drill

Installing the Furring Strips

Wednesday July 1, 2015

drill

This post is going to be short and sweet, because even though it’s been about a week since we’ve done the spray foam, not much has happened on the boat.  Not much of a noticeable difference anyway.  Some of it has to do with weather because even though I had epoxied about six boards to use as furring strips that was nowhere near enough, and these daily rain showers keep throwing a wrench in the work.  It seems like we have to call off work every day around 2:00 lately when the storms come rolling in.

We did eventually get them installed to the forward salon and v-berth though, and these are the steps we took.  After the boards were expoxied on both sides and then given a second coat just to make sure no water gets in and causes them to rot, we brought them in the boat and cut them down to size to run vertical against the horizontal aluminum frame. Taking just a regular drill bit we’d go through the wood to make a hole and just put a dent in the frame.  Then switching drills, we’d use a drill and tap bit on the aluminum frame to dig the hole all the way through and prepare it for the thread of the screws.

Coating the stainless steel 10/24 1″ machine screws in Tef-Gel to prevent corrosion, each board then gets screwed in.  I would say this was an easy step that we only had to repeat about 25 times, but that pesky foam would sometimes get in the way of the boards and we’d have to take out the Dremmel once more to hack away at corners.  Don’t worry, we wore safety goggles for this.  After two days of work we had finally finished and now have an area that looks like a bird’s nest!

On the days we couldn’t work on the furring strips, Matt decided to start taking apart the seats for the forward settee.  We figured that tracing the existing boards on to new plywood would be a heck of a lot easier than trying to get the angles for a new one just right.  Using a marine grade 3/4″ plywood we’ve now cut new tops for the settees and one of the projects in the next few weeks will be making the face for them out of cherry.

Georgie has been taking all this work around her pretty well and either spends her afternoons lounging on the floor of the pilot house or hunkered down in the quarter berth between all our crap. At least she still gets her morning walks up to the patio while we have our breakfast.

Things are starting to move along and I think in the next few weeks, everything is going to look quite different around here!

first furring strip installed

cutting foam with Dremmel

removing settee

Georgie in mess

debris of forward salon

furring strips

spray foam insulation to v-berth

Spray Foam Insulation – V-berth & Forward Salon

Wednesday June 24, 2015

spray foam insulation kit

Over the weekend we were able to knock out the project of insulating the v-berth and the forward salon on Daze Off (you can read The Top 8 Ultimate Benefits Of Spray Foam Insulation, which is what we’d preferred).  When we bought the boat this is a project we were not expecting to do, but as anyone knows, plans to rebuild anything is always full of surprises.

We thought the boat was fully insulated and found out that wasn’t true when we began to rip out the ceiling in the forward salon.  All of the insulation there had been removed for what we’re assuming was a place for previous owners to hide drugs.  I guess that’s just one of the things you have to deal with when you buy an ex drug running boat.  The v-berth did have insulation…but it was only sheet insulation which we don’t quite trust because we wanted to prevent condensation from forming behind the foam and causing eventual corrosion. The overhead has spray foam insulation and we’d like to continue that throughout the boat. To find a good salon that suits your personal style and caters to your needs, one can view more here.

Serendipity didn’t have insulation, but after a quick look at this site we wanted to make sure this new boat does.  Not only will it help keep us cool in the Caribbean while we have a blazing sun beating down on the shiny metal surface that is our boat, but once we get to the high latitudes we’ll need it to keep all heat possible inside the boat.  Even when we were traveling down the ICW on Serendipity, the ambient air and water temperatures would sometime bring the inside temperatures into the low 50’s overnight.  Getting ourselves into ice fields?  I don’t even want to think about what it would be like inside the boat without insulation. (Although we will have a heater to keep us warm as well) When it comes to insulation you can contact for crawl space encapsulation here.

Having had a little experience with doing spray foam insulation ourselves from adding a little extra thickness to the existing insulation of Serendipity’s fridge (which you can read about here), Matt felt confident that he could cover the easily accessible areas of Daze Off himself.

Getting down to the primed aluminum hull, all Matt had to do was keep the nozzle 6 inches away from the surface he was covering and squeeze the trigger.  We had purchased a two part kit that had everything else ready to go for us.  The hoses were already attached to the canisters which means all you have to do is point and shoot.

He made sure to go slowly and also went lightly the first time because we didn’t know how much it would expand. We made the mistake with the fridge on Serendipity of spraying too much at first and it expanded so far that we were left with days of chiseling extra out.  This foam kit dries in one minute so it was easy to tell right away how much he needed to spray in one area.

v-berth with sheet insulation
primer on the aluminum hull
spray foam insulation to forward salon
spray foam in forward salon

When the salon was finished and we liked the results we removed the sheet insulation from the v-berth to be able to cover that area as well.  Covering the ceiling first we saved the overhead for last and ended up running out of foam.  Everything was covered but it wasn’t as thick on the overhead as the other areas.  It didn’t quite come out as far as the frames hung down.  Even though we’d bought enough foam to cover 200 board feet we ran just short.  Since we know we’ll eventually have to purchase another kit to cover the head, galley, and probably pilot house, we’ll come back and touch up the overhead of the v-berth.

Once the foam had fully dried we had to go back and uncover the frames so we’d still have a place to attach the furring strips to.  At first we were dreading the part since we remembered how miserable it was to chip out the extra foam on Serendipity, and then Matt had an idea.  Grabbing his Dremmel out he put on a long blade and ran it along the frame.  It worked perfectly!  With barely any work we were able to cut the foam off cleanly down to the aluminum frame.

Switching out this project back and forth since it can get a little tiring on the arms after awhile, we were able to do all the frames in just over an hour.  Now we are all set to start putting up furring strips and then the new ceiling!  She’s going to look so different with walls in again, I can’t wait to see the progress!

*You can spare us the lectures on how Matt wasn’t wearing a mask in this process.  We already had a stern talking to after posting a few photos on Facebook.  I will say that the kit we ordered is non-toxic and we also had all hatches open and a fan blowing.  It didn’t smell the best, but I don’t think we took any years off our lives.

tearing out sheet insulation
spray foam insulation to v-berth
cutting insulation from frame

The 22nd was Matt’s 33rd birthday, and even though he does not like to celebrate them we kind of forced a small party on him anyway.  Mark and Hanna had just gotten back from visiting family and when they found out it was his birthday they said we should all gather at the patio that night for a few drinks.  Not that hard since we’re there every night anyway for our dinner.  Hanna promised us a new mango drink she’d just invented made using fresh mangoes and an energy drink, and Mark said he’d have all the ingredients handy to make a few mojitos as well.  Having a plan of making a big pot of white chicken chili anyway, I invited them to eat with us too.

Since Matt still made us put in a full work day, we got down to the patio to shower just after 6 and just in time to watch a very large yacht pulling in the marina. It turns out it was a sunset cruise boat on it’s way down from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast and was pulling in for a spot to stay on their transit.  When they found out it was Matt’s birthday they invited him on board to snap a few photos behind the bar so we could pretend we had rented it out for his special night, but apparently that didn’t sound as fun to him as it did to me.  Finishing up the chili instead we gathered on the patio for dinner and drinks.

It was a fun and relaxing evening and I think Matt did get to enjoy some birthday antics when one of the yard guys, Alex, came and kidnapped him and Mark for a few hours where they went to a friends house and enjoyed some Coronas and billiards.  Hanna and I stayed back and mixed a few more mango/vodka/Monster drinks and enjoyed some girl time.

Our friends at the marina, Ellen and Scott, had also didn’t know about Matt’s birthday until the day of, so the next afternoon when we came down to the kitchen for lunch we found a bottle of Coca-Cola with a note that said ‘On your birthday you deserve to enjoy the real thing’.  A joke since we only buy the cheap $0.84 store brand soda at Walmart.  How sweet of them.  And funny.  I think overall it was a good birthday for Matt, considering we’re in a boat yard.  But when my birthday comes…I am getting out.

Princess of Naples
Matt, Hanna & Mark
Mango/Monster drink

Daze Off name on stern

Hello, My Name is Daze Off, and I Have a Drug Problem

Friday June 19, 2015

Daze Off name on stern

Or maybe I should say an ex-drug problem.  We hope she doesn’t have it anymore.

But yes, once upon a time our dear little girl was a drug running boat in the Caribbean Sea.  Maybe her current name of Daze Off makes much more sense now that you know her youth was spent in a drug induced haze, and just one more reason why we need to change it with the help of Legacy Healing Center.  No need for some angry or jilted Colombians to come after us for our boat’s bad history.

We knew a little bit (and still don’t know much, really) about her past career when we bought her, but are not the first owners since she’s seen the light and changed her ways.  Or more accurately, was seized by the white sands iop  and provided with a space with people who are trying to get rid of drugs and alcohol addiction at . She has since then had two previous owners. As far as coming across any left behind drugs or money, or god forsake, a body, there hasn’t been any sign of those in the past 20 years since she’s left it all behind.  But then again, no one has taken the time to fully rip her apart like we are, so hey!, maybe there’s still an opportunity to uncover some unmarked bills.

If you suddenly see us galavanting around like we’ve won the lottery, it’s totally not because we’ve found a couple hundred thousand dollars hidden in the keel.

As we get further into repairs though, there have been obvious signs to Daze Off’s history.  Remember the perfectly drilled hole in the keel I mentioned in the last post?  Most likely the DEA searching that area for drugs. (See, I told you we wouldn’t find any there.)

Disassembling the forward settee area today was just another reminder. As far as we knew when we bought this boat and also through the removal of a few random panels since we’ve been on her, there is insulation throughout.  Very important to us since we’ll be taking her up to the Baltics and need to retain all the heat we can. Taking out all of the cabinets, we also went to remove the strips of wood behind them that acted as the ceiling, only to find out the insulation in those areas had been removed.  To hide drugs.

Not only had the insulation been removed to make for some hidden compartments, but the ceiling (or walls to most of us that don’t know boat talk, so confusing) was pushed out an extra 4 inches or so from the frame.  In a way this has been good and bad for us.  Good that we’ve now gained an extra half foot of width in our sitting area, but bad because we now have to replace the foam that we thought was supposed to be there.  And trust me, it ain’t cheap.  We’re going with a spray insulation foam which costs about $1 per board foot to cover.

Until that new foam comes in we’ve been keeping ourselves busy by stripping Daze Off down to her bare bones in the forward settee and v-berth.  One of our projects before we can put a new ceiling (wall) in is to epoxy coat furring strips so the new marine plywood won’t be screwed in directly to the aluminum but will attach to the wooden strips instead.  The furring strips will connect to the aluminum frame with stainless steel machine screws coated in a specific gel to combat corrosion.  Since metal on metal tends to = not good.

Instead of buying new marine plywood specifically for the task of becoming furring strips we realized that the old overhead boards will work perfectly for the job.  A little saved money in our pocket and some pieces of Daze Off that do get to stay on the boat.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.  Isn’t that what most cruisers are all about anyway?

For a look at Daze Off when we first saw her, check out this post.

old forward settee - Daze Off

removing ceiling on Daze Off

stripped forward settee - Daze Off

old v-berth - Daze Off

expoxied furring strips

survey on Daze Off

Survey Says…..

Saturday June 13, 2015

survey on Daze Off

Survey says this boat is going to need a lot of work.  But we already knew that.  And you probably did too.

No, all joking aside, we did not get a full survey done on the boat since everything besides the hull is going to be replaced….but that one area we still wanted to have looked at.  I probably mentioned in one of the first posts when we bought the boat that there were two known holes in the hull under the waterline and since we’ve been to see her in person we’ve found countless more.  Or at least more than we’d like to have.  And enough to have had us worried that the welding repairs on Daze Off might completely wreck our budget.  The going rate seems to be about $85/hr for a decent welder, plus materials, but we weren’t sure how many days or weeks it might take to fix this bad boy up.

Which is why we called on our good friend Dylan Bailey of DB Yacht Surveying.  Not only is Dylan a master at metal boats, his father building them for years and owning one himself, but he was also who took care of us in St. Augustine when we had our accident on the ‘Dip.  So we already knew we were in good hands with him.  Being one of the first people we got in contact with after purchasing this new boat, we knew that we’d want him to take a look at it no matter what.

Even though he’s based in St. Augustine he’ll sometimes make work related trips down to the Stuart area and we’ve made sure to catch him now a couple of times.  Once was when Daze Off was still in the storage yard and we were indecisive on if we wanted to keep her due to all the possible repairs necessary to the hull. He said she looked like a good and sturdy built boat, but would like to do an ultrasound of her at some point to fully assess the holes and overall thickness of the hull in different spots to see areas of possible corrosion.

Now that Daze Off is in the work yard and he was nearby, we called on Dylan once more to fully inspect the hull and keel, talk over the issues with the welder, and give us a good idea of what will need to be done to get her floating again.  Before we were able to show him the hulls that we knew about upon purchase, but this time we were able to show him the new ones we’d found including a perfectly round drilled hole that I’ll go on about more in another post.  Now though, it was nice to have him tell us about the areas we couldn’t see with our plain eyes.

We knew that the keel cavity encountered some damage during a hurricane. Salt water entered the cavity, and along with the lead ballast, created a battery which did lead to a bit of corrosion.  Talking to Dylan we found that areas that had lost less than 20% of their thickness should be ok, between 20-25% is cause for concern, and anything over 25% should be filled or replaced.

Moving his ultrasound all over our keel we taped out the areas that had too much loss and will need to be replaced by the welder. At the moment the keel looks a bit like a jigsaw puzzle with random bits of tape running all over it, sometimes stretching out lines to connect because in the end a bigger section might be easier to replace than a few smaller ones.

All in all we had just over 1,000 points checked with the ultrasound, so at least we are very sound that we know what kind of condition the hull and keel are in.

At the end of the survey the overall verdict is she actually is in better shape than we had originally hoped.  The sections to be replaced should be easy and not too time consuming which will be great on our wallet.  A few replaced panels, a few areas of pitting filled, and this boat can float again.  In the meantime while all the welding gets worked out though, time to get down and dirty inside.

survey of Daze Off

Survey of Daze Off

survey of Daze Off

Daze Off

This is So Far From Glamping

Wednesday June 10, 2015

Daze Off

Glamping: Shorthand for glamorous camping; luxury camping.  This is not what we are doing.  Serendipity may have been considering glamping to some as it was a step up from camping, but we have fallen so far from there.  So very far in fact that I might have to say that we’re a level below camping.  This folks, is because we have just moved onto Daze Off.

Yes, you’ve read that correctly.  We will be living on the boat that we are remodeling.  While we are remodeling it.

‘So you’ve decided not to rip the whole thing apart, but instead just fix little bits here and there?’

Nope, we’re still ripping the whole thing apart while we are living on it.

The original plan had been to live on Serendipity while we were doing this remodel, comfortably floating in a slip at the same marina where we’d have air conditioning running down through a window vent and a comfortable place to kick up our heels at the end of the work day.  Assuming she would takes months and months to sell, as most boats do, we thought that we’d at least have all the major areas finished before there would be any thought of moving on to Daze Off.  The v-berth, forward settee, galley, and hopefully the head.  Basically as minimal as you can get to comfortably live.

But because the ‘Dip sold so darn quick, which in a way we are very thankful for because at least we won’t be paying $1,100 to the marina each month, we are now left homeless.  House-less is fine by us as we’ve been that way for nearly three years now, but at this point we don’t even really have a home.  We have a hunk of metal that’s in pretty bad shape, and that’s before we even begin tearing apart what’s there.

To make the situation somewhat bearable we’ve decided to break the remodel into sections so at least the entire boat won’t be in shambles at one time.  The most important thing for us is to have a comfortable place to sleep so the v-berth is going to be project #1.  We’ll probably couple it with the forward settee as our v-berth is really just a murphy bed that folds down into that area anyway.  When those are complete we’ll move on to the galley since cooking on the boat will be our next concern after sleeping.  From there we’ll move on to the head and then finish out with the pilot house and quarter berth.

We’ll get by, I’m sure, but I also know these next few months are going to be a bit hard until we’re past at least the first two stages.  Even though we’re working on the v-berth we’ll be sleeping in it every night, cleaning up what we’ve worked on during the day.  It hasn’t been terrible so far although it does kind of suck that the boat was left with no cushions in there.  At the moment we’re sleeping on a combination of cockpit cushions and sport-a-seats.  My back is not loving it.

Then there’s the eating arrangements at the moment.  We have no working fridge or chill box on Daze Off and the propane is not hooked up to the stove or oven.  Luckily the marina has a grill on it’s patio area down by the slips and so we’ve been wandering over there every night to fix ourselves dinner.  With only a grill and microwave at our disposal though, meals are going to have to be well thought out.  At least the slow season has come upon the marina and we’ve managed to commander a drawer in the fridge as well as one of the cabinets in the kitchen.

Oh yes, and let’s not forget one of the other fine things that puts us right down there with camping.  We have no electricity at the moment.  What we do have an extension cord that we’ve fed through a hatch to power our air conditioner and a few tools or electronics but we don’t have wiring for lights and that is unfortunately months down the road. When the sun goes down we rely on our Ryobi rechargable flashlight to get us through the night.  I have to say, it actually does a surprisingly good job.

So that’s where we are at the moment.  Living in the stone age and planning what we want to do next.  Our surveyor is coming out in the next few days to do an ultrasound of the boat and hopefully we’ll be able to get the welding started right after and have the keel fixed and all those pesky holes filled. While we’re having that done Matt and I will attack the v-berth and maybe a few leaky hatches. With any luck we’ll have her livable within a few months, but until then, please pray for us.  And maybe send some beer.

Daze Off in travel lift

Daze Off moving to work yard

Daze Off moving to work yard

Daze Off in work yard

 

 

Jessica, Ben & Hannes on Marianne

Everything is Changing

Tuesday June 2, 2015

The Sailing Conductors & Jessica

That seems to be my motto lately.  Serendipity is sold.  Big change.  We have at least moved her to a slip after sitting on the hard for the past 7 weeks.  Change.  Our boat yard buddies the Sailing Conductors are leaving us to begin their sail back to Germany and there’s a good chance we’ll never see them again.  Big change (for me….I love those guys!).  Our other friends Hanna and Mark will be out of here soon enough as well to begin their lives as cruisers and spend the season in Guatemala.  A change that I can thankfully at least put off for a few weeks.

And while all our friend’s lives are changing for the better and I am so happy for them, I have to look at our upcoming future, and honestly it makes me a little melancholy.  And a bit apprehensive.  Trust me, I am all for the renovation of Daze Off, I’m the one that pushed for it more when Matt was unsure.  I know it will be a great boat for us once it’s finished and we’re traveling again.  The only problem is, that is a long time from now and we have a very hard road ahead of us.

I want the new (to us) boat that we know every nut, bolt, and screw; and have also tailored it to exactly our taste, the only problem is I don’t want it 6-12 months from now….I want it tomorrow.  But as Scarlet O’Hare would say ‘I can’t think about that right now.  If I do, I’ll go crazy.  I’ll think about that tomorrow’..  Right now we do still have our good friends with us and I’d like to enjoy every moment of it possible.

Sunday we brought our whole group together at the marina for one more German night.  Now that we have one more addition from that country (Hanna), and we had been enforcing so many American things on them (with the exception of the cheap Costa Rican beer we’ve all been turned on to, thanks to Mark) I wanted to sample another treat from Deutschland.  The Königsberger Klopse Hannes made before was so good that I couldn’t wait for another delicious sample of something I had never tried before.

Gathering for the night and being told to bring nothing other than ourselves, I found out the meal of the night was to be stuffed peppers.  Something I never knew had German origins, but apparently they do.  (Or maybe Hungarian.  Close enough.)  Unlike last time, we had two new sets of hands which meant all I had to do was sit back and enjoy a few cold Becks.  Just after the sun had gone down, I think we tend to get distracted when all of us are together and meals take 2 hours to cook, we pushed two tables together and chowed down on appetizing German (Hungarian) stuffed peppers.

When the plates were cleaned away we brought out the wine and guitars.  Since Hannes now had 2 with him after having his grandfather’s refurbished in Nashville, one was handed over to me and I lamely tried to strum along even though I’ve now had almost three months to practice yet can not play the A chord Ben tried to teach me the first night we all hung out.  Eventually my duties turned into ‘flashlight holder’ and I sat perched at the end of my seat, making sure to illuminate the pages of whatever tune the guys were playing.

Mark, Hanna, & Ben

dinners on the patio

Matt & Jessica - MJ Sailing

stuffed pepper dinner

Captain Ben Bart

Jessica, Ben & Hannes

Tonight we said our final farewells to Ben & Hannes, which was incredibly hard to do.

This morning they left Indiantown bright and early with a newly decorated Marianne (thanks to Jack), with plans of anchoring in Stuart for the night before pushing on toward Fort Pierce where they’d do last minute provisions and wait for a weather window to head out into the Atlantic.  Plans were for Matt and I to head out and treat them to a nice dinner, a thank you for letting us take their place as sailing instructors to the Bahamas back in April when the original request had been for them.

Imagine my surprise when I received an email from Ben that afternoon that they were making it all the way out to Fort Pierce in one day and would in fit in our schedule to have dinner that night instead?  Well…we’re in the middle of packing up Serendipity to get everything that isn’t being sold with her onto Daze Off, which is still in storage at the moment.  Not to mention that I still wanted to turn this into a Fancy night out since I’d been promised one by Matt ever since we reached American soil again in March and so far had not happened.

A change in plans meant rushing a few more loads of goods to Daze Off as well as jumping into the shower and furiously towel drying my hair in time to still straighten it before we hopped in the van to head to Fort Pierce.  But….there was no way we could turn these guys down.  They’ve done so much for us in all our time together (and have given me so many free beers) that it was time for when they said “jump”, we said “how high?”.  Getting my hair and make-up done and throwing on a new dress, I was able to get in the Kia with just enough time to meet them at 7.

Getting lost in the vast rows of slips at the city’s marina, we eventually found the brightly painted Marianne and the guys.  True to his word, Hannes even wore his ‘sailor’s outfit’ for our last good-bye, something I’ve been asking him to put on ever since we were first placed next to each other in the work yard and I had been internet stalking them based on their website printed on the hull of their boat.

Walking up the short distance to Cobb’s Landing, a nice little restaurant on the waterfront, we sat down in time to hear not only live music coming from inside, but also that we came on a particular beer special night where all beers start at $0.50 at 7:00 and go up $0.50 on the half hour until they are full price.  With a huge selection in front of us we all ordered something different and followed it by a taste test where we’d pass our glasses around the table so we’d each get a sample of something new.

The food was heavenly and even though I had originally been weary of my choice of lobster & shrimp macaroni and cheese, it is now something I would drive all the way back up here just to enjoy. The four of us continued to sit outside and enjoy the music and cheap premium beer until the sun was going down and it was time for us to get on the road.  Luckily we didn’t have to say a teary goodbye at the restaurant since we were bringing the guys back to Indiantown with us so they could retrieve the magic bus. Of course the whole ride back was filled with jokes that Matt and I would chuck any plans of fixing up Daze Off and instead fly to the Netherlands where of course Matt has already found another ‘perfect boat’.  Placing us right next to Germany there’s no way we couldn’t be sailing buddies again in the future.

Dropping the guys off in front of the magic bus we gave them the biggest of hugs and wished them well on the rest of their journey as well as any future ventures.  I know we’ll still keep in close touch, but with them headed back to a land based life it’s much harder to say ‘Maybe we’ll bump into each other again on the water someday’.  Something I’ve been able to do with so many of my new friends and that I am so grateful for.  But in this case I don’t see it happening and that is incredibly saddening.  As I’ve told myself earlier.  “I can’t think about that right now. I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

Ben & Matt

Jessica, Ben & Hannes on Marianne

Ben, Hannes & Matt at Cobbs Landing

Cobb's Landing

Sailing Conductors & MJ Sailing

Serendipity Sold

Serendipity is Sold!

Friday May 29, 2015

Serendipity Sold

Wow, that has to be one of the shortest boat sales in history.  But Serendipity is now sold!  Six days from the time we first put her on the market to when we accepted an offer.  Ten days until payment was made and papers have been signed.

The amount of interest we’ve had on her ever since we listed her (even a little bit before, really) has been nothing short of baffling. When we published the post on the blog that she was now available and also linked to it on Facebook, emails with inquiries began flooding through our mailbox within hours and even the following day there were a few people that had started booking plane tickets down to Florida to come see her in person.

Much of Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent solely on our computers, responding to to the many request for information, answering detailed questions about the boat, and snapping a few more photos of specific areas in question (i.e. thing that may have to be replaced in the next few years).  I have to admit, not only was it such a sense of accomplishment that we finally had Serendipity listed and it therefore meant that we had finished all our projects on her, but being given access to sit on my computer all day in our air conditioned boat (did I mention we broke down and bought a window A/C unit?) was soooo nice after this last push of work.  It’s funny though how we always want what we can’t have.  Two solid days in front of my computer and I was begging for boat work again.

It did take a few days to get things rolling on showing the boat in person, but this week was supposed to be full of visitors to take a gander at the ‘Dip to see if they wanted to take her off our hands.  We did have a few cases of ‘I’ll be out to look at her tomorrow’ followed by a message at 10 pm of ‘Ooops, I’m going to have to reschedule’, which means we’d spend a good part of the afternoon getting her in ‘show shape’ only to have nothing come of it.  Which was ok, I guess, since it meant less spot cleaning the next day as long as we could the areas mostly polished.

On Memorial Day we did two back to back showings. As usual the morning was a bit crazy with the both of us running around as if we were presenting our boat to the queen, and taking away any unsightly reminders that this boat was lived in and sometimes we could not find the picture perfect place for everything.

“What do I do with the bread? Normally we keep it out on the shelf next to the microwave, but we can’t show the boat with our bread sitting out!!”

“Throw it in the van!”

“What about Mazzii?  Do you think it will put anyone off that we keep the cremated remains of our dog in the vanity?”

“Throw it in the van!”

And so it went for a solid three hours.  The showings were great though, both parties looked to be interested and asked a lot of questions.  The first person we knew was looking at multiple boats in the area and that Serendipity would probably be at the top of their price range if they were seriously interested.  The second person however lived just on the other side of Florida near Fort Meyers, and at the moment we were the only boat on his list.  He came, he looked, we chatted about everything under the sun, and he told us he would be putting down an offer, which we requested be in writing.

Well the next day we did get an offer, along with the request that we deliver the boat to Charlotte Harbor (a free delivery being one of the bargaining chips we were using to try and sell her quickly), and after a few emails back and forth we accepted.  The money was wired today and now Serendipity is sold.

I still can’t believe how quickly it has all gone by. One minute we were getting ready to sell her, with doubts in our mind if it was the right thing to do, and the next minute she’s already on her way out.  I guess the fates have decided, and it’s that they want us to move onto a new boat.  We’re very excited for our new adventure but at the same time we’ll be incredibly sad to see Serendipity go.  For the last three years now she has been our home, our crusader, and our one sense of stability no matter where we go.

But, what’s done is done.  On to bigger and better things.  Not that we won’t always have the fondest place for the ‘Dip in our hearts.  We’ll always have the memories of her, and even though there were times we’d curse her and threaten to burn her down, that was just our adjusting to an unfamiliar life.  She really is the best boat anyone could ever ask for and I know her new owner will love her just as much as we do.

 

(* I dedicate this post to Ric, whom I know is so very excited to read that we have sold Serendipity)

thunderstorms over the boat yard

Letting the Fates Decide (& Other Stuff)

Wednesday May 20, 2015

storms over Indiantown

The last I left you with our boat situation, we were trying to decide if we should keep Serendipity or if we should sell her and spend the next however long and who knows how much fixing up the quite beaten up Daze Off.  As far as weighing the pros and cons of each, things haven’t changed much.  We haven’t made a final decision on it all.

And that my friends, is why I’m letting the fates decide.  The big thing for us if we keep Serendipity is that we need to find a safe spot for hurricane season and get ourselves there in a reasonable time, meaning we’d want to leave Florida by early to mid-June.  There are some last minute things that would need to be taken care of here, but we think they could be done within a few weeks.

There would be no rushing down thousands of miles to Grenada, or even to Guatemala which we would LOVE to visit again, but more likely end up in the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico, where with a decent weather window we could make in a week or just over. Having to then rid ourselves of Daze Off, well, there is a story behind that, but it shouldn’t bee too difficult or time consuming.  There would be selling our new vehicle, getting some other paperwork squared away, but really nothing that would be keeping us here.

How might I be letting the fates decide our lives you might ask?  It’s actually quite simple.  We’re going to put Serendipity up for sale, by owner, for two weeks and see how she does on the market.  If there’s not so much as a nibble we’ll splash her and go.  If there’s a few interested parties we’ll re-evaluate.  And if there’s an offer…chances are we’ll take it as long as it hits a certain figure and then dive into work on Daze Off.  I figure this is the best way since it’s a decision neither of us can seem to make for ourselves and because we are actually so indecisive about the whole thing, I think we’ll be satisfied with whatever the universe throws at us. Problem solved.

What’s the other stuff?  I never really did get a chance to talk much about that new vehicle of ours.  She’s a beauty.  A 2004 Kia Sedona, without air conditioning and about three door handles missing.  We knew when we bought something we wanted it to be a minivan so we could pull out all the seats and fit 4×8 pieces of plywood in it, because heaven knows we’ll be buying plenty of those. Did I mention that every scrap of wood in Daze Off is going to be replaced if we keep her?

Truth be told we would have loved to purchase a Toyota Sienna but it was a bit out of the price range we wanted to pay.  We only needed something that will last us our six to nine months here without completely falling apart on us.  If we can eventually sell it again and get any kind of money back, that’s just a bonus.  We started with a budget of $2,000, and searching all over Fort Lauderdale and Miami we’d found a couple that looked as if they may be contenders.  The photos looked nice, mileage was low enough, and all the listings always said ‘great condition’.  Until we saw them in person or took them for a test drive.  I don’t know if any of them even would have got us back to Indiantown.

Then we came across our current one in Port St. Lucie.  Advertised for $1,500, she had 142,000 miles and the photos showed her in decent condition.  There was a bit of sun damage on the hood and it was no longer shiny, but that wouldn’t be a deal breaker for us. Going to see her in person we found out she drove well, but the check engine light was on and the owner couldn’t remember what was causing that.  “Nothing big”, he told us, “Whatever it is, it’s an easy fix, I remember that”.  Telling him we had to think about it we went back to Indiantown having our rental for another day and another van to look at in the morning.

Getting back to the ‘Dip that evening we received several text messages from the owner, stating that he would bring the price down to $1,100 and throw in a brand new compressor to fix the A/C.  We still didn’t know.  The next morning we got another text.  ‘$1,000 with compressor’.  Well you can’t turn down a deal like that. So running back out with our rental car we purchased her and then registered her to the state of Florida.  Which did require Matt to get a new drivers license here.  Hehe.  I love the Mackinac Bridge running over mine and I’ll be keeping my Michigan one as long as possible.

So there you have it.  A new vehicle, purchase and registered for pretty much what we earned on our sailing instructor gig.  Not a bad little arrangement.

That’s all for me today.  I’m about to get back outside and watch this incredible thunderstorm come in over the storage yard.  If I can handle all the mosquitoes that is.  They are out in such force right now that I have on long pants, socks, a long sleeve shirt, and a scarf covering my neck and entire face except for my eyes.  Sitting on the deck while enjoying a glass of wine along with the storm may be completely out of the question, but I still have a chance of capturing that perfect shot with my camera!

2004 Kia Sedona

putting plates on our new vehicle

our beat up Kia

thunderstorms over Florida

thunderstorms over the boat yard

contemplations in the boat yard

Contemplations

Tuesday May 5, 2015

contemplations in the boat yard

We’re back on Serendipity now after a fantastic week with my parents, but once again we’re being smacked in the face with reality.  No, not necessarily because we’re faced with boat work, this is no ‘woe is me for having to put forth efforts of labor’ so don’t cry for us just yet.  The reality we’re now faced with is we have a huge decision to make and we can’t run from it any longer.

The big question we’re now asking ourselves, and one we have to answer soon, is ‘Do we sell Serendipity? Or do we keep her?’.

And what you might be asking yourself now is..’Where is this coming from?  Hasn’t this been what they’ve been spending the past two months working toward?’.  Well….yes and no.

The more and more we get Serendipity ready to sell the more we’re questioning why we’re getting rid of her.  And the more and more we look at all the work that is going to have to go into Daze Off, we’re questioning if it’s the right decision to rebuild.  Let me go into each one in a little more detail.

 

First: Serendipity.  Let’s look at our past three years cruising on her.  She has taken us so many places and covered so many miles with us safely in tow.  About 15,000 nautical miles to be exact.  She’s weathered countless storms and always comes out the other side, none the worse for wear. She’s light, fast, incredibly easy for the two of us to handle, and has been a pleasure to sail.  We’ve had very few problems on her and if anything does arise it’s always a quick and easy fix.  How many boats out there can say that?

As if it wasn’t enough just to have a great cruising boat, we love spending our time on her.  The layout is perfect with double settees for port and starboard for us to lounge on, a v-berth that is comfortable enough to sleep with (if I were to wish for things I’d go for a king bed, but we’re on a boat, so let’s be realistic), and a galley that I have finally mastered and can cook quite a good meal in if I do say so myself.  The head is plenty big enough, although showers can still be a pain sometimes as I’ve found out in my unusual life.  It’s funny how one can easily forget some of those minor irritants after two months in a marina.

I’m sidetracking myself here. The point is Serendipity is extremely comfortable for the two of us to live on and there have rarely been times we’ve found ourselves saying “If only we had a different boat for one reason or another”.  To sail another few years on her in the Caribbean would be as simple as snapping our fingers.  She’s in perfect condition, there’s no work that needs to be done, we could go now and not think twice about it.

 

Second: Daze Off.  That boat, that hunk of metal, the money pit, and so many other names we’ve been affectionately referring to her as lately. The boat that we purchased sight unseen, without a survey, and traveled back across one healthy body of water to get to.  Not only is there a lot of time and money in our future going toward this particular boat, but there are so many unknowns!

Take the hull and keel for example.  Upon purchase we knew there were two definite holes from corrosion that would need to be welded.  Ok, we can handle that.  Although now we’ve been here a few weeks and have had more chances for closer inspection, we’ve found a few more, just adding to the fun.  Now we wonder how many more corrosion issues are hiding where we can’t see them and if we’ll get smacked with a huge bill from the welder as he starts the work.  How much will just this issue cost us?  $5,000?  $10,000?  We have no idea, and to be honest it’s kind of scary to pursue any further without that knowledge.

But let’s say that part all goes swimmingly and the only thing we have to worry about is refitting a boat.  It’s still refitting a boat…inside out and top to bottom.  We arrived with the notion that this whole rebuild would only take us 6-9 months, but now we’re looking at all the work and extending that further and further out.  12 months?  Maybe 18? It’s all such foreign territory to us.

Even if the welding and the time frame didn’t deter us…there’s the cost. Don’t get me wrong, if and when we fix up this boat it’s going to be done right.  The interior will be all new and very modern looking.  White wainscoting on the walls, cherry cabinets, and maybe maple for the sole.  There will be new recessed lights, fixtures, cushions, fabric…everything.  Plus the exterior will be outfitted with all new electronics and we’ll get even further into the digital world for all of our technology.  This boat’s gonna be plush. Pimp.  Whatever you want to call it, she gonna be lookin’ hella good when she’s done.

All of this comes at a cost though and although we’ll be doing all of the work ourselves (besides the welding), plus we know how to scour the internet for days and weeks if need be for good deals, it does all add up. The real question is, how much will it be at the end?  Will we have wasted a year of our time and the rest of our cruising kitty on a boat that is indeed beautiful, but now we either can’t afford to keep her or have to limit our remaining cruising time to 6-12 months because that’s all we’ll have left in the bank account?  We don’t know.  We hope it doesn’t come down to that and we don’t *think* it will, but again, we can’t be certain of it at this moment.

 

I’ve gone as far as to post this conundrum on my personal Facebook page and ask for my friend’s advice.  9 out of 10 people told us to get the heck out of dodge with Serendipity.  “You have a perfectly good boat, why get rid of her?”  “Refitting a boat is so much harder than you ever imagine it will be.” “Get back down to the Caribbean and hang out with me instead of working on a boat in Florida.”  Ok, that last one may have been biased and based on personal friendships instead of boats, but you get the idea.  Everyone is telling us to take the perfectly good boat and run.

So what will it be?  Honestly, I am 100% confused and undecided at the moment.  I’ve begun looking at marinas in Puerto Rico and it’s outlying cities that we can quickly get ourselves down to in time for hurricane season.  Then I think to all the possibilities Daze Off has and daydream about what a cruising life on her would be like.  Shortly after, I begin reading my guide books on the Eastern Caribbean and think of all the islands we haven’t seen yet that could be checked off in the next 9 months…only to revert to how much further we could travel in Daze Off. Getting to the Baltic Sea and tying up in Copenhagen or exploring the fjords of Norway. This boat could take us anywhere!

This is a decision we really need to make soon, but both of us are so incredibly torn. What’s logical and what’s right?  Unfortunately, there are no simple answers to this question.

 

*Editors note: Since this post is being published two months after the fact….you probably already know the route we chose.

Daze Off 3

First Glances at Daze Off

Monday March 9, 2015

Daze Off 3

One of the moments we all have been waiting for….a first look in person at our new custom aluminum boat.  Daze Off.  No, that name will not be staying.

Since it has been a couple of months that I’ve written anything about her, let me do a little refresher on her basics.  Daze Off is a 37 ft custom aluminum boat with a deck house.  The make is a Trisalu and it’s a French design but was built in Quebec in 1983.  She has a 7′ draft but also a lifting centerboard so we can bring her down to 3’6″ when we need to.

The layout of the boat features the deckhouse as soon as you step in the companionway, and this area houses a nav station; a seating area with a table; a quarter berth; and a very large and deep storage locker.  Walking down a few more steps to the main salon you have the galley on the port side and a full head/shower to starboard.

Forward of these items is a settee on both port and starboard.  Not enough to lie down and comfortably sleep, but good for relaxing  and putting your legs up. Then there’s the v-berth, only this one has a twist.  It’s a pull down murphy style bed.  So when we’re ready to sleep we unhinge the ‘wall’ and bring that area down to rest on the settee cushions and it forms the top 1/3rd or so of your bed.  Kind of an interesting feature and we’ll see how much we like it since that is where we plan to sleep.  Although we do plan to convert the deckhouse into our main sitting area, so we don’t think it will be an issue if one person wants to go go bed before the other.

To see an old listing for her (in French) click here.  If not, here’s a few photos of her from the listing…from when she was still cruising back more than 10 years ago.

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Notice how I said ‘when she was cruising more than 10 years ago’.  She has been sitting on the hard here in Indiantown ever since 2006, and has fallen into a bit of disrepair.  We knew when we bought her that she was going to be a complete fixer-upper and most likely a gut and rebuild, basically using the hull as an empty shell to begin from scratch.  A hull which incidentally, has holes in it.  Yup, first order of business on this new adventure is going to be to get some welding done on the bottom so at least she won’t sink when put in water.

But the first first order of business once we arrived at the marina was to go take a look at her.  We contacted the broker via email and since he knew that we should be arriving that day and he’d left the boat unlocked so we could get in and poke around her.  Getting directions from the marina office on what area she was sitting in inside the storage yard we took off, nervous, eager, and excited to finally lay our eyes on her in person.  So as soon as we walked up to her there was the initial thrill of finally seeing her face to face, followed by a slight wah wahhhh.  She is indeed a fixer-upper.

I think it was just the initial shock of seeing in person how dirty she is, but it shouldn’t matter because as we said we’re going to pull out and replace everything anyway.  The rust stained paint job on the hull shouldn’t be an issue either since we’d like to go back to a raw aluminum finish.  All the components we needed were there though at that’s all that mattered.

Oh wait…it didn’t have all the components.  It was very apparent and clear once we stepped foot on her that some very important items were missing.  Ones that we had full intentions of keeping.  Things such as the solenoid for the windlass; the regulator for the alternator; a very nice self tailing winch; all the blocks; and the plans for the boat which we had seen in photos when the boat was listed.  But the kicker, at least for me….the boat did not have a wheel.  It was just gone.  Removed.  No longer there.  We’re planning to switch to a tiller anyway, but seriously?  How does that not come with the boat upon purchase?!

In all honestly we can partially blame ourselves for this as we never asked for a list of items included when we purchased the boat.  So none of those things were promised to us…you just think they’d still be there.  Who’s going to have any use for them and why take them?  Oh well.  My rant for today.  They seem to be happening a bit more now, so I hope this returning to Florida to outfit a boat wasn’t a mistake.

She does have great potential though, that part is for sure.  We are still very much looking forward to not only designing a layout that fits our needs perfectly, but everything will be new.  Plus it will all be installed by us so we’ll know the complete history of this boat along with every single inch of her.  That part excites Matt the most but I do happen to get more excited about cosmetic type repairs…wood materials, fabric colors, a sleek and modern design.  What can I say..I’ll never be as into boats as most cruisers are.  I’m here for the lifestyle, not necessarily the sport or functionality.  Although I have grown to love, and always will, the option to travel with my home.

So now we have a real feel of what we’ve gotten ourselves into and the kind of work we have ahead of us.  A lot, in case you were wondering.  Like, a crap ton.  But we think it will be worth it.  As soon as I stepped below deck I could automatically envision myself sitting in the Caribbean on her a year from now as the sun shines through the hatches to her bright and open interior.  Spending evenings in the deckhouse watching the happenings of what’s going on around us and then cooking a meal in my newly renovated galley which will hopefully offer me a little extra counter space and keep me from using the steps to store items as I empty out the chill box.

In the meantime we have to get Serendipity cleaned up and ready to sell since we will not be having two boats in the work yard at the same time for $600/boat/month.  Hopefully after 2-4 weeks of that though we’ll have Serendipity in a slip and ready to sell, and begin tearing apart the new boat and start putting her back together.  Let the new adventure begin!

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