Pop Quiz

How do we know summer is in full swing? Is it because:

A) We try to BBQ every meal

B) We are sweaty all the time

C) Boat work the whole weekend

D) My feet look like this:

feet

E) All the above.

If you answered ‘All the above’, you are correct! Hot days, humid nights, and incredible tan lines. You should see Conor’s redneck tank top tan. We have been hard at work doing annual maintenance as well as getting another step closer to cruising!

The work these past few weeks started out with an incentive to get our Coast Guard safety certification. This is a sticker that goes on our boat that shows we have already met with an agent and they have pre-examined our boat for things like fire extinguishers, battery covers, pollution stickers, etc. This is so if we get boarded by the Coast Guard later on, they just have to examine our paperwork real quick and we can be on our way! Also, we might be able to get a discount on our insurance if we have the certification.

Sounds like a great plan, right? We were mostly good to go, except for the battery covers. This led to, “Well, if we are going to replace the batteries soon anyway, why would we get covers for the old ones?” So what did we decide to do? Get new batteries instead 😊

With three trips to West Marine in less than a week, we got rid of our old flooded batteries and installed fancy AGM batteries! And when I say, “we installed”, I mean Conor did the heavy lifting and I sat up on the stairs and held the flashlight.

battery1
Actually, I did scrub the corrosion off the old cables with baking soda and water!
battery2
Guess how much these cost? $350 a pop. Boats ain’t cheap!

This undertaking has been on our to-do list for quite some time but became especially urgent after our Memorial Day anchor out and our discovery of how quickly our old batteries drained. Conor spent a few days reading up on electrical systems and how to avoid shocking himself before getting it all up and running. I’m so proud of how much he has learned!

battery3
Can’t do boat work without this bible

One piece at a time, and soon we will be experts on every boat system. I’m happy we have had the opportunity to go slow and tackle repairs as they come up instead of doing it all at once. In just the two years we’ve owned the boat, our major replacements include upgrading the toilet, replacing the A.C. unit, installing cabin fans, customizing our hatch doors, and now installing new batteries.

And if you’re wondering, we passed our inspection with flying colors! Time to relax with a beer this weekend. Hope you all had a safe and happy Fourth!

safetycheck

 

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Christmas Gift for the Boat

We decided to give the boat a little Christmas gift–new companionway doors!

The teak boards we had were never ideal. They were heavy, awkward, and cumbersome to move. Usually we just left them in place and stepped up and over them when we had to get in and out of the boat. Scout probably hated them the most, and lifting her over them was uncomfortable for everyone. The boards also let in a fair amount of draft on windy days, and the outside panels were pretty weathered from rain and sun. They were the only amount of teak we had on the outside of the boat, and to be honest, it looked kinda funny. Here they are:

teak

Indulging ourselves, we ordered custom fit fiberglass doors from Zarcor Solutions. Conor sent in the measurements a few weeks ago, and then they made the doors exactly how we wanted! You can specialize with privacy inserts, screens, security bars, etc. The doors were super easy to install and only took about an hour. We were also VERY happy with their customer service (calling with manufacturing and shipping updates) and how communicative Zarcor was with any questions we had. Here’s Conor doing the installation yesterday and what the companionway looks like now:

doorinstall

 

zarcordoor

Such a small change will make such a difference in our day-to-day living, especially hauling laundry and groceries up and down. I just have to push open the doors instead of stacking three heavy wood pieces safely out of the way. Merry Christmas to us!

Love,

Taylor and Conor

À La Commode!

Our boat was nearly perfect when we bought it. Minus a few changes here and there (like the lifeline nets), we really didn’t have much to do to customize it for our needs. Except for one thing: the toilet.

A good old-fashioned ‘cruising toilet’ occupied our only head. That meant a manual pump and a smell that, no matter how hard we tried, permeated the bathroom. The previous owners had installed a freshwater spray nozzle that they used to fill the bowl instead of intaking river water when they flushed, but for a variety of reasons it was creating a vacuum and causing backflow issues.

So glamorous, I know.

While that system may have worked for them as primarily weekend sailors, it did not suit our needs as full-time liveaboards. Flushing with saltwater (like a real cruiser) might have worked, but the Neuse River water is pretty gross (hence the smell). Because we will be sticking with river and coastal sailing for a while as long as Conor is stationed here, we decided it was worth it to upgrade.

Here it is:

toilet
The little black button on the side is the electric flush

This electric toilet is a closed system, which means it draws fresh water from one of our 3 holding tanks. Plus, it flushes with the push of a button! We had it professionally installed, and though it was expensive, I don’t have to worry about a plumbing malfunction flooding our boat (gag!).

Never in my life did I think I would be so excited about a toilet, much less write an entire blog post about one. But this little beauty is going to make a world of difference with our day-to-day comfort living aboard. Yes, we might have some regrets down the line when we go long-term cruising, because it uses precious fresh water and electricity. However, we do have a watermaker, solar panels, and a wind generator for a reason!

For now, a customized bathroom is the ice cream on top of the best boat ever.

Love,

Taylor and Conor