Sailboat Projects – Gettin’ Up, Down, Dirty & Stinky
Our shakedown cruise is over and it’s time to bust out the tools again. The past several weeks have been a welcome respite from the intense learning and boat projects. But, we do still have a few more boat tasks to knock out before we go disappearing off into the horizon for the Bahamas.
We purposely choose to split up all the work that needed to be done on the boat for two reasons.
- Financially we couldn’t afford to do everything at once.
- With all the electrical (solar, batteries) and major mods (new dinghy davits, composting toilets) we knew we needed time to test everything properly before losing sight of land.
Our years of being RV test dummies taught us to always have a good shakedown trip after any major mods, and this is especially true when it’s a new-to-you vessel. At this point we’re practically ambassadors for Murphy’s Law.
Luckily, all our mods held up, but like any worthy shakedown trip we’ve discovered several new gremlin’s to sort out. So, here we are, back at the Just Catamarans dock and ready to work, even a bit excited to tackle some of the projects ahead. We’re applying what we learned from our last stint in sailboat service, we’re sticking to our list and we’ll complete as much as possible ourselves before bringing in the hired guns.
Well, we were chugging right along until hurricane Matthew started seriously stirring about. As if boat projects are not enough of an adventure, we have hurricane Matthew to contend with. We are putting all projects on hold and switching over to hurricane prep mode. This will be our first time to ever experience a hurricane, and it seems even scarier now that we live on a boat. The good news is, we couldn’t be in better company! Poor Kent, he is going to be soooo ready to watch the back end of our boat head out towards the open ocean.
Speaking of Kent…what would we do without that crazy South African!?! We were simply searching out a good boat broker and we found ourselves the best service company, a lifelong friend and mentor. You could call it synergy, serendipity, fate or a myriad of other terms. We say we’re damn thankful! There have been BBQ’s (or braai as South Africans say), evening sails and many hours of supervised tool usage spent getting to know Kent, his family and their friends over the past eight months. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to them all as we move along. They have become a part of our family and a big part of our life story.
Ok, enough of that or I am going to get all teary-eyed.
Here is a brief run-down of everything we tackled in this video or have a good start on. I’m sure for some of these tasks you may be asking, “What? and Why?”
Sailboat Projects Part 1
New Stackpack and Genoa
Our surveyor told us we would be fine to do some coastal cruising with our current genoa but due to age and wear we should replace it before any big water sailing. Once the genoa was down we noticed we had some loose set screws. A little lock-tite and some quality time up the furler and we were good to go again.
As for our stackpack, it was more of the same. The zipper was gone and there were several holes that needed patching. Some items are almost more expensive to repair than they are to replace.
So, we bit the bullet and not only ordered a new stackpack and genoa…we got a spinnaker too (I cannot wait to use and show you that baby)! We ordered Ullman sails because that is what Leopard uses and they have a good reputation for making quality sails. That said, I royally kicked myself immediately after placing the order.
As soon as we had written the check and placed the ordered I remembered Sailmaker Says. During our dreaming, planning, learning phase I had read several fantastic technical articles written by Jamie of Sailing Totem. He is a fellow cruiser and a sailmaker. I had filed away in my memory bank to contact Jamie when we needed sails. I obviously filed it too far back because I completely forgot until after the fact. (SLAPS PALM to FOREHEAD!)
Most likely Jamie would have saved us a few bucks, we’d have one-of-a-kind custom sails and we could have learned heaps in the process. I will not make the same mistake when it comes time to replace our mainsail. Our Ullman sails are great but I would have preferred to support a fellow cruiser and it bums me out that I forgot, sorry Jamie.
The previous owner had upgraded the mattress in the owner’s cabin but the others are all original. They are not in bad condition but they are not exactly comfortable either. We have a slew of family heading our way and once they have all made the rounds…we’re going to open the cabin up for crewing opportunities (yep, that could be you)! We want everyone to enjoy their stay and that starts with a good night’s rest.
If you want the full scoop on the mattress itself, you will find that info here: gonewiththewynns.com/product/custom-mattress
There are a lot of important pieces of equipment on a boat…a beefy anchor is one of the tops. s/v Curiosity came with an old CQR anchor that didn’t fit properly, had a bent shaft, a seized anchor roller and a small swivel. It wasn’t ideal to say the least. On top of all of that, it often seems impossible to set and even when it does set, the anchor is lying on its side (which is not good). As soon as we would back down on it with anything above 1500-2000rpm it would break loose and start to drag. There are plenty of times it would take 4-6 attempts to finally get a good bite and holding (and there was one night we simply gave up and decided to sleep in shifts). I know that’s a lot of words just to say, our anchor pretty much sucked!
We turned to the internet, read a bunch of articles comparing anchors, watched a slew of YouTube videos and chatted with our fellow cruisers. The conclusion: Sailors are a heavily opinionated bunch. Mantus, Manson, Rocna and Spade all have their own cult following. Any of these choices would be better than what we have but the Mantus homegrown testing videos and rave reviews from fellow boaters won us over. Plus, Mantus is a small company that is owned and operated by a couple of fellow cruisers (and they’re Texan like us).
Our old anchor wasn’t a perfect fit for our boat and neither is this one…I have no idea what anchor Leopard was thinking would fit when they designed our anchor roller system. So…we have some modifications to figure out. Mantus customer service (aka Phillip and Greg) have been super awesome at helping us work through it all. Stay tuned for more on this debacle as we try to sort it all out.
This was one of the fastest, no drama, no hold up mods Jason has ever done. He was so fast I didn’t even have time to film it (a very different experience from this How Not To install an RV faucet video)! The original faucet was rusting and leaking. Here is the faucet we swapped it out with: http://amzn.to/2faJIRZ
The water pump we had was a 2.7gpm that wasn’t quite powerful enough. It was fine and dandy for the sinks but by the time the water reached the shower heads it was a slow trickle. With the new 4gpm Aqua King…we are indeed showering like Kings! Side note, we also installed our trusty water saving aerators that help conserve water and increase water pressure. For some reason the aerators didn’t work with the original pump but they work great with the new one.
From what we have been told, windows last about 5-7 years. The previous owner tried his hand at re-bedding the windows but missed the very important step of applying the activator. Because of this, our windows are delaminating far earlier than they should.
We are doing the grunt work ourselves to save money, gain the experience and we will take notes from the pros on how to properly seal them back up. At this time we’ve redone 3 of the 4 side windows, so it’s only a matter of time before the 4th one removes itself from the fiberglass and begins to leak.
We removed the baby stay because it was in the way, it wasn’t structural (we confirmed with riggers) and causes extra wear and tear on the genoa while changing course.
We removed the whisker poll and track for many reasons as well. It’s dangerous to use, lots of potential to hurt the boat and us (our sailing instructor didn’t like it either). It’s not as practical on a catamaran as it is on a monohull (especially now that we have a spinnaker), it was cluttering up our mast and it wasn’t installed properly so it was held onto the mast with a bungee in a jerry-rigged sort of way.
The steaming light burnt out during our shakedown trip…at night…in a rainstorm (of course). We’ve been loading up on LED replacement bulbs for just these occasions. LED’s are so much more efficient than traditional halogen bulbs. More on where we source our LED’s here: gonewiththewynns.com/product/m4-led-lights
While up at the top of the mast, Jason checked out our radar. It has been randomly cutting out on us at times. We were hoping that it was a loose wire…and I hate to say this but, I think it is slowly dying on us. Radars, electronics and navigation…it is all super expensive and extremely important stuff. Sadly, this is one of those things we are going to have to hold off on for now. Our system may crash often, but it’s not dead yet and we are not financially or mentally prepared to go there at this point in our relationship with our new boat. Replacing a radar means replacing all the gear because the new stuff doesn’t “talk” with the old stuff that we have on our boat now. We’re considering all the options Garmin, B&W and Raymarine, but in the meantime, we’ve purchased the iPad and Garmin Bluecharts as a solid backup.
We have three toilets (heads) on board and we swapped out two of them for our beloved composting toilets. We kept the one macerator toilet. We’ve had issues with the head since the purchase of the boat. The owner told us it was just a clogged vent which we fixed during our last service stint…now we thought it was a failing macerator which we fixed in this video…but sadly, the clogged toilet saga is still unsolved. More on this stinky drama next time.
I would have swapped them all out for composting toilets but Jason wants to keep one sea water/marine toilet on board. He is concerned with the availability of composting medium as we travel about the world (fair enough). Also, he is thinking for ocean crossings, the typical marine toilet makes sense. I do understand his thinking here but my votes are still for composting, it’s been our only toilet for years in the RV. But, I am fine to let him keep cursing his way through the stinky head troubleshooting process.
Another side note, we will shoot a video about our sailboat composting toilet installs and how they are working out soon: All things composting toilet related can always be found here: www.gonewiththewynns.com/all-composting-toilet
Thanks so much for following along and being a part of our crazy journey. Having all of you along to share these experiences with makes it all so much more dynamic for us. Your comments, jokes, encouragement and tips have kept us chugging along. So thanks for that!
Update: I have gotten a lot of questions about the lantern we put out to help with the bugs and forgot to mention what it was. It is a Thermacell and while it is NOT all natural, it does work well when the natural stuff just wont cut it: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/product/thermacell-mosquito-pest-control
Hi Guys, who did your steel work for the custom anchor housing?
+JULIO CARBONELL Metalworks did the fabrication work.
Phil & Rita
Great idea re the mattress – we changed our own out at home for an organic futon one (the only organic one we could get). So much better than a toxic foam one. As ever, a great watch. Love the journey you guys are on and have shared – from complete newbies to doing lots of repairs and renos yourself. Blazing a trail guys. Fair winds and have fun.
Tips from what I saw:
-working on water areas,have a couple old rags and a roll of paper towels. with a plastic grocery bag to put them in.
-scraping windows etc,a straight razor blade in a holder works 10 times better than a wood chisel Cost a couple bucks.
-knee pads for tight areas
Was watching another one of your vlogs and you mentioned something about app issue with tracking your sail.
Have a recommendation which may or may not be useful to you. The app ViewRanger I personally find is really good. Use it a lot for hiking and had it on once on a boat too and it tracked fine.
Congrats on your new chapter! Used to follow your journey and knew you always wanted to transition to boating. Finally did it!
Maybe you talked about it somewhere as I was just catching up with the vlogs, but did you sell the smart car too?
Sandra & the 2 Spaniels
Why oh why would Jason want that old macerating toilet? Yuck! Simply store up some coco coir. It’s cheap, easy, and light. Those composting toilets are the bomb-in a good way!!
Boats, RVs, houses-they all seem to demand a lot of upkeep. You guys are settling right in, though. Love that your cat is so helpful. Always good to have an extra set of kibbitzers!
I laughed out loud really enjoyed it. Thanks for another great video. My repairs always seem to go the same way. Ah to be wealthy and buy new I’ll never know how that feels!
Great job guys, love the teamwork! Safe travels.
I don’t know if anyone reading this is following the Wynns crossing to the Bahamas, but just in case…
According to the Marinetraffic website, the Wynns left Ft. Lauderdale around 03:40 local time. About half an hour later they transited Port Everglades inlet and had to swerve to avoid a 650ft container ship going in the other direction. As I’m writing this, it’s 05:30 local time, they are about 15 miles from the coast of Florida, heading about ENE at 7.9kts. They look to be heading for West End, Grand Bahama (which was their plan) and should arrive sometime between 15:00 and 19:00 local time.
Cool vid, as always. Thanks for sharing the “ugly” stuff.
Thanks for the new mattress, much appreciated!
Good thing Jason is small. That was a small space he was working in.
Safe travels across the sea! ?
Are you guys leaving tomorrow for West End(Friday 4th November)? Looks like the forecast is for northerlies 5-10 kts with seas of 2-3 feet. Looks like the window is from a few hours before dawn until dusk. I accept that it’s not a “textbook” multiday window with southerlies or south easterlies. Wondering what you thought of it.
Oh, we are taking it for sure!
It was fun to watch you guys working – can’t believe all the stuff you both can do!! Only with the help of the cats of course ;)) Safe journey and man those bugs are fierce. Can’t wait to try out the new mattress.
Love from Jasper and me xox
Great meeting you 2 last week. Kim & I feel the project pain. But your close. We have been doung our pre-cruise projects for 11 months now. But a 12 hour cruise last week turned up many more projects. Of course hitting two submerged trees in the ICW didn’t help. If the projects end, then, we are no longer “Jus Passin Thru” this great life adventure. Great work guys, fair winds and stay ahead of Murphy! Cheers
Love watching others work. But seriously, there is something satisfying about getting a job done right. You folks got it down pat. And of course, it is nice seeing it all come together.
We’re vegetarians, and I love cats and sailing…… just saying. What do we have to do to get on your short list?
By the way, did you forget to put a waterproof, hypoallergenic mattress cover over that new one? Gotta keep it from getting damp and infested.
I bet you sleep like rocks after all that work. You guys never cease to amaze me, this video gave me such admiration for how hard you’ve worked to get where you are. Love the nosy cat….
Thanks for the maintenance / projects update. Good info on what it takes to keep up with it but I’m thinking there is is a whole lot more that we haven’t seen that requires your attention at times. Great post, I admire you guys. –Wait I always say that… but at any rate, I appreciate being able to come along on your adventures via the blog and videos. They are great! Lots of work too I’m sure.
Are you guys Going to Ft lauderdale Boat show ? Maybe a Meet a greet would be a Great thing ?
Great job guys, love how you work so good together, you will get away from that marina one day, then you will not want to come back. safe sailing and fair winds to you.
Please don’t think that your videos are boring, many of us long to be where you guys are in life. This video brings a sense of true ownership to what you are doing and gives us real insight into what it would be like to live on a boat. I am utterly amazed at the good spirits you two seem to always possess (to each other) especially in the face of adversity, maybe it’s just good editing. I have binge watched all of your sailing videos and can’t get enough, I have crewed many years on other peoples boats (five years racing) and long to have my own along with my wife. You have sparked a flame and we have been talking about what you are doing and just how feasible it would be for us.
I enjoy seeing how you and Jason work together. Keep up the good work
This was my favorite video so far…guess there is more tech-y parts to me than I thought. It was so interesting…like sitting next to my dad as he fixes something…so great to have so much explained. I love that you two are so cheerful when things don’t go as planned…which happens a lot right now. The new parts will allow you to sleep better at night! Now, to build a giant bug net that can cover the boat….hmmm… Thanks for listing what you used for each project…it’s nice to know what’s good out there. So great to see Kent (love his patience) and Terry (willing to get messy) helping get things done right…such great friends to have! May the wind be always at your back and your seas calm!
very cool video! I am a “Tool Guy”… two things guys, the CONFIDENCE you gain from this DIY approach is worth waay more than the $$$ you save! You will be able to deal with issues “ad Hoc” while you are far far away from the security of the dock. Also, I like to think of my motorhome repair efforts like the way a cook peels an onion. Strip away the first layer and you can see other blemishes… lather, rinse, repeat till you have a clean onion! its the same with repairs like this 🙂 I continue to live vicariously…
Thanks so much for doing this video. I really appreciate all the work you 2 do. Bravo & brava!! I always learn something.
Chuck and Lucie
Enjoyed the video. We have watched them all and was worried that we have not seen an update thanks for posting it. Good luck, be safe.
You may think this is boring, I find it very interesting and informative. As a longtime Rv’er I understand the constant need for updates and maintenance. Nice job!!
Boats seem to be a lot like airplanes, with endless maintenance and very high costs for parts. It works while you are very keen on doing it, but eventually the costs dragged it down for me. You can’t live in an airplane. The blog posts you are doing now are most instructive. I’m trying to refine my small trailer into nice place to live without hookups. There are constant problems but I am trying to do it on the cheap. The tough part of the boat, for me, would be the overall cost structure. I’m looking at a lithium battery system based on a LiFePo ebike battery, converting it down to 12 volts from 48 volts. There’s a lot of stuff that can be done very cheaply but people don’t seem to be experimenting. There aren’t really any new frontiers in the RV. So it’s an exercise in using space efficiently, organizing activities like cooking, and keeping it interesting. There must be people in the boating world looking for lower cost solutions. I guess with loans or insurance or docking regulations, you are constrained. You can fly on the cheap in the ‘Experimental’ category. People nurse old motorhomes along.
You are making it sound awfully expensive.
I guess you really would have a ‘relative’ magnet with that boat. I mean, it’s unique enough and romantic enough to make people want to join you for a while. That might or might not be interesting. People will walk through your RV, but that’s about it, anymore. Go to a show and you can walk through 40 in a couple of hours.
I’m pretty sure the set-up and outfit blog posts will be the most interesting for me. What do any of us wwnt to learn, and how practical will it be? With a boat you might end up in spots where you would have to do repairs. I guess at some point the comfort level will be there, and you will sail with stuff that you want fixed, now, but maybe you would put up with later on. I guess you want to do something fairly ambitious early on, once you really know the problems and the solutions and the work-arounds.
I’ll follow you to see whether what you are doing really offers that elusive sense of freedom. There isn’t much that is fresh about RVing, and the natural world is in a calamitous state. But I think if people work to make a personal space out of an RV, and then go off to someplace interesting, there will be a sense of freedom and adventure. Maybe I need more structure than a boat on the oceans can provide, but it’s definitely worth pursuing. There is a great sense of freedom in an airplane you are flying, but you are tied into the most rigid system on the planet.
Great job Nikki and Jason!! Awesome that You show the inner workings of Boat ownership. Many fail to do and keep up with the “to do list” that yes Jason, does grow all the time!! 🙂 P.S. Think about coming up the Coast next Spring/Summerand spending time with us here on the “Maine Coast” You will Love it!
Am I missing something? If you are going to have a spinnaker, wouldn’t it be necessary to have a spinnaker pole? And if you have a spinnaker pole, wouldn’t it use the track on the mast that was removed in the video?
We removed the whisker poll and track which is used with the genoa to sail “wing on wing” downwind. While this method works great on a mono, its not as great on our catamaran. The whisker poll, nor it’s track is not used with a spinnaker. It will all make more sense once we get out on the water and you see the spinnaker in use.
Sorry, this is my mistake. You are probably going to be using an asymmetric spinnaker which doesn’t use a pole.
BTW, this was a great video. It’s always informative to see the preparation and maintenance required before going on a big adventure. In fact the two of you make videos that are both informative and entertaining at the same time!
Thanks for all your efforts at creating these videos.
This cut doesnt need a pole, perfect for cruising.
Did I miss it? What was the little lantern like thing you said works great for keeping he bugs away?! We have GOT to get one. We are currently in SC heading to Florida for a couple of months and we are already fighting the bugs! Help!
Manson & Cindy
Great job documenting the projects. It is also nice getting to “know” JC, Kent and Raf. Only 4 months until we will be there to take possession of our new L40. Although our bout will be new we have our own list of projects. I’ll be there for first few weeks of March trying to knock it out (with help from Just Catamarans). Hope we cross paths if you are back in Florida then – or in April when we return to set sail for the Chesapeake Bay. Cheers!
If you guys are ever in the St.Augustine area let us know… it would be an honor to treat you to a cold one???? RV-Dreams class of 2014 graduate now living in Flagler Beach
Awesome jam packed video guys. I’m always amazed on the endless chores. Hoping you are enjoying the Bahamas by now. I definitely wouldn’t mind trying out that new mattress! Happy sailing my friends.
Great job guys! Love watching your videos here on the island of Mallorca. Stop by sometime on your travels. Bernard
A great video. As a future boat owner, I love videos like this. Very interesting and informative. Very cool to see the inner workings of a boat.
How are you getting on with the composting toilets on a boat vs. an RV? To me, they seem very practical, but what do you do (or plan to do) with the compost when you’re at sea and need to refill them?
The boats I’ve sailed on all use traditional hand-pump toilets that smell of chemicals and general stink. Plus, the idea of having to get the black water tank emptied turns my stomach. Composting toilets really seem the way to go. Would love your input on this topic.
Hi there, you two
Well, you never fail to create a wonderful story, whether it’s RV,ING or figuring a problem out with your RV, or now, sailing, or learning how to respond when you find sea water bubbling up in your hold! You two are great!.
Over the years, while fantasizing about doing exactly what you two are actually doing, I’ve watched lots of home videos of people in RV’s and in sailboats, but I can honestly say none have nailed it like you have. You both have a style that is warm and friendly and you make me, while watching you two do whatever, feel like I’m part of “the family” (and no, I’m it Italian, although after leaving my position as manager of one of the large restsurants on Fisherman’s Wharf, I did create and run the San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf Festa Italiana for 5 years!).
Anyway, I don’t think I’ll very be able to crew for you (I use a wheelchair for mobility), but if you ever get into San Francisco Bay, I would like to invite you to the South Beach Yacht Club. A number of years ago, I started the Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors and woukd love to throw back a few with you both. The South Beach Yacht Club gave us a membership and let’s us use their clubhouse which has a great bar!
Great update. It sure is wonderful the way you manage to get so much on video.
Looks to me like the cats were keen to be done with all this at-the-dock business and want to be sailing. Even as they have a real close look-see they still looked like they are wondering what’s taking so long.
Novice here ,,, so you don’t need the whisker pole for when you fly the spinnaker? Or are they mainly used with
The spinnaker only in light winds to help keep it full so it dosent collapse ? Or for certain wind angles ? Thanks for any teachings !
The whisker pole is used when running downwind and the sail needs to be held out to reduce the tendency to collapse. The spinnaker they will fly is called an Asymmetrical Spinnaker and doesn’t always need to be help out (it has a “true” dedicated clew and tack sail corner like all other sails) as opposed to a Symmetrical Spinnaker (big balloon sails you see on race boats) in which the clew and tack are interchangeable as you tack. The catamaran is much wider than a monohull (~23 VS 14 foot beam), therefore the sail is held out somewhat by the hull itself. That being said, I would of kept it. But his reasons were sound.
As a mostly SF Bay day sailor & sometimes coastal sailor and bareboat charterer, watching all the boat repairs just keeps emphasizing that I’ll stick to chartering! ??⛵️ Cruising…sail to exotic places to fix your boat! ? Truly, though, happy for your enthusiasm and excitement about it all!
Haven’t chimed in much, but have watched & read all sailing related posts et al. Enjoying watching you learn to sail! ? My sister…Margaret S., one of your patreons…introduced me to you guys with your transition to your sailing sailboat adventure from RV. She’ll be taking that route while I’ll look for fun on boats! Speaking of fun on boats, will be interested in seeing what crewing ideas & opportunities you’ve got hidden up the mast! ? Though I’ve been sailing for about 16 years now, I’ve done minimal blue water sailing or long passages, not much cruising…so you all would have learned a lot more than I about the mechanics & systems of the boat. And being from the Left Coast, I’ve only sailed a couple of times on the east coast in New England.
Although the weather window didn’t look too promising for your push off to the Bahamas last week, I hope a window has opened or is imminent. Gonna hang around long enough over there to see any of the Louis Vuitton and America’s Cup? Now THAT is a catamaran! ???
Anyway…it’s late and I’m blabbering a bit, so I’ll close with congrats on your successes and accomplishments thus far…keep having fun! Sail Fast, Sail Safe! ?
Blessed be the Mantus anchor! You will be amazed how great they are! When we first got ours I couldn’t believe how easily it set and held! Love your videos , hurry up and come visit us here in Australia!
I only want to say thank you for sharing your adventures on land and now afloat. One
Other person beat me to the phrase, “living vicariously with the Wynns”.
I find all of this absolutely fascinating. Even the mundane chores videos. You all have so much energy…I envy that. Yes, as always, living vicariously through your travels. Pam
Wowsa, just got tired of reading all of the stuff you guys did on your boat! It never ends but for always moving! Love your posts, and curious about your comment you meant about crewing or did you mean charter opportunities?
We did mean crewing opps! More details coming soon!
What a great way to spend a trust fund. Not snarky just jealous.
A trust fund would be grand! I was born and raised in West Texas by my grandmother…far, far from the world of trust funds. Jason’s family is working class, also no trust funds. We have paved our own ways, which is why we can confidently say, no trust fund needed! You can do it. If you have not read this, check it out: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/travel-money-wynns
Okay, this isn’t an actual boat question but I have to ask, “What is the bug lantern? ”
I have a book of notes (what works/doesn’t work/ideas) I keep as you are taking this journey a couple of years before my husband and I plan on doing the same. If it turns out you like the life, we might just see you on the waves in a bit.
Another great video. Love watching your adventures, even if this one was not on the high seas. It appears Jason’s mechanical skills have come a long ways since the early days of RVing. Sailboats and motor homes have one thing in common, there’s always something to fix, I just finished a 5,000 mile 7 week trip in my motor home, and didn’t have one thing go wrong…………yippeeeee !!! Thanks again for sharing your adventures, I very much enjoy watching them.