It seems absolutely unbelievable that just a few weeks ago snow was still three feet high all around the boat. In just a short time, the temps have gone from the 30’s and 40’s to the 60’s and there is virtually no sign of the record snowfalls we have had this winter. In such a short time, we have completed our short list of the things that HAD to get done before the boat went in the water, got the boat ready, removed all of the shrink wrap, got the boat back in the water, moved out of the house we have been house-sitting for the winter and moved back aboard the boat. We have to wonder if these past four months have just been a bad dream. We are some happy boaters to be back on board.
There were just a few things that we needed to get done before this could happen. One of the old thru-hulls in the aft head, which was not used for anything, had to be removed and re-glassed, as did a second depth sounder transducer, which also was not being used and did not work. These two areas were properly ground out and covered over with layers of fiberglass cloth and West System epoxy resin. The outside and inside were sanded, faired in and painted over to finish both sides. One of the original thru-hulls in the forward head was replaced with a new bronze seacock, hose fittings and new hose section and clamps. We decided early on that we were not painting the bottom of the boat ourselves this year. We did not have the time nor did we have the energy with everything else in our short time frame. So we made arrangements with The marina to handle the bottom painting, replace the zincs and prep the running gear to test a new antifouling paint. It was certainly a lot of work to get everything completed to get the boat back in the water on our schedule for moving out of the house before the owners returned from their winter in Florida.
We stayed with the same bottom paint we have been using, Pettit Trinidad Pro Red, and decided to try a new anti-fouling paint for the bronze rudder, prop and the stainless steel shaft. The new paint is called HawkSpeed by Sea Hawk Paint and is similar to PropSpeed, but not as expensive. It is also designed for the do-it-yourselfer, so it is a bit more forgiving and not as sensitive to the installation process. We won’t really know how effective it is until we haul out next fall and get a good look at it after a season of heavy use. The zincs on the rudder, stern and prop shaft were also replaced. The zinc mounted on the very end of the shaft is a special one so had to be ordered. The others were all standard zincs. The old ones were actually in pretty good shape, but we always start with fresh ones at the beginning of each season if the boat is hauled. But that is a good sign that the bonding is working well and we have not encountered stray current. This was a problem in the past, but we believe the addition of the galvanic isolator has made a big difference.
The shrink wrapping in the fall really protected the boat over the long and bitter winter. Once it was removed and some minor clean up was done, the boat showed no signs of a hard winter as our boats have in the past in the Chesapeake. We will continue to do the shrink wrap as long as we stay north and the cost was minimal considering how well it protected the boat from a total of over seven feet of snow. To wrap the boat, we had to lower the mast and satellite dish mount, as well as the bimini frame. All of this had to go back up as soon as the boat was ready for launch. We also switched our satellite system from DirecTV after many years, to Dish Network. The price for DirecTV has really increased and with a 12 month special and reduced costs for the second 12 months, Dish Network just made more sense. We did have to do some negotiating with the Dish installer and his supervisor, since they were not familiar with installation on boats and were not happy about installing the dish on the boat instead of the dock. But after careful evaluation of our mount and some assurances from us that we would not be calling all the time because of reception problems, they completed the installation.
All went as planned so we are back on board and excited to be full-time liveaboards again. The shower is still under construction and will take some time to get re-done but for now we will use the marina facilities. That will be our first priority and then we can begin the other items on the to do list that did not get done over the winter because of weather. Additional projects to come will be, replacement of a secondary AC electrical panel, installing new fans in all of the cabins, install a fuel polishing system, replacement of all fuel lines and filters, continuation of the rewiring started last year, lots and lots of varnishing and several more must needed refurbishments. So let the projects begin.