“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did.
So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbour. Catch the wind in your sails. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful sailboat that belonged to a couple who cruised the coast of Malaysia. There were many happy memories made on this sailboat. Then one day, everything changed. Life is fragile and sometimes, the unexpected happens.
This is where one sailing story ends and another one begins.
As we open the hatch to the companionway and enter the cabin of this once beautiful sailboat, we feel a gentle rocking motion. A strong smell of cockroaches and diesel hits us as we go down the companionway stairs. Everything is in disarray and we decide to start with removing all the cushions and placing them in storage at the boatyard. The cushions will eventually get dry cleaned. There are big bags of sails and shade cloth stuffed in the V-berth. Engine parts piled up in different areas of the cabin.
The sink, tap, electric/gas stove and microwave still work and will be reused. The entire galley cabinet will be replaced with a PVC material that is waterproof and lightweight (more about that later) when we come to it.
We’re not going to show you the head (toilet). Too scary to be inside there at the moment! The cabinet inside there will need replacement using a waterproof material. The Jabsco toilet will need to be serviced. Piping checked etc.
We found the existing Yanmar engine in pieces all over the place, it seemed as though someone was repairing it but then for some reason gave up. The aft cabin is where the access to the engine is and that’s a big greasy mess. That’s where most of the engine parts lay.
After about three days clearing and cleaning, this sailboat is beginning to look nice again. There is still a lot more cleaning to be done but for now it’s good. Next on the list includes an engine installation, check all standing and running rigging on deck, service / replace the Jabsco toilet, replace the cabinetry in three areas – the galley, toilet and chart table. Navigational equipment to either be serviced or replaced …. Replacing halyards, sheets and lines. Mending the main sail as well as cleaning both the foresail and mainsail. Service the winches …
CHECK OUT THE AFTER CLEANING PHOTOS BELOW SO FAR
WOW! There’s more to do up on deck. We have brought down the Bimini and removed the sunbrela marine fabric. Will need to replace that. What do you do about birds shitting on the Navigational Instruments? Anyone have any ideas? Would love to know.
What have we learned so far?
- Start small. This applies to anything you choose to do, be it Van Life or Boat Life – start small. Starting small allows you room to make mistakes. Mistakes will happen – that’s how we learn.
- Coastal cruiser vs Ocean crosser – don’t get hung up on the ocean crossing sailboat if you don’t know how to sail yet. Learn to sail on a small easy to manage boat.
- Crew for other sailboat owners. Offer yourself to those looking for crew.
- Be very careful not to buy too difficult a project boat. If you don’t know much about sailboat refits – then avoid severely damaged boats that require heavy restoration work unless you have deep pockets. (we don’t)
- Gain knowledge from others who have sailing experience first before investing in a sailboat and be sure your partner enjoys it too. Selling a sailboat is a very slow process that could take years – keeping it in a marina will cost you a lot of money.
- Sailboats are a lot of work. Be ready to do it yourself if you want to save on costs. Also remember the weather – hot or cold – you’re in it so the environment you work in could get challenging.
- You have to love it or you won’t last.
We are extremely fortunate and grateful to have guidance from our collaborator in this Sailboat Refit Project. Without him, we might make costly mistakes.
To be continued …