Boat projects. Just like home improvement projects. We all have them. And in true fashion, you never know what you have behind that drywall until you look. Then… it’s too late.
Since we landed in South Florida, we’ve been working to fluff the cruising kitty at the same time readying “V” for the trip north this summer. We’ve got a long list that grows every time we remove a screw or look deep into a locker we’ve not looked into for a while.
Recently we began the long over-due maintenance on the winches. Seems our PO (Previous Owner) did some things but not the important things… Our winches probably haven’t been done since Bieber was in diapers. (He’s not still in diapers is he? That would make that joke un-funny.) Anyway, aside from major grime, missing springs, a busted bolt and old… very old winch grease that was not effective anymore, the process was easy and the results amazing. Our old Barient 23’s are solid bronze and hefty. We soaked them in diesel for a day, cleaned with an old tooth-brush and reassembled. BAM! Smooth as butter. Good until Bieber gets chest hair. (He doesn’t does he?)
Now, with one project down, it was on to the head (toilet) and the saga of reorganizing the hoses and Y-valves in the “glove compartment” sized locker we have. Our CAL 35 is a great boat with lots-o-space but in certain areas, they did things that make me scratch my head. Once again, here comes that slippery slope. “I can do this better” I say to myself not loud enough for Mel to hear or she’ll clock me with my new open-end wrench (see: 2 year refit on our Tartan 27).
Once I took all those old, smelly and VERY nasty hoses out, I discovered that some tabbing on our bulkhead let loose. That meant I needed to cut it out and re-glass it in before doing the rest of the hoses and valves. I don’t mean to get technical here but the bulkheads, for those who don’t know are integral parts of the boats internal structure. They are bonded to the hull with fiberglass. Sometimes due to pounding or just poor build quality, they let loose. Then you get movement, creaks and possibly a failure. Best to fix it.
You see? So now, we can’t finish one job because we’ve got another job that needs to be finished first. I liken it to your wife / girlfriend / mistress / whomever… saying, “Honey I think we need a new toilet in the bathroom. I don’t like the 1967 salmon colored commode anymore.” So… you pull out that faithful companion and discover the floor is rotten. You pull up the old linoleum and sub-floor thus beginning the perilous slide. “Well if we’ve torn up the floor we might as well put down tile? And since we’re putting in new tile, I’d love a new tub… wait… a jacuzzi tub! And a separate shower stall with tempered glass enclosure, new vanity… double vanity! BAM. You’re $300 toilet replacement turned into a $30,000 bathroom rehab. Paid for with a second mortgage. Enjoy the ride!
Alas, there is an incredible upside to downturns… discovering great new products. See, the other night we had a sink clog. I mean CLOG (due to Melody’s mass of hair that finds its way everywhere but don’t tell her I said that). It started as a slow drain, but then all of a sudden the sink just stopped draining altogether. Usually the water will seep out over hours of standing. Not this bad-boy. After trying to dislodge the clog with a gallon of vinegar (we use white vinegar for almost everything – it’s a fantastic cleaner and mold killer) coupled with a box of baking soda AND consuming several beers in the process, our clog was alive and well. Plunger! No go.
Then we took a trip to the McDonald’s hardware store and came across a product made by Unique Natural Products. I had used a holding tank product by them back in Panama City when we first bought the boat and it was great, but we haven’t really seen their products anywhere since. Well let me tell you, their Safe Drain Opener is a winner! It took maybe five-whole minutes before that drain let loose and now it flows better than it has since we’ve owned the boat. We then closed the seacocks to all our drains and poured a cup into each and let stand. Amazing stuff, cheap, smells good, and most importantly it’s all natural. We love it when something does what it says it will do!
Our next adventure will be to tackle our canvas. We’ve got a dodger and bimini that need attention. We’ve got screens that need help, an outboard, grill and winches that need covers as well. We’ve researched sewing machines and have narrowed it down to a couple viable options. If you have a Sailrite or Barracuda, we’d love to hear your thoughts, critiques or reviews.
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