Evolution of a Cockpit

One of our biggest issues with our boat when we bought her was the cockpit. One of the previous owners modified the boat in a big way. They filled in the cockpit and added a large radar arch that made the boat look a bit like a fishing boat.

While we knew we would be fixing it in the future we did not realize how soon that future was going to be. In August and September the footwell was restored and it is fantatic. Yesterday we removed the radar arch. The removal was surprisingly easy, we also had help from two of the great guys here at Camachee Cove.  What we have now is about as original as we are likely to get.

We are happy to say that most of the work has been completed. A new bimini will be on this week and new davits in a few weeks.

Love our new cockpit

Our only concern with buying this boat was the modification that had been done in the cockpit. We had pictures of what it was supposed to look like and loved it. We accepted that at some point we would have to spend the time or money to have it put back. Thanks to the longevity of a welcome work project, that some point came early.


While we were out of town for a couple of months we had the work done. It was a bit of a shot in the dark to get as close to original as possible. I had the luxury of speaking with the designer Ron Amy about plans for the lockers. Ron told me there where no detailed plans. The yard had there locker template that they used on the mold and that was that.

But thanks to our new friends over on Bumfuzzle, who sent us some pictures and dimensions, we were able to get things sorted out.

The work was done at the St Augustine Marine Center and while there have been delays we are still happy with the outcome.

Status update – The To Go list

Many have been asking for an update. We are getting close and it looks like our next big hurdle will be the weather.

The list is broken into two sections. The first is stuff that must be done before we leave. The second is stuff that should be done as soon as possible.

Must be done

  • Tri-color/Anchor light replacement – The new bulbs are on the boat just need to go back up the mast.
  • Fuel – Need more. We have two 140 Gal diesel tanks, stb is empty, port has ~30%. The port tank fuel is old, we are going to get a biocide and burn it. The new fuel will go in the stb tank. Any fuel issues we switch filters and tanks.
  • Gen Set – Once away from the dock this will be our primary power source. It currently does not stay running. My brother thinks it is a fuel issue, bleed line and check filter.
  • Anchor, chain, and windlass – We know the windlass works but we don’t know how the rest looks. We will pull it all out onto the dock and check it out.
  • Propane – We started our second bottle last week. We will fill the first before we head out.
  • Fill water tanks – We have three for a total of 300 Gal, we have only be using one. We had planned to fill all three but Heather heard something about the water quality here and wants to wait on the other two. We have been drinking bottled water.
  • Check steering fluid – We have hydraulic steering. Both helms should work.
  • Jacklines & Tethers – Required when going offshore. We have all materials just need to make them.
  • Oil Change – Should be obvious
  • Raw water impeller – This pulls seawater through the engine to cool it. Replacement due.
  • Wind steeringPartially complete. It is fully installed but a cable is binding. Really got to have if going off shore.


  • Flares – Complete. Needed new ones. Keeping the old
  • Boat name change – Complete
  • Head – Complete. Must be able to pee.

Should be done

  • Tiller set screws – See this post
  • Solar panel – It works, needs to be attached to batteries with with either a charge controller or a diode
  • Lifeline netting – For the critters. We have all materials.
  • Shower – The shower faucets need to be replaced, there is some water.
  • Spreader lights – Really nice to have. Both our bulbs have blown and I want to replace with LEDs.
  • RIB checked – We have two dinghies on board. One hard that sits up on deck and a RIB the hangs off the davits. The rib was deflated, we bought a pump, two of the three chambers have leaks.
  • Outboards checked – We have two outboards and one tank. I can row the hard dinghy.
  • Third reef – Our main has three reefs, the third does not have foot tie lines.
Yep lots to do. We are thinking we will head out Thursday and go the ICW for the first part until the weather opens up to jump offshore.

Yes I am still afraid of heights

The wind anemometer was not spinning, I thought a cup was missing, and the masthead tri-color/anchor light was missing the anchor and the stern white light. To check these someone had to go up the mast.

I have always been afraid of heights but I have purposely done things over the years to move beyond that fear. This was my second attempt to go up. The first ended before the first spreader. This morning I remembered changing the building lights at Kings Island. Back then I would hang in a bosun’s chair from the end of a crane and change the lights that outlined the buildings. That was 20 years ago, but I figured that if I could do that then, I could do this now.

I’ll have to go up again next week to change the bulbs but it will be much easier.

Getting ready to paint over the old boat name.


Windvane steering reattached

Still have to connect control cables.

Spice conversion from home to boat! Yup we love our spices…


Loose rudder stock

When we got to the boat at 4am last Friday we heard a loud thumping. I did some initial investigation and found that there was nothing obviously wrong. I had my suspicions that it might be the rudder post. We went to sleep with the intent to locate the source later in the weekend.

On Sunday night the wind was blowing again and I was able to capture this video. It shows how the rudder arm is not firmly attached to the rudder stock. I am still not sure what the clicking noise is, I think it could be a part of the autopilot.


This picture shows the same area. The rudder arm has a single set screw coming in on a flat side, this will never be able to tighten the arm enough to prevent movement. At a minimum there would need to be two screws on that side. I believe the decision to put the screw there was based on the need to keep the the U shaped lobes clear. These are, I believe, for the emergency tiller. I have not confirmed this but there is a gadget that looks like it fits there.

 After conferring with my brother, who knows as much about mechanical stuff as I know about technology, a solution was found. The rudder arm will be removed and two new holes will be drilled and tapped. One will be in the lobe opposite the arm and the other on the perpendicular side from the existing screw.  The screw in the lobe will be an Allen head set screw, this will allow the lobe to be used for it’s design purpose. This will push the rudder stock into the corner providing a tighter fit. The other two provide additional support.


Home made transfer switch


Amazon canceled my order for a transfer switch. So I made my own.

Our boat

So as some of our friends know, and many have gathered, we bought a sailboat last week. She is a 43′ Spindrift cutter, currently named Dolphin Song. She will be renamed Perfect Partner. We spent last weekend cleaning.

Saturday – Our first day of ownership

Heather cleaned. She started with the cushion covers, we stripped all but one cover. Heather made multiple trips to the laundry to wash them and we hung them in the cockpit to dry. While the covers were getting cleaned she started on the aft cabin so we would have a place to sleep.

While she was cleaning I worked on the AC shore power. The inverter/charger that was on the boat had gone bad. The boat was wired with the shore power and genset going to the inverter/charger before going to the AC panel. It didn’t take too long to figure out the best we to get it working. With this complete we had power for the vacuum and portable battery charger the previous owner bought. We will need a new installed charger and inverter but we are set for now.

Our first dinner on the boat was pasta from The Silos, not the best but it was good enough.


Let the cleaning continue. Heather attacked the Pilot House, while I hit the deck. It was a busy day. We ate lunch and dinner out since we didn’t want to buy food since we didn’t want to use the refrigerator yet.

Sasha handled the whole thing very well. We think she is going to have a blast. She was very tired the first couple of days. She doesn’t sleep in the car and since we drove all night on Thursday to be there early Friday she didn’t get her normal 10 hours a night. Sunday she spent the day up on deck watching the birds. She can make it down the stairs into the cabin but she can’t quite make it up yet. She will need more practice.


The morning was spent putting things away and locking down the boat. There is much more to do before we head south. We will be spending New Years weekend doing some more cleanup and we hope to get her out of the slip for a sail. The work list just gets longer the more we do.