Nothing looks so awkward as a fish out of water, except for maybe a sailboat. Poor Story Time is up in the boat yard right now, looking sad and forlorn. Instead of slicing through the waves with full, beautiful sails, all I see is a bulging belly teetering on a skinny keel.
However, it desperately needed to get done! Check this last post about the state of our hull. We were thrilled that Bluewater Yachts was able to accommodate Story Time before the summer sailing season really kicked off. They are sanding, epoxying, priming, and repainting as we speak. This haul out process must be completed every three to five years, and next time we would like to do the bottom work ourselves. But right now, with two small children and Conor still working a full-time job (plus his Marine Corps reserves!), it just isn’t possible. Instead, we hired the professionals and braced ourselves for the bill…
And our quote came back at HALF what we expected to owe! We are still awaiting the final cost, but it looks like she will cost us around $4,000. TOTALLY WORTH IT.
Now to divert from boring boat maintenance posts, I have an exciting update about our friends on SV Minoh. After finally completing their bottom redo, Zach and Corri set sail south to Florida! They had a bumpy upwind sail with huge swells and too many pop-up thunderstorms to count. Through it all, they rocked their first solo offshore sail and made it safely to their destination. I am just so proud of them I could burst.
Corri said it best once they recovered from the trip and were all smiles again—“There’s gotta be a drug in the ocean air that causes amnesia and makes you forget just how stressful it can be out there…” As I remember our trip up to Virginia, I can definitely agree! We have to be a little bit crazy to keep doing this. Keep up with them on Instagram @microretirement.
Dun dun. Dun dun. Dun dun dun dun dun dun! AHHHHHHH!
We found out Story Time’s hull is in need of SERIOUS work. Below is the video that made me want to cry.
How on earth did this happen? We pride ourselves of taking excellent care of our boat, and this, quite frankly, is embarrassing.
To start with, our old diver at Gottschalk marina was not upfront with us about the state of our hull for the past few years. He also used the wrong tools for cleaning, leaving huge scratches in our paint and letting black algae grow. We had no idea we were down to bare on some parts of our keel, and it is beyond frustrating that we were not told this until we found a new diver at Bay Point marina to give us the scoop (and the video). A huge thank-you to Jason at Deep Blue Marine Solutions for the diagnostic.
Some of the responsibility is on us, of course. We should have had Story Time hauled out last summer at the 3-year mark, but the pandemic and baby on the way complicated things.
After a good, long panic about it, we have already found a boatyard to take her out at in June to get some work done. Hauling out is even more of a pain when you live aboard, because now not only are we on the hook for our Bay Point slip, but also the yard slip AND somewhere else to stay for the yet-to-be-determined duration of the rehab work. Fingers crossed it will only take a few weeks, but we might be in it for the long haul (out).
We feel the true meaning of the word ‘boat’ as we aim to put the entirety of our tax return toward Story Time’s pre-season maintenance. This past week, the bimini and dodger got some TLC from Little Bay Canvas. They replaced a few pieces of cracked Eisenglass, tightened seams, and fixed hardware (Cost: $650). Then, West Marine had a 30% off dock lines sale, so OF COURSE we had to get in on that as well. Some of our dock lines came with our boat when we bought it, so we were past due to replace them all (Cost: $415).
Next items on our list:
New seals on hatch windows
Possibly haul out+antifouling on hull
Troubleshoot chart plotter
Patch the dinghy
Clean anchor chain
Service AC unit
Change oil/fuel filter
Power wash deck
Replace fresh water pump
Clean cockpit lockers (yuck)
Some of this is yearly maintenance, some of it should be done every 3 to 5 years. This will be our 4th summer on the boat, so we have to start thinking about the long-term chores that we’ve been avoiding up until now (thanks, babies!)
What’s really killing me is having to spend so much time doing all this when we haven’t left the dock in four months. Expenses don’t feel quite as painful when we can get out and actually enjoy the boat for its intended purpose, but the weather has been absolute crazypants this winter/spring. This week alone it went from 82 degrees and 30mph wind to 45 degrees within 12 hours.
It can’t be anchor outs and sundowners all the time, I guess. Hopefully, we will toast to getting this massive list completed before the sailing season really kicks off. To inspire us to get our butts in gear, we have been watching SV Delos from the beginning on YouTube. I’d seen their videos here and there over the years, but never consecutively. They are basically the OG cruising vloggers and have been going strong for over a decade. With our own cruising dreams within grasp now that Conor is no longer active duty military, I’m starting to get a little giddy. After all, who can put a price on dreams?
Sometimes I feel like a bloodhound on Story Time. I’m actually more useful than Scout! For whatever reason, anytime there is a problem on the boat, I usually smell it first. Conor lives in fear of when I catch a scent, because inevitably, it leads to more boat problems for him to fix.
I saved our butts twice when our AC electrical box overheated. In October, the central air was running, and it suddenly smelled like bacon. I called Conor at work and made him come home. At first it seemed like an overreaction, but it was discovered that one of the wires had started to melt and it was a fire risk. The second time it happened (in January), the fuse holder overheated at 3am. My brain screamed at me that something wasn’t right, and I woke up from a dead sleep to that same scent. For anyone freaking out right now, we now have a new Mermaid Air AC electrical box. Even the manufactures couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it—it was just some freak thing! It had been working fine for 2 years before and suddenly decided to crap out. Very scary!
In other instances:
Conor cooking on the stove. Me: “Babe, the propane is low.” Him: “Did you check it today?” Me: “No, I just smell the difference.” Lo and behold, time to change the tank.
Opening the fridge. “Oh shit. R must have kicked the switch panel during his diaper change.” Yep. Thankfully, it was off less than 2 hours and we didn’t lose the groceries.
Watching TV. “Bilge pump isn’t working.” I guessed it. The automatic float switch stopped working (suuuuuper old) and needed a replacement. I scrubbed the bilge after Conor wired in a new one.
And everyone’s favorite: “Holding tank is getting full.” “I don’t smell anything!” “We have three more flushes. Trust me.”
To sum up: boats are quirky and have unique smells. If you are tuned into them, it can warn you of minor problems before they become MAJOR problems. I’ve lived in fear of COVID for obvious reasons, but what really petrifies me is the possibility of losing my sense of smell! I never realized how much I’ve relied on it to sense the inner workings of the boat until there was a chance I could lose it. Counting down the days until I can get the vaccine.