep the old 35 lb cqr for a back up, and I traded for a nice big danforth we'll use for a stern anchor, leaving the smaller danforth for another backup. I'll have five anchors aboard. Add insulation to the fridge, an external thermometer, and a small fan inside along with a duct and fan to cool the condenser. External stereo speakers. Adjustable traveler conversion. Two torpedo tubes loaded with matching General Dynamics Mk 45 high speed electric torpedos equipped with the optional nuclear warheads. (Just kidding)

As you can see, the next year is going to be busy, to put it mildly.


Well, it's the next year. Most of the stuff above is done. This is just a partial list of the things I’ve done in the last year:  Cleaned under the engine and installed a oil change pump, installed engine temp gauge, increased the wire size to the bilge pump, macerator and fridge, replaced holding tank, hoses, heads, (front one is electric) and macerator pump, replaced propane tank system, solenoid, tanks, hoses, and regulator, insulated fridge with 4 inches of pink foam covered with bubble foil, then re-lined the inside with plastic.  Added refrigerator indicator light and temperature in kitchen, fan in box, and rewired with relays.  Added propane sniffer and smoke alarm.  Replaced hatch slides, cleaned and sealed all electrical grounds, replaced port gaskets, built new battery compartment and moved batteries, added separate start battery, and installed battery combiner, installed LINK to monitor electrical system, installed new B&G wind instruments, had all sails reconditioned, added high water alarm in bilge, replaced every pump on the boat, installed A/C unit, sealed chain plates, replaced water tank gauge and sender, cut out and replaced some rotten teak in the kitchen, installed electric fuel pump for bleeding filters, fixed a few rain leaks, replaced engine room ventilation fan and ducted it to alternator, replaced mattresses, replaced every line, rope, and halyard on the boat, installed rigid vang, bought bigger anchor, all chain rode, and installed electric windlass for primary, replaced secondary with Bruce and new rode, new bimini/dodger with solar panel mounts on top, installed inverter, added lights and red leds here and there, installed and wired in fans, built and installed a traveler system, added charcoal filter and accumulator tank to fresh water system, new water heater, added line organizers in cockpit, built and installed teak cockpit table, built shelves in aft bedroom closet, built stronger latch system for companionway, installed pinrail for lines, installed power strips for more electrical plugs, installed door in aft cabin for access to fishing pole storage, added roller furler to staysail, cleaned, cleaned, cleaned, oiled interior teak, installed B&G autopilot, SSB radio and a Lowrance GPS and cleaned some more.  Built stiffener for steering quadrant, fixed steering shaft problem, and installed lazy jacks.

And I did maintenance along the way to everything, changed oils, filters, replaced hose clamps, hoses, belts, antifreeze, impellers, anything that looked old got replaced.

In the next few months I want to start doing things like trying out the dingy davits, the outboard engine lift, and the lazy jacks, so I can make sure all the systems are working. I have some cosmetic stuff I want to do too. It's going to be just as busy, but I may not be doing as much repair/replacement. I can't think of much else there is to repair or replace! You know it's about time to quit messing with the boat and go cruising when you get the new West Marine catalog and go through it and only find a couple of things you need. Well, ok, "a couple" meaning less than twenty.