Just like the other times we had to stay for extended periods of time in marinas, we're using this time to improve, modernize and update our beloved sailboat, Tulum-5. Here's some of our concurrent projects, happening right now.

We have stayed in one place for months before, but just like this stay (in a marina), we had no choice.  Last year we stayed in Puerto Escondido for nearly three months straight, getting our exhaust system updated and taking a family trip up to the Pacific Northwest of the United States by van, tent camping as we went.  Here’s a link to that story: Just Blowin’ Smoke….Bidding Adieu To The Summer Of Soot.  Now we’ve chosen to stay on the dock for an extended period of time again…but not by our choice.  We arrived at this marina which has a well regarded boatyard and chose to have the work done on our propeller shaft and bearings here.  This included a haulout and bottom paint, with the engine coming out into the salon so the work could safely be done to update, modify and install new mounts for new bearings.  All of that was done and Tulum was back in the water quickly.  Then we had to wait on a part from the US; with the engine getting put back into its compartment ten (10) working days ago.  The engine is still coming together, as we concurrently work on other major projects to update and upgrade Tulum.

Our engine going back into the engine room. 

Concurrent Projects:

I’m not big on sitting still when there’s work to be done, but there’s only so much I can do to help the team of mechanics without getting in the way.  So with time on my hands waiting on the engine install (as I’m on the boat to watch Quincy Dane), we’ve started and continued a number of other projects to update and upgrade Tulum.

While the engine was out we took a close look at the exhaust system we had installed in Puerto Escondido nine (9) months ago.  We thought we were getting 316L but it turns out to be 304, which isn’t suited for heat, pressure and a salt water environment, combined.  As the welds were all turned downward, it’s been hard to see anything until we took the whole system out.  After taking the whole system out, the welder/machinist who’s been working on Tulum told us the bad news…the current system probably wasn’t worth fixing.  So we’re had to pivot and swallow the fact that we’re now on the hook for yet another exhaust system.  We’ve bought a brand new system from Vetus and we’re choosing to put in modern soft exhaust rather than metal again.  We’re waiting on the parts to arrive and then we’ll have a new and modern exhaust system installed on Tulum.  I’ll write a whole separate story on the whole ordeal.  Concurrent Project # 1- not done.

Tulum is no dock queen.  We’ve lived onboard and cruised full time for the last three years.  Tulum had some knicks and scratches on her topside fiberglass and we finally decided it was time to get fixed, professionally.  So we ponied up and invited one of the best teams of folks we could find to come on the boat for three days straight and fix and upgrade our topside fiberglass.  Wow, what a difference three days makes.  I’ll write this up as a separate post as well because it deserves to be explained, as it has definitely improved Tulum’s look.  Concurrent Project # 2- DONE

When we had some teak blocks added to our rails to improve the esthetics around the chainplates, we had very minor knicks put into the smooth glossy surface of the chainplates themselves.  We knew we needed this fixed, so we had them polished and the knicks were soon gone. Concurrent Project # 3- DONE

Droppin Some Knowledge:  Why are minor knicks on chainplates a big deal (to me)?

Even minor knicks on a chainplate or piece of metal can allow rust to creep into the area and significantly shorten the overall life span of that chainplate.  Rust, pockmarks, salt buildup and scratches are the enemy of metal and chainplates.

Few things can quickly add life and color to a sailboat like updated brightwork.  Brightwork (to me) is clean and varnished wood that’s kept up to a high standard as much as possible.  Not ALL the wood on Tulum is brightwork and not all of our wood is up to a high standard all the time.  But there’s times where we slow life down so I can take the time to properly varnish and care for Tulum’s wood as much as I can.  Right now, my focus is on Tulum’s toe-rails (outer rails of the boat) and very high touch areas of the cabin.  The areas in the picture above are touched all the time and the varnish was rubbed off and needed sanding and revarnishing.  So that’s what I did.  I’m currently on coat (10) in my varnishing of the toe-rails and I’m just about ready to get the final two coats onto the wood, which will be AwlGrip Alwbrite 3-part clear coat.  I’ll write a seperate post about the project, and I covered the start of the project in the post at this link: Strip It To Get The Best Protection For Your Wood  Concurrent Project # 4- Not Done

Ramon puts the final touches on a bulkhead as it gets reinstalled. The bulkhead wall was removed when we chose to remove the engine to make it safer to get to the shaft and bearings.

So with multiple projects happening on Tulum in addition to having a team of mechanics on the boat nearly every day for the last two weeks and the normal daily heat and rain thrown in…this has been a long project season already.  There is some stress in all this work, but most of it is self induced as we work hard to “bring the boat up”, constantly striving to modernize, upgrade and improve her as we go along.

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