Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shipshape...Our Style

One of the great things about Hullabaloo is that she is a very solid boat and has been very well maintained in her 32 years.  She's had recent upgrades including the head and autopilot in the last couple of years and has had regular maintanence.  Sure she needs a few things before we take her out cruising, but given our budget and our desire to just get out there, we're aiming to keep our "refit" to a minimum. 

Some people buy boats with the plans to completely refit them, and that's great, but that plan didn't fit into our desired timeframe or anticipated budget.  With my lack of experience sailing, I really wanted to focus on using the boat and sailing it in order to prepare to cruise.  And quite frankly, I was concerned that a total refit would be a major burn out.  Although there are a LOT of people out there successfully refitting boats, sometimes for years, before cruising.  I like to call these people 'insane' ;)

For us there is a very distinct line between maintanence and unnecessary spending.  Or, maybe we're just bigger risk-takers when push comes to shove.  We're planning on heading out with the original Volvo 35hp diesel engine, which has never been repowered and does not have a way to tell how many hours are on her (::pearl clutch::) and a sail inventory consisting of original, or close to original, sails.  Not to mention that we won't be sporting a windlass or all-chain rode for our anchor. 

While we have, and continue to, get more familiar with the boat's systems, we don't plan to completely tear things apart or replace items that are working as they should...even if they're old.  Sometimes it seems that the older something is the better it was built...sometimes.  Of  course if something like the electrical system were a mess of corroded wires that is still managing to work, we'd probably go ahead and change those out.  Luckily, that has not been the case.  We're not going to be complete idiots, just conservative ones.  Afterall, what good are all the cruising plans if we spend all our money, energy and time trying to get the boat perfect?  We're not perfect and we certainly don't expect HB to be either, but we do want to be safe.   

We do plan to add some gear such as a chart plotter, AIS (Automatic Identification System), davits, solar power, safety gear and refridgeration, however we plan to keep things as simple as possible.  We'll be reupholstering a couple interior cushions that have torn and the new ones probably won't be exactly the same as the old but they'll be covered and functional.  I like functional.
They looked alright in pictures but they were really in pretty bad shape

Duct tape: the perfect solution to ANY problem

Boats are in constant need of maintanence of some sort or another so it certainly can't be expected that the work will stop once we leave.  Besides, if something does need fixing while we're out, there's usually a way to do it.  It might take longer, might be a little more expensive but our time is valuable and we'd rather be out enjoying cruising (and maintaining) a less than perfect boat in a beautiful setting.

Companionway stairs need some love...badly

So does the cabin sole


  1. Couple of ideas. One the steps don't refinish. Use friction tape. Going up and down in seas is hard enough. 3M makes good tape for this. Ours lasted about two years live aboard. For your critter (we had two furry children) we ended up having a carpet runner so they could get a better grip when the boat was rollin' down the river (or canal or Gulf). The single most comfortable thing we did was a good mattress for our forepeak. A good place to sleep is worth it's weight in gold. A good sleep makes any day just so much better. For refrigeration check here

    On AIS. If you are planning serious off shore trips yes. If you are planning more coastal/island hopping I would pass. If you are planning on using a laptop with maps look at the Rode Trip blog for their home made AIS using just a few items and free (repeat FREE!) software.

    You have the right ideas. Go now, you never know what life has in store later.

    1. Hi! Thanks for the tips. Ron has brought up the idea of the tape on the companionway so I think we'll do that at some point as well but they're down to the bare wood and need some TLC. Currently our dog doesn't go up or down by herself but I'm really hoping some day she will. Our v-berth mattress is actually more comfortable than our bed at home, but that may be something to look into for living aboard over an extended length of time. I've heard great things about Engel units and I suspect we'll take a long hard look at them when the time comes.

      As for the AIS; we don't have any serious offshore plans at this time, but I was thinking it would be a good thing to have in the busier coastal waters for less stressful navigation (on my part). As for the Rode Trip post...I saw that this morning too ;) We currently use an ipad and I'm not tech savvy enough to know if that could still work but maybe we'll have to look into that too.

      Thanks for the feedback, we need all the ideas we can get!