Off Season Projects – 2019

Here are the projects completed before we start the busy 2019 boating season. [To see last year’s projects click here.]

Now we kinda know what they mean when they say “maintained with an open check book!”

Water Maker; we had Hansen Marine Service out of St Augustine install a Blue Water LGD 475, fully automatic water maker that is capable of 20 gallons per hour. We also has a remote screen installed in the Pilot House.

20 GPH water maker
Remote water maker panel

Pilot House wood; when we bought Sonas she had a thin mesh screen for the pilot house windows. Over time this had allowed the sun to badly damage the varnish on the beautiful wood work. We contracted with a painter we had used on our home to re do the wood. He sanded, stained, poly’d, wire-wooled and poly’d again. The result was spectacular.

To see the before, during and after photos click here.

New chart plotters and AIS; the RX on our AIS failed last year, and one of the buttons on the fly bridge chart plotter stopped working. We replaced the AIS with a Vesper XB-8000 with Wi-Wi and dedicated antenna. We also replaced both the fly bridge and pilot house chart plotters with the latest Garmin 8610 models. We had the chart plotter feeding the Green Marine 17” screen in the pilot house which replicates on the fly bridge.

Anchor and Chain; during a January trip we lowered the anchor to find rust dust on the deck. So when we got back to home dock we removed the anchor and the 400 pounds of 3/8 inch chain and took it up to the galvanizers. Easy to write, but quite a job to get it off the boat, up from the dock, and into the SUV! The anchor and chain was hot dipped in zinc and any fused links loosened by hammer. The results were excellent.

Anchor before
Anchor after

Cockpit speakers; the original cockpit speakers had seen better days. The rubber inside was falling apart and the metal face plates were rusty. So we replaced them with a pair of Pyle waterproof speakers.

New Speakers

Radar arch downlights; the original lights had the small two prong halogen bulbs. We find that these can no longer be replaced as the receiving hole in the fittings are worn too large to hold the bulbs. So we replaced both downlights with LEDs. While these are in and working we are not happy with the overall quality of the fittings and will keep looking for better quality and will likely replace these next year.

New laptop and GPS puck; we decided to buy a dedicated lap top for Sonas rather than bringing the older model we had at home. We also bought a GPS puck which allows us to use the laptop as a back-up chart plotter should we have to. However the main use will be in route planning and blogging while on our cruises. We will also link this to our phone’s hot spot for Wi-Fi.

Canvas work; one of our frustrations as we cruise was having to close the pilot house doors because of bugs. Since Sonas usually sits bow-into the wind this significantly impacted the amount of air movement we get through the boat on balmy Bahamian and Floridian days. So we had our canvas guys install roll-up bug screens on the doors. At the same time we had them make a Sunbrella hatch cover for the fore hatch over the guest bed. This has helped darken that cabin.

Tender updates; our Novurania tender’s seat had seen better days. It was worn and discolored. So we had the canvas guys redo the seat. We also had them put a large zipper on top of the dinghy cover, so that we can now attach the davit wire and put the cover on before we lift the dinghy out of the water. Much safer and easier than walking around the edge of the boat deck. Additionally we cleaned off the old painted-on registration numbers, acetone cleaned the whole boat, painted new bases for the numbers, and replaced them.  

Lazarette washing machine; during our Chesapeake trip last year the washing machine starting screeching like a banshee! OK while anchored on our own, but a real annoyance in a busy anchorage. It was either fix it or replace it. We pulled it out and took the back off to look at the belt to find that it was direct drive. Paul did some Google research and found one source of the squeal could be stones in the input filter – the water squeals as the pump pulls it past the partially closed filter. Hoping for the best we took off the hose and pulled out the filter and a number of small calcium stones fell out! We put it all back together and no noise!

Hatch push locks; we have these black push locks on all of our exterior lockers. About a third of them were broken or jammed. We found a source for the exact replacement and now all locks are working!

Lazarette handle; we had a little accident with our lazerette, leaving one of the handles protruding from the side of the hatch and then dropping the hatch. We were able to find the exact replacement.

Portlight chain for master bath; the strut for the master head port light was not connected when we bought Sonas. We contacted the manufacturer to find that these are welded on and the whole window would have to removed and taken to a welder. Rather than risk compromising the window seal we spoke to the supplier who suggested a port light chain. We installed this and it works great!

SMXII AC key pads; we continue to replace these control pads with replacements from Flight Systems. We initially bought two new pads for non-fully working ones. Since then we always like to have a couple in the spares inventory, so bought two more.

PH Door seals; our purchase survey for Sonas indicated that the pilothouse doors did not have seals. We weren’t too concerned about this aa we have a Portuguese Bridge protecting the doors. However we found that the doors did not “dog” fully because of the lack of seals, and could rattle while underway. Also we felt that having gaps around the doors would allow little buggies in. So we installed seals that now have the doors solidly tight.

New pilothouse door seals

Engines and generator service; including exhaust tube replacement; Control Master Inc, completed the annual service on the twin Luggers and Northern Lights generator. There was a crack in the semi-flexible exhaust tube outer coating, so they replaced that for us as well.

ACs serviced; Hansen Marine Services serviced the AC units, and replaced a faulty reversing valve solenoid on the master cabin AC.

Wireless cameras; the camera in the engine room got knocked free and broken. These Swann cameras were on close out so we bought two, replaced the ER camera and put the other one into the spares inventory.

Spare tender prop; While running about the Bahamas we often accidentally bump sand before raising the engine, and sometime hear the potentially fatal “clunk!” So we decided to add a spare prop and hub to the inventory.

EarTec Communications; The older model EarTec headsets were wired to a waist band transmitter. As Sian moved about the boat and docks the transmitter kept falling off, and eventually stopped working. The new model are fully contained in the head set so we upgraded to a pair of the EarTec Ultralites, plus a lanyard for Sian as she moves around.

Manta Hook; When we anchor we always put the snubber on. Previously we simply shackled the snubber to the chain. We decided to buy a Manta Hook, a specialized snubber attachment which is quicker to deploy and remove, critical if you have to raise the anchor in a hurry. This turned out to be much larger than we thought and we need to work on the process of getting it past the anchor roller to see if this is going to work for us.

Projects coming with us to the Bahamas!

We have a few projects that we haven’t been able to get to so we are taking what we need to the Bahamas with us and will complete as we cruise.

Wood rail poly; I lightly sanded and put two coats on the rails last year. So far this year I lightly sanded and touched up any bare spots, but before I could add another full coat or two the pine pollen arrived. Since I don’t want pine pollen embedded in my bright work I will have to do while on our Exumas trip!

Davit maintenance; We have a new cable and hook for the davit. The current one is serviceable but has little loose strands so time to replace. I also notice little metal pieces under the davit motor so I want to wire wool that, coat with Rustoleum, and finish with a coat of enamel.

Guest head; the VacuFlush pump for the guest head is directly under the floorboard in the guest cabin, and can be clearly heard. Not an issue during the day, but can be annoying when flushed at night. So we have bought a Whisper motor upgrade kit for the guest head.

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