nikki wynn enjoying a little freedom on the water

Boat Work Sucks, Lets Get Out Of Here.

Sometimes in boat life, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  As in jump in the dinghy and float away kinda going.

Don’t get me wrong, I like boat work. Or at least I like the feeling of accomplishment and self-reliance that comes with tackling maintenance and refit jobs.  But at some point, my patience for boat work starts to run dry.

My optimism, motivation, and cheery disposition start handing in resignation notices. All noting their reason for leaving as, “all work and no play”. Ugh, millennials.

You get a glimpse of this mental strike at about the 7-minute mark in today’s video.  So, to maintain mental status, we will be scheduling playtime in between jobs from now on.  (lockdown laws permitting of course)




Butyl tape is a rubber adhesive that is extremely durable, has good flex properties, and is often used where an airtight bond is needed.  Like a hatch on a sailboat. Once we have the job done and survive a few rainstorms I’ll give you an update.




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Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (50)

  • Jon Dudeck

    When estimating boat lengths Jason’s first guess was in meters. Does he think in metric? How could this happen? He’s from Texas. In my mind a meter will forever be a hair over a yard or three feet plus.

  • Milton

    I am new to your travels keep up the good work. I love what you all are doing.

  • Milton

    I am new to your website and I admire you guys so much. I am over the hill now so I can’t do what you guys are accomplishing. I always wanted to sail the world since I was 17. I read a book about a young sailor only 16 who did it alone, took him 5 years. He had a cat but lost it.
    Concerning the hatch, as you are aware over torquing any screw is bad. I assume you were gentle and slowly ramped up the speed. But once you strip it the job is of done. Why didn’t yaw just upgrade the compressor for the fridge? Great perseverance in the face of adversity.
    God Bless.

  • Steven Lindsay

    Hi Guys,

    Love the use of Butyl. Since you are using it in a cool environment, I would suggest warming it before use. Even leaving it in a black bag in the sun for an hour or so will make it even easier to use, and it sticks better during application.


    • Michael Wodzinski

      I would recommend that when using butyl tape that you be careful not to create uneven layers (i.e., doubling the tape) since it is not as viscous as a sealant like Sika. For the hatch cover application, I think the goal is to create an even “gasket” around the hatch flange. In your video, it appeared that some tape was unevenly applied. This would create uneven pressure on the hatch screws. The video showed some butyl tape squeeze out but it did not appear to be even. I think if you are more careful at applying the tape, you will have better luck.

      The same goes for the use of a sealant like Sika. I would recommend to use a putty knife to spread the Sika to create a uniform thickness around the flange. Take your time. Neatness counts. I’m a semi-retired mechanical engineer and I am familiar with creating good seals in applications like your hatch cover.

      As far as fixing the stripped holes for the hatch screws, I would recommend using either threaded inserts or T-nuts and replace the wood screws with “bolts”. Obviously, use stainless steel hardware if you can get it. T-nuts (a.k.a., blind nuts) are typically installed from behind (in your case, from inside your cabin). Woodworkers ofter use a hammer to pound in the spiked T-nuts – BUT – I would recommend you use a C-clamp with a backing board against the deck to not crack the fiberglass. It’s hard to explain the installation in words. I think you could install them from the deck using a clamp to seat the blind nut. I can create a picture of the procedure if your interested.

      Hopefully you have already fixed the hatches by now. If not, I would recommend you ask the manufacturer or a repair shop to recommend the best way to repair the stripped hatch screws.

      I find your videos very interesting and entertaining. Both of you are very adventurous and fearless. Keep up the good work making you videos. Congratulations on you wedding anniversary.

  • Angie Nixon

    Totally unrelated, but I am wondering if you would do a video discussing/explaining the “cruising season”, as it pertains to full-time cruising and how people do it, avoiding cold weather and cyclone seasons in various places. Is there a generally-followed route for most cruisers, or does everyone have to haul out at some point in the year and live on land til the season passes? (I know for full-time RV’ers, the rule is generally go north in the summer and south in the winter.) Thank you so much for all your videos and the information you all so humbly, and relatable-y share!

    • Dave Conover

      I would absolutely love an episode on this! I have been thinking about the same thing and wondering about how to avoid ‘The Box’ during hurricane season. I’ve heard Charleston is where some go, but I’m sure that all the cruisers can’t possibly anchor/tie up in Charleston. So curious about this!

  • Jim Warner

    You could do your followers a huge service if your videos were either numbered or dated.
    Jim Warner

  • John Scaramuzzo

    You guys are great! Just wanted to let you know that we have Isotherm seawater cooled refrigeration on our Hallberg Rassy 48 and love it. There is a bit more maintenance because of the seawater system, however, the freezer actually freezes food! Neither the freezer nor the refrigerators accumulate frost. Lastly, the power usage is low compared to the quality of refrigeration. We highly recommend Isotherm!
    John & Lena

  • Bob Haffner

    Allways enjoy the video’s , a couple of comments regarding the hatch , it is not clear if you are screwing in to only fiberglass or if there is wood under it , if you are only screwing in to fibreglass the screws will continue to strip out , if you have access on the inside you could use a machine screw and nut on the inside . The screws that came with the hatch are probably stainless wood screws so if you are able to glue pcs of wood or thin pcs of aluminum on the inside you could then redrill the holes and the screws would hold better . If there is no access on the inside then drilling the hole larger and either putting a plastic anchor in the hole or gluing in wood dowels might be an option . The putty tape you are using is a great option as it is much cleaner than any liquid sealer in a tube but it is designed to be installed where you can apply a lot of pressure so it squeezes out to make a good seal , as you are stripping out the holes you may be better going with Jason’s option , The putty tape is commonly used in RV’s where the ring on the inside clamps the 2 half’s of the window togethor . you usually install it with it hanging over the edge about an 1/8 then when you tighten it up it will squeeze out forming a seal , you then trim off the excess off, keep in mind it will continue to squeeze out for about a week and you may have to retighten the screws again . Due to the stripped screw issue I would remove the hatch again , fill the holed with a construction adhesive that is designed to glue plywood to floor joists , in Canada or the US it would be Liquid nail or PL 400 , let that dry before you drill it , if you have access underneath use the same product to glue the wood underneath .

    If you are going to use an adhesive in a tube a trick I have used is to put the hatch in place , tape off the area around the hatch with masking tape , tape off the hatch frame as well then pull out the hatch put your sealant on it then reinstall , screw back in place , you can use the power tools but tighten the last bit by hand the you won’t strip the screws . You can then run your finger around the frame to smooth out the sealant then gently remove the tape pulling it away from the frame and you will have very little mess , there was another comment about using an adhesive that not only acts as a sealer but will structurally bond the frame to the fibreglass , this works well as you are not relying on the screws that can loosen in the fibreglass , this method will prevent any water penetration thru the screws as well .
    One other thing , having been in the window industry for 40 years , I have applied thousands of feet of caulking of all types on buildings and automobile glass , I don’t know what terminoligy they use in the US but in Canada , the product you are using is a sealant and the actual process of installing it is Caulking , so instead of installing Caulk you are Caulking the window with a sealant , not that it really matters , it just sounds better , good luck , can’t wait to see the side window install , thanks Bob .

  • Judy Goodson

    I am NOT giving you any advice about fixing the hatches. I’m here to give you encouragement. It’ll all come together in good time and perseverance, so, in the meantime, continue to explore and have a good time. I love your videos and the fact that you have the chance to do what you’re doing. What great memories you’ll have! And we’ll experience them with you. Best wishes from Tennessee.

  • Todd Malone

    I too have seen/looked at Dometic, Webasto/Cruise/Isotherm, Vitrifrigo… another brand is Contoure USA which make small-size residential/marine/RV kitchen appliances, and apparently have a new line of 12VDC refrigerators starting just this year. However, it’s hard to know if they are truly manufacturing their own products or are re-tooling and rebranding from others…

  • Hugh Coulter

    Hi Nikki and Jason, I just spoke to my friend who is a boat builder and he is just replacing the windows on his 44′ catamaran. He used to use a product out of a tube but now he uses 3M VHB 4959 two sided foam tape. He has much better luck with this in fact he says it will be difficult to get the old windows out but you always find a way.
    Re sealing the hatches he prefers to use silicone- you want a marine grade and you buy it in large tubes. I would use 3M. It is also available from ULine

    I hope that this is helpful.
    Hugh Coulter

  • Stash

    I agree with Rick and Michael… Either put in refrigeration plates and a seperate compressor for refrigirator and freezer.. or .. have a cabinet made for yourselves like you want….

    This is an example of a evaporation plate:


    and for compressors..

    Also.. INSULATE / reINSULATE your original freezer/refrigerator..

    for the compressors, think about getting a water AND air cooled for efficiency… you can use your external ocean supply.. or even your fresh cold water if you wish… AND do not put the compressor where your generator or engine is.. It is even more difficult cooling in a hot environment….

    I’ve rebuilt my own refrigerator and freezer with the dometic cold machine systems… and it has worked a treat for me… In use for 14 years, running all the time.. no issues..

  • Gregory Shepard

    Just finished watching your last video where your installing the hatches. Must admit it was excruciatingly painful to watch. May I suggest the next time to use 3M 4200 or similar and hand tools? The 4200 is very elastic and once cured the screws are irrelevant. You could have even used C clamps to squeeze the frame in place and hand tighten with your cold thus non elastic putty tape debacle.

  • Alan Solomon

    Hello. I read the comments before me and I learned a couple things. Very helpful.
    You guys are happy. Whatever you are doing. Your always smiling. That is an attraction.
    I liked the houses and buildings close to the water. I thought they were quite cool and neat to look at.
    It is too bad it is colder than you both are used to. I bet you want to dive in and explore the deep blue New Zealand waters?
    I was sorry to see this video go by so fast and to see the three of you go away this week.
    Then again, there is next week!!? Chilling in Coachella.. Best…

  • Peter

    Maybe National Luna fridge something like this ( ) or SnoMaster fridges might suit your application 🙂


  • Bill L.

    Looks like you’re covered with advice on refrigeration and screw holes😊 We often hike during our RV travels and sometimes it’s difficult to nail down the proper clothing or the weather changes. My wife would love a jacket like you almost literally pulled out of a hat! Is it available online?

    Thanks for bringing us along for so many adventures. All the best


    Looks like the butyl tape is doing a decent job of sealing. Why epoxy?

    • Steve

      The butyl tape is great, the way it flows and fills. But they have seen wind that pulled their solar panels from the deck, and it would do the same to the hatch. The epoxy is just to fill the stripped out holes, so they could drill the holes to the correct size, and drive screws into the deck. The screws hold the framework in place. The tape could never do that.

  • Roger Cox

    Sorry to comment so often. The primary reason epoxy fails is inadequate mixing. You would be surprised at how much is needed sometimes. One rule is vigorous stirring for 5 minutes. That is a long time. It usually works. The amount of mixing needed depends heavily on the epoxy formulation. Different epoxies require different times. One boating trick you should know is the name “Splash Zone” epoxy. If I were on a boat like you, I would have a large container of it with me at all times. Remarkable product. You can put it on under water, it still works. Cold? but it will still work. typical price is $300/gallon. Requires a lot of hard mixing. a power mixing device is recommended. Epoxy can be very temperature sensitive to cure rates. A lot of very specific info needed. It you go to the manufacturer website, sometime it is available there. Many epoxies will not cure below 50 degrees F. This website is very good and gives a lot of useful information. Sorry. Mixing epoxies is black magic unless you have a lot of detailed info.

  • Robert Regan

    Hi Jason And Nikki Love your vedios thank you. I might be wrong but I have built fiberglass boats for 20 years and worked with fiberglass industrial building every thing from carbodies to the michalin man I am also a terible speller ha any way my experiance when attaching any thing to a fiberglass product is never to just screw into the glass allways use a nut and bolt screwing into epoxy will allways come loose if you have the room drill all the way through seal the hole and put the bolt all the way through with a nut on the other end and tighten a small metal plate on the inside would make it even stronger just a sugestion all the best take care.

  • Roger Cox

    The reasons cooling units of all kinds fail is primarily the compressor. The compressor is no longer able to create the pressure needed to allow the unit to cool. Thus there are two parts to the compressor. The motor and the compressor itself. The manufacturer has a relatively complicated way of predicting life span of these two units. In simplicity, ball bearing bearings last far longer than other types. But guess what, seldom will they tell you, but a person who sells them AND repairs them will know immediately for any that is worked regularly. The only other feature to the bearing is a complicated idea in engineering called the B10 life of the bearing. Keep it simple, if possible to know what it is a longer B10 life is better. But… yeah. That number and the math behind it is always buried deep in the engineering notes when the unit was designed. A person who works on these units and sells them will have an estimate of how long any unit will last. But it is an estimate. I have never met a repair man who keeps fastidious notes on date of manufacture and dates of failure. It is just not done. As you likely know, reputations are not always reliable indicators. One hard fact is this. These are mechanical devices and there are no known tricks. All the data is on the table to the engineers. There have been hundreds of patents and new designs tried over many years. No special deals for anyone. The industry is so competitive that the information needed to design and build is all on the table. The only possible advantage is manufacture in China. The Chinese government subsidizes manufacture in China about 30%. In the past China had a poor reputation for shoddy manufacture. That is no longer generally true. Some individual manufacturers have poor standards. But as a rule, the Chinese are about as good as any other. World wide competition and the ready availability of what is called “Quality Manufacturing Methods” have done a great deal to level the playing field. The Quality movement began in Japan with Deming and other leaders there that MacArthur brought to Japan after WWII. These men were uniformly genius. Most of them had degrees in physics. Funny, Deming is often called a statistician. He did invent many statistical methods. But no, he had a PhD in physics. Just a clever guy in the right place at the right time. You might enjoy reading his last book The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education, which included the System of Profound Knowledge and the 14 Points for Management. It is widely recognized as thorough and containing most of the ideas that changed the world. He did not create all those ideas. This knowledge was created in the late 40s and early 50s. It took until the late 90s for it to seep out into the generally known engineering world. 40 years is rather fast in that domain of knowledge. Some knowledge areas are still deep secrets developed by clever engineering educated people. One is explosive removal of large structures. Only 6 well known engineering based companies do this work reliably. They have published nothing. The typical bleed rate for knowledge has decreased somewhat and is on the order of 100 years. Back in the middle ages, the bleed rate was negative. But that has had some acceleration in the last 50. World wide competition caused by globalization is the driver. It is not all goodness. There is a great deal of stealing of intellectual property. The negative influence this has is so large it cannot be estimated. Many clever engineers refuse to create knowledge in some areas because of this. The negative effect cannot be estimated.

  • Roger Cox

    There is a huge advantage to the Dometic you missed. If the unit has the capacity to be freezer, it has a lot of excess cooling capacity as a refrigerator. What that means is the the refrigerator will ALWAYS under all conditions be well regulated at the internal temperature you set. One of the dirty little secrets they well never tell you is excess cooling capacity. In a home, no big deal. The reason is you tend to keep homes at a single easy to live with temperature. On a boat, or other applications, it is essential to know excess capacity. One possible way to figure it out is ask the question what is the highest ambient temperature that the refer/freezer will maintain the internal temperature. That number is close to the same as capacity. There are other factors than temperature such as humidity. When the humidity is LOW the cooling capacity of the air is low. So the worst condition is in the desert in a heat wave.

    Hope this helps.

  • Randy

    Maybe a little less buytl tape would still do the job. just a little thicker than needed and as even as possible. Trying to squeeze too much butyl tape trapped inside the channel of the frame will likely strip anything unless using machine bolts, washers and nuts. You could risk warping the frame trying to squeeze the frame firmly to the deck and get out all the overfill.

  • Pat

    Hope all works out with the fixing of the life raft hatch….

  • Kirch Paul

    On another sail site. “Sail Life” he built his own freezer/refrigerator, it was totally custom to his needs. Looked like it would be totally efficient but a lot of glass work that he makes look easy. I would be challenged by it. You may not want to get involved in a project to that degree.

  • Timothy

    It looked like a piece of scrap wood that some of the screws have to get a bite on. Maybe replace the wood with a denser piece or just new wood or just slide the wood over a half inch giving the screws a better grip. And finish with hand tightening. A machine easily strips it. Centrifugal force and all.

  • Alan Morton

    A few thoughts. Definitely through bolt the hatches for the reasons above. I have an Isotherm refrigerator with a Danfoss compressor (now called another name) and so far it works well. However, I agree with Rick’s comment above. There’s nothing wrong with the existing cabinet set-up, just need better hardware attached. Secondly, please stick to the Maritime Rules for Northland Regional Council and wear lifejackets when in Minion. It’s a requirement when under way in a vessel less than 6m. If Minion lost air and sank with a westerly wind and outgoing tide you may not be making another video . . . . ever. Good luck with the haul-out.

  • Andrea Lawson

    I’ve been following you guys for the last 10 years and through your transition to Curiosity! Watching you remove your refrigerator/freezer brings to mind two of our favorite sayings. First is “It’s all part of the adventure!” And second “If that’s the worst thing that happens today, it’s going to be a great day!”

    Love you guys AND the jacket in a pouch. Can you help a girl out and post a link to that jacket?

  • Mark Krajcar

    Nova Kool makes an affordable thin plate kit for replacing your current cold plates. This is what I used on my similar dead refer/freezer system. Works excellent. I have 2 large boxes that can be either fridge or freezer independently. Installing the kits was pretty easy. I also added another 2″ of foam all way round the sides and bottom which makes all the difference in the world.

    This is a guy in Aus that really knows his stuff and designs great systems. I’ went a different route with the Nova Kool but really liked his systems and the way he plans them out.

  • Hugh Coulter

    I forgot to mention re you hatches, you can take the opening hatch lid off. I make it easier to do the job and then you don’t have to remove the hand rails.

  • Hugh Coulter

    Regarding your hatches. Instead of epoxy to fill the holes, use a polyester that has fiberglass strand mixed in with it. I can buy that here and I expect that you can there. I had to go to a fiberglass supplier to find it though. If will dry in a couple of hours. Then use a rotary rasp bit that fits in your drill to make the spot slightly convex and they put some gelcoat in the convex area. Let it all dry for a day and then carefully sand it flush. The gelcoat doesn’t need to be a perfect colour match as it will be hidden. Then put the hatch in place and drill the screw holes. The drill holes have to be perfectly centered and the correct size for the screws. Find an piece of junk fiberglass to test this. I usually use a small drill bit first as it is easier to center it and then come back with the larger bit. then remove the hatch and apply the sealer to the hatch. You want to apply enough sealer to squeeze out slightly around the hatch. I would use Sikaflex 240. You want to seal the hatch not glue it with something like 291. Scape off what has squeezed out and carefully clean up with paint thinner. I hope this helps.
    As for your refrigeration, I would take the SS box that you have to a SS shop and have them weld the holes between the fridge and freezer closed. If you need more space for insulation, you can have them re-size the unit as well. Then I would put separated systems in each side. I would insulate with an liquid expanding polyurethane foam. You would probably want to do this before installing.
    I hope that this helps. I used to have a business repairing just about everything other than the engines on boats. Good luck. I really like your can-do attitude and enjoy your videos.

  • Brian Guzzi

    Hatch repair thoughts … have you considered and explored backing plate options on the under side on the deck that would allow you to use bolts in order to secure the hatches to the deck? This would be a much stronger fastening solution if you could find suitable, small stainless steel bolts that would sit flush on the top of the hatch then you could use large stainless steel washers as backing plates. This repair would be visible from the under side of the deck but offers the ability to inspect and periodically tighten the nuts if vibrations through the hull/deck loosen the bolts. You’ve probably thought of this because it’s such a simple and stronger alternative solution but there must be other complicating factors on the underside of the deck around the edge of the hatches that precludes this approach. Good luck, can’t wait to see the final solution.

  • Will

    I would suggest leaving the hatch in place and make a wooden dowel (pointy) and coat in wood glue. Then drive it into the hole. Chisel off the end and screw the screw into the hole.

  • Michael Wodzinski

    Be careful when using a power screwdriver/drill to install screws. Modern power tools can generate a lot of torque. That is why there is an adjustment for the torque setting. To avoid stripping screws, never use the “drill” setting to install a small screw. A power tool can be used to unscrew a fastener but it might be best to use the power tool to snug up the screw and then use a hand screwdriver to tighten the rest of the way. The tactile feedback of a hand screw driver allows one to sense when the screw is about to strip the material. Also, a power hammer drill should not be used for small screws but is okay for lag bolts.

    Threaded inserts (e.g., those used by woodworkers) are probably a better solution than epoxy to fix a stripped screw. Here’s a video on how to install them:

    A threaded insert replaces wood screws with “bolts” and the insert acting as a nut. While the inserts can be installed with a power tool, it would be safer to use a manual wrench to avoid stripping those as well. Follow the directions for the insert and use the recommended drill to create hole for the insert. There are hand wrenches available for the inserts but a bolt and a wrench works just as well as shown in the video link.

    I would also call the boat manufacturer or your favorite boat repair person and get their recommendations. I’m sure this is a common problem. As stated by another comment, butyl tape may not be best solution since it may not have the same adhesive capabilities as an adhesive (e.g., Sika). I’m a mechanical engineer and to me the screws for the cover look too small to be the primary holding fastener and may only be intended to hold the cover in position for an adhesive to bond to the deck. The primary attachment is probably between the cover and the deck and probably not just the screws. The boat or cover manufacturer should recommend the proper way to install these covers. You probably don’t want these covers popping off in a storm at sea. Note that I think Sika also makes adhesive tape that may not be as messy as the tube applicator type.

    Happy sailing. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • Jeanette Brennan

    Thx for another wonderful video. Loved seeing the surrounding neighborhood! Bet it felt good to blow the cobwebs out! Keep plugging along – you’re doing great! 💖⛵️✅

  • Lee

    Just looked around for fridge/freezer and came across this site.


    If you see something there you are interested in you may be able to get it locally or at least order it locally.

    Maybe get one fridge and one freezer if they will fit side by side. Then if one goes out you will have the other one to use until you can get it repaired or replaced.

  • Michael

    Never use that type of screw in a hatch. Those are for fastening something like a piece of wood to another piece of wood or hanging a picture on the wall. You need something that holds by squeezing the hatch, wood and fiberglass all together. And that will be a machine screw, lock washer and nut. The ocean cannot rip it open unless the hull fails at that point.

    Also, don’t be in a hurry. Winter is ending down there and spring is starting. Enjoy the planning instead of the doing. Better plans make for better finished work anyway.

  • About Creativity

    Very good, keep going!

  • Glenn

    I was a cabinet maker and was wondering if you considered using a wood dowel to fix your stripped screw problem? I have done this many times for hinge screws that are stripped. I have used toothpicks or a wooden dowel. You can drill the hole larger if you want to clean up the stripped screw hole. Simply spread waterproof wood glue on the dowel and into the hole and drive the dowel it into the screw hole. Drill a pilot hole for the screw. Try not to let the glue setup. The screw will expand the dowel

  • Greg

    Two additional thoughts: Regarding a larger frig, would one fit down in one of the floating hulls? The frig doesn’t have to be in the main salon. Regarding loose screws, I find I can sometimes tighten up loose screw holes by inserting a wood toothpick or other item to take up just a little of the room in the oversized, stripped hole.

  • Art Corey

    Don’t use the drill when tightening up the hatch screws. Do the last little bit by hand.

    • Jk

      Most modern drills have an adjustable built in feature that accounts for this.

  • Simon Bretherton

    It occurs to me that you are going to be “summering” in NZ and Oz. If so, you’re going to run across another game that is alien to you – CRICKET! What fun awaits you………..

  • Rick

    Refrigerator Thoughts … Why not take your present refrigerator to a refrigeration shop. You could have another evaporator plate put in the left side and plug the thru holes between the compartments and run duel compressors or a single compressor and associated vales and tanks (cheaper but introduces more complexity and points of failure). You could replace the present control board and display with 2 fairly inexpensive temperature controls from Amazon that would regulate the indivual compartment temperatures. This would give you the ability to run either side as a refrigerator or freezer. Your videos did not show the condenser but extra space should not be needed if you just used a different fan arrangement. With a little creative ducting you could even divert the heat from the condenser to either cabin heat or outside if you’re living in tropical climates.

    • Michael

      I agree. Customize what you have, since buying new does not give you a nicer look or space.


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