There are always projects

Replacing hatches
Originally uploaded by behang

We purchased this boat with the idea that it was already in solid shape, and definitely not a “project boat.” All you boatowners out there now shaking your heads at us know… EVERY boat is a “project boat.” It’s just a matter of scale and how much you want to submit.

There weren’t any structural problems: although 25 years old, it was well made and appeared to be well maintained through a series of owners. The signs of age we’d seen on other Stevens 47s- such as crazing in the deck gelcoat- were minimal. The biggest areas for improvement we saw, at the outset, were primarily cosmetic: a desire (if not need) to reconfigure the main salon settee, so it would comfortably fit all five of us. The old vinyl headliner, which was servicable but yellowed with age and, well, vinyl. And update and expansion of the sails, since the inventory is small has many miles…that won’t do for the ex-sailmaker. The formica-clad galley: adequate, but aged.

Oh, the blush of new boat ownership! We saw these as our biggest future projects. It’s kind of funny, in hindsight. Kind of.

What happened instead? Total rewiring. Complete replumbing. New throughulls. Rebuilding much of the main salon and all of the forward bunk cabin. The biggest outlays were for a complete re-rig, including new chainplates and all the standing rigging except the mast itself. And this my friends…this is just the beginning!

Cruising friends told us a long time ago that their lifestyle was really just “routine maintenance in exotic locations.” We have a new appreciation for what I now recognize as a boaters adage: it truly is like having a hole in the water into which you through bills.

Meanwhile, I am grateful to be married to an incredibly capable, do-it-yerselfer who is steeped in the marine world. Why order new chainplates, when you can relearn CAD, find the steel fabricator and polishers, and have them yourself (and exactly as desired) for half the price? As I type, he is tuckus up in the bilge, troubleshooting a pump for the graywater tank. I’m looking forward to learning all these systems and tools, truly, but thank goodness it’s not necessary now.

Now about that marine diesel engine maintenance class down at the local community college…

2 Responses

  1. Behan-this is where we are now and it’s so frustrating but helps to know that others have gone and are going through it too. My husband unfortunately is an ad exec still mired down at his 50 hr/wk job which makes it oh so much harder to get things done. Thanks for your commitment to blog and share your view to help the rest of us hang in there.

    1. I feel this Kristianne! It really is frustrating when the project list feels so long and there are lines pulling you in a bunch of directions… work, family, things you can’t ignore. But then: it’s also so exciting that you finally have The Boat, the tangible magic carpet! This will pass!

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