Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Taking the ceiling down daily

.... or so it seems. All the electrical is in the ceiling, and you must remove the panels to get to it.
As I add more and more wires to the system, I find myself with no less then 4 panels down at any one time. They are very long, and take up a ton of room on the settee. Alas, projects are going forward.
The NEMA 2000 network is coming great. I have a forward line ran for the heading compass for the autopilot, and the wind heading and speed sensor. On this drop leg I will also be able to add a depth/speed water sensor. This would give me this information at both the helm and below decks on the other devices on the Garmin NMEA 2000 network. This runs back to the second half that connects the GPS sensor, GHC wind display, autopilot control head, and the main 4212 chartplotter.

With all of these combined, wiring can get confusing. Labels are important.
When I got the boat I had not a single clue as to what went where.
Wires ran every witch way. I found out that about 10% were no longer in use, or for accessories that the yacht did not have. One was a prep for wipers, lol. I had to trace them thru the boat, then find the ends were just cut off...

Well this ends now.
Everything is getting labeled as it gets installed. not just in one place, but if the run is long, at some place in the center of the run. So both ends, and also a middle mark. The ends are labeled with where they go and what for. Or where they came from.

The one in the photo will also get a second leg for an autopilot control at the chart table, as well as a second GPS display at the table.

We also received our watermaker! Details and more posts on our facebook page

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ceiling work

   So it has been a while since I last posted here. Projects are going well. Most of the updates can be found on our facebook page, and our youtube page,

Well the ceiling of the yacht has been in poor nick since we got her. She was smoked in, the decks leaked, and it was 32 years old. Now on the second year of the restoration, we are very far into the big projects. The ceiling has been one of the longest, besides the deck.

The ceiling was so bad I avoided taking photos of it, and I was embarrassed that our new yacht had such glaring ugly marks.

It has come so far.

Two years ago today I actually had to make the choice between two boats. Man I am glad I chose the UP over the powerboat.

Some days I wish I had chose the powerboat. It would have been roomier, easier access, less draft, faster on the ICW. It would have also cost us over $5000 in fuel to bring it to Florida. The UP only cost us $500 in fuel, and our next trip I hope to use under $40 in fuel when we head back north to visit family before the big trip of "who know whats year".
The issue is our jobs are going very well, and while I am retired, I enjoy my job. If I can manage to keep it, I would like to stay a while and work before we take off. It would be nice to turn our planned 5 year trip into a 10 year trip.This could be done with 2 years of work. Decisions, decisions.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

YouTube and us

We have another video up on youtube, as we try to record our activities.
Its our dive trip, and our repairs.
Enjoy, and Subscribe!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A lot closer, 14 months to go

Sorry it has been a long while. I have been busy with a hurt back, but now I am back in gear, and getting back to repairs.

The mast was stripped and painted up to the first spreader, along with the boom.

 Steps were installed on the mast about 6' up.

Our New dinghy!!! It is a walker bay super tender, in Hapolon. 

So whats done.
The windlass is upgraded, machined, and switched. Its now a push button retrieve.
The dinghy is here, and purchased.
The boom is painted.
Deck is 90% done.
Sails repaired.

What's left to do? lol A lot.
Finish interior refit
Install additional bilge pumps
Install new batteries
Install hard top enclosure on cockpit
Change rigging bolts
Buy new anchor
Install new inverter/charger
Install new wind vane system
Install new chart plotter
Haul out and repaint
New thru hulls
Paint oil pan and add oil change pump
Finish generator installation
Finish engine refit
Install water, fuel gauge senders
Mount lower GPS
Buy new radar
Install new forestay wire
Finish aft head refit
Buy new Air Conditioner
Buy refrigerator unit, and install
Buy freezer
Finish mast painting, and step install
Hang new halyards
Install audio system.

I know The list is long, but I hope to start ticking off boxes as we go.
I hope to have at least half of those done by Christmas.
We leave April 2016*

*as long as neither of us are promoted to a job that pays $50,000 a year, then we will stay one more year.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Picking a date

Aside from many minor projects you can find on our facebook page, updated weekly,
We have been busy earning money for our trip. We have had a few bumps in the road including 1/4 of our cruising kitty going up in flames. We had our RV for sale in New York when a guy parked next to it, and went off to work. Only a few minutes later the truck caught fire. He had Geico insurance that called it an act of God. Do not buy Geico please. I filed a complaint with the state, but that could take ages.
HOWEVER. We have picked a departure date.

April, 2016.
 All we can say for sure is the first stop will be New York. After that, who knows.

The boat is getting ready, we now have our second sail in for repair, and the only major repair yet to be done is a haulout. The engine is in top form, and the generator only requires final tweaking. The rigging is really good, and only needs the thru-deck bolts replaced. The running rigging is in the process of a complete change out, and the deck is nearly finished. Most of whats left to do is pure cosmetics.

Even the stern deck is looking awesome now.
More news to come.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

DC upgrades

   We are in the process of beefing up our DC system. I am doing an entire rebuild of the system, and when we are done, we will have between 600AH and 1000AH. Union Pacific had 400AH in the original design. However the boat also has a 4D starting battery. This is overkill. I will be switching this out for a deep cycle battery in its place, giving another easy 200AH. I am debating adding two more to the lazerette.

   The alternator was rated at 50-60 amps. Ratings are a funny thing, and once the alternator warms up, it puts out even less. I have purchased a 105-110amp balmar. The biggest issue was installing this huge beast in the spot of the old tiny one.

So the bracket that came with the unit did not work. I ordered the one from balmar, that did not work either.
It was down to me and my brain to make it work.

I set off and made a cardboard template for what would work. After asking around, I found a marine welding shop, just across the river from me, so off I went, cardboard in hand.

After a week I went back, and alas, I had it in hand.
It did not fit. What a bummer.

Before I left New York I had to decide what to bring, and what to throw away. One item I did bring was a battery angle grinder. So I set off to grinding. It took me 4 batteries to get it to the point that it would fit. I must have made 10 trips in and out of the yacht to test fit it.

Installed, very cool. The old red one is to the left, still hooked to the tach.
While I was in there I had an enemy. right above the water pump is a 24 year old hose. It was old and very frail. Replacement is a bugger. Unless you take off the pump, you have to work it in, without tearing the new hose. Well it took me about 30 min, but problem solved for another 30 years. The cost of this little hose from NAPA was $14 a foot. This is the highest quality hose they had, so I went for it. 1', with some left over.

I hooked up the balmar 612 regulator. Nothing, no charging. A bit of trouble shooting told me a fuse holder was corroded. I cleaned it off, reassembled, moved the wire a bit for a good connection, and wala!
She charges.

There are still items to be done. The regulator needs mounting, the tach needs to be hooked up, we need a few new hoses, including raw water hoses from the pump to the engine. I also will install a new fuse holder, I don't need to be messing with that at sea. I will be keeping the well working alternator, in a vacuum sealed bag, in a bin. It will be an at-sea replacement, and is internally regulated, so that covers a balmar failure as well.
I also converted the cooling system to water only, for now. I will be adding some safe anti-freeze soon, once I flush the system a few more times.

Next up on the project list is cleaning the bilge again, yuck, and painting the bilge in this area. I will also be installing more bilge pumps. Right now we have a 360GPH @ 6' head pump, and a 150GPH @6 head pump forward. I will be adding a 600GPH to the engine room, a 5000GPH to the engine room, a 5000GPH to the forward bilge, and a spare 8000GPH pump, with hose, and cable, stored in its own box, for big emergencies. One year into our upgrades, I am very happy with the progress.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Our guide to boat buying

So with so many buying boats (yachts if over 33' in length) I thought I would write a guide for boat buying.
This will be a long read, and is recommended for a serious boat buyer. Points I will cover are as follows.

1. Best way to find your boat
2. A quick personal survey
3. Making an offer, and for how much

 So at this point I will assume you have chosen the type of boat. Motor boats with 2-3GPNM (Gallons of fuel per nautical mile) Trawler with 1-4NMPG (nautical mile per gallon) motor sailor with 6NMPG sailboat with 8-11NMPG.
 Your price range.
New boat 40' for $175,000+ I will not discuss new boat purchases.
Slightly used boat 40' 75,000+
boats over 10 years old 40' 25,000+

So how do you locate your boat.
My personal favorite is This is the best place to find a bargain.
Second choice is and for looking outside your area.
You can always fall back to The listings are about 2-4 times the true sale price, so offer accordingly.

The quick personal survey

The quick personal survey can be done in less then 3 hours. I will base my list on a sailboat purchase. All things equal the sailboat is the most complex.

Step one, the bilge visual inspection.

When you crack open the bilge you are opening a window to the previous owners(PO) soul.
This is where the truth is. Did the owner, or broker, tell you he loved the boat? If so you can expect to find a spotless bilge, with no water at all. Everything will be secure. All raw (sea) water fittings will have two clamps on each connection. You should see no rust of any kind on the clamps, and see fresh bilge paint. If the boat is over 10 years old the hoses should be new.
This boat will cost the most. It has been loved and cared for, with every upgrade done, most likely by a shop. If your looking for a bargain, stop now, this is not it.

The next level of care is a normal, but good owner.
All of the sea water fittings will still be double clamped. They should not show any serious rust. 
The bilge should be clean, but not spotless. Its a bilge after all. Expect failing paint if over 10 years old. This will be the type of person that will do most jobs himself. He will have common knowledge of the simple working systems of his own boat.
There are key items to separate the do-it-yourselfer from a bad owner.
The bilge should be well kept, and everything should still be secure, and proper. Finding any garden hose parts (green clamps for example) will tell you the owner was cheap, and didn't care. Finding double clamps on all the lines, fresh and salt, shows he means well, but may be slightly misinformed. If the boat is over 10 years old, expect new lines still. if over 15 expect new wiring. hoses should be flexible. Wires should move smoothly, and not be stiff. All wire junctions should be water tight.

The final level of care is no care at all, and the best bargain.
If you see single hose clamps of salt water hoses, rust, filth, leaks from anything, stiff wires, stiff hoses, old thruhulls, oil in the bilge, old bilge pumps, a high water line (evidence of flooding) then this boat may either be a bargain, or junk. Expect to do a major refit after purchase, with a cost of about $500-1000 per foot.

Step two, the engine visual inspection.

 This is the second heart of a sailing beast, and the only heart of a powerboat of any kind. If it is a power boat, expect much more. Any powerboat beyond 20 years old should not have the original engine. If it does, and you cannot repower yourself, expect to pay about $300-600 per horsepower. Starting at 40HP for $15,000 adding 300-600 for each HP over 40.
The second choice (already repowered) is the best option. Why? because they have paid the hit and will never recoup the cost paid. If the boat is less then 20 years old, then you need to start examining the heart.
Assuming the boat is more then 10 years old you should expect every hose to have been replaced.

The perfect owner.

You should expect to see all new belts and hoses. The paint on the engine will be in great shape, with almost no pealing. The exhaust riser will be newer. When you pull out any dipstick the level will be spot on. Do pull them out. Sniff them. Nothing should smell of burning, or smoke. You should not see a waterline on the engine, and there should be no leaks at all. All raw water fittings will have two clamps, and after 20 years, the alternator should be new. Shut off the thru hull. remove the heat exchanger zinc. It should be new, or almost new. IF it is gone, or nearly gone, you do not have a perfect owner. If the hoses are original, and show signs of paint on them, this is not a perfect owner. Written on each filter, oil, fuel, should be a date and hours. The fuel filter should not be more then 100 hours old. The oil filter should not be more then 100 hours old.

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The good owner.

You should still be expecting a repower if the boat is over 20 years old. Belts should be new, and not show wear. The exhaust riser will be newer then the engine if the engine is over 15 years old. Hoses should not be original. The alternator should not be more then 5-8 years old. There should be no leaks. All raw water fittings should have two clamps. The paint may be worn, and cracking, but there should be no loose paint, as this may fall into the blige and clog a pump, causing flooding. Shut off the engine raw water thru hull. Pull out the zinc on the engine heat exchanger. Note its condition. If it is completely gone, this is not a good owner. If hoses are dry rotted, belts are old, engine is leaking, this is not a good owner.

The careless owner.

This will make for a low purchase price, but it will cost you on the back end during the refit.
Expect to see single clamps on raw water hoses. Expect to see original hoses, worn belts, original alternator,
minor leaks. Pull out the dipstick on the transmission. Does it smell burnt? If yes, then it will need replacement, expect the same from the engine. When was the last oil change? Fuel filter change? Is the zinc gone? Is the oil lower then it should be? Is there water inside the oil cap? Unscrew it and look for a milky white on the inside. If this is the case, the engine is gone.

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Starting the engine.

Making sure to have the thru hulls open, turn the key to the run position. Check your voltage. With glowplugs off it should be no less then 12.6 volts if unplugged. IF the voltage is good crank the engine. It should start within 10 seconds with the throttle set to idle. If it does not start within 30, there are problems. Look first at the exhaust. It should not show any smoke. If you see a bit of smoke, it may have valve seal issues. Is it running smooth? If stumbling, missing, not running on all cylinders, it may have major fuel, or compression issues, warranting a new engine. Allow it to idle for about 3 min. Make sure the oil pressure is good. Make sure it is showing a charge. Make sure water is coming out of the exhaust. If not, shut off the engine. It has issues, and you should assume a replacement is necessary if any issues are seen. It may not need replaced, but for negotiation purposes it needs an engine. 

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The deck


Is the deck teak? Unless it is in flawless shape, expect to pay for that beauty. Replacement cost in the USA for a teak deck is $35,000+++ Teak removal is expensive, and may also cost $35,000. There are a lot of books on teak decking, I will not rehash here. Basically it should not be missing any bungs, and not be coming up anywhere. All the calking should be in perfect shape. If you do not see Bristol condition, expect leaks.

Wet deck

 This is only if you suspect a wet deck. Have you found a soft spot? Then do this check.
The deck must be dry, or expect to pay more then the boat is worth, unless you do it yourself. Remove some headliner near the outside of the coach roof. Drill a small hole, 1/4". Drill only into the core, not thru the deck. Pull out the bit and the wood should be 100% dry. If water comes out, the wood is at all damp. You have leaks, and a compromised core. Refill the hole with marine-tex making sure to work it into the void. replace the headliner, and clean up any mess you made.

Thru deck rigging

The thru deck rigging should have been replaced in the last 5 years. It should not leak. There is a ton of information on this topic online, and in print.


It is best if the electronics are recent, and from the last 5 years. The old owner has taken the hit for the purchase, and you can use them for a long time yet. Loran-C is no longer in use. If you find one, you will know the owner has not used the boat in a long time or does not care. The autopilot should be of good quality, and properly mounted, as should everything. It should be well laid out, with all wires hidden.

If the electronics are old, expect to pay 8,000-15,000 for this portion of the refit.

This is the end of the quick pre-offer inspection.
If the owner or broker does not want you to do this through of an inspection, move on. Unless your looking at a 300' superyacht, there are thousands of boats to choose from.

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How much to offer.

I do not care what the asking price is, and neither should you.
Here is a general rule of thumb.

Condition, length, age, type.

35-45', 15-20 years old, production sailboat by a good manufacture.
Perfect condition, $2,000 per foot.
Good condition, $1,500 per foot
OK condition, $1,000 per foot
Poor condition, $300-500 per foot.

35-45', 10-15 years old, production sailboat, by good manufacture.
Perfect condition, $3,000 per foot.
Good condition, $2,500 per foot
OK condition, $1,500 per foot
Poor condition, $500-800 per foot.

35-50' 15-20 year old powerboat, anything but custom
Perfect condition, $1,500 per foot.
Good condition, $1,000 per foot
OK condition, $700 per foot
Poor condition, $100-500 per foot.

35-50' 8-15 year old powerboat, anything but custom
Perfect condition, $2,000 per foot.
Good condition, $1,500 per foot
OK condition, $1,000 per foot
Poor condition, $300-500 per foot.

35-65' custom built boat, age 12-20 years
Perfect condition, $1,000 per foot.
Good condition, $800 per foot
OK condition, $600 per foot
Poor condition, $100-300 per foot.

35-65' custom built boat, age 5-12 years
Perfect condition, $1,500 per foot.
Good condition, $1,200 per foot
OK condition, $900 per foot
Poor condition, $100-300 per foot.

35-65' home built boat, age 5-18 years
Perfect condition, $1,000 per foot.
Good condition, $800 per foot
OK condition, $600 per foot
Poor condition, $100-300 per foot.

35-65' unfinished boat
$100-400 per foot. scrap value + 40%

Sailboats have the highest price point.
Starting at a seven seas boat like a tayana 37 and declining to a coastal crusier like a hunter 35.
Custom build sailboats are only worth about $1,000 per foot in good condition.

Powerboats that are semi-displacement and coastal trawlers (less then 3,000 mile range) are some of the cheapest boats out there. This is because they are lightly built, have no redundant propulsion are not very stable, and are not sea worthy.

The lowest price belongs to planning boats. These use so much fuel you should only expect to use them once a month for a short trip. A weekend of fun may end up costing you $1,000 in fuel. They are dock queens, and can be had for about $500 a foot, but carry the most ridiculous asking prices. I have seen some 32' planning powerboats for $120,000 that were 15 years old. In reality, unless a sucker is found, a boat like this may only sell for $25,000 in great condition.

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Always be polite, smile, and keep a good attitude, even when they say mean things. Remember they think their boat is worth a lot of money. Your just now breaking the news about how low boat prices are today. This is not 2006. When your talking about a powerboat, fuel is not $1.50 a gallon at the dock anymore. Its creeping up on $5 in many places in America.

Take your time. Allow your low offer to sink in, but call them back in a few weeks with the same offer. Let them know you are interested, at your price, not theirs.