Read from the Beginning Page 3

March 13, 2014
New Screens and StackPack

While we wait on Tami's recovery, at least one project we started back in Key West has been completed since we've been here in Texas - a new window sunscreen, stackpack, and cockpit screen. The window sunscreen allows us to ditch the curtains that were inside the saloon that were just about worthless anyway. They were disintegrating and were nearly impossible to push to one side or the other.

90/10 screen, a good compromise between visibility & protection

The old stackpack was missing the zipper so a completely new one was also built to fit. We figured as long as we were having the other screens made, we might as well have a new stackpack made since protecting the main sail in kind of important I hear.

We also wanted some protection from the sun while in the cockpit. I've seen other boats with these types of screens that tie off to the life-line. We had ours built to snap down to form an enclosure around the cockpit but will also tie off to offer some protection from the sun. We'll see if it will be functional after we get back to the boat, but from the pictures, it's looking promising.

We're anxious to get back to the boat and see how it looks in person (all this was installed by the canvas company that built all the covers and then sent us the pictures.)

Also, all of the delamination repairs have been completed since we've been back. We finally received the invoice for the repairs that were actually started back in October - Mike has been very patient in collecting his money until everything was completed - but holy crap, it hurt to pay that bill as it has been, by far, the biggest repair cost on the boat. I will be disclosing all of the cost to refit in an upcoming post and last night, after adding up all the costs to date, its hard to say if I was surprised at the final number or not.

April 4, 2014
Video of the last 5 months of Renovation

This video takes a look back on the last 5 months of renovation and repairs that have taken place in Key West aboard Catchin' Rays. Although this isn't the most perfect recording in the world, and the footage was edited as best I could from our location here in Texas, I'm going to go ahead and post it anyway....

Learning how to operate the sound editing software from Audacity has been a has a whole bunch of features that I'll never know how to use.

And my studio has been here in room #207 in the LTAC (long term acute care) facility that Tami has been in for weeks now.....its hard to record a narration when you have nurses paging other nurses through the intercom system.  And the people in the room above us seem to feel the need to scoot a chair across the floor at the most inopportune moment.  Or the patient down the hall that thinks yelling "HEY!!" every 10 seconds for hours on end will somehow make all his problems disappear - the microphone picks it all up....wah wah wah...hope you enjoy the video.

April 14, 2014
The story behind the Name and Logo

Even before we purchased our boat, we had boat names swirling around and would often bump different names off each other in an effort to try and find the perfect boat name.  We had seriously considered Wet Dreams, and almost went with it, but at the last minute we changed our minds.  Justin even wanted to go with something ridiculous like Breaking Wind, or Sofa King Bad Ass (well, that one might have been mine).  After I did a quick search on boat names, it was the consensus that goofy/silly names for boats are not widely accepted or respected - and on top of it, its really not all that original.  So on the last day to make a decision and so the boat could be officially registered with the USCG, we decided on Catchin' Rays.  It kind of wraps up the whole idea of a boat and it plays off our last name.  But then comes the decision of a boat logo, icon, or avatar.  Do we have to have one?  I guess not, but we want one.  The first idea was a sting ray, but then we didn't want people to think we were out "catching" sting rays....

I began racking my brain about what I could use as a symbol of our boat - one that meant something to us and that we could both be on board with using.  And then it dawned on me - it was something that Tami and I have loved ever since we came to Key West and began work. 

First rendering - in preparation for map-pencil coloring

There's a local artist named Monkey Tom - and on one of my previous posts, I mentioned that Tami had actually met up with him at the laundromat.  We have wanted one of his paintings since we first discovered his work at Mark's shop but left before we could actually track him down again and purchase one.  And it will be my mission once I get back to Key West to find him and buy one.

But since I haven't been able to get my hands on one yet, the second best thing I could do, is create one myself based on his style and likeness.  While I did toy with the idea of using Popeye for our mascot, in the end, it wasn't something I created or had the rights to use anyway.  And even though I based our logo off a particular artist's style, it is an original piece that I created myself.  

It will forever remind us of the time we spent in Key West and all the hard work we put into the boat in preparation in making our boat seaworthy.  It also makes for a perfect logo for the boat - although on the surface, you'd think it has nothing to do with catching rays, but in reality, it has everything to do with us and how far we've come in our journey to be sailors and for the place where we first began the journey. 

In the end, I hope I haven't offending anybody that love's Monkey Tom's work.  My hope is that it will be a flattering likeness produced in the spirit of admiration.  We love his work and wanted to create something that reminded us of Key West, the boat, and of him.  

The map-pencil option - 1st version

After taking a picture & uploading, attempting to see if I could  paint using a photoshop software (pic done in pencil)

 Re-drew outline in pen to "paint" in PhoXo photo editor

 Final rendering painted with PhoXo. Saved as a PNG. file with background removed.  Created by taking a picture of my drawing, uploading it, and "painting" it in PhoXo photo editing software.

April 18, 2014
The Cost to Refit a Catamaran

So, what does it cost to refit/repair a catamaran that's been growing roots into the boatyard?  I always see forums discussing the cost to sail, but not very many talk about what it costs to repair a boat - probably because it can vary so much depending on how long the boat has sat, and how neglected it was by the previous owner.  But as a prior prospective buyer myself, I thought it might come in handy for somebody looking to refit themselves even if my renovation may not be typical.

On a side note, and before I get to full disclosure,  I have to admit that I have put this posting off for awhile now and I'm not sure why.  I can remember when I found Bumfuzzle's blog - he was very forthcoming about his monthly costs in addition to the delamination repairs they had done in New Zealand.  I even emailed them long after they were done with their circumnavigation about not including the cost of the boat into the figures.  While Pat was very kind in his reply, he said, "You're right, we left that out", and that was all he said about it (it wasn't until later on that he disclosed how much he paid for the boat.)

So, now that its my turn to disclose the cost of the boat and the repairs, I too seem a little reluctant to do so.  Its not that I don't want my family to know what its costing us - most of them already know.  But for some reason, it just feels weird.  To be honest, I'm probably just like everybody else - anytime I see somebody disclosing a cost list, I have a tenancy to click on the link, I can't help it, I'm nosy.   And I suppose its more than just that, a lot has to do with gauging whether or not I'd be able to afford the lifestyle, or the repair, or whatever their giving a cost-list for.  But to do my part in disclosing the cost of the life-style, here is my first of many posts having to do with money.

We went into the purchase knowing that we might have to do major repairs to both engines, if not replace them completely.  We also knew that the paint and barrier coats had to be removed down to the gelcoat.  Replacing most of the rigging was also figured into the equation but the sails looked like they still had life left in them.  Here is the list that I was given on the first day of inquiry by my purchasing broker:

Estimated repair costs:
Engine and sail drive                            $11,200
Inbound Freight                          $200
Labor                                  $1,500
Subtotal                                    $12,900
Tax                                        $774
Total each                                    $13,674
Total for 2                                  $27,348
Sails                                        $6,000
Upholstry                                          $5,000
Compound and wax                                   $1,700
Watermaker service/membranes, misc repairs          $5,000
Barrier coat and bottom paint                                    $10,000


But this was just an estimate so we'd have an idea of the possibilities of what we were up against so that we wouldn't waste our time making the trip if we weren't prepared to do some major refitting here.

From previous offers on other boats, we learned that if you are really interested in a boat, better to settle on a price prior to seeing the boat - monetary transactions aren't even considered until after your personal inspection.  So after a little negotiation, we settled on 120k for the boat.  But this came without a sea trial at all - just sitting on the hard and inspecting and checking everything we could in one day's time.  Was it a good deal?  Some say yes, some say no.  We say yes.  For the years we spent looking on-line, and for the handful of cats we inspected personally, a cat this size for the price and condition did not exist.  Even though the refit list was extensive, the overall condition was more from a neglected and outdated standpoint rather than an abusive one.  Some of the things we're repairing and replacing are more optional than imperative.

We've upgraded the electronics, shower pumps, bilge pumps, mattresses, fans, monitor, radar, GPS antenna, and lots of miscellaneous stuff.  We've had the barrier coats and paint stripped down to gelcoat and the delamination repaired under the bridge-deck.  We took down the mast so the rigger could replace all standing rigging and most of the running rigging.  So our list is pretty extensive at this time, and the only big ticket item that is left is having Mike put back on 4 layers of barrier coats and at least 2 layers of paint.  We won't, however, have the air-conditioning system repaired until after she's in the water along with the water maker - those two systems are taking a back seat to seaworthiness at this time.

Also, for this particular post, I didn't see the point to disclose airfare to and from Key West, because I just feel like that isn't part of the cost of the boat - travel to and fro is not a boat expense.  In addition, our food costs are not part of the list either - I wouldn't even be able to tell you how much we've spent on food at this point anyway, I just don't keep up with it that closely.   I suppose when I start the "what it's costing us per month" phase, everything will be included, but for now, this is more focused on renovation costs.  

One last thing to mention before I get to my cost of repairs is the storage fees associated with owning a boat.  Although they can differ so much from place to place, my wife thought it was worth mentioning.  But here in Key West, to store our boat on the hard is $567 per month + tax.  If you live on the boat, an extra $150 is added to the monthly rent if you don't use an air conditioner.  If you want to use an air conditioner, then $100 plus metered electricity is added.  So if you're planning on buying a boat, storage fees can be pretty steep and something to consider.

The following list are the actual costs we paid for services and materials and are given as an example of real-world costs to do this work in a boat yard.   

Actual real costs to date:
Sanding down to gelcoat  (Mike Cook)      $3,500
Delamination Repair - bridge deck (Mike Cook)$8,347
Rigging - standing and running  (Jeff Drechsler)                $5,913
Crane to remove mast (Robbie's Boatyard)                        $325
Canvas: stackpack, windows, cockpit (All Keys Canvas)    $2,411
1 mattress - starboard aft cabin (Sears online)                    $239
Batteries - 4 Mastervolts AGM (West Marine)                  $2,598
Raymarine 4kw Color HD Radar (Ebay)                            $1,685
Raymarine E90W Chartplotter (                $1,000
Raymarine wind, depth, and speed (Defender)                  $1,545
Engine start batteries (Napa auto parts)                              $310
Misc (Napa, Home Depot, Ace, online orders)                $3,464
Engine Injector repair and saildrive seals/zincs$800
Re-apply barrier coats and paint (Mike Cook)      $3,200
Survey                                                                                  $840
Total repairs and mods to date  $36,177
1995 Fountaine Pajot Venezia                                        $120,000
Cost of Boat plus repairs  $156,177

The remaining items on the list will be the Frigoboat servicing, air conditioning service, and watermaker repair.  Of course, that doesn't mean there won't be anything left on the "to do" list (that list never gets emptied), it just means that we've completed the major points of the prioritized list.

April 22, 2014
It was Hard to Leave

When we left on February 10th, it was difficult.  Partly because we knew Tami had a pretty long road of rehab ahead of her (even without the reaction she developed).  Also, it was the first time the boat's been alone since November 4th when Tami and Justin pulled up and set up shop.  And it makes us worry.  We've heard a bad storm rolled through a month ago and had winds somewhere between 50 and 60 knots.  As a result, one of our canvas covers came unzipped or unattached (or something to that effect) and one of Mike's guys went up to secure it back in place - but nothing else seemed to be askew.  But more than just storms, you worry about people too.  You just hope nobody's jacking with stuff.

But, every time we do leave Key West, the SWA 737 flies right over the boatyard where our boat is kept, and each time, it is directly (and I mean directly) below the airplane.  So much so, that it is impossible to see the boat.  The odd thing was, that when we arrived on our last trip, for the first time, the flight pattern actually came in over the military base to the east, and right next to the boat.  My camera was in the ready and I was all excited - but instead of pushing the record button once, I pushed it twice....and no footage was taken of the landing.  Grrrrrrr.

But we were given a second chance on our departure, albeit at a much higher altitude then when we arrived.  Once again, we flew right over the top of the shipyard, but this time, just a little to the south of what we normally do and I was able to get just the smallest glimpse of our baby.  It was a still image taken from video footage, so the quality wasn't that great, but at least I got it.  

It was awesome to see her, but sad to see her alone.

 Just barely got a glimpse of her - finally.

Although the image quality of the camera I was using was a little shitty, how cool is that to see your boat during take off and landing....we can't wait to get back to Key West and our home.

April 27, 2014
The Progression of a Horrible Foot Wound

If you've read my previous posts, you already know that we had to prematurely leave Key West a couple of months ago due to a calcaneus fracture (her heel broke in two) that Tami developed after falling off a ladder.  But what was a complicated enough issue to begin with, turned very complicated when she (as best they can figure) seemed to have had an allergic reaction to the local anesthetic that was administered to her foot during the surgery.   

Debridement surgery - March 6

What unfolded in the days after surgery, as half  her foot slowly became extremely painful, swollen, purple, black, and necrotic had us scrambling back and forth to the surgeon's office in a desperate attempt to understand what was happening.  It wasn't until she had already been admitted into the hospital before her surgeon thought he knew what had happened.

On March 6th, she had to have a major full-thickness debridement to her right foot as over half the area had necrotized and had to be removed.  If you aren't sure what a debridement is, its where (at least in Tami's case) they had to remove every layer of skin - dermis, epidermis, etc. - down to meat and tendons and in some areas, even deeper.  They even removed her hardware that was initially installed during the original surgery to repair the heel fracture on April 2.  The consensus was that since it was exposed, it was a highway for bacteria straight to her bone and because tissue has a hard time growing over hardware.  As it stands right now, she has been in either the hospital or the long term acute care facility since February 27th.  

But I've really not taken too much video of the wound up until recently because I really didn't want to think about it - we took pictures because Tami wanted to document the deterioration and the eventual progression of the wound, but stayed away from posting anything on Facebook or this blog because it just didn't feel right.  But now that some time has past, and she's on a better road to recovery, I put together this video to show the deterioration of the wound.  The next video I post will be the removal and the installation of the wound vac that she has been wearing since the initial debridement. 

So, needless to say, its hard for us to be away from the boat - we are so close to getting it in the water, and Tami gets depressed  when she thinks about it.  Although full recovery is still a way's away, she does plan to do some of her rehab down in Florida as soon as she gets the wound covered up.

May 16, 2014
Installing a Groco Hydromatic Self-Cleaning Strainer

Being away from our boat for 3 months was tough; leaving Tami behind was even tougher.  I felt bad for her, but we really need to get things done in Florida, so she gave her blessing and away we went.  As she continues to grow skin at the LTAC, Brandon and I left for a vacation full of work.  And as things usually go, its not all been smooth sailing since our arrival.  Things got off to a great start though, and it seems that not one thing had been disturbed during our absence.  To the contrary, we actually had "new" stuff in places.  New canvas on the windows, new barrier paint on the hulls, and new rope on the traveler and mast. Everything was dry and in its place; all the bilge areas were dry and it looks as though all are old hatches are keeping the water out. That was until we opened the bow port locker - seems to be a little wet in there.  Looks like we might have to reseal that hatch before its all done.  All things considered, I'd say that's pretty good.   

After retrieving the shore-power cords from the locker, we soon had power running to the boat - but setting up the inverter had us doing some head-scratching.  You see, Justin is in Texas right now during this hiatus, and was unavailable during our initial power-up, so Brandon and I found ourselves digging through the manual to figure out where we were going wrong.  We had power to everything it seems, but our batteries weren't charging very fast.  The 12 volt panel had power, water was running, fans were coming on, we even had the clock digits on the microwave lit up, hmmmm.......  Flashback: prior to our departure, I turned everything off (and I mean, everything) - battery isolators, every switch on the 12 volt panel, and every breaker on the 110 volt panel.   But the good part was that either by accident or on purpose the one thing I left on was the solar panel breaker and wa-do-ya-know? My batteries were perfectly topped off. 

But the inverter was a different story and after running out of things that could be wrong, Brandon kept suggesting that the "Shore 1 & 2" breaker might need to be in the "on" position in the 110 volt panel.  And that was the trick - full charging power and all was right with the world.  So our next task at hand was to install our beautifully overhauled Groco Hydromatic Strainer - we need some tools. what did I do with those keys?  We were able to find a jigsaw that we used to cut off the first of two locks in hopes that our 4" grinder was inside our trailer so that cutting the second lock would be much easier. Problem solved (I just need two more locks now.)

Maybe Tami won't notice it's on the table like that

Installing the fittings and using previous pics as a guide
(FYI, the GoPro isn't "fish-eyeing", its actually the shape of our hard top)

Just a minor setback, now on to bigger and better things - the Strainer.  For $170, you just can't beat the way this thing looks - its like brand new.  I know I've said this a couple of times, but to this day, West Marine still sells this unit for $2389.99.  I mean, who in their right mind spends $2400 on a strainer?  I posted a question about it on one of the sailing forums awhile back, and it seems that a lot of people don't even know these units exist and others had never even seen one.  There is also a brand new control panel board still in the wrapper that I need to install (right now its just on a toggle switch) - the guys at Groco told me that it was a $400 control board.  So maybe I should be thankful that the previous owner didn't like to keep things simple.  But in addition to the strainer,  Groco sent back all the parts that they removed during overhaul - most of the fittings looked to be in very good shape except for two bad ones, so we cleaned up the good ones and re-installed them.  We made a quick trip to the Ace Hardware store for the two replacement fittings and were set for install. 

Two days later, we have a wonderfully installed strainer. 

Yes it took two days.  I had actually told my wife prior to our arrival that the Groco would take two to three days - for some reason, I knew it was gonna be a bitch. The first problem that we encountered was that we could not get the strainer to seat inside its bracket, and we tried everything.  That problem, in and of itself, doesn't sound that bad, but this thing is situated right under the hot water heater in the back slot under the starboard aft mattress - it is not easy to get to.  Our initial solution was to relocate it forward into the same area as the watermaker which would only require extending one hose - all the rest of the hoses and wires would actually have to be shortened.   But after taking everything apart, we're thinking that Justin must have turned the bracket around in an attempt to make installation easier.  That way, the mounting bolts would go in from the other direction.  But he didn't realize that the strainer only fits into the bracket one way - at least that's what we're thinking anyway.  Removing everything though, actually gave us an opportunity to move the bracket over about 1" so that the lines coming up would clear the water heater.  Once we discovered this, it really didn't take that long to get it all back together again and we were pretty excited when we flipped the switch and heard the motor quietly spinning.

Next up:  Yanmar shut-off cable, blue stripe removal, stepping the mast, and automatic bilge pump install.  

May 19, 2014
Video - Stepping the Mast

Thought I'd put together a short video of the install of our mast today.  It was very nerve racking - begining with fishing it out of its hole about 1' from the boat and 2' from the building and trying to keep the new wind vane off the cables.  With the winds gusting up to 18 knots, I'm glad everything went alright, nobody got hurt, and everything fit back into place.  Its actually looking like a sailboat again.

May 24, 2014
Making a Huge Dent in the list - May 13 to 24

Since our arrival on May 13, we have yet to stop working.  Most days start somewhere around 10:30am (I am on still on vacation mind you) and end when the "noseeums" come out - usually around 5:00pm if the wind isn't blowing - but we still seem to get a lot accomplished.  And while that doesn't seem like a whole lot of time, most evenings we are worn out and find ourselves moaning and groaning every time we have to go up or down stairs.  

The big accomplishment for the week, as stated in my previous post, was to get the self-cleaning strainer installed.  But that was just the begining.  Since that time, we've:
1.)  Removed the old, painted blue stripe off each side of the boat (it was just plain ugly.)
2.) Ordered and installed the shut-off cable for the port engine (27 feet of push-pull cable.)
3.) Installed the previously removed engine lid covers, organized, cleaned, and re-installed all of the electric wire channel covers in both engine rooms - makes for nice and organized place to work.

3 1/2 hours for each side but it looks soooo much better

The interesting part of removing the blue stripe is that when I got to the area right in front of the aluminum "Fountaine Pajot" name plate, faint lettering appeared that read: "FRANCE CARIBES Charter  - Group DIVA".  I tried to look it up on the web, but no matches exist.  I guess it was a charter boat for awhile before the guy I bought it from owned it - makes sense.

We also got the mast back up and in place - but that was the easy part.  The hard part is running all the cables and wires - the radar, over-the-air antenna, the lights, and the top of the mast camera. The lighting and antenna connections were made at a junction box under the saloon seat.  The wind, radar, and camera were home runs to their perspective instruments.  

New port engine shut-off pull cable (on the left)

Pullin' mast wires requires agility and flexibility 

The sun setting on a newly installed mast

Raymarine HD color radar displayed on the E90W

I'm not quite sure what I'm looking at yet, but the radar does seem to be spinning away.....with the big metal building right next to us, I'm sure we're getting a lot of interference, but I'm still not sure what I'm seeing.  I'm just happy that it's reading something.

The view from 63' up on the mast

After getting the wires ran to the chartplotter, and attaching the camera, it looks like we were just off a bit with the angle - but even with the camera turned just a bit, it will still do what I need it to.

Some of the things are a working progress - I've ordered the parts that I think will make the water maker make water again.  My boarding ladder project didn't come out as planned so now I have to find another option.  We still need a dinghy, and I'm looking at adding some solar power prior to splashing.

It's been a busy first 11 days, and we've cleared a lot of the "must do's" off the list, now we're just down to the automatic bilge pumps and to a few miscellaneous items and then we're outta here until next time. 

May 26, 2014
Bilge pump Upgrade and Step Scraping

Over the weekend, we've been able to knock a few more things off the list.   Although we still have the starboard side to do, we were able to switch the port hull bilge to automatic pumping.  Originally, there was one strainer on each side of the rib attached to one main pump that was located under the sink in the head.  There was also a valve located under the sink that would switch from one strainer or the other, prior to the discharge leaving the boat, through a shared through-hull.  To operate the bilge, you had to manually switch on the pump, then switch which side of the rib to sump with the valve.  I understand the logic behind the switch valve, but I can't understand how this is an efficient way to care for pumping out water in the bilge with all the manual care this system requires.  Besides, the original pump did not look like it was very efficient and seemed worn-out, especially when compared to the shower pump we installed a couple of months ago.  Now, when we do eventually get this boat in the water, I will have a fully automatic pumping system that can be left "on" and engages automatically. Additionally, I used the original shower sump switch (that's not being used anymore because of the automatic shower sump) to engage my bilge pumps manually if I feel the need to. 

Making use of the old shower sump button 

It also cleared out a lot of tubing and clutter under the sink area.  The original shower bilge pump wasn't even wired or plumbed since it had been previously by-passed and the same cumbersome pumping system was utilized on the bilge pump system itself.  

There were two pumps mounted and plumbed on these mounting pads - the empty tube in this picutre will now need its own above-the-waterline through-hull so it won't have to be switched manually.

The other project that I've been putting off (I actually started this on our last visit) is scraping the non-skid padding off the boarding steps.  It was originally gray, but is now some sort of puke/yellow/beige color - and was extremely hard to remove.  It looks like whoever installed this non-skid used 5200 to adhere every bit of it to the boat - and it did not want to let go.  We sharpened a puddy knife and that made the job doable, but it was still a bitch.  


The "after" shot - ready for new non-skid

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