I’ve updated our THE PROJECT page with what we did for Halcyon in 2017. But so you don’t have to hurt your thumbs by clicking more than necessary — here’s what I added.
This was our first full year out cruising, and apparently Halcyon took a bit of a beating! Get comfy…this list is long.
- When we first bought the boat, we threw down some carpet strips so the dog wouldn’t slip and slide on the way down. It stayed that way….way too long. We finally ripped off the old carpet, sanded and oiled the stairs and added some pretty blue nonskid pads
In San Blas, Mexico, we found some new friends and great workers to help us prettify Halcyon.
- Over three days, the four of us stripped/sanded/cleaned/primed/varnished the rest of the teak with Awlwood, polished all of the stainless steel and waxed the hull. It was a marathon, but Halcyon had never looked better!
- Our old “mattress” was pretty bagged out. So we bought new foam in Puerto Vallarta, transported it by (very small) car to Barra de Navidad, cut it using the old one as a template, and stuffed it in the cover. Voile!
- We lived and sailed the boat for 6 years before installing our first autopilot. I know, we’re nuts. But we finally got a tiller pilot, and modified it to work on our boat (which has a wheel, not a tiller). It can steer if we are sailing or motoring, and only uses a tiny bit of power to do it.
Sew much sewing
- I got a little crazy when I borrowed our friend’s sewing machine for a few weeks. I made covers for our jerry cans, propane tanks (and line and solenoid), outboard, gas tank and autopilot. I made cushions for outside. I made sides for our bimini. It was alot of sewing.
- The batteries we installed when we first bought Halcyon treated us well, but they were not holding a charge like they used to. So we replaced them with LTH’s (the best thing you can find in Mexico).
- We kept the same setup of 6 6-volts in series and then parallel.
- Another stanchion rebed. It seems about the time we’ve done them all, the first one starts to leak. At least we’ve got the process down now (um – but this is not it->).
- We bought an old used small functional watermaker from a fellow cruiser, then John rebuilt it three times. But then it worked!
- It is a katadyn (or Pur) 40. It only makes 1.2 gallons per hour, but it also only draws about 4 amps. So our solar panels can keep up with it.
- Our transmission kicked the bucket on the way into Zihuatanejo. So we found a mechanic, got parts shipped in, and had it rebuilt.
Endless engine work
- Our leaky mess of a Westerbeke 4107 really started acting up this year (not good timing, Westie!)
- In hunting down the issues, we did a “poor man’s fuel polish” (in which we pumped the fuel through filters several times and cleaned out the tank, then put it back in), replaced all of the fuel lines, added a pressure gauge and plumped in an electric pump (still mounted from our old diesel heater)
That damn wind arrow
- Replaced the wind arrow on our garmin unit – for the third time – after a bird carried it off
- We took apart every winch on the boat and serviced, cleaned and greased all the innards
More engine work
- Removed and cleaned out heat exchanger
- Replaced the transmission oil cooler (we were VERY lucky to notice this compromised piece before it filled with salt water and seized our newly rebuilt transmission
- Replaced hoses going to/from the transmission oil cooler
- Removed and repaired the injector line, replaced injector washers, fixed a leak in the first injector
- Replaced gasket in the exhaust elbow
A big ole’ HAUL OUT
- In Chiapas, Mexico, we hauled out for the season and tackled ALOT of projects. Here’s the short list.
- the two forward portlights were due for a rebed
- We painted the topside of the hull (from waterline to deck). This project should really take up more than a single line…it took 6 weeks and every ounce of energy we could muster. And that was with help.
New spinnaker pole home
- This is a project we’d wanted to do for a long time. We started by grinding off the block at the top of the spinnaker pole track on the front of the mast, then added more track to double the length. Next we made a new block and finally mounted the spinnaker pole permanently on the mast.
- Now it deploys easily with one person using one line! Go-go-gadget HAMMOCK DEPLOY
- Valiants have undersized drains in the side decks. One leaf skillfully placed over the grate andour side decks would fill with water.
- Since we were repainting anyway, we took the opportunity to drill some big new holes in the side of the boat. No more puddles of water!
- We rebuilt, cleaned, greased and painted the windlass
Lead keel inspection
- There is always a crack in the paint where the fiberglass hull meets the exposed lead section. We sanded down all of the bottom paint in that area to make sure the cracking was just in the paint (good news – it was!)
- Of course! We used ABC-4, the only red bottom paint in all of Mexico, apparently.
Fixed rudder crack
- Late in the haul out, we discovered a sizable crack on the underside of the rudder. We ground it down, filled it in with epoxy and layered it up with fiberglass.
- Likely soon we will need to drop the rudder and do a “proper fix”, but this is plenty stout for now
Regular haul out maintenance
- Replaced zincs, greased max prop, inspected, cleaned and greased thru hulls
- Our radar hasn’t been working up to snuff. We took it apart, cleaned it and sprayed lots of CorrosionX inside. And it helped!
- Everything got a light sand and another coat of Awlwood – we are now over 1 year in and it’s still looking great
- I took advantage of the big grassy knoll by the yard and spread out all of our sails, patching and repairing any spots that needed it
Bonding system head-scratching
- Something is eating up our zincs too fast, and we can’t blame the marina anymore
- We spent time going through our bonding system, chasing wires and trying to understand what’s going on. We found 2 thru hulls that weren’t bonded, so plugged them into the system
- Calked the seam between the gunnel and the hull
So yeah, it was quite a haul out.
You know – there’s a joke that cruising is just doing boatwork in foreign locations. I’m not so sure it’s a joke!