Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness

Boat Repairs, Part 2: At the Boatyard (Sept – Nov 2016)


I started writing this post after we launched (12/5/2016) but didn’t get around to finishing it until now – sorry! So with that in mind, here goes:

celeste-in-snow Celeste is back in the water! Yes, it’s cold and snowy (update 2017: it’s still cold and snowy!), but it’s wonderful to have her floating and feeling like a real boat again!

We stepped our mast and got the rigging all put in place on Friday 12/2/2016 and launched on Monday 12/5/16. It was so exciting to be back in the marina and nearly finished with our major repairs!

Of course, repairs and maintenance are a never-ending fact of life aboard a boat, especially an older one that you sail hard. So this post won’t be the last of the Boat Repair posts, but we do hope that it will be the last of the Major Project ones for a while. As many of you know, we’ve tackled a whole bunch of big projects this fall, both expected and unexpected ones.

A recap of what we’ve been up to:

On land at the boatyard:

September/October: Final repairs to the damage caused by the ex-typhoon in Dutch Harbor last winter – the mangled toerail and bent genoa track (big thank-you to Cliff and the other joiners at Platypus Marine boatyard):

Around the same time, the mechanic at the yard replaced the propeller shaft’s cutlass bearing:


New cutlass bearing (where the prop shaft exits the boat)

Once those projects were complete, Seth and I mounted a new liferaft:


Life raft and cradle mounted and through-bolted

And we replaced the three stanchion bases which had gotten bent in the Dutch Harbor storm (and which were starting to leak):


Shiny new stanchion base

This was a little more involved than it appears because the holes for the screws on the new bases didn’t match the old ones. So we had to fill the old ones with bungs and epoxy, clean and sand the area, and then drill new ones. Our next project is to replace the bent stanchions themselves and run new lifelines – the old ones are corroded and we don’t trust them to hold us if we should fall against them. (January 2017 update: New stanchions are in; lifelines are in progress.)

In October Seth and I took all the old standing rigging off the mast. Those of you who read the earlier Boat Repair post might recall that our old standing rigging had one or two cracked strands in the wire rope of the lower shrouds, which made us doubt the integrity of all of the rigging and decide to replace all the stays.


As well as the cracked strands, one of the fittings had been bent in the Dutch Harbor storm

Because we have a roller furler on the forestay for the jib, we made sure to run a trace wire through the foil in order to install the new forestay. Once the new forestay wire arrived, we welded it to the trace and ran it through the foil, cut it to the correct length, and attached it to the masthead fitting with a Sta-Lock swageless fitting. Except for one more Sta-Lock on the backstay, the riggers had done all the other swaged and swageless fittings, so the installation was quite simple.


Sta-Lock fitting on the backstay

As mentioned in our earlier post, we hauled back out of the water upon discovering that our keel bolts leaked. Celeste was consequently in the boatyard’s heated shed for over a month (end of October through 12/5/16), drying out the join between the lead shoe and the keel, in anticipation of sealing it up to prevent water getting to the bolts at all. The fiberglass and epoxy had to be ground off first and then the join opened up to let air and heat in to dry it: keel-join

The guys at the yard took moisture readings throughout the weeks and once everything was dry enough, the join was sealed with G-flex epoxy, as recommended by the Gougeon brothers who founded and run West System. It was all covered up with new fiberglass, fairing filler, barrier coat paint, and finally bottom paint:

We also took the opportunity to replace the keel bolt washers with big new backing plates – the original washers were much too small and were digging into the wood of keelson, so this was something we’ve wanted to do since we’ve owned Celeste. Again, this was a bigger repair than it would seem outwardly – in order to get at everything, we had to remove our dining table, the floorboards, some plumbing, the bilge pump, and the engine’s starting battery. But it’s wonderful to have this project finally completed! Here’s a Before-and-After picture:

While we had the table, floorboards, etc. out of the way,  we removed all the epoxy from around the keelson because it was cracked. Then we put new epoxy in, this time with some filler and a bit of GRP cloth to keep it more flexible and avoid cracking in the future.


Bilge with cracked epoxy removed and new backing plates installed

Finally, our last project was to replace our V-berth hatch. The old one had a vent that had broken and – if it had come off – could potentially leave a 3-inch hole in the middle of the hatch – very bad! So we ordered a new one from our wonderful supporters at Hamilton Marine. Its inner dimensions were a little wider than the old hatch, which meant that this project was more involved (do I sense a theme here??) than simply taking the old one off and putting a new one on.


Frame painted and routed out for new hatch (which awaits installation on the right of the photo)

Once we removed the old hatch, we scraped off all the paint and bedding compound and then took a router to the frame (the wooden one on the boat) to widen it enough for the new hatch. We filled the old screw holes with bungs and epoxy and a few uneven spots with epoxy. After sanding all that fair, we painted the frame with 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of Brightside polyurethane paint. Then we drilled the new screw holes, bedded the area with LifeCalk and installed the new hatch!


Beautiful new hatch installed and reflecting the sky!

We’ve done a bunch of work since launching as well, but that will have to wait for the next post! Right now (i.e. back in December when I first wrote this), we’re just happy to be back on board, living on our lovely little floating home, even if it does mean shoveling the decks! shoveling-decks


16 thoughts on “Boat Repairs, Part 2: At the Boatyard (Sept – Nov 2016)

  1. New to your blog…our mutual friend Jim Rard just introduced me to it. Where are you from in Maine? I was born and raised in Bangor. My wife and I have been sailing together for nearly 30 years and are getting ready to launch into full time cruising in June. We won’t be quite as adventurous as the two of you but plan to cruise east coast, Caribbean, Central America, Mexico then return home to Seattle. We’ll keep an eye on you for inspiration.

    • Hi Irv,
      Thanks for writing! I’m glad Jim sent you over to our blog and I hope you’re enjoying it!
      Seth is from Blue Hill, Maine originally, and we met in Brooklin where I was teaching sailing in the summer of 2006. Will you start your voyage in Maine? Whereabouts?
      Your cruise sounds fantastic! So many wonderful places to see along the way. Stay in touch and let us know how it goes!

  2. Lots of jobs! Looking very smart now!

  3. Holy crap that’s a lot of work, especially the keel bolts!

  4. Wow, major works and we know how a few paragraphs and pics make it sound much faster and straight forward than it really is!

  5. Wow, impressive work and looks great. Did you ever get your skis to enjoy the wonderful snow?

    • Thanks! Sadly no – we weren’t really expecting to be in the Pacific NW through the winter. It’s been frustrating seeing all this great snow and with no gear to play! Been busy with various types of work, though, so I suppose it would have been hard to find the time anyway.

  6. Wow, that’s a lot of work! We’re in the middle of similar repairs ourselves, so I empathize. So glad you are back aboard. Safe sailing and more adventures to you!

  7. Great work! Oh, and BRRRR!! 🙂