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More Repairs on Willow

More Repairs on Willow

Owning a boat comes with a lot of responsibilities. The biggest one besides not hitting anything is maintenance and repairs. Some say it is a hole in the water which you dump money into. I agree and disagree with that statement. If it is your home than it is no different then home improvement projects or home repairs.

We had a good amount of time to do some maintenance with the mast out for almost a month. With all the rigging removed and out of the way, we took the opportunity to re bed the chain plates and jib car tracks. The chain plates were straightforward. Unbolt, pull them through the deck, apply some 4200, insert and re bolt. The jib car tracks were a different story. We had to pull back the vinyl interior to get to the nuts. Oh yeah, the liner has the original zippers which no longer work and had to be pried open. The hood for the oven also had to be taken off. And after all of that I had to squeeze into small opening and contort my arm to get the aft couple of bolts out. Once that was done, we cleaned the rails, installed butyl tape around the bolts and reversed the process. We now have safety pins instead of zippers, but hey, that is another project for another day.

During last winter we noticed a lot of water running into the head. We re caulked the teak accent piece above the head to no avail. It was time to pull the portlight out and re bed it. This was a lot simpler than I thought it would be. While taking it apart I notice that the frame was not tight and there was clear silicone. After looking carefully, I noticed that a temporary fix had been attempted but the inside ring was put on backwards, so it never got tight. Some more 4200 and the indoor waterfall was fixed.

The deck where the bow pulpit attaches was a concern during the survey. Somewhere along the line Willow had hit a piling with the pulpit and had some minor damage to the deck. This caused a bit of moisture to get into the core. Luckily there was no delamination. After contorting arms once again, we had it off and back on, leaving a day in between for the core to dry. Some of the bolts were bent so replacements were needed. There had to have been a lot of force to do that.

We had a couple of issues when it came to access in the interior of the boat. The mast step was inaccessible, hence the reason it was missed on the survey. We decided to leave access panels in these areas to make sure it could be monitored from here on out. Since the holly floor covered the port side access panel, we installed a hinge to make sure we could get to it and to create more storage under the floor. We also had an issue with a squeaky, bending floor in the companionway. I decided the best thing to do was to cut a hole and inspect because again, there was no access. After looking at the problem, the wood holding the floor was no longer attached to the stringer. A couple of screws fixed that right up. Now what to do with the panel I cut out. I went to the store and bought some two by two cedar and built a frame. Fixed!

Finally, the goofy table. Our main table has leaves on it which were falling off. But the only way to remove the table for fixing was to pull out the mast. Aha! While we had the mast out, we could fix it. I looked towards the previous owner of Willow for help with this. He is very knowledgeable of wood and has a nice woodworking area in his garage. After a week of gluing and cutting to make the table removeable with the mast installed, we got our table back. The whole time we were in the San Juan Islands we did not have a table. Glad to have our workspace back!

Sail On!

Mast Step Repair: Part 3

Mast Step Repair: Part 3

The dirty work begins! We didn’t anticipate the mast step would take so many hours to remove, but we finally got it out! Fortunately, only one of our stringers was partly rotted, so we removed the section that needed to be replaced and got to work rebuilding it.

It was a challenge trying to live on a boat where we were also trying to do a massive repair project. Steph spent a lot of time in coffee shops and on Peter’s boat (he’s the one we bought Willow from) editing photos from weddings we’d shot. It was difficult for her to have to uproot her workspace every couple of hours and not know where she’d be working the next day. But we are happy to report, all weddings were delivered on time!

Another challenge was feeding ourselves. For a lot of the time, there was a fine dust covering every surface. Not a good environment for trying to cook a meal in! Aside from the dust, our belongings had all been removed from their hiding spots in the main salon area and moved into different spots. Tools littered every surface and that included the surface of the galley.

And it was hot. So hot. Probably the hottest part of the summer, and we were chugging away at this project that required me, at times, to be in a full white dust suit and mask. It was particularly awful when I had myself and “the hole” covered with plastic to minimize the dust spreading in the boat.  But with time ticking away, we needed to use all the time we had available, no matter what the temperature was.

 

Next week we get the mast put pack in and the boat back together and go for a shakedown sail! Stay tuned for the final episode!

 

Sail On!

Mast Step Repair: Part 2

Mast Step Repair: Part 2

With the sails off and the boom stored, our inspection panels cut and the wiring disconnected, we were ready to have the mast pulled. It’s quite an emotional thing…to have your mast pulled. It’s the very lifeblood of your boat. It’s what makes a sailboat a sailboat and not a power boat; without it, you have nothing to attach your sails to. Which means your boat doesn’t move through the water in the way it was intended. It was hard to watch our being wheeled around the back of Sea Marine and set to rest (however temporarily!) in the middle of a mess of masts that looked like they’d been left to die.

But we were glad to get the show on the road. We’d been aware of the problem for over a month before we got to work, and getting the job started was a relief. We knew we had a lot of work ahead of us, but when we finally dug into it, we realized we had no idea!

 

Stay tuned! Next week we get the dirty work started!

Cheers!

Mast Step Repair: Part 1

Mast Step Repair: Part 1

We realized we had a problem when I was replacing the float switch on our shower sump. I looked toward the mast and saw what looked like corroded metal sloughing off at the base of the mast. Since there was no inspection panel around the mast, the first thing we had to do was create one in order to determine the extent of the damage.

What we found was disheartening. Spots of our step were paper thin, even worn completely through. A huge pile of corroded iron littered the hull just under the mast. We had just returned from our first overnight trip to Tacoma, and we’d gotten into some heavier winds in places. We couldn’t help thinking of what might have happened, what could happen at any time. We brought in a few friends who have spent their lives around boats, repairing them, building them and sailing them. They confirmed what we knew to be true: we needed to replace our mast step. And possibly the stringers.

It was going to be a big project. And expensive, thought doing it ourselves would save us a boatload of money. Unfortunately, we found the problem right before we left for a month-long trip to California, which meant most of our summer sailing season was going to be devoted to repairs and not to sailing.

As soon as we could get an appointment with the crane operator, we got to work removing sails, loosening rigging, storing the boom and prepping the boat to have the mast pulled.

 

Stay tuned for the next installment of our mast step repair project next week!

 

Sail On!

Repairs and Updates

Repairs and Updates

At the beginning of the year, we went through the whole boat and changed out all of the 110 wiring after a plug burned up while we were away one evening. With these final updates, all of our a/c wiring has been replaced (with the exception of the water heater).

 

Sail On!

We have a problem…

We have a problem…

It’s a well-known fact that all boats need work. And that as a boat owner, you’re not allowed to be shocked or surprised when you find yet another project. It’s the reality of owning a boat. But finding a big problem is never fun. And the other day, we found a big one…

So for now, Willow remains in her slip, just as the nice weather starts rolling our way. We’re disappointed, but we’d rather have found the problem while the boat was safely in the slip than find it out on the water somewhere where it could cause some real damage.

Stay tuned for updates!

Sail On!

Bottom painting the dinghy

Bottom painting the dinghy

We have had “Brutus,” our dinghy for about six months now. And for the entire duration of our ownership, we have been debating what to do with her. Really, at 13 feet long (the ad said she was 12 feet, and we only just recently actually measured), she’s a bit large for a dinghy (as if 12 feet was any better). We had her listed on Craigslist for a while, and actually got a few hits. We toyed with the idea of trading her in for a different dinghy at Longship Marine. But in the end, we decided we kind of liked her, monstrosity that she is, and made the commitment to bottom paint her and drag her around with us, at least for this season.

Sail On!