Repairs and Maintenance

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.)

Beatitude on the hard

Beatitude on the hard

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.

Anchored on dry land

Anchored on dry land

This is how Beatitude is accessed when out of the water

This is how Beatitude is accessed when out of the water

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).

The sanded hull of Beatitude

The sanded hull of Beatitude

Instead of water beneath the trampoline, a fully-protected sander at work.  There is blue dust everywhere.  Cindy, who wore flip-flops had blue feet when we left.

Instead of water beneath the trampoline, a fully-protected sander at work. There is blue dust everywhere. Cindy, who wore flip-flops had blue feet when we left.

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.

Looking over the bow repairs with the workman

Looking over the bow repairs with the workman

The anchor roller area.  The piece which was ripped away is seen by my foot.

The anchor roller area. The piece which was ripped away is seen by my foot.

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.

The sanded saildrive located aft of the rudder

The sanded saildrive located aft of the rudder

Hopefully, by this time next week, we’ll be out of the hotel and back on Beatitude.

Homeless

Beatitude is not in the water. We are, in a sense, homeless.

This morning I awoke much earlier than usual. It is rare, given my work schedule, to see the sun rise. This morning, I awoke at 6:15 to make a 4 hour journey to Progressive Marine Boatyard in St. Pete. Progressive is one of the only boatyards in the Tampa Bay area which can haul out a vessel with a beam as wide as ours (24’7″). Early this morning, I picked up our good friend Duane Brown after work and brought him home to Beatitude so that he might accompany me on this short trip. Cindy would drive the car the 20 minutes to St. Pete to pick us up after we dropped off the boat.

The Day's Crew Preparing to Cast Off

The Day’s Crew Preparing to Cast Off

A Colorful Sunrise

A Colorful Sunrise

Beatitude 's Departure with a Magnificent Sunrise

Beatitude ‘s Departure with a Magnificent Sunrise

Our Empty Slip

Our Empty Slip

We decided that it was time to haul Beatitude out of the water and place her “on the hard” to have some necessary maintenance and work performed. It has been two years since her bottom was painted and we felt it was time to give it a fresh coat of bottom-paint. While out of the water, we will also have our bow roller repaired. There may be other things which will need attention as well.

At Progressive Marine, with Beatitude tied up alongside the floating dock waiting on lift availability

At Progressive Marine, with Beatitude tied up alongside the floating dock waiting on lift availability

I am positioning Beatitude to pull her onto the lift

I am positioning Beatitude to pull her onto the lift

Approaching the Lift, which handles boats with a beam of up to 26'

Approaching the Lift, which handles boats with a beam of up to 26′

Workers making sure that the massive straps are lined up properly to lift  the 35,000 plus pounds of Beatitude from the water

Workers making sure that the massive straps are lined up properly to lift the 35,000 plus pounds of Beatitude from the water

Up out of the water

Up out of the water

IMG_6980

What this means, however, is that we are homeless. We are not allowed to stay on the boat while in the boatyard due to liability issues. So, for the next week, and possibly a little longer depending on the work needing to be done and depending on the weather, we’ll be living in a hotel room. It feels strange that our home is out of the water and we are not on it. Cindy commented today, that for the first time, Beatitude really felt like her home and she didn’t like it being out of the water. I too feel a sense of loss and am anxious to move back in shortly. Updates on the maintenance and repairs will follow.

An initial pressure wash of the bottom

An initial pressure wash of the bottom

Duane and Cindy looking over the port hull

Duane and Cindy looking over the port hull

Cindy dwarfed by our home

Cindy dwarfed by our home

Miami Sailboat Show

Boat shows have been an important part of our preparation for cruising. It was a little more than two years ago when Cindy and I attended our first sailboat show in St. Petersburg, Florida. There we signed up for our six-day sailing lessons, covering ASA 101-104. At that time, I was just feeling out my wife to see if she was willing to consider making such a drastic change as to sell all, buy a sailboat, and go cruising. The rest, as they say, is history.

Conspicuously glowing in front of the Leopard cats

Conspicuously glowing in front of the Leopard cats

Since December of 2011, we have returned to St. Pete twice, attended the Miami Strictly Sail show twice, and we’ve been to the Annapolis show once. Why? What do we do at boat shows?

Perhaps, the main reason I like to go is that it helps to keep the dream alive and the ultimate goal before my eyes. While living on our boat in a marina and having limited time to thoroughly enjoy it due to a heavy work schedule and other demands, it is easy to lose sight of the enticements which drew us to the cruising lifestyle in the first place. It is nice to listen to and interact with other people, hearing their stories and feeling their excitement about cruising to new and exciting places – about the demands, joy and freedom of such a lifestyle.

Additionally, each show has a full slate of free lectures every day covering a diverse set of subjects… from storm strategies to solar energy, from marine communications to marine refrigeration, from cruising budgets to medical preparation, from anchoring to rigging, from cruising the BVI’s to the Bahamas, from outfitting a boat for cruising to weather forecasting, from buying the right boat to preparing for an extended cruise. In the last two years, we’ve learned a lot from others who have already gained years of valuable experience as cruisers.

Cindy received a nice gift from Lagoon for being a present Lagoon owner, a bag made of recycled sails in celebration of Lagoon's 30th anniversary of catamaran manufacturing.

Cindy received a nice gift from Lagoon for being a present Lagoon owner, a bag made of recycled sails in celebration of Lagoon’s 30th anniversary of catamaran manufacturing.

There are always a host of new boats (and a few used ones) to inspect and explore. This was an essential opportunity when we were in the boat-buying mode. In fact, it was at the Miami boat show that we met the broker from which we ultimately bought Beatitude. Even though we are no longer in the market for a sailboat, it is still enjoyable to see what is available (and to visit the 60 foot catamarans and dream what it would be like to go cruising on one of those. They are massive with unbelievably huge living areas).

Cindy on the foredeck of one of the massive 60' cats (This a Privilege catamaran)

Cindy on the foredeck of one of the massive 60′ cats (This a Privilege catamaran)

Also, at these shows, one finds booth after booth of companies selling their boating and cruising-related goodies. We’ve learned a lot by visiting these vendors and have bought a few things along the way. At the recent St. Pete show, we bought our new anchor. From this show, we may be buying a new chart-plotter and/or autopilot. I may be waiting, however, for the newer version which hits the market in a few months.

There were two nice bonuses at this Miami show. The first was a Valentine’s evening dinner with my beautiful wife at a world-class French restaurant, Pascal’s on Ponce, in Coral Gables. It was an expensive splurge, but was so nice. It really is the case that one gets what one pays for.

Pascal's on Ponce

Pascal’s on Ponce

The other wonderful thing that happened at this show was that we were able to meet up with Tim and Annie. You may remember that they left Regatta Pointe three months ago after selling most of their earthly possessions and moving aboard a sailboat, as we have done. Their journeys thus far have taken them over to the Bahamas and back to Miami. They have been moored in the Coconut Grove mooring field, which was visible from our hotel room window. We were so happy to catch up on the latest over Sunday Brunch before departing for home.

A grainy photo of us and our friends, Annie and Tim at Cheesecake Factory for Sunday Brunch

A grainy photo of us and our friends, Annie and Tim at Cheesecake Factory for Sunday Brunch

Although their initial plans for a cruising itinerary have changed, they are loving their lives as cruisers. Their excitement and passion have reinforced the excitement we feel as we prepare for life without a permanent place to call home. We will likely meet up with them in the next year or so after we depart Regatta Pointe for locales unknown.

Annie, Cindy, and Tim at Cocowalk, Coconut Grove

Annie, Cindy, and Tim at Cocowalk, Coconut Grove