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.
Let us hear from you. We love it. If you haven’t already, go like our Facebook page for some daily anecdotes and more photos. Be well, friends!
[…] and serviced winches […]
Hi Chris & Mel! You speak the truth- I cringe every time Tom says “Well, while we’re doing this we may as well….” eeesshhhh. Boat projects never end! I re-built Eclipse’s winches (also Barient) and Luna Sole’s this past summer. It’s tedious work (don’t even think about letting go of that stupid little spring) but so rewarding when done- shiny and new and that grinding noise of decades of grime is gone. :-) One less think whining on the boat- don’t tell Tom. xoxo
I know you guys know where we’re coming from! You’re the only people I know brave enough to own (and work on) TWO boats at the same time! Boat work…it’s just a small price to pay for the life we live I suppose. Love you guys! xoxo
Hey C&M!! We feel your pain! Congrats on gittin’ er done though..and I will have to check out that drain product (no clogs yet, but you never know!). Anyway, I have a sailrite and it is great. Very easy to use, super heavy duty. Very rugged and tough it is meant to withstand the marine environment. It is not small, and quite heavy but I would highly recommend it if you want to do canvas work. Sailrite.com is also a great place to get thread and canvas and what not. Just my $.02. I will be sewing in the next week so if you want to come over and check it out – feel free!
Yes, Sailrite seems to be the most popular choice. We had a couple of friends that had them and had issues with their machines, but as with anything there are bound to be a few that have some sort of factory defect, and Sailrite seemed to be good about wanting to make it right with them, so that’s good! Not sure where the hell we’ll PUT a sewing machine, but I sure would love to have one! If I’m in town, I’d love to come check it out!
Thanks for the twitter follow – @sailingpodcast . I have added you to my list of blogs to follow and hope that we can catch up at some stage. Haven’t heard of Bloglovin so I will have to check that out too – I was just using Google reader – is it better that that?
You are also making me feel guilty for not servicing my winches for years and years…
Hi David! Thanks for the follow back on Twitter and the blog follow, too! I just submitted our blog to the Blog Lovin’ feed this week so I don’t know too much about it – I say go with whatever works for you (and if Google Reader is fine, I’d say stick with that). Our poor winches probably hadn’t been serviced in over 10 years, so they were way overdue and it still took us almost a year to do it, so don’t feel bad (and we still have 2 more to go). Just signed up for the podcasts – looking forward to catching up on some of the past ones and hearing more. Fair winds to you!
Hey Chris and Mel!
That’s a finnicky job, isn’t it? I didn’t know we had to service our winches until a month ago, so ours were pretty grimy!
Hope you guys are well!
mark bratz says
Winches are supposed to be serviced??? really??? lol Better add that one to my list. no wait . . . maybe I’ll wait until we’re spending the day in a calm boring anchorage somewhere sunny . . . instead of doing it this upcoming weekend huddled in the snow trying to hang on to all those little parts.
What do you think? good plan?? hee hee
mark of S/V New Girl on the Dock
Sunny is good! I like your thinking. hehe
Aly Gilbert says
Hi Chris and Melody!!!
We just caught wind of this amazing review!!! We are so happy you two enjoyed our product and because you guys rock we would love to send you a complimentary Marine Digest-It 32oz for your travels. If you are in the states please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can go ahead and send you your product, you scurvy dogs.
Well, hot damn, it’s our lucky day! We really do love your products and love them even more when we get a free bottle! Emailing you now – thank you so much!!
Thanks for the call Chris, nice boat , I will get back to you after thanksgiving. C U. Ken