Sailboat Project ; Nothing Glamorous

There’s many ways to get started on learning how to sail and this is ours. If you hang about Sailing Clubs long enough, you will be able to find your way too. Today, we consider it Day 1 of our Sailboat Project and of how we will get to sail (hopefully) this year. Just like Mama Bear (our DIY camper van) needed a makeover, the sailboat that we will get to learn how to sail on also requires a makeover but in sailing language, a makeover is known as a refit.

What does it mean to refit a boat? According to Wikipedia : Refitting or refit of boats includes repairing, fixing, restoring, renewing, mending, and renovating an old vessel. Refitting has become one of the most important activities inside a shipyard.

Rene got started on the exterior cleaning and I went inside to start sorting through stuff.

If you think being in a camper van without air-conditioning in Malaysia is hot – wait until you get yourself into a sailboat! It was hot but as soon as I opened the hatch above the salon and also the companionway, a cool breeze was able to flow right through the boat. It’s a small boat and not that hard to cool the interior down fast. Also, whenever another boat went past ours, the waves would rock the little boat so much we thought an earth quake happened.

The electronics on this boat are not working and there is no working engine either. Our four year old Goal Zero Yeti 400 really came in handy. We were able to charge all our devices, run some fans and also the vacuum cleaner.

We have done some research about owning and maintaining a sailboat in Malaysia and boats are definitely high maintenance especially if you don’t do the work yourself. There’s a common saying that BOAT stands for Break Out Another Thousand. Spare parts and hardware supplies all have to be “Marine Grade” so it’s understandable how expensive things can get.

The size of a sailboat is measured in length and this boat is a Hunter 27, 27 feet is its length. Berthing fees in most marinas are charged per foot run of your boat. Whenever there is work to be done on the hull of a boat, a haul out is required and basically the bigger the boat, the more expensive everything becomes, from haul outs to berthing fees to maintenance.

Expenses will increase exponentially when a boat is neglected, so regular care will pay off big time. … Because sailboats are high maintenance, there are quite a few boats that have been abandoned by their owners. If you look hard enough, you’ll be able to find “project boats” however, knowledge, time and money will be required to put a project boat back in the water.

The Royal Selangor Yacht Club, Port Klang Malaysia

When we first came across those fabulous sailing channels on YouTube like Follow The Boat and Lavagabond – we were so sure that we wanted to become “liveaboards” : A Liveaboard : Someone who makes a boat, typically a small yacht in a marina, their primary residence. Powerboats and cruising sailboats are commonly used for living aboard, as well as houseboats which are designed primarily as a residence. A boat designed for people to live aboard it.

But as we delved deeper into our search for the right sailboat – we had to ask ourselves if we intended to cross oceans one day. Of course we would love to be able to do that but right now – what we want is just to learn to sail.

Sailboats that cross oceans are heavier and we’ve been told by many sailors that Malaysian waters have low to zero wind. Heavy sailboats would need stronger wind to move it along and we would end up motoring most of the way if we cruised Malaysian waters.

With all that in mind, after adding up the numbers and not really knowing what sailboat suits us the best – we decided not to be overambitious about buying a boat to live on without prior sailing experience. We will take things slow and focus on this sailboat refit and then learn to sail it around Malaysia.

We’ve heard of many who sold their home, bought a sailboat and with no prior sailing experience, started sailing. We’re not that crazy just yet but will probably get there if we love living on the ocean. Let’s see. 🙂

Thank you to the collaborator involved in guiding us towards our first sailing experience.

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