Dragging Anchor

Stern Tie

I was sitting on my girlfriends couch in Friday Harbor. I had just put in the first load of laundry. I was enjoying a cup of fresh brewed coffee and her high speed internet. I’d only been away from Solace for about twenty minutes and was just getting comfortable when my phone beeped with a voice mail. It was odd, I thought, that the phone hadn’t rang. I picked it up and as the message began to play, I froze in horror… “Hi, my name…

Broad Reach

Broad Reach

While anchored at Cortez and getting my internet fix, I started working on the fuel tank. I only managed to siphon out a couple gallons before it ran dry, which led me to think the problem was an almost empty tank. All the varnish coming through must have been floating at the top and it all came through as the tank emptied. Hopefully, I thought, the problem is now fixed and a full tank will be the final nail in the coffin. However, it only…

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

adventure-ducky-sunset

As I write this, I am leaving the US and crossing the Canadian border for the second time in a month. My first attempt wasn’t a false start. I spent two weeks circumnavigating Vancouver Island’s Saanich Inlet. A very populated place, akin to Seattle. The early spring weather was stormy and made a good shake-down cruise. I got to cross Butchart Gardens off my bucket list. While the trip showed me that I was ready to cruise north, it also showed me that a few…

Upgrades

Ice Box Separator

Boat work is moving at warp speed. On the one hand, I have a short list of low-priority projects that I thought I had two months to complete and now need to be done as soon as possible. On the other hand I’m doing a weeks worth of projects every two days, now that I can devote myself to them full time. Icebox I spent a good deal of time this winter pondering the problem of refrigeration on board the boat. I’m not opposed to…

How To Fiberglass a Mounting Block

Fiberglass Repair

This is an excerpt of a rough draft of a book I’m thinking about writing this summer. I hope this simple and useful guide inspires you to dip your toe into the wonderful waters of fiberglass work. As you restore and modify a boat, you’ll eventually need a mounting block. This may be a support for a shelf or something to screw into in order to hang something. You should never screw through the hull of your boat, even if you’re sure the fiberglass is…

Homemade Non-Skid Paint

Repairing Cockpit Sole

Reviewing Non-Skid Paint Several years ago I needed to repaint the top-coat on my 40 foot houseboat. It was some serious square footage and I hated the idea of paying full price for the marine grade paint at West Marine. Like a ninja I snuck into the store and peaked at the ingredient list on their top-coat paints. I noticed that the majority of paints were a polyurethane blend. I then went to Home Depot and started looking for cheaper polyurethane paints. This eventually led…

Fiberglass Over Teak – Part Deux

Fog Horn, Depth Finder, and Compass

I tried an experiment with fiberglassing over the aged teak hand rails on Solace. I talked to several old salts that were doubtful fiberglass would adhere well to teak. I also found very little information online about fiberglassing over teak. What little information I did find was conflicting. I decided to go ahead with glassing over the hand rails, but would refrain from gelcoating it so that I could monitor over the course of a year the epoxy fiberglass I painted over the teak. In…

Downsizing

Storage Unit

It’s generally accepted that a boat is a never ending project with a never ending to-do list. That’s why I was surprised to realize that my to-do list only has about a dozen projects left! I suppose that is one of the benefits of setting a date to cut the dock lines. At some point, ready or not, the to-do list has to end. With four and a half months left, I decided it was time to get serious about my storage unit. After the…

Waiting for Spring…

Waiting… waiting… waiting… Five months to go. I’ve decided to move my departure date to the beginning of May, as opposed to the beginning of June. That will give me time to make any last minute modifications to the boat before taking off. It’s also much easier to get excited about five months instead of six. At this point, in the depth of winter and discontent, I need all the psychological tricks I can pull. The cold weather and early darkness is slowing progress to…

Fixing a Cracked Tiller

Tiller Repair

A log bobbed along the surface of the water, dead ahead. I quickly unhooked the auto-pilot, grabbed the tiller and yanked it up to comfortable steering level. *crack* I looked down to see a small gap between the laminates near the base, where it connects to the rudder. We limped home and I was extra gentle with the tiller, lest it break off and leave us stranded without any ability to steer the boat. Luckily is was a calm day. I replaced the tiller earlier…

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