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Our Boat After 1 Year Away!

Our experience as travelers has taught us to hope for the best and plan for the worst.  Because inevitably, nothing ever goes as planned.  Especially in boat life.  Yet, we naively didn’t apply this knowledge to leaving our sailboat for cyclone season.

We planned to see family, load a crate full of supplies, and return in 3-4 months.  And that was it.  Facepalm!  Green as grass we are!

One helluva year later, we have finally returned.  It’s been a solid 8 months longer than we planned and Curiosity surely shows it.

Today we’re taking a grand tour of the boat’s current condition. We’re sharing what we did to prepare our sailboat for long term storage on the hard, what worked, what didn’t and what we never even considered.

 

Failing to Plan

Pandemic and COVID-19 aside, there are a hundred different scenarios that could have led to a delayed return home to Curiosity.

We initially planned to be gone for 3 months.  Then Jason’s uncle unexpectedly died just before Thanksgiving.  RIP uncle David💗.  So, we stayed in Dallas a couple of extra weeks.  Then we decided to stick around for the Miami Boat Show because it was only another couple of weeks away. We needed to research refit items, so it made sense.  And then we found a cheap flight to South Africa.  Why not go spend a month with our sailing friends Kate and Rufus, the opportunity might not ever arise again?!?  Presto, 5 months gone in a flash.

Now add in 6 months of being stranded in Fiji and almost a month of being quarantined in Tonga thanks to Coronavirus and now its been a year. 🤯

When we prepare for a passage we provision for 2-3 times the amount of time we anticipate we will be at sea.  If it’s a 10-day sail, we’ll provision for a month!  Because, hope for the best, plan for the worst.

We should have prepared the boat with the same mindset and we didn’t.  We are so very fortunate it wasn’t a harder lesson learned…or perhaps I am speaking too soon.  I’ll revisit that statement once we’re splashed.  😉

 

Resources!

Curious about our batteries, solar, water purification, or anything else related to living Off The Grid?  We have a whole page dedicated to the subject!

Boat Storage Prep That Worked

Baking Soda is amazing stuff.  Helps with odors, cleaning, bugs combats mold and mildew….its wonderful!

Diatomaceous Earth is all-natural, pet, and kid-safe bug control.  We sprinkle the stuff in every nook, cranny, and at the back of every cabinet.

Sealed storage tubs and Vacuum Storage Bags coupled with silica packs and a sprinkle of baking soda worked for everything from food to electronics.

Painted Cushions?

Yes, I used chalk paint 4 years ago on our old cockpit cushions to extend the life of the existing fabric and modernize the style.  It has held up better than our 3-year-old sunbrella canvas on the helm seat!  I will no doubt end up painting more fabric in the future.

 

🙏THANK YOU!

Ups, downs and all arounds, we share it all. We’re able to do so because people like you show up each week, read, watch, comment, share, shop our gear store, and toss a tip in our production jar. If you like what you see, consider joining us on Patreon or there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support.

 

🎥CAMERA GEAR USED TO FILM THIS VIDEO📷

See All Of Our Photo & Video Gear here: gonewiththewynns.com/photo-video-gear

 

🎶MUSIC IN THIS VIDEO:

All From Artlist

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 (66)

  • Deborah Kerr

    Oh my! Some good things to point out – you get to work on your boat in swim suits! and it’s “together time”. and you’re in a beautiful environment with ocean and palm trees. and you get some extra exercise!! Love following your story, so happy for you that you’re home! Keep smiling 🙂

    reply
  • Salvador

    One has to love you guys. Seeing your boat/home in the yard, after so long, was surely an emotional moment. Good luck with the rest cleaning and fixing, and bon vent !

    reply
  • Denise

    Vinegar attracts certain bugs. Works great for fruit flies with just a drop of dish soap. The sink and die. If it is apple cider vinegar it makes a mother as they call it. Just like kombucha. So that what i would say what is in your toilet. It made a mother. That is really good bacteria. So happy to see you back home. Congratulations

    reply
  • Meg in Frisco, TX

    So happy you are home!!! The list you will have for dry storage next time will be amazing. Guessing you are making the list now?

    Ok, for the loo… what about a DIY Toilet Bomb, to do the initial cleaning.

    https://thecoconutmama.com/toilet-bombs/

    reply
  • Bernard

    I am glad you guys are finally back home! That’s the main thing!

    reply
  • Mark

    I’ve watched this week’s video a few times over because I was just so damn excited to see Curiosity again, even if she’s just a bit rough around the edges. Also, just seeing how damn happy you two are to be back home, despite all the hard work in front of you, well it’s infectious. The Wynn’s are certainly back where they belong & it’s fantastic to watch. Once again, I’m so flipping happy for you guys, I cannot wait to see all the projects coming up.

    reply
  • Alan Solomon

    Great to see you guys home! As usual, you guys have great energy, putting it where is is of best use! You will make it within a month,
    It is a bummer about the shade screens. You can’t go out on the high sees with no shade screens.
    I just wanted to chime in and say, I was thinking about you both this past week. I am happy Curiosity is as resilient as she is.
    You must have bought the super-size, mega-tub of baking soda to accomplish what you did!!
    There is tons of potential at your feet. Be Well and Healthy. Stay Positive. Smiling and Laughing strengthens your immunity.
    Best,

    reply
  • Marsha

    Can you bottle your upbeat, positive attitude & sell it? It’s so great to see you home, Curiosity looked awesome. You’re home…❤️

    reply
  • sandra

    Great episode, always enjoy your content. Nikki, have you ever thought about making and selling your own head bands, like the one you wore in this episode? You looked marvelous! I would buy one!

    reply
  • Bill Berry

    I would say everything faired very well given the longer time you were away.

    reply
  • mary

    She looks pretty good for being away for so long!

    Hopefully the ropes, main sail, trampoline, and other expensive parts are not as bad as they looked in this video. It may be time for a large tip in the “Tipsy Jar”. Good luck getting it all done.

    Happy that you are back in your home.

    reply
  • Paul

    Had to watch again, since it was so nice watching your happiness to be home! A couple thoughts came to mind during the second viewing. (You said to watch and add to the comments…)

    Have you looked into some of the UV-cure welding polymers to use on the hatch handles rather than superglue? They appear to be sea-worthy (used to make fishing lures and such) others who are boat folks will have to speak to that. I guess it would depend on whether continued exposure to uv light all time would degrade it or strengthen the material. They make some that is rigid and some formulas which are somewhat flexible, all of which are supposed to be designed to work with glass and other hard materials. Might be something to keep in the toolkit next to the duct tape, chewing gum and baling wire.

    For the cockpit enclosure, to use it during passage to where you could replace it, could you punch some holes along the edge and lash it together with cord (similar to how the trampolines are held in place)? It appeared that the damage was more at the bottom edge, so if the sides and top remained attached, could the bottom just be tied in place? Worth a little cord to help keep Nikki dry…

    And… if we wanted to send something for you to try, is there a central place/person that is putting together a box to send or anything? If so, drop me an email.

    reply
  • Mark Dykeman

    Great to see you guys back “home”. I real enjoy all your comments , ideas and lessons on storage and repairs. Good to know what the true cost of sailing is.

    I see you have smaller e-bikes. Why the switch?

    All the best with the clean up.

    reply
  • Robert Dawson

    God is good glad you are back to your home.Now instead of travel mercies ,sending cleaning mercies.Please be careful with those chemicals in close quarters. Happy your back God bless.Bob here near Annapolis Md

    reply
  • Donald

    Commode issue…

    We leave the house in Florida sometimes for 4-5 months and we head up to the RV in the North GA mountains (Hiawassee). Being in Fl the commode went dry and of course it gives undesirable critters a pathway into the house. Simple FIX! Put in some water or what ever and wrap the toilet bowl with GLAD “PRESS’NSEAL”. We return and the water is still in the toilet and no mold, hard to believe. No critters either. Easy fix that works GREAT!

    reply
    • Meg

      Press & Seal. So smart and easy.

      reply
    • Irv

      I agree, the water evaporates in my RV toilet when we don’t use it for a few weeks. I think it’s evaporation rather than a slow leak in my case because it’s much worse in the summer. (Also the same problem in a guest bath that’s rarely used)

      I wonder if a film of cooking oil on top of the water would prevent evaporation.

      reply
      • Curious Minion

        Oil in your holding tank can cling to the sides and cause …. other things to cling as well. If the bath won’t be used for awhile you may want to leave some RV antifreeze in the bowl. It doesn’t evaporate as fast. You can also seal the bowl with cling wrap to prevent evaporation.
        Curious Minion

        reply
  • Paul

    Had to watch again, since enjoyed watching your happiness to be home! A couple suggestions came to mind during the second viewing. (You said to watch and add to the comments…)

    Have you looked into some of the UV-cure welding polymers to use on the hatch handles rather than superglue? They appear to be sea-worthy (used to make fishing lures and such.) I guess it would depend on whether continued exposure to uv light all time would degrade it or strengthen the material. They make some that is rigid and some formulas which are somewhat flexible, all of which are supposed to be designed to work with glass and other hard materials. Might be something to keep in the toolkit next to the duct tape, chewing gum and baling wire.

    For the enclosure, to use it during passage to where you could replace it, could you punch some holes along the edge and lash it together with cord (similar to how the trampolines are held in place)? It appeared that the damage was more at the bottom edge, so if the sides and top remained attached, could the bottom just be tied in place? Worth a little cord to help keep Nikki dry…

    And… if we wanted to send something for you to try, is there a central place/person that is putting together a box to send or anything? If so, drop me an email.

    reply
  • Lynn Wilson

    You all just continue to impress with you generosity to others and Mother Earth and you seemingly endless energy. I have no doubt you’ll have your boat ship shape in no time, and all those projects will underway with creative solutions that will amaze us all. Thanks so much for the tip about the baking soda and the “dirt”. We have never heard that and it looks like it was just the best solution for preventing mold and bugs we’ve ever seen. I have immediately looked up your resources links and have it down for our boat list provisioning list and can’t wait to prep our boat for future cruises. Thanks so much for your endless inspiration and the adventures to come!

    reply
  • Beth

    Oh my gracious! Your amazing efforts before you left her seem to have really paid off well! As many previous comments have mentioned your upbeat attitudes and positive energy have, and will continue to keep you going and strong in your obvious love for each other and the life you have chosen to share together and with the world. Also, could you be in a more beautiful location for cleaning?! I’m already misty eyed thinking of you all making your splash. Continuing to send positive energy and prayers that you remain safe and don’t find any major problems. Beth

    reply
  • Paul

    Yeah! And a “Good show!” to you both for all the things you did right so you have much less to do now to get back in the water. i think it shows you did a lot of research beforehand to know as best you could what could be done.

    I have two questions:

    Why, at the end of prior video, was Jason climbing down into a hatch? Got the impression we would find out this week.

    And: If you splash in a month, will you then find a marina there in Tonga to stay at for the rest of cyclone season or is the intent to be ready to sail away from cyclone area as soon as possible? Or is that all still up in the air until you’ve splashed and see what the world is like by then?

    Regardless, happy to see your happy faces and stress mostly gone!!

    reply
  • Bart Tecter

    Glad you are safely back on the boat. I know the worry of being away from your home like that. We are still in Canada with our motorhome (and life) in storage In Florida. You feel so helpless and a bit lost. As an ex sailor (Nantucket 33. – Pirate Jenny) we are now planning a few years of land sailing. I have followed your adventures since you had your motorhome. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving. (You two feel a bit like family). Best wishes from the cool, not yet frozen north.

    reply
  • Ember Baker

    Nikki and Jason, I’m so happy for you! Welcome home! Looks like you did a good job readying the boat for storage. Who knew it would wind up being a year? Wondering about unexpected added expenses. Hope it’s not too much of a hardship getting everything ready to go. No idea about your finances, but there are probably some folks out here who would be willing to help if you need it. I so look forward to your videos each week. Good luck with all the repairs.

    reply
  • Richard Fenters

    You guys did a SUPER job presenting the condition of Curiosity! It’s not the details of your “cleanup” efforts that impressed me most, but your upbeat and smiling optimistic attitudes that came through beautifully!! It was a “git er done” spirit that the really reflects those Texas and NM roots!!! Keep that up and soon you’ll be back at sea, even though you may get a little more ocean spray than you prefer for awhile!! :).

    reply
      • Annelise Dubose

        Can you courier the enclosure and have one made and send back to Tonga? Just a thought.

        reply
  • James G Cox

    I was wondering if you took the boat out a year ago for the storm season is it now storm season again now??

    reply
    • Greg Dobbyn

      Yes – cyclone season in Tonga is from November to April with most events occurring in January/February.

      reply
  • Pat

    Glad it looks pretty good considering it was a long time and you did not know how long it would be. Good job and hopefully all is okay as you progress.

    Pat

    reply
  • Joyce Tatler

    Will you be living in the boat while preparing it again or are you staying somewhere else? just wandered.

    reply
  • OjaiLynda

    Welcome home!

    reply
  • Pete & Christine

    Hi Nikki/Jason,
    You asked for comments about things you may have missed when laying up Curiosity. I was thinking about your engine; there are a couple of items I would have taken care of; especially when “she” is going to be laid up for an extended period.
    1. Change the engine oil to remove any acidic properties of the old/used engine oil.
    2. Flush the sea water side of the engine heat exchanger with fresh water and then fill with an RV antifreeze that would provide corrosive protection. (leaving the sea/salt water in the heat exchanger will probably provide a corrosive environment and reduce the life of the heat exchanger.)
    Hope these ideas are helpful?
    Love watching your videos; keep up the great work!
    My spouse and I are getting ready to become full-time live aboards too…..one more year of work and we are hoping to live the dream.
    Regards & best wishes
    Pete & Christine (Ontario, Canada)

    reply
  • Jeanette Brennan

    You guys did great preparing Curiosity for your 2-3 months away. Who knew it would turn into a year!! All looks mostly manageable so far! It must feel great to be home! Hooray for you guys and here’s to setting sail in a month or so! 👍🧼🧽💖🙏 ⛵️

    reply
  • Hurrah! So glad you finally got home and you got most things right. Enjoy the clean up and I nope there won’t be any nasty surprises lurking below the surface. Bid hugs of encouragement!

    reply
  • John Elick

    Thank you for sharing.

    reply
  • Wally Neal

    Except for the sheets (ropes to landlubbers), you folks did good at preparing the boat for a fairly long storage. Congrats! Hope rest of you discovery goes as well.

    reply
  • Jeanette Rogers

    I am so glad you are home again. Are you able to stay on the boat or is that against yard policy?

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      For now they are staying with friends on Tonga. Generally speaking you can’t live on a boat while it’s on the hard because your grey water (from hand washing, dishwashing & showers) just runs right out of the side of the boat. Not good on dry land! So staying on the boat is almost never allowed by a yard. [And yes, Nikki is extremely environmentally conscious and they use environmentally friendly soaps & shampoos, etc.]
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • MJB

    I enjoy watching your videos. You guys are always so upbeat and are not afraid to admit mistakes or things you overlook. I wish I was years younger. I would have loved to take the sailing adventures you folks have. To satisfy my travel lust I’m following your past footsteps with RV travels and still enjoy your videos on those topics. Keep the videos coming. I pray for your safety every night!

    reply
  • Ke

    I have a narrow boat here in UK, definitely using some of these tips for overwintering her. Thanks. Where are your cats?

    reply
    • Richard Fenters

      Please see previous episodes of The Wynns. A year or so ago before this Covid mess, the cats were taken to a wonderful ranch in Colorado to live where one unfortunately passed away and the other continues to have a happy life with super caregivers! With a heartbreaking decision, The Wynns unselfishly did what was best for the cats! I know it was a very difficult decision for them, but as usual they did the correct thing considering the circumstances and ALL involved!

      reply
    • Curious Minion

      You must have missed this vid: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/sailing-pets-goodbye 😥
      Spoiler alert: Singa is super happy with his new family and even has a girlfriend!
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • Kathy Bowers

    Are you guys able to actually live on Curiosity while in dry dock? Thanks for the baking soda tip! Will be putting that to use on our Airstream that is in storage.

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      For now they are staying with friends on Tonga. Generally speaking you can’t live on a boat while it’s on the hard because your grey water (from hand washing, dishwashing & showers) just runs right out of the side of the boat. Not good on dry land! [And yes, Nikki is extremely environmentally conscious and they use environmentally friendly soaps & shampoos, etc.]
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • Bill Nicholson

    Bill Nicholson here. Love you adventures. We are in Cape Coral Florida. Is there anything we could send you that might make your cleanup or return to sailing life a little easier? I was a sailor with a Catalina 30 when I was younger. We live on the water but are power boaters now. Your happy attitude is therapy during this Covid crisis. Let me hear from you. Seriously!

    reply
  • Laura Kuhn

    Yay! So glad you are back home and that most of your efforts paid off. That damn toilet has always been a bugger. And, from my outsider perspective of one who knows NOTHING about catamarans, I think you did fantastic! You are my hero’s! And, you look so happy! Must be wonderful to be back in Curiosity.

    reply
  • Frank

    Great to see almost everything looks to be in good shape, have been looking forward to you two returning to your home. Good luck on all your projects looking forward to watch you complete them.

    reply
  • Marjorie Nehlsen

    Welcome home. I found this episode extremely interesting. Still lots of work but could be much worse. Hope you don’t find any suprises with the engine etc. Glad you were successful with no critter’s destroying things.

    reply
  • rw

    Like Jan said, “welcome home”!
    Curious to see how the fuel system faired…

    reply
  • Wendy Hardy

    I think one of the things that may have really helped you was having the fans running all the time. Air circulation makes a huge difference on keeping mould at bay.
    Good luck with everything else.

    reply
  • Malcolm Stephenson

    Great to see you back on your beloved yacht. Corona really turned everybody’s life upside down. Happy cleaning and praying that everything works out well. Kind regards Gina and Malcolm.

    reply
  • Ed Thompson

    Welcome back to your home!!

    Absolutely the right call on keeping the electronics on. Keeping them on generates a small amount of heat, which dramatically lowers the humidity around the electronics, and keeps the electronics dry. (Moist electronic equipment will deteriorate rapidly.) Also keeping the fans on kept the air moving and prevented mold.

    So right call!!!

    Ed Thompson

    reply
  • JOHN SCHRETLEN

    The best decision that you made last year was to get on the hard and prep as best as you could. I was actually quite impressed that the walls, ceilings, floors and cupboards showed so little signs of mold. Too bad that you left some of the newer lines out, but they can be easily replaced.

    I’ve seen boats that were ‘stored’ on the water and all surfaces had mold, rot, bugs, or other damage. And the hulls? Foot long growth and every thru-hull blocked up solid. Yes, I think you did a lot of thing correctly.

    reply
  • Jim Lyon

    Congratulations (on being home and having done such a great prep job)! It looks like you thought of a lot of stuff I never even considered or new (good tip about the diatanatius earth). Great episode, great tips.

    Thanks

    reply
  • Lisa Cantrell

    SO happy to see you back and it all looks extremely manageable. Good luck!

    reply
  • WILLIAM Cutler DOMB

    Might consider a cup of bleach in the water tanks. Probable algae.

    Secondarily, sounds like many of your projects could be accomplished while underway, no?

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      Minor projects could be done while underway but there are several that are best finished prior to shoving off. Those include switching out the anchor chain & repairing the fuel tanks (which will require a lot of grinding and then some fiberglass work. They will most likely ride out the rest of hurricane season in Tonga for insurance purposes (and Covid restrictions) so there’s no huge hurry.
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • Jan

    This novice thinks things look great. Welcome home!

    reply
  • Robin Gates

    Great to see you guys home. You can get it done!!!

    reply

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