Ahoy mates! It’s been way too long since the last update so here’s a short update on refit progress and some pics. Despite the fact that we were running out of money a year ago, somehow the boat is being treated to a full refit, while we survive on beans and rice… ah, priorities of the brainwashed bluewater sailors. Well, the good news is the boat is going to be sailing out of New Zealand in incredible shape!
Our refit policy is simple: anything we are replacing has to last 10+ years. The 10 year rule is what changed my mind about rebuilding the engines. A rebuild would have bought us another 3-5 years but even if they were still running well, after that long I would have been constantly worried about when (not if) they were going to have a major failure. When I was in the engine compartment staring at yet another leaking seal on the saildrive I made the decision to completely repower. I managed to play the exchange rate and take advantage of the strong dollar and also utilize our duty-free import status to source new engines from Australia. We are replacing the entire power package from prop to saildrive to engine to control panel. We are even running new fuel lines, exhaust hoses, intake hoses, strainers, anti-siphons, waterlocks, etc. The engine compartments are going to look amazing and QUIXOTIC is going to be an even more incredible and reliable catamaran. The engines were released from customs today and we haul out on the slipway this weekend. We plan to do all the work ourselves and utilize our boom crane for the engine swap.
I spent the past few weeks removing all our stanchions and cleaning up all the bases on the boat that were damaged in the cyclone. We have shipped all the stainless bow pulpits, pushpits and stanchions down to Auckland for passivization and electropolishing. We’ve been told they will never be “nice and rust-free” due to the Fijian welding tactics but we will try to get them into decent shape so they last a few years until we can afford to commission new stainless.
The past two days Alyssa and I have cut almost every zip tie on the boat and pulled every single last wire that was underwater during the cyclone. We have also removed all the old diesel fuel lines that were hard and cracking. New fuel lines have been run. New racor filters and control valves are in. The port side has all new electrical wiring with a simplified system that cut out 150 lbs of wire: we ran two 8-gauge wires to each cabin where we installed fuse boxes. From these fuse boxes we spider out small 18-gauge wire to all the LED lights and 16-gauge to the fans in the cabins. It’s an elegantly simple setup that we are pretty happy with.
We are on the dock this week so I removed the windlass and am doing a major service. It’s getting new oil seals, bearings, fluid, and the electric motor is being professionally serviced. Once back together it should provide many years of reliable service.
Let’s see, what else…the heads have all been rebuilt and the starboard side has all new plumbing. New Italian faucets in the heads. Oh, and something the Mermaid is extremely excited about: her NEW OVEN! That’s right, her early birthday present was a new Italian ENO oven. See pic below for a happy Mermaid Princess. I installed and painted a custom shelf below the oven. It looks incredible and should last us a very long time; not to mention it was arguably more a present to myself because there are going to be some amazing baked goods coming out of that bad boy! We also ran new LPG lines and sensors back in Fiji so the system is completed now.
Ok, so that was perhaps not a “short” update but that should give you a good idea of what we’ve been up to. I’ll post some pics of the pretty new engines once we get ‘em in.
Wish us luck on the swap.
Lewis & Alyssa
Opua, New Zealand