What Have I Done?
This will be long and boring so don’t read it if you are not interested…
There are times that I don’t know where to start when someone asks this question. I’ll try to think chronologically from 2004 and just lay out bullet points for projects I have done with a brief description. Starting with the first trip up the coast from Long Beach, California to Seattle, Washington non-stop my projects have also been non-stop. CANEI is a good acronym for my boat projects. CANEI stands for Constant And Never Ending Improvement. Over the years with a boat in charter there have been many mistakes made and accidents. I try to use these times to improve rather than just repair.
- Replace forward port lights. During the northern push in 2004 the port side forward most port light was blown out in the middle of the night. It always seems to be the middle of the night. One of the first projects was to replace both port lights forward that I believed were to far forward. I replaced them with Newfound Metals port lights that clamp in place rather than being held in with screws from the inside with a trim ring on the outside.
- Remove all Carpeting. When we purchased Shibumi the entire boat was covered in wall-to-wall blue plush carpet. Because of leaky doors and windows (see later projects) the carpet got soaked with sea water and smelled bad (on the same trip up the coast as the port light failure). We ripped them out and to our surprise we found 3/4″ solid teak parquet floors. Bonus!
- Replace all Heads and Hoses. What causes the worst head smell on a boat? If your answer is poop you are wrong. It is saltwater critters coming into your holding tank. We replaced all the saltwater flushing heads with Techma Silence freshwater macerating toilets, replaced the single 40 gallon holding tank with two 53 gallon holding tanks (106 gallon total), all new hoses, two Sealand T12 bellows pumps and a timer so that it is not possible to leave the discharge pump on too long.
- Add Bow and Stern Thrusters. I have been boating a long time and I have heard many times that you don’t need thrusters. You also don’t need a GPS but if you want to reduce stress while boating it’s not a bad thing. There are many benefits of thrusters and I can think of only two negatives. Cost and Maintenance. If the benefits outweigh the costs then get them. We chose a robust Lewmar 24volt 12″ dual prop thruster bow and stern. For a boat in charter, the thrusters paid for themselves in one year. We chartered more and had less damage.
- Rebuild floor in Engine Room. All the batteries were located in the engine room between the engines under the floor boards. Unfortunately, in order to check them the railings around the engines had to be removed, hung from the ceilings and then remove the floorboards. I welded a stainless steel support structure and built a new floor.
- Re-plumb the Master Head Sink. The Master head shower sump was in-operable so the sink was plumbed into the engine room and out a thru-hull above the water but behind the port generator exhaust. If the port generator was running this caused a slight problem… Who would do that! I repaired the sump and re-plumbed the sink into the sump so everyone lived happily ever after.
- Bring on the Heat. Everyone that knows me also knows I am always cold so I wanted to add diesel heat that I could be comfortable in anytime anywhere. To say I went overboard is probably an understatement. Kabola 80,000 btu boiler with 20 outlets, series plumbed hot water tanks and heat exchangers on both mains make it summer all the time.
- Anchor. We love to anchor but also like to sleep. Shibumi had a 30kg anchor which was adequate. Nobody sleeps with adequate. We replace the main anchor with a 50kg Super Claw. Everybody sleeps
- Mechanical. It is easier to state a philosophy than what I have done. I believe there is no negative to making a boat easy to operate. If you have been on Shibumi you will notice I like my label maker. Nobody wants to read a manual when there is a question so even though I think I have written a great manual, I have labeled everything also. Oil samples for diesel engines are the best indicator of problems. When I see issues I repair the engine and it doesn’t break down. I carry spares on board for filters, impellers, belts, as well as all the parts and tools for electrical, plumbing for propulsion and hotel systems. Annual maintenance is a must but so are: heat exchangers, hoses, coolant, injectors, wiring, paint…all done.
- New Dinghy. I devoted an entire page to the new dinghy. Check it out. Best ever.
- Sink in the Engine Room. Who doesn’t want a sink in the engine room. Shibumi has a work bench, work area, tools and spares to fix everything, why not clean up after yourself.
- New Windows and wipers. Replaced the forward eleven windows. The front five are 1/2″ tempered glass and the sides are 3/8″ tempered glass. This may be slightly overkill but the work is the main expense so it might as well have the strongest glass. The wipers are pantograph and all work together or separately.
- New Dash and New Layout. I spend a lot of time at the helm so I set it up the way I like it but I also made it easy to change. This came with all new “tinned” wiring. 1,200 feet of it just under the dash!
- Replace old style counters with Black Galaxy Granite. I think this really updates Shibumi’s style. The bait tank and controls in the cockpit were also upgraded to granite with a sink and faucet. This is a great place to BBQ because it is almost always sheltered from the wind.
- Moved and upgraded House Bank. Because we like to anchor in small coves we don’t want to have to run the generator all the time. The house battery bank was moved from the engine room to the lazarette, improved to 1,660 amp hours and a Magnum inverter/charger added. I also added an automatic charging relay (ACR) so that house and start banks can be charged from the engines as well as generators. The Port Engine now charges the house bank, the Starboard Engine charges the start bank and when the engines are running the relay senses and charges everything. I also rewired the thruster chargers to charge through the inverter when the engines are running to charge everything!
- Replaced Propshafts. Removed propshafts, six cutlass bearings and props. Had two 2″ by 19′ shafts turned by Marine Hardware with new couplers, nuts and keyways. Cutlass bearings for bulkhead, intermediate strut and V-struts on each shaft. While the shafts were out it was easy to machine new bulkhead bearings to accept the hose for Tides Lip Seal Shaft Seals. I installed the dripless shaft seals and added a carrier and spare lip seal to each shaft. This allows changing a seal without removing a shaft. Of course when the props are off you might as well have them trued. I remove the props every three or four years and have them inspected and trued as a matter of routine maintenance.
- LED’s Galore. I liked the look of our brass fixtures and standard LED bulbs did not provide enough light. I had 80 LED strips made to install in each fixture after removing all the old “guts”. The salon is also dim-able allowing for mood or brightness to clean. The pilothouse, day head and forward stairway can be illuminated in red or white for protecting night vision when needed.
- Stainless Steel Exhaust. Shibumi has dry exhaust until after the mufflers where the cooling water is injected before the exhaust exits the hull amidship. Scott Conahan at National Marine Exhaust is a genius. The new design is cools the pipes before the exhaust hits the hull. It is a thing of beauty.
- Doors, hatches, canvas. The NW weather takes it’s toll on seals and canvas. All the hatches have been rebuilt and resealed with the bunk room hatch being replaced. When we repainted all hardware was removed and rebedded. Pilot house doors were rebuilt, master stateroom door and hatch have been rebuilt, refinished and resealed. The Flybridge door and hatch have been rebuilt, refinished and resealed and a porthole was install in the door to allow fresh air and light in the pilothouse.
- The Admiral is a great Decorator. I may be the captain but I am married to the Admiral! Fortunately for me she is a great decorator and picks fun and sometimes whimsical artwork. I’m all for the mermaid theme…of course everyone knows it is not a true mermaid if she has a top.
- New Hull Paint. With only one daughter and a wedding on the water Shibumi had to be ship shape. Shibumi got a bright white hull with Pettit Epoxy. We removed the gray stripe and gray boot stripe. Adding a burgundy boot stripe to match the name on the transom topped it off. I also polished the solid brass “Defever 60” letters on the side.
- R & R (Remove and Re-bed) all hardware. Yes, this is a lot of work. Every cleat, screw in the rubrail, stanchion, porthole or hawse was removed and the screw holes were counter sunk to hold bedding compound then replaced.
- Bilge Dehumidifier. OK this one is a bit odd but I have no shortage of weird ideas. Boats should not smell and if they do something is wrong. I think an older boat can have smells in the bilge when there is bare wood that can get musty. I had the idea to install a home dehumidifier plumbed into it’s own shower sump so it becomes maintenance free. I think the lack of moisture makes it stay dry and odor free. The Admiral has a very sensitive sense of smell so this is an important feature.
- I’ll add as I remember things.