Beatitude is now sitting on four blocks of wood and several braces on terra firma. Cindy and I continue our residence in a Lakeland, FL hotel while I work and teach. I guess the timing of this venture couldn’t have been much better since I am on a stretch of working 13 9-hr shifts in 15 days and teaching a class at All Saint’s in Lakeland the other two days. This means I have to be in Lakeland everyday anyway, so our temporary residence in a hotel has its upsides. We paid Beatitude a visit yesterday to get a few more things off the boat and to check up on progress. (No pictures of wildlife, sunsets, or exotic places… just boring old boat work.)
Progress is slower than we’d like. I have been forewarned by all the cruising magazines, forums, and books that this is the norm. Living aboard and cruising on a boat is bound to teach me patience if anything will. I had hoped that the haulout and repairs would be done in one week, but now we hope to have it completed within two weeks. There were three major tasks which we decided should be carried out during this haulout: Bottom painting, Bow roller repair, Saildrive seal replacement and maintenance.
Bottom painting: It is quit overwhelming for the inexperienced sailboat owner to make maintenance decisions on one’s vessel, especially, since I’ve only owned the boat for a year and a half and do not have a full history of what was done before. Do I just sand and repaint with ablative paint (the least expensive option)? Do I sand down deeper and coat with a barrier coat and put a non-ablative paint on the hull? Do I sandblast the hull with an even more protective coat and paint? Fortunately, there is great advice available with online cruising blogs and articles and cruising forums such as cruisersforum.com. I submitted my options to the cruising community on the forum and decided to go for option one. This saved me a considerable amount of money, and I’m confident that that is all that is necessary at this haulout. The sanding is almost done and new layers of ablative anti-fouling paint will soon be applied. Ablative paint is designed to impede the growth of barnacles, etc. (“fouling”) and to gradually wear away over time (i.e., to be removed with the fouling when the bottom is regularly cleaned).
Bow roller repair: The old bow roller and bow pulpit have been removed. The backing plate for the bow roller was probably undersized and the reinforced fiberglass structure supporting the bow roller was not very substantial (contributing to the damage in the first place). This area is now being reinforced and strengthened. We are also going to upsize the anchor roller to handle our upsized anchor.
Saildrive servicing: Finally, we are going have our saildrives maintained. Our two diesel engines do not have transmissions. Instead, a saildrive attaches to the inboard engine and protrudes through the bottom of the hull transmitting the energy of the motor to the propellor. There are a pair of seals which keep the oil in and the seawater out of the saildrive. These need to be replaced over time. Once again, I learned a great deal from the cruising forums and online magazine articles (and, if all else fails, the owner’s manual). This was an expense I had not counted on, so I didn’t know if I really needed to do it. When you don’t know a lot about a subject, you are at the mercy of the repairperson to tell you what needs to be done. The yard recommended it. After my research, I concurred. Our engines have almost 10,000 hours on them. The seals are recommended to be replaced every 5,000 hours (and I’m unsure if they were replaced by the previous owner at 5,000 hours). In this case, better safe than sorry.
Hopefully, by this time next week, we’ll be out of the hotel and back on Beatitude.