9.18.15 (1)

Visual Progress

Friday September 18, 2015

9.18.15 (1)

Two items of great news!  1.  The welding is almost done!  Ok, maybe not 100%, we’d float if put in the water kind of done, but done in the areas that we need for us to be able to start building back up all the areas we’ve recently destroyed.  And 2.  We made visual progress on the boat today!

Not only have the past few weeks been spent, we’ll, we’ll say visualizing and planning, while the welding has been going on under our feet, the projects we were able to work on during those off hours and on weekends were of the variety where you put in a bunch of effort but have to keep setting that project aside for touch-ups and adjustments.  Nothing we could assemble at the end of the day and say “Yay!, look at what we’ve created!”.

One of those projects has been creating a divider that separates the galley from the forward salon.  The cherry plywood that goes on either side has been a breeze to measure and cut, but the cherry hardwood pieces that cap it off have taken a bit more thought and work.  First we had to locate between our 2.5″ and 3.5″ pieces, sets that would match up together between color and texture so that when they were set side by side (for a final width of 6″) it was not a drastic difference.

Ok, honestly that part wasn’t too difficult although it did take a little extra thought and a lot of extra rummaging through every piece of wood in our storage unit up the road.  The two very tricky parts of this project were cutting the ends at perfect 45° angles so they perfectly matched up together and then routing those edges so they blend together seamlessly.  To try and get those 45° angles we had only our table saw and there were many unfortunate pieces that ended up and useless scraps and we spent a good portion of one afternoon adjusting everything possible on that saw to get a straight line at the perfect angle.

Then was the routing.  Not a hard project until it comes to the corners.  Then it’s just one slight slip of the hand and you create a dent much larger than you were intending.  And um, yup, that’s exactly what we did.  So now one of our perfectly color matched, measured, and angled pieces is now kind of useless.  In that spot at least.  We’ll end up using it for the vertical area sitting back next to the cabinet where we can chop a good 3-4″ of it’s length.

Today though we were able to take the replacement piece and route it perfectly which means it is now installed!  Yes, finally a place in the boat we can look and say, “That wasn’t there yesterday.  We’ve made progress…see?”.  Which is the best feeling in the world!  Now I can’t wait for next week to come around so we can attack the galley and get that feeling almost daily. 9.18.15 (2) 9.18.15 (3)

9.18.15 (4)

P.S.  Do you like the doors for our clothing cabinets?  I don’t think I’ve shown any photos of them since our last post on the project.




The Stray Cats of Indiantown Marina

Saturday September 12, 2015

stray cat, Bandit

It’s pretty easy to say that I have a soft spot in my hearts for animals.  Maybe this also extends to a curiosity for all animals since you’re just as likely to find me chasing down a strange looking bug or lizard as you will cuddling up to a furry domestic animal or getting the help of Insight Pest Control Boston, but it’s suffice to say they pique my curiosity and tug at my heartstrings. When we arrived to Indiantown Marina back in early March it didn’t take long for me to notice a few of the furry critters that were roaming the grounds.  Other than the abundance of lizards and geckos that you’ll constantly find running underfoot, there were also a few felines freely roaming the yard.  Pets without leashes?, we originally thought.  Sadly no, they were strays of the boat yard.

Cats are pretty intelligent and very sweet, too. Only two of these cats were known to be around all the time although it wasn’t strange to see 2-3 others hiding in the tall grass of the storage yard every evening.  One of these regulars that could always be seen hanging around the service department in the work yard was called Rudder and although wasn’t technically a pet, is fed daily by one of the service guys.  The other, Sylvester, would always come into the patio and kitchen area every evening as the sun came down.  Much more familiar with people, he’d cozy right up on your lap and wait for a good scratching.

Although we found out that Sylvester is also a ‘cared for stray’, meaning that he also has someone at the yard who will feed him daily yet doesn’t quite claim him as their own, we also found out the sad story of his past.  Sylvester actually used to be a boat cat, ditched at the marina to suddenly fend for himself.  He seems to be quite content with his new life of freedom though, as long as there is always a full food bowl to come back to every night. Sylvester the cat

Sylvester.  Look at that heart on his butt!  🙂

A few more months went by before we were introduced to the newest stray of the yard.  A black and white female that had apparently been around for awhile but whom we’d never seen.  This one was a bit more skiddish and it did not help that her first encounter with us was when Georgie’s leash escaped our grasp down by the patio one night and she tore after this new cat, ready to hunt down anything that roamed into her territory.

One thing that immediately struck us about this new female is that she didn’t have a tail.  Both of us assumed that there had been some kind of accident which caused her to lose it, until a few weeks later when someone had told us it was a specific breed that is born without a tail.  Matt goes, “Oh, I think those are called Lynxs”, and so became her name.  Lynx, the tail-less cat.  It turns out the breed is actually called Manx, but by then the first name had already stuck and we found no reason to change it.

In late July we saw two little kittens following Lynx around, most likely the reason she had been so absent our first few months there.  Taking care of a litter of small ones would probably not leave her much time to roam around freely.  Talking to our neighbor in the work yard we found out that Lynx and her kittens would usually seek shelter under his overturned dinghy next to his boat and he also fed her every day.  She was actually becoming so familiar with him that she would walk the stairs up to the cockpit of his boat every day for a feeding. The kittens, now around around 6 months old, have grown quite a bit and have also taken to eating from the free bowl of food our neighbor was providing them.

Knowing we had our own cat, a fact that’s hard to hide when we walk her up to the patio every morning for breakfast, asked if we wouldn’t mind taking care of ‘his cats’ as well while he was gone on a four week vacation.  Loading us up with food he left us with instructions and also let us know that Lynx appeared to be pregnant once again.  He was pretty sure the new kittens would be born during his absence. Lynx, Cairo, & Bandit Cairo & Bandit

Cairo & Lynx at dinner time. Cairo

Cairo.  Oh how I want this kitty!! Cairo & Lynx Bandit

Bandit.  The runt of the family.

For the past week and a half now we have been feeding the cats and they are becoming much more comfortable with us each day.  Waiting for us under the boat each morning when we get up, they quickly learned where their breakfast is coming from.  To say that I’ve already become attached to them is an understatement.  Cairo, the fluffy tailed kitten is about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, and her little sister Bandit is so ugly that it’s made her so adorably cute.  And just like her mommy, she’s a Manx cat as well with just a little stub of a tail.

Lynx has not only warmed up to us but is now craving our constant attention.  It took a few days to let us pet her, but now she’s basically a lap cat.  Always wanting to be pet and butting her head against our hands when we stop.  She’s a total lover.  Sometimes I even find her trotting right next to my side as I make the walk from our boat up to the bathrooms.  I would love nothing more than to keep her, and although Matt has taken quite a liking to her as well, he’s not ready to have a second cat on board.  Plus, Georgie would probably go nuts on her.

We already know these two don’t get along and there’s been a few times that Lynx has climbed the ladder up to our cockpit only to find Georgie ready to chase her right back down.  Or when the plexi doors are in place, the two will have a stare down until Lynx turns around and eventually leaves. I hate to say it, but Georgie is not tolerant of any other cats. It breaks my heart to know that we won’t be able to give any of these kitties a new home.  Which is why I’m going to ask for your help.

Lynx on Daze Off

Georgie chasing away Lynx


(Que sappy Sarah McLachlan music…)

If you’ve just been skimming the post up until this point and only looking at photos of cute cats, this is the part where I need your focus.  I need to find homes for these cats.  Unlike Rudder and Sylvester, there are not permanent marina employees to look after these three.  There is only our neighbor, until he goes in the water and leaves next month, and then Matt and I, most likely, until we are out of here as well.  And that’s if a few of the marina employees who don’t care for this family very much don’t catch them first and bring them to the Humane Society to be put down.

If you are in the Southern Florida area and are looking for a boat cat/house cat/apartment cat or know anyone who is, please let us know.  As much as it brings me joy every morning to come down from our boat and see them eagerly waiting for me, I know I can’t keep them and I would love to see them go to a good home.  Whether it be together or separate, they need someone who can properly look after them and give them everything they need and deserve.

My next solution is that if we can’t get them adopted, maybe we can at least get them spayed.  All three are females and this will unfortunately be a vicious cycle of new litters in the marina unless this problem is taken care of.  If anyone knows of a vet that would do this for us pro bono or for a discounted rate, PLEASE let us know.

My very last option/solution is for anyone out there who wishes they could take care of these cats but for one reason or another (location, allergies, whatever) can’t…is to sponsor one of these kitties.  By sending funds to our PayPal account we will have that cat spayed as well as given all of the necessary shots and provide that cat with two meals daily.  This would continue for as long as we are in the boat yard, but would work extra hard to get that cat adopted before we leave, having that process be much easier with an up to date health certificate.

(Contact us at admin@mjsailing.com  Subject: Stray Cats)

Please help us make these three cats as happy as our little Georgie.  It’s so worth the love they give you in return!


*We believe that Lynx had her litter on September 9 when she disappeared for two full days.  Unfortunately, due to the large amounts of time she has been spending under our boat since then, we also believe that the litter did not make it due to either health reasons or an attack by raccoons.

open keel during welding

Stage 1 of Welding on our Aluminum Boat

Monday September 7, 2015

Daze Off getting welded

Last week was our first real vacation since we arrived in Florida in March, and our welder’s first vacation from working on our boat since he started just over a month ago.  Between 3-4 days a week for least 4 hours a day he’s been under Daze Off, sweating in the August heat in his jeans and long shirts.  I’m sure he was just as ready from some time away from our boat as we were.

cutting open Daze Off

Real Feel outside, 105°.

If you’ll remember back to the beginning of June when Daze Off was first moved into the work yard, we had our favorite surveyor, Dylan Bailey, come take a look at her and do a 1,000 point ultrasound across her hull.  With all of his pinpoints we were able to map out areas of the hull and keel where corrossion had effected the thickness of the aluminum to the point where it would be safer to replace those areas with new sheets. Asking a welding services expert as to what is the safest option when it comes to such processes.

Just like us, our welder has decided to start forward and work aft, meaning the first area to be touched would be the very front of our keel.  A section of about 24″ wide by 36″ long that wraps around from one side to the other.  Basically, what would be one of the more difficult and most time consuming areas of our welding process. Mapping out the exact area we wanted to replace the first thing to be done was taking the replacement sheet of aluminum and shaping it to the hull.

Again, this was the part that was going to take the longest as it’s an odd shape and we obviously want it to fit perfectly when it’s time to go in.  Before we even cut out the piece to be replaced there were a few days of bending and forming to get ourselves as close as possible before we cut out the existing piece.  Literally leaving a gaping hole in the bottom of the boat once it comes out, we want to make sure that it won’t take very long before the new piece is able to be attached.  Mosquitoes are in prime season here and the last thing we need is and open invitation for them to come and join us in our bed every night.

Finally we were ready to go and set our welder to work with his circular saw, carefully extracting the old sheet of aluminum.

welding on Daze Off

welding of Daze Off

cutting out old aluminum

open keel during welding

Using a circular saw to take out the old aluminum.

Let me say that while we haven’t exactly been back and forth on the necessary welding to the bottom of our boat, we were never sure the extent it was going to need.  Paying our welder by the hour, we of course don’t want to spend any more time or money than we have to, but on the other hand we always prefer ‘safe over sorry’.  It’s been a fun little dance between what is essential to replace and what we can leave alone.

At first we had been a bit unsure of replacing such a large section but once it was out and we were able to look at the amount of corrosion from the inside, we knew we’d done the right thing.  The panel was absolutely of deep pitting on the inside and in some place, worn down to half of the original thickness.  Our ultrasound of the boat had really paid off since we would have originally done a much smaller area due to what looked bad on the outside alone.

From the photos below you can see that where the aluminum was in premium condition, the thickness was measuring approximately 1/4″, and in areas where the corrosion and pitting was worst the thickness had gone down to 1/8″.  Half of the thickness!  And right in the front of our keel where we need the most protection.  If Matt actually succeeds in bringing me up to icebergs in this boat, I do not want to be bumping into any of them with only 1/8″ of aluminum underneath me.

old aluminum plate

full thickness of aluminum

corroded aluminum

old aluminum panel

 We’ve gotten much further since this point, but since I’ve been terrible at pulling out my camera for boat projects lately, combined with the fact that I always feel a little bit strange photographing our welder while he’s working, these are the only photos I have of the project up to this point.  Since this area was cut out we’ve now fully welded on the new piece as well as continued down the starboard side of the boat.  Things are really starting to come along and now the work is going much smoother and faster as the welder becomes more familiar with our boat.

Hopefully only another week or two now until all the main areas are completed and we can dive into work on the galley and head.  I feel a little bit useless as Matt spends his days acting as an assistance to the welding process and I sit there twiddling my thumbs, but I can’t say I mind the times I’ve been sent to the cool air conditioning of the kitchen with my laptop and an iced coffee in front of me since I can be more productive in front of a glowing screen at the moment instead of sitting on the shredded tarp next to our boat.

Jessica routing Eurolite

The Process of Routing & Templating

Sunday August 16, 2015

Jessica routing Eurolite

I feel so all over the place with this blog right now because none of our projects seem to go in order, and there’s usually the distinct possibility that we’re working on five different things at one time.  Depending on if the welder is in for the day or if we have just a few hours to kill before the rain comes in, it seems like we’re switching up projects daily or even hourly. Which hasn’t always made it the easiest thing to track our progress on the blog or even know what to write about.

Welding?  It’s been an ongoing project for the past two weeks now that is going to need so much more time before it’s finished that I’m not even sure what to write about it at the moment.  Should I give little snippets as they come, or wait until the job is finished and center a post wholly on that?  The clothing cabinets we’re trying to build in the forward salon?  Don’t even get me started on those.  Between odd angles and trying to cover up aluminum frames, that project has us scratching our heads and Matt playing out a million scenarios of what solutions we might have available.  Most of which won’t pan out.

So while these other projects are still ongoing and will be for the next few weeks, I’ll take you through one of our smaller projects: routing and templating.

One of the areas we hadn’t touched yet in the forward salon was replacing the overhead.  Previously in this area were long 5 3/4″ wide boards spanning the length, forward to aft, held together by some trim running abeam.  Although these boards never actually looked that bad and probably could have been kept, we didn’t like the variance in size between the grooves of what we’re doing to the walls and would like to keep it all uniform.  So for us to replace them is the same way we would do the walls, just placing it overhead instead.

If we were doing the walls we’d normally have to make our own templates out of scrap 1/4″ wood which is a pain in the butt. Tracing, cutting, and hot gluing these little strips together until they perfectly outline the space we want the new wall to be placed, but in this instance we’re able to keep the existing overhead boards in tact so we can trace them onto our Eurolite and easily cut out the shape we need.

Using much caution since the trim was the only thing keeping these boards together, we unscrewed them just far enough until they became unattached from the furring strips, and while I held the boards from falling down with my arms up over my head, we gently lowered them and brought them down the ladder to our work area until we were ready for them.

taking off old overhead

bare overhead with foam

Since we were replacing such a large area we started out with a brand new 4′ x 8′ sheet of 1/4″ marine plywood Eurolite.  Positioning it on our sawhorses in front of Daze Off, it was my job to mark the board every 3 1/4″, the distance between our grooves.  I will admit there have been one or two instances where my measurements have been off before, resulting in sloping lines, so now I’m adamant to check each side 2-3 times now before we begin routing.  You’d think I’d have the numbers memorized by now… 3 1/4, 6 1/2, 9 3/4, 13….but somehow after 26 I always begin to get a little confused and by the time I hit the 45″ area I can never remember if I’m supposed to be at an extra quarter inch or half.

In any case, we now measure at least twice and cut only once.  When I’m sure I have my numbers down we bring out our large straight edge, an 8′ long section of aluminum that we clamp down to the Eurolite exactly where I’ve made my marks.  Either Matt or I (usually Matt) will then take our router with a v-groove bit installed, and run it down the length of the board making sure to keep it tight against our aluminum straight edge to ensure a straight line.  The reason it’s not always me doing this job is I um…I’m not always so good at that part.  Luckily we’ve been able to hide all my mistakes so far.

After each line has had the router passed through it we move the straight edge up to the next mark and so on and so on until we’ve covered the whole board.  A large amount of sawdust tends to accumulate so I’m usually taking a little brush and cleaning the board after each sweep.  From start to finish this part usually takes about an hour.  Before we can begin tracing the template though, we do a good sanding of all the new grooves to take away the rough edges from the router and also give it more of a rounded transition into the board.

Matt routing Eurolite

close up of routing

Jessica routing Eurolite

Jessica routing Eurolite

 The last step is to take our template, in whichever form it may be in, and place it on the board of Eurolite to trace and cut.  Depending on the area it is getting placed into and if it’s the first board in a section or a continuation of an existing board into another area, we have to make sure the routed lines match up and flow together so we don’t have one routed line butting up to the center of a strip when two boards are matched up together.  Usually we take extra care in this by starting with the existing board and taking a measurement of where the first groove is from the edge.  Then we know for the next board that we also have to make the first groove come in 1 1/4″ or so from the edge.

In the case of this overhead piece we also had to have our Eurolite board and template facing down so that both pieces had the lines facing the same way.  One of our first times we accidentally had our Eurolite board facing up while the template was facing down and essentially cut our piece backwards and wasted that sheet of Eurolite.  It was not a good day.

Lining everything up we added a little extra area to the template from where we noticed it wasn’t fully butting up against the wall.  We’re learning it’s usually better to be a little large and cut down where necessary.  Which also happens a lot in this process.  I’d say that once we have the new piece of Eurolite cut out there are approximately four trips up and down the ladder with the new board and we try and fit it in it’s new space and then have to shave off 1/8″ here and there.  Eventually though we do get it right and then it’s time to screw it into place.

placing template over Eurolite

Matt tracing template

mistake in routing

standing over open floor

Odds & Ends Projects

Wednesday August 12, 2015

Matt varnishing cherry

So we go through all the work of ripping apart the galley, ready to get ourselves started on it so in a month or two we’re able to cook meals on our own boat instead of the marina’s grill, and it turns out we can’t do a d&^n thing in that area.  What we couldn’t see behind the cabinets and wall was that there is a large area of pitting in the aluminum that is going to have to be replaced by our welder.  And until that gets done, this area is basically untouchable.

In the meantime we’re now looking around to other little things that can be done.  The good news is the welder has started this week, but we know it won’t be any time soon before he can get to the area in the galley.  Just like us, he’s starting forward and working back. We’re thinking it will be a few weeks before that area gets touched.

Trying to do what we can, we’ve thought about making the Eurolite pieces for the wall and then removing them once the welding gets done, but there’s only a few areas we can because wherever we decide to put the new fridge (we’re debating leaving it where it was or moving it to the back corner) we’ll be using foam instead. Unfortunately the whole galley area is turning into ‘We can’t do this until this gets done, and that can’t be done until the floor is installed, and we can’t install the floor until the welding is done’.  Which is why I’m still in the frame of mind that we should have scrapped August in the boat yard and went back to Michigan.  Not that it would have helped with the welding though, because we still need to be here for that.

So now we’re scratching our heads and coming to the realization that what we can do at the moment are a lot of the finishing touches we had been hoping to put off until we could either A.) Do a larger area at one time, or B.) Hopefully won’t make a mess of while we’re still using the area as a construction zone.  We still don’t want to do the final coat of paint to the walls since based on what’s happening to the primer that’s already been applied, it will become extremely dirty and have to be done again. This has now left us with varnishing and working on a small area of the floors.

First job was the varnish.  We haven’t done incredibly much yet with the cherry, although with the hours we’ve (Matt has) put into it by now you’d think that there would be piles and piles of wood to be varnished instead of only the cabinet doors in the v-berth and the fronts to the settee in the forward salon. The debate is still on for if we want them to have a gloss or a matte finish in the end, but we know that it will be a total of about six coats and we needed to get something on it soon to protect it.

After hours and hours of research on Matt’s part we landed on Epifanes Clear Varnish with an ultra UV filter to get ourselves started.  If we decide to go glossy we’ll stay with that and if we want to go matte we can change it for the last few coats. From what we have seen, the varnish is taking the cherry and almost turning it into a honey color.  Not what I was expecting it to look like at all, and honestly not exactly what I’m hoping it will stay like.  To me it looks a little too much like oak.  But Matt tells me that with time the wood will darken and maintain more of a cherry color.

The floor has been another fun project and something we know won’t be finished until the interior of the boat is 95% done.  When everything is finished we hope to have a 1/4″ maple wood laying on top of 3/4″ marine plywood, but we won’t be adding the maple until the very end. For the moment though, we can go ahead and lay down the 3/4″ plywood.  Originally to me this seemed like the easiest project we’ll have taken on yet because I thought we could take the existing pieces, trace them on to the new board, cut it out, and voila!, new floor.

Turns out things aren’t exactly level on our frame though and there was one good day Matt spent on his hands and knees, measuring, leveling, moving around the fronts for the settee, and basically getting everything to perfectly match up.  I felt so bad as this part was a one person project and all I could do was sit on the ledge for the centerboard and watch, while singing along to Pandora.  Which I’m sure really helped his concentration. Have I mentioned lately what a great husband I have and how much work he’s putting into this boat as I usually sit on the sidelines?  There’s no way anything would get done around here without his knowledge and focus, that’s for sure.

What did end up happening is he found out how to take the original floor boards that weren’t fitting perfectly, where to add a little extra oomph on some sides, and where we might have to add a few wedges below to level things out.  Then we did trace the existing boards onto the new ones, added the extra where it was needed, cut a little big just in case, and then fit them into place, sometimes shaving off an 1/8″ here or there.

While they may not still fit perfectly until we can work with all the surrounding boards, but it is a huge improvement from where they were and it no longer sounds like a 300 pound man is lumbering toward us when Georgie walks across them.  No joke. It scared the hell out of us the first few nights on the boat.  Cheers to small improvements!

Matt varnishing settee front

panels waiting to be varnished

Matt measuring floor space

construction zone of boat

standing over open floor

Anthyllide & Serendipity, crews together again

Buddy Boats Reuinite

Saturday August 8, 2015

Anthyllide & Serendipity, crews together again

(Photo courtesy of s/v Anthyllide)

Daze Off has officially had her first overnight guests!  These guests may have actually been sleeping in their Jeep parked next to the boat instead of inside her since a vehicle happens to offer more sleeping room than she does at the moment, but I’m still going to count it.  In fact, this may be the closest thing we’ve had to overnight guests since our trip from Muskegon to Milwaukee back in 2010.

The cool part about these semi-overnight guests is they happen to be Serendipity’s very first buddy boat!  Scott and Kim from s/v Anthyllide.  Matt and I first met Scott and Kim in Cape May, NJ after they spotted us wandering down the road in flip flops and with backpacks (an obvious sign of a cruiser), and invited us to their boat for the evening for a few glasses of wine.  They also found another couple to invite, whom turned out to be our longest lived buddy boat so far, Brian and Stephanie of s/v Rode Trip.

With our very first guests coming out to see us now that we have Daze Off in the work yard and not in storage, we cleaned up as much as one can do while as my friend Tasha puts it “Living in a work space of a boat”. From this angle she looks fairly presentable, but that’s also because you can’t see the massive zone of clutter and chaos right behind me.

Daze Off, cleaned forward salon

 As soon as Scott and Kim arrived we gave them the grand tour and talked about how all of our projects were coming along since they have an aluminum as well and we’ve been shooting Q&A emails back and forth for the past 5 months now.

As Matt and Scott dove really deep into boat talk and welding, Kim and I decided we couldn’t take the 95 degree temperatures anymore, inside of the boat and out, and went to the air conditioned kitchen to enjoy some of the Black Box wine they had brought along.  Between a bit of girl talk we caught up on how things were going along with the boat and with my wild hand gestures I managed to fling my glass of wine on the floor, shattering the glass and spilling red wine on my dress.  Time for me to be cut off.  I swear, you can’t take me anywhere.

On a short hiatus from the wine, we hopped in her Jeep where I showed her everything that Indiantown had to offer in less than five minutes, and we swung by the grocery store to grab fixing for dinner and also the Circle K because they offer the best specials on beer. $3 saved on an 18 pack?  Yup, worth the extra trip up the road.

Getting back to the air conditioned kitchen we found that Matt and Scott had also succumbed to the heat and were already on their second beers.  Now needing a cold drink myself, I popped one open as well.

Through the night there was never a shortage of things for us to talk about. Going all the way back to when we first met them and had only one open water passage under our belts, to the stories they’d told of of salvages in the Caribbean as we sat wide eyed in Annapolis.  We relived when they hopped in a rental car and came to see us in St. Augustine along with Brian and Stephanie, after we were stranded there for months after our accident.

After our old memories together it was time to catch them up on what had been going on since we’d last seen each other in the Bahamas last spring.  I do have to say that Matt and I shoved a lot of sailing and new places into that 10 month period. Then it was time for us to hear about their boat restorations and what it was like spending time in Green Cove Springs, FL.  Once again, it actually did make us feel better about our decision to rip apart a boat, and live in it, when you hear the same stories from someone else that is doing something just as crazy and stupid as you are.

I’m sure we could have stayed up until all hours of the morning talking and having fun, but a trifecta of too much heat, too much work, and one too many beers had me literally falling asleep inside the kitchen, trying to sprawl myself out as best I could in a wicker love seat with my head rested in Matt’s lap. I was the party pooper that shut the party down.

Scott & Kim

Matt & Jessica

(Above photo courtesy of s/v Anthyllide)


Luckily for us, Scott and Kim didn’t have to run off first thing in the morning and after enjoying a coffee on the marina’s patio we went out for a nice big breakfast at one of the local restaurants.  The kind where the shirts read ‘You kill it, we grill it’.  I still have no idea if they are serious or not.

Too soon though, although we did get to enjoy a nice leisurely two hour breakfast, Matt and I had to say our good byes to our friends.  We’re so happy they were able to take time out of their schedule to come see us.  A few familiar faces and some good laughs were exactly what we needed right now.  We hope it won’t be too long before we see them again. And hey, if we can find a rental house on the water with a dock large enough for two boats, maybe we’ll end up doing all of our boat projects side by side!  Share a house and share a dock. I think I may have to go check some real estate listings.

Scott & Matt

Kim & Jessica

Jessica & Matt on Daze Off

(Above photos courtesy of s/v Anthyllide)



boat graveyard of Indiantown

Storms Rolling Through the Boat Graveyard

Tuesday August 4, 2015

boat graveyard of Indiantown

There’s nothing I like more than sitting back and watching a thunderstorm come in.  The sky growing black, clouds that appear like they’ll swallow you whole, and best of all, the bright bursts of lightning zigzagging though the sky. This seems the complete opposite of what someone living on a boat should enjoy, and although I prefer storms not to come anywhere near me while on passage, I do still love watching them roll in even while we’re at anchor.

Being on land right now does happen to give me the added bonus of not having to worry about strong winds or dragging anchor, although anyone will tell you to stay indoors while there is lightning abound, especially if you live on a metal boat that is not grounded at the moment.  But I can’t help myself.  There’s just something about storms and dark skies that I crave and become as giddy as a child once they arrive.

When our afternoon thunderstorm came rolling through just on time today (always between 2 and 3 o’clock), I decided to grab my camera before the rains came pounding down and take a walk through the storage yard here.  Sometimes also known as The Boat Graveyard.  And once in awhile, Where Boats Come to Die.  Kind of like Daze Off when we found her.  During peak storage season there actually are a lot of good cruising boats sardined in there with the others, but when we first arrived the storage area had been turned into the valley of the discarded and unwanted.  The kids that didn’t get picked for dodge ball and were left to sit on the sidelines.

Singling out these boats with the stormy background gave them an extra sense of eerie abandonment.  Thoughts of pirates and stormy seas and all the childhood stories we used to get lost in.  One could sit back at stare at them for hours making up stories of it’s sordid past.

And then just like that you’re on to it’s shiny neighbor. A boat with a loving home and family that will be back to it shortly.  One that is always in included in all of the games and sometimes picked first.

Somehow we have, or are trying to, manage to get ourselves from the first to the latter.  Looking at our boat in the work area you’d think it still belonged in the graveyard.  If I were to walk by it unknowingly I’d say the same thing myself.  We’ll see what we can make of her though.  Sometimes it’s fun to bring the dead back to life.

thunderstorms in boat workyard

storms over boat work yard

thunderstorms in boat yard

boat graveyard

boat graveyard of Indiantown

boat graveyard of Indiantown

storms over boat graveyard

storm clouds over boats

storm clouds over Daze Off

torn apart galley

Mission Demolition – Galley

Saturday August 1, 2015

Matt ripping apart galley

Today we ripped apart the entire galley.  Which must mean that we’re close to beginning work on it, and that makes me very excited.  After having ‘planned’ for the v-berth and salon area only to take 4-5 weeks to complete, and here we are moving on to week 8, I need to see a noticeable sign that we actually are moving in the right direction.

The only issue I had with this is we’d just gone through the boat to make it presentable to guests since our welder will be starting any time now, and this means that all the pots and pans and tupperware containers that had been sitting all willy nilly throughout the pilot house were actually placed in cupboards and out of the way.  Don’t ask me why this took so long, I think I had issue with putting things away into these filthy spaces until I realized that we won’t be using any of them for quite some time anyway.  So my mixing bowls might get some dirt and grime on them.  That’s ok, it’s not like I’ll be pulling them out tomorrow to make a culinary delight!  Which means I had to once more find a place to put all of these things and they eventually ended up in the storage area in the pilot house that runs under the cockpit.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Once everything in the galley had been cleared out though it was time for demolition.  Not quite as fun as easy as the forward salon though since this area was a little more complex.  In fact, instead of handing me a screwdriver and letting me loose on taking things apart like had happened before, I was set to stand back and watch Matt as he began taking a crowbar to the cabinets and shelves, ripping them out with abandon.  Since none of these items of wood are going to be reused for templates, furring strips, or anything else we can think of, there was no reason to keep them all in once piece.  As soon as a piece was torn out it was handed to me where I then placed it in the cockpit for later disposal.

This first part went fairly quickly and easily although I was soon called into action to help with the removal of the fridge.  Once the counter top was pried off we still needed to get this chunk of metal out from the multiple layers of foam in which it was encased. The outermost layer was only sheet insulation, and with a few good stabs from a chisel was pretty easy to get out.  The real trouble came when we needed to remove all the sprayed in foam that was sitting between the back of the fridge and the hull.  Hardened over many years, this stuff did not want to come out.

Each taking a side, we attacked it with whatever tools we had at our disposal. Chisels, pry bars, and even a bread knife.  Which surprisingly did the best job of all. Slowly we made progress as the extra foam fell away and we were doing well until it came time to find the wires for the fridge hidden in the bottom layers of the foam.  After a long game of hide and seek between the foam and the Dremmel we did finally locate them and found out they had melted themselves into the material since they were not in any kind of casing.  Of course they had.  Why should we begin expecting now that there was once one good spot of wiring on this boat?

The good news is A.) We’ll be replacing it all anyway, and B.) after this point the rest of the galley became extremely easy to remove again.  Working aft we took out the rest of the cabinets, the kitchen counter, and even the sink.  Everything was dumped in the cockpit until we could decide if there actually was anything we’d like to spare.  The sink?  Possibly.  Cabinet doors? We’ll take off and save the hinges.  The rest though could be trash.

A trash I was hoping to get rid of the next day since it was now raining, but someone felt it prudent to get out of the cockpit right away. So through a light stream of water we pieced out the items in the cockpit and tossed everything to become trash over the side of the boat and onto the ground. When everything was sorted it was tempting just to run back inside and leave the mess for later, but I figured that I was wet already so why not bring everything to the dumpster at the other end of the yard?

Back inside and toweled off we went through the work of cleaning up the remnants of our mess.  Garbage cans full of foam pieces and lots of vacuuming of the floor and the areas underneath where the frame of the boat collected bits of our destruction.  Soon enough the area was spic and span, or as much as it’s going to be at this point, and we were staring at the blank canvas of what our new galley will be.  I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of hard work and a total pain in the butt to build, but we’re both extremely excited for this next step in boat building.

Matt ripping apart galley

Matt ripping apart galley

ripping apart fridge

taking out fridge in galley

ripping apart galley

torn apart galley

torn apart galley

galley ripped out


epoxy coating boards

Random Happenings in the Boat Yard

Monday July 27, 2015

George looking for food

Sometimes, a lot of the time now actually, I’m finding that we’re so all over the place with our boat work and every day life that it’s hard to keep track of it all.  Lots of things that don’t warrant a blog post of their own, ether because the event itself is too small to worth noting, or even because there’s a lack of good photos.

Take for example our last night with our Young Bloods group.  The six of us, including Mark and Hanna of s/v Cara, and Meike and Sebastian of s/v Meise, had a great night out at JR’s Saloon as a final farewell before Mark and Hanna left to go West and Meike and Sebastian left to go East.  But I only had 2 photos of our night out. 2!!  Hardly worth encompassing a post on, even though we all did have a really good time.

Looking through some of my photos as I’ve been prepping other blog posts I found a few other cases of the same thing.  I don’t want to leave them out necessarily, but I can feature a whole post on them either.  So instead I’ll give you a quick rundown of the random things that have been happening here over the past few weeks.

  • I’ve been spending a lot of my time doing epoxy coatings.

Glamorous right?  Not exactly, but a necessary evil. We want to be so absolutely sure that no wood on our boat rots that we’re taking every precaution to keep it from happening.  Since condensation is most likely to form against the inside of our metal hull, anything we put up that is near this metal needs a water blocking epoxy coat.  The furring strips that attach to the aluminum frames running horizontally though the boat and every piece of wood that gets attached to these furring strips.

So every piece of Eurolite that is being turned into ceiling, or overhead, or floor, gets a coat of epoxy to it’s back side.  The fronts will be coated with primer and paint (except the floor).  I’m still debating on if I like doing only 2-3 pieces at a time to quickly get the job done and over with, or if I like them to pile up after a few days of measuring and cutting, then spending a good half day out in the blazing sun but without worries of having to do it again for another week.  One great part about finishing each time though means we get to install them and there is visual proof that we are making progress on this boat!

epoxy coating boards

epoxy coated boards

  • The people that previously wired this boat are idiots.

No, I’m serious.  It’s a wonder no one has died on here yet from electrocution or the boat hasn’t gone up in flames.  We found some of their stupidity when we first arrived to Indiantown while looking into compartments in the pilot house and found out that some of the wiring was done with an orange extension cord. That was pretty bad, only it doesn’t end there. When we were ripping out the overhead in the forward salon we noticed that they used an extension cord for their wiring in the mast as well.  WTF? So now, because of whomever these idiots were and thought they could take such a stupid shortcut on wiring, we’re going to have to drop the mast so we can fix it.  Another unexpected chunk of change out of our pockets.  Yippee!!

bad mast wiring

bad mast wiring

  • We made some new friends!

Unfortunately this is not a case of someone new at the marina to hang out with on a near daily basis, but we were contacted by the super fun Bo and Allison of Sailing B+A because they were shortly in town. Another young couple just like us, but these two are not just only new cruisers but newlyweds as well!  Having just tied the knot in May, they left Orange Beach Alabama just a few days after the wedding and have recently pulled into Stuart to keep their boat in a slip for hurricane season.  Realizing they were a mere 20 minute drive away from us they shot over an email to see if we’d be up for a dinner out sometime.  Of course we would!

Wanting to give Bo and Allison the full taste of what Indiantown has to offer, we suggested we meet up at JR’s Saloon for Taco Tuesday.  Along with us for the fun was our mutual friend Ellen (online to them, and in person to us). It’s too bad that we were only able to meet up for a few hours because these two are a hoot and the five of us could have stayed and closed the place down.  The good news is they’ll be back in Stuart in a few months, between odd jobs to keep the kitty full during hurricane season, and we’ve already made plans to meet up as soon as their back in town.  In fact, us girls aren’t even going to wait that long.  As soon as Allison is able to make it back to South Florida we’re going to have a girl’s night on her boat in Stuart full of wine drinking, talk about hair and make-up, and possibly a chance for me to wear my crazy print leggings without getting an eye roll from Matt.

(Again, I only took two photos while we were out.  What is wrong with me?)

Matt and Bo

Sailing B+A & MJ Sailing


Matt installing v-berth foam

A Comfortable Place to Sleep

Saturday July 25, 2015

Matt installing v-berth foam

Today is a day I have been waiting for a very very long time.  It is our first day off from boat work in I don’t even know how long.  Since our Today Show filming, which I think was now three weeks ago.  And that wasn’t even really time off!

The reason we finally have the day off today, and maybe why it’s taken us three weeks to earn one, is because we have now put the foam mattress in the v-berth.  This probably doesn’t make sense to you on why it warrants a day off, but about two weeks ago when I thought we were 3-5 days from this happening I told Matt “We should take our next day off once we view mattresses and have one installed

01.  Spend the day lying in a bed from TV Bed Store and watching movies”.  He agreed.

One of the things I forgot about with Matt is how literal and stubborn he can be sometimes.  The date of putting the foam mattress in kept getting pushed further and further back because we’ve also been working at re-bedding a hatch frame with the timber bed base in the v-berth which can be quite messy at times and we wanted to wait until it was 100% finished before we placed our cushion below.  Since we know it won’t be easy to move the mattress around the boat once we have it in we didn’t want to deal with the fuss of even trying. (And if you’re waiting for a post on the re-bedding hatch, you’ll be waiting a looong time. Some of my friends suggested to get an adjustable bed at Sleep Essentials, which will reduce the task of moving the bed time and again. We didn’t document the first one since it was more of a trial.  We’ll show you how it goes on the 2nd or 3rd one once we have it down.)

So there we were with a hatch frame that needed a ridiculous amount of sanding and priming and painting and could not go in for about two weeks later than we originally expected.  You’d think that we’d still allow ourselves a day off in the mean time, but my stubborn husband kept reminding me that ‘No no no, we said we wouldn’t take a day off until the foam went in’.  I should have known better than to make deals like this with him.  To be fair though, we have been busting our butts and getting a ton of work done lately with the remaining Eurolite pieces for the ceiling and overhead to the v-berth and forward salon.

But today, after staring at the two cardboard boxes of foam we’ve been hiding in storage for nearly two weeks now, we were able to bring them back to the boat to make a comfortable sleeping spot for ourselves.  In total, we have three different pieces of foam which together add up to a thickness of 6″.  Two inches of a firm foam on the bottom, three inches of a medium foam in the center, and one inch of a soft pillow topper to rest on top. To elevate the quality of sleep, products like a mattress pad warmer might do so much wonders.

Each of these sheets of foam is 80″x60″, so in order for them to be shipped to us in a somewhat tiny package they were vacuum sealed to suck out as much air as possible. The real fun part was watching them expand as the tightly wound pieces of plastic containing them were cut free.  In mere seconds these tight packages blew up to their full size and we went through the process of trying to neatly layer them on top of each other.  Not without a few swan dives into our new cushy bed first of course, just to test it out.

Since we were trying to get a section of material that was 60″ wide into a space that eventually runs down to 36″, we knew it would not be a smart move to try and perfectly line the foam pieces up and glue them together while parts up them were running up the wall in v-berth.  Spraying together the half of the foam that was able to stick out onto the flat board of the murphy bed, we attached the three pieces together using a spray adhesive from 3M specifically to include foam.  Waiting 5-10 minutes to fully let it dry we rotated the foam 180 degrees to line up and glue the other side.

The only thing left to do now was to cut them into place.  We couldn’t leave it as one big piece overall since when we go to flip up the murphy bed, the piece that sits on the ‘wall’ would not fold well into the area since the foam is so thick. Measuring from the tip of the v-berth up to the hinge where the wall folds up and down, we made one cut horizontally to give us the two pieces.  Since the wall of the murphy bed is so wide now, that piece was all set.  Using a sharpie to mark the angle of the v-berth, Matt then used the hacksaw to shave off the edges of the second piece and get it to fit snug into the v-berth.

For the time being the cushions will be left uncovered with fabric as we didn’t like what we had originally ordered online for them.  A clearance gray/silver fabric we thought was Brisa, but turned out to be some kind of off brand pleather that does not look very breathable and we think will get way too hot in the heat of the tropics.  So they’ll just get covered with our bed sheets for now and hope they stick together until we can encase them in a fabric we actually like.  I have to admit, I don’t mind putting off my sewing projects just a little bit longer.

Tonight I am looking forward to the best night of sleep I’ll have had in about a month and a half, now having six inches of pure heaven underneath me.  No more stiff as a board sport-a-seats or cockpit cushions so thin you can feel the plywood underneath us.  All we need now is a finished galley (and possibly lights) and I think we can live comfortably on this boat.

opening foam from package

opening foam cushions

foam cushions expanding

resting on new foam

half of v-berth cushion installed