Well, we are weathering our first big unforeseen setback... The rudder stock is seriously corroded. Neil dropped it
"just to check it out", not because we had a clue there was
really anything wrong. But it's a good thing he did so. The stainless
steel stock is seriously corroded. Mr. Cogswell, who used to own Mariner
Yachts, thinks there must have been a stray current problem. Whatever the
cause, it needs to be replaced.
I searched the internet and also posted a question
to the good folks on the Cruising
World Bulletin Board looking for ideas on what to do. Neil followed
the advice and that night he and his bandmate Fred spilt open the
fiberglass rudder. After hours of coaxing and pounding, the skins split
apart fairly neatly and they were able to chisel out the shaft and SS
"web". It is huge and weighs about 150 pounds!
We're having a new stock machined out of Aquamet and
Neil will then put the rudder back together. It's an expensive setback,
and one that will cost us a week or so additional work time, but if we're
ever out in big seas offshore and worrying about things breaking, we'll
feel confident in our new rudder at least!
Here are some pictures of what our work area is
like. We have very limited space, basically the yard allows us to have
stuff under the boat (they've made a lot of special allowances for us and
our project). Happily, when they put us back inside in March we were
placed next to a wall, and Neil asked if he could set up a workbench along
the wall. It's made a big difference.
We've been busy this past month, with both
boatwork and other things that are steps towards leaving. We had a HUGE
yard sale. I mean, it was massive. Like 10 yard sales in one! It
was an incredible amount of work, but we made some cash for the refit,
and, more importantly, cleared a lot of stuff out of the house. Then I
spent a week making the house look perfect so that we can start looking
for tenants. We hired a realtor to do the screening and application
process for us, and I feel really good about her. She'll make sure that
the house is never empty while we're gone. They mostly deal with folks who
are relocating for business, so I feel like they'll get more responsible
tenants than if we just advertised it ourselves in the paper. Now she
finds a tenant soon (it's available September 1) so we don't have to keep
the house perfectly neat ALL SUMMER LONG!
Neil is busy on the galley's new sink cabinet. He installed the new
through-hull seacock for the sink drain last week. Scary to drill another
hole in the boat, but there was really no place else to route the drain
The refrigeration parts
arrived, too. We have to send the new evaporator out to get charged with
R12 before Neil can assemble the reefer box with the snazzy vacuum panel
insulation we got.
We got our new
chainplates back! They are beautiful. We were concerned at first because
the fabricator used 1/4" stock for all of them, although some of the
originals are slightly wider. We thought we were going to have to get them
remade, but after much discussion with "experts" (including
Mariner Yacht's Jack Cogswell, who originally spec'd the rigging; and
Robert Perry-!- ; and rigger extraordinaire Brion Toss) we found that
since the tops (where the pin is) are reinforced or built up with
additional layers, they are plenty strong. Whew!
here's a picture of the additional storage we gained when rebuilding the
galley. We reused an original fiberglass "dry storage" box that
previously had dead space underneath. Neil built an access door that we
can open from inside the under-counter "trash" cabinet he's
building. It'll be a great "deep storage" area for canned goods
and the like!
The new rudder stock is
back, as well. Perfectly gorgeous, and we got out of that surprise project
unbelievably cheaply. Neil's friend who runs a boatyard happened to have
the correct size Aquamet on hand which he sold us at a deep discount. He
also set us up with the SS machinist they use, a nice gentlemen who lives
out in the country and takes a lot of pride in his work. He charged us a ridiculously
small fee to duplicate the stock. It turned out really really well. Now
Neil has to sandwich together the rudder again, using the original skins.
Finally, here's a picture of
the reefer liner Neil made. Online marine refrigeration places sell fancy
fiberglass panels for over $100/sheet. Neil had a great idea, though: he
went to Home Depot and bought fiberglass panels sold for lining shower
stalls and industrial bathrooms. They have a molded pebbly surface on one
side, but we used the smooth side instead. He fiberglassed the corners
together solidly and then made epoxy fillets on the inside corners. The
spillover divider is a piece of 3/4" extruded poly foam faced with
the fiberglass paneling. It looks great!
different note, I had a personal revelation the other day about this trip
and refit... We've been feeling really overwhelmed by the sheer amount of
work there is to do. (I know, I know, we should have known, right? We thought
we were being realistic about it at the start but you can just never
really comprehend the scope of a project like this until you're actually
doing it...) Some days I found myself thinking, "I wish we'd never
started this!!!" or "Why didn't we just buy that much smaller
boat that didn't need all this work???" And then I made the mistake
of refiguring our budget with the current figures. A very scary thing.
We'd hoped to be able to bring enough for 15 months of cruising with us.
However, with the unforeseen expenses in the refit, I came up $8,000
short. That's 8 months kitty!!!!!!! It's scary. I went over all the things
we have left to purchase, looking to find places to save. Unfortunately,
the biggest expense is insurance for myself. Neil and Olivia can carry
cheap traveler's "major medical" (disaster) insurance, but because
of my breast cancer I HAVE to get regular individual insurance, and it SO
expensive. But, because of my illness and the possibility (knock on
wood!!!!!!) of recurrence, I can't go without insurance. So we have to
bite the bullet and pay big bucks for it.
I went on trying to see where we could save money. Dinghy: we'd thought
we'd buy a new or lightly used inflatable and small outboard. Well, I
guess we could get along with our old beat-up hard dinghy.... Cabin
lights: I'll re-install the original, slightly rusty ones. What else?
Should we just get three reefs in our main instead of a dedicated trisail
and track? Maybe, although I like the redundancy of having two mains. How
else could we save money? We're already moving out of our house 8 months
early to benefit from the $500/month we'll save by renting it out. We'll
live with my parents on Great Diamond Island (though I'll have to take the
ferry every day to get Olivia from school) or else perhaps on the boat if
the winter is milder than last year. But that's already figured into
the budget! I was getting all distressed about not being able to
save the whole $15,000 we need for the cruise.
I sat down and read a stack of old articles my mom had saved about
cruising with children. There was nothing in there that addressed my
specific concerns, but reading the articles somehow brought me out of the
rut I was in. I remembered why we re doing this. I realized that, no
matter what happens, it will be worth it. If we can only go for 9 months
or a year, well, that'll be too bad, but still worth it. And, hey, if we
are loving it we'll certainly find a way to make some more money along the
way and keep going, right? In any case, I somehow turned from WORRYING
about the boat and the trip, to being really EXCITED about it. It's a
really good feeling. Somehow, it will work out.....
20, 2003 Last weekend we got a lot
accomplished! The galley is really looking good. The sink cabinet is built and
it's wonderful. We were nervous about what the space would feel like with it
built, but it seems really perfect. Doesn't make the salon seem too small, and
REALLY helps the galley. I can't wait to cook there! I also worked some more on
the electrical panel installation. I'd say the DC system is about 90% installed
at this point. Below is a picture of it in progress.....