Fall & Winter Projects

“Quiet” Season Projects

As always with boat ownership, there are plenty of things to do during the “quiet” fall and winter months, though here in Florida winter is relative! One thing we did notice after we had written this is that it doesn’t seem like a lot when you are doing these things one at a time, but looking back we got through a substantial amount – albeit some small general maintenance stuff.

Some we did ourselves, some we “outsourced,” and some were general ongoing maintenance.


We don’t have much wood on the exterior of Sonas, but all of the rails are teak. Over time the salt and sun take their toll and the varnish starts to flake. It was time for some light sanding and a couple of coats of Helmsman.

Refinished brightwork

Sonas has a teak and holly floor. While not exposed to the elements as is the exterior bright work, it does get scuffed and scratched over time. We gave the galley and salon floor a light sanding and then two coats of Minwax polyurethane.

After sanding
After a couple of coats

The salon walls were also looking a bit dull so we cleaned these and coated a couple of times with Murphy’s Oil Soap.

Dull walls

We also noticed that the varnish on one of the interior window sills and frames needed attention,most likely because the window was left open during a salty run. We sanded those down and gave them a couple of coats as well.

One of our biggest aggravations in the two years we have owned Sonas has been the 24 volt halogen ceiling lights. The bulbs on these go out on a frequent basis, and if they don’t go out they come loose and constantly need to to pushed back in.  So we decided to replace all 34 of the lights with 24v LEDs.

Old light fixtures


Pilothouse change
LED light.

Sonas had a very nice Ekornes recliner and foot stool which unfortunately was getting well past its best. With the two person sofa, this only provided seating for three in the salon (though we do have two stools at the galley counter). So we swapped out the recliner for two replacements, now we have plenty of seating for four.

We have three lights above the galley counter which are controlled by a resistor type dimmer switch. This had gone bad. Also, since we were replacing the lights with LEDs we needed a different type of dimmer. After searching high and low for a 24v dimmer, we decided to go with a simple on/off switch instead, especially since every time we switched those lights on we turned the dimmer to full anyway!

Old bar dimmer
Old bar dimmer


Other Stuff

A couple of times in the Bahamas last year we tied to piles that were well in front of our spring cleats, necessitating tying two of our lines together to set the springs. So we decided to buy some 50 foot 3/4 inch lines to have on board for those times we have to do that again.

New 50′ 3/4″ lines

After a winter being pushed up against the concrete dock and sitting partially in the water the fenders were looking a bit shabby. After a good wash and spray with restorer they come up a bit more ready for the new season – though I do see some new fenders in our near future as they still look a bit tired.

Yukky fender
Now it just needs a shine!

We also added some new artwork – the nicest piece was a blown up drone photo of Sonas at Williams Cay! You will want to click on this photo to enlarge it – we are really pleased with how it came out.


For our three month trip to the Exumas we put a small freezer in the corner of the salon to ensure that we had enough frozen goods for the duration. Since in 2017 we will only spend about six weeks in the Abacos before three months in the Chesapeake (where fresh supplies are readily available) we removed the freezer and stored it in the garage.


One side benefit of a nice long cruise like three months in the Exumas is that you really get to know your boat. As things cropped up or were found we kept a log of the items we wanted our yard to work on. So we took Sonas over to Lambs Yacht Center on the Ortega River with the to-do list. We had divided these into must dos, the A list, and if time and cost allowed a B list. So we had the following completed:

  • Both fiberglass exhaust tubes in the engine room were ground down and re-glassed. The original survey had found spider cracks that allowed salt water to spray against the engine room bulk head.
  • The A/C unit in the guest cabin ran continuously so the control board need to be replaced.
  • All of the wet cell house batteries (12), and the two generator batteries were swapped out for no-maintenance gels.
  • The Halon fire suppression system was recertified.
  • The starboard stabilizer was leaking a small amount of fluid and squeaking. The yard had Naiad techs service both stabilizers.
  • We had a minor accident in the Exumas and damaged the corner of the swim platform. The yard brought his back to like new. And while they had it out of the water they replaced all the zincs.

  • The vacuum pump for the master cabin head was very inconsistent and the pump for the guest head was leaking so we had the yard totally replace the pumps and rebuild both head systems.
  • The PathMaker unit, which allows parallel use of house and start batteries to start the engines was malfunctioning and continuously connecting the batteries, meaning that the start batteries were being drawn down by house usage. This is a big no-no as you could end up with flat start batteries after a period at anchorage.  We had the yard remove the PathMaker completely.

The Stidd pilothouse helm chair had seen better days. So we asked Stephen Mousa at Mousa Auto  and Marine Interiors to redo it. We also had the metal powder coated to the same color. We are very pleased by the finished product!

Before helm chair
After helm chair

Our galley faucet had corroded and siezed in one position. The faucet was one where you could extend the faucet end with a hose. This hose had also blocked up over time reducing the amount of water coming out. So we had Atlantic Coast Plumbing and Tile come and swap out the faucet for a new one, which did not have the hose extension. Sometimes simple is best on a boat!

Mike from MPG Electronics resolved some issues we were having with the electronics. The Autopilot was not getting a feed from either of the GPS systems, or the computer.  Seems the J300X computer had gone bad so had to be replaced by a used part as they no longer make these. Also the flybridge monitor was not working so that we could monitor the engine room and rear cameras while underway. The power supply had gone bad so we had to order a replacement from the original manufacturer in Canada.

Ongoing Maintenance

Because we anchor out a lot a fully working and reliable tender is critical. We took the Novurnia RIB and its 25 horse power Yamaha to Isle of Palms Marine at Palm Cove Marina for a service. This included emptying out the fuel tank and cleaning it, as well as replacing the fuel hose and bulb.

In early February I had Ryan from the Pier 88 Diving franchise here is Jacksonville come and give the bottom a good clean and replace the zincs.

Josh from Control Master Inc, the mechanics that we use on Sonas, came and completed an annual service on the Lugger engines and Northern Lights generator.  He de-gunked both engine heat exchangers, replaced a generator fuel injector valve and the generator fresh water circulating pump.

One area we are struggling with is getting the boat compounded and waxed. We have had three people around to look at her and so far so one works on boats this size. Asking around it seems there is a dearth of detailing companies in Jacksonville. Still waiting to get this completed.

All-in-all, we are more than ready for the season!



11 thoughts on “Fall & Winter Projects”

  1. Bob, see here. At first we were finding them at over $60 a piece then someone on the Trawler Forum put us onto these for $20 each!


    No flickering issues with them on a regular switch. But I had two sets on a resistor type dimmer. One has only two lights and flicker at the low setting but are fine at the high dimmer setting – which we always put it to anyway. The other dimmer is a four light set and the light is fine at the high setting but there is a whining noise. So we are moving them both to a regular switch since we always push the dimmer to the high setting anyway. Researching this issue, if we want to keep them on a dimmer we would need to replace the resistor switch with PWM dimmers (Pulse Wave Modulation). Which we may do in the future if we want to go back to dimmers.

  2. Wow…you have been busy!! We had Dream Fever’s bottom done in November…has been at Lambs since December. We will return in a couple weeks to slowly head north? Do you think it’s time for a hull cleaning after nearly 4 months sitting idle at Lambs? Thanks!!

  3. All looking good for our arrival 6 weeks and counting. Glad to see you sorted issues with ac in guest cabin! . Sure paula can do a spot of polishing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *