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Monthly Archives: June 2012

The week of July 4th, we are planning an almost 200 mile cruise down the coast of Texas to Port Aransas/Corpus Christi.  It will be the longest cruise either me or my husband will have made in the past twenty years or so, before either one of us even knew the other existed.  The last time my guy made a cruise of that length was way back in the 1990s when he was primary crew on a delivery from Pensacola, Florida to Galveston…a delivery that included a brush with a Cat 1 hurricane.  My last time was in July of 1990, a ten day cruise on Great Slave Lake in the Canadian subarctic.  Our July 4th adventure will be a ten day affair.  Both me and Captain Husband are very much looking forward to it.

Those of you who may have followed this blog will know that our boat was intentionally a fixer-upper.  The boat was bought brand new in 1986 by an owner whose home port was Long Beach, California.  For fifteen years or so this initial owner coastal sailed the boat off of California in the Pacific.  This initial owner kept very, very detailed records of any and everything that was done on the boat relating to maintenance…those records came with the boat.  In 2001, the boat was shipped to Texas when ownership and possession was taken by the second owner, the one who sold the boat to us.  This second owner, by all accounts, did just as little maintenance as was absolutely necessary to get by day to day.  In essence, the second owner sailed the boat into the ground.  Just when the boat was all but inoperable, the second owner put it up for sail…and that is when we bought it. 

The upside of buying a sailboat in which virtually every system except the engine, running rigging and sails are broken, inoperable, or in need of either repair, replacement, or upgrade is that one can buy that kind of yacht for very little…we got our boat for a steal.  The downside of buying such a boat is that all those broken or inoperable systems obviously must be replaced, repaired and/or upgraded.  When we bought out boat, we fully realized that in order to have a boat that was dependable, seaworthy, and attractive we’d have to put a lot of work into its renovation.  It’s taken the better part of two years but we have done those renovations.

Every single system on our boat has either been replaced, repaired, or upgraded.  The fresh and pressure water system has been upgraded with a new pressure water pump, hot water heater, new plumbing fixtures, new hoses, and the freshwater tank has been cleaned and sanitized.  The head (toilet) pump has been replaced.  The head itself has been upgraded and redesigned with new hoses, fixtures and teak joinery.  The pressurized alcohol stove and oven has been converted to propane.  The interior lights have been repaired or replaced.  The entire electrical system was relocated and replaced.  The mast was dropped and the steaming, anchor, and running lights replaced.  Before the mast was restepped, we installed a new antenna for the new marine radios and a weather station was installed at the top of it.  The standing rigging (shrouds, forestay, and backstay have been inspected.  All running rigging (ropes) have been inspected and in some cases replaced.  The refrigeration was removed and cleaned.  Air conditioning has been installed…capable of running on both AC power, and DC power when we are underway.  The entire bilge system was inspected, cleaned and sanitized.  Every single bit of joinery that could be removed was taken out of the boat, sanded down to bare wood and painted with ten coats of new polyurethane…interior joinery that couldn’t be removed was also treated to the sanding and finishing process.  While the joinery was out, the entire boat interior was hand cleaned, top to bottom and bow to stern…and sanitized.  The cabin sole was replaced with ¾” teak marine plywood that had two coats of penetrating marine epoxy followed by ten coats of polyurethane.  The bilge inspection hatches were replaced.  Additional inspection hatches were installed to facilitate maintenance.  The interior settee was completely redesigned to facilitate converting it to a king size bed while underway.  The Formica settee table was replaced by a solid mahogany one that is removable.  Additional fiddles were added at every possible area that could conceivably require them.  All bilge grates were removed and refinished.  New interior and cockpit cushions were made and installed.  All of the severely grazed port lights were reglazed with polycarbonate; all of the port dogs were replaced.  All of the above deck solid teak handrails and other above deck teak was sanded down to bare wood and teak oiled.  An existing below decks GPS system was relegated to a back-up system and then complimented with a new state-of-the-art color Chartplotter located at the helm.  The old depth finder was also relegated to back-up and complimented with a new color depth finder, also at the helm.  The pedestal steering compass was replaced with a more easily read one, with a light for night cruising.  The pedestal itself was removed and powder coated.  A new bimini top was fabricated and installed.  A larger stainless steel bar-b-que pit was bought and installed.  Blocks were installed to replace the nylon guides for the lines running to the auto furler of the headsail.  A lifesaving ring was added.  Last fall, the boat was pulled from the water…a new bottom job was performed as well as new cove, boot, and accent stripes painted…several fiberglass dings were repaired and gel coated before the whole hull, topsides included, was compounded and waxed.  And, as of the past couple of weeks, a new headsail and mainsail were purchased and installed…as well as significant work on the engine performed.  Yesterday, we installed a new Raymarine SPX-5 autopilot…this autopilot is coupled to our Garmin 550 marine GPS system.

I may have left out something, but suffice to say the boat we have now is not even a reasonable facsimile of the boat we bought.

We can’t wait to take the boat out on July 4th.  The run down to Port Aransas/Corpus Christi will be broken down to different legs.  First, we’ll head to Galveston and overnight.  Then we will go outside in the Gulf for the straight 30 hour or more run down the Texas coast to Port Aransas.  The water off of Port Aransas is clear and blue so once there we anticipate spending a few days on Padre Island and the beach.  On the way back we’ll stop in Rockport.  Fishing is certainly in the picture both going and coming…some of the best fishing on the Gulf coast is in this area.  There are a slew of marinas between Galveston and Port Aransas…and, for once we have time…where we stay on the way back is simply where our whim takes us.  All of the marinas have showers and swimming pools and, though I enjoy cooking and cooking on the boat, they all are within either a short walk or cab ride to some fabulous restaurants.

If the boat doesn’t try to kill us again, it should be a great trip.  We’ve spent a lot of time and money in an effort to have a great coastal cruiser.  We are both looking forward to enjoying it.