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Live Free 2 Sail Fast

Will We Make the Ha-Ha?

We went to Catalina Island, Ca last weekend but didn’t make it (to land) cause our engine may have seized up.  Our engine’s currently in pieces with a team of mechanics working with us to find the exact problem- get the engine out of the boat- fix it- and put it back in the boat….all in time to hopefully make Baja Ha Ha 2019.   At this point I’m not completely optimistic we’re gonna make the Ha-Ha based on the work related estimates we’ve gotten in terms of how LONG it will take to find, fix and replace some of our aged engine parts.  We’re working with the best mechanics San Diego has to offer…so we want the engine fixed and back into the boat in time for Baja Ha-Ha.  Or we miss the Baja Ha-Ha and just say we paid a lot of money for the 2019 Ha-Ha Flag,,,,cause we’re gonna leave one way or the other.  I mean, either with the Ha-Ha or all by ourselves..we’re still going to go.  A bummer to become one of those Ha-Ha stats for folks who sign up but don’t start…but SOOO much better to figure this out near our home port. 

We’re gonna continue to work through this process as we go- Here’s a few pics of our tow home-

Morning, while the engine was still running. Catalina in the foreground.
Our capable crew prepping for tow.
Getting our Tow started, back to San Diego. We were less than 5 miles from Cat Harbor, Catalina.
Catalina Island as we’re getting towed away from it, starting a 15-hour slog home.                                                                                                                                    

(more…)

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5 Quick Tips For Buying and Selling a Boat

Lots of folks are buying and selling their boats as summer has set upon us;  so I figured it might be time to publish a quicky list of simple things you can do to buy and sell a boat…faster and smarter.  I’ve bought and sold a boat or two and I’ve explored hundreds of boats of all sizes and shapes; my advice will do the same whether you’re looking at a sailboat or a powerboat.  Here goes:

5 Quick Tips to Sell Your Boat Faster and For MORE money:

  1. Use a Broker:  For those of you who are rolling your eyes and saying “Duh, that’s obvious advice”, you would be very surprised at how many folks want to sell their boat all by themselves because they KNOW they can do it…and don’t think through the time it takes to do everything involved with selling a boat.  Professional Brokers help prep your boat, market your boat on various forms of social media, personally take clients on your boat (so they’re there ALONE), arrange for money to be transferred if there will be an offer, help to accept an offer, arrange for survey’s and haul-outs and do a myriad of other things.
  2. Do Your Own Survey: We had our own survey done ahead of time by a professional surveyer when we were selling Tulum IV and it paid dividends. This survey also helped to GREATLY justify the price of the boat…as we had priced her to sell and the survey supported this.
  3. Continue to Improve the Boat:  While Tulum IV was for sale, we wanted folks to go through our broker so they were told about all the recent improvements we were doing on the boat.  This was because we worked hard to prep her and wanted to continue to improve her as we went, keeping her in museum shape as much as possible.
  4. Fair Price:  If the boat needs some work and you know it,  I suggest you either get it done before showing the boat or you price the work into your asking price, admitting up front that you know it needs to be done and taken off the asking price.
  5. Verbal or Written Offers:  Decide ahead of time if you’ll take verbal offers on the sale of your boat or if you’ll only accept them via a broker.

5 Quick Tips to Buy a Boat Faster And Cheaper:

  1. Use a Broker:  Yep, here it is once again.  I highly and strongly suggest folks use a seasoned broker to buy a large purchase such as a boat.  There’s myriads of reasons why that will go on for too long, but a broker will help you find what you need and guide you in so many different ways.  You can even use the same broker as the folks selling the boat, but get everything in writing first.
  2. Demand time during the purchase process for an in-water and out of water survey.  Hire your OWN surveyer and have the boat hauled out during the survey.
  3. Hire a mechanic who knows how to do (thorough) non-destructive engine survey (diesel mechanics don’t always know how to do an engine and drive train survey- Don’t assume your normal diesel mechanic knows how to do this).  Hire your own Rigger for a Rig Survey. 
  4. Have financing in-place and lined up before you make an offer as much as possible.  Most banks won’t do financing on boats older than 20 years old, so before you go buying a 1977 sailboat…make sure your bank will cooperate.  Once you get ready to make an offer, be ready to fork over 10% of purchase price to get the offer in place, this is normal business in the marine world.
  5. Written or Verbal Offers:  I recommend not making verbal offers.  I like written offers done by the broker so they know I’m serious about buying the boat.  It doesn’t always work but it always gets a reply.

    Never Lose Sight of Your Ultimate Goal!

Whether you liked, loved or hated my 5 Quick Tips For Buying and Selling A Boat in this post, the tips come from real experience and observations as well as numerous conversations with some of the best boat brokers in the country.  I love my work as a travel, sail and adventure blogger/writer and hope you’ll continue to follow this website, our Patreon site and our YouTube Site, with the new Kids Corner Video coming out on YouTube Friday.

Amelia Rose (Tulum IV- our first boat) and Tulum V (our current boat) in the same picture.  Amelia Rose is leaving for Baja Ha-Ha 18.

 

 

Equipment and Personal Milestones- A Very Long week!

This was a great big fun week.  Sometimes the milestones to accomplish the end goal are thrown at you all at once, like they were this past week.

First, my wife retired after working for the same organization for 22 years.  She may decide to eventually go back to work, but we know we’re gonna go cruise for at least the next 3-5 years.  Her retirement is a huge milestone for us, as it means we’re getting pretty close to cutting the docklines and taking off.  There will be a bit of a sting when the money from the paycheck goes away, but we’re gonna take off cruising anyways,  spending less money and already starting to practice better spending habits.  We’ve decided to get rid of both of our cars, so that will be one of the final milestones for each of us….as our cars somehow represent independence for each of us I think…but we cross that bridge sometime in the next few months.

Next, a few months ago we bought a  SilentWind Pro 12V Wind Turbine that’s been waiting on the right time for installation.  We installed it last week while we overhauled the electrical backbone on the boat and fully integrated it into the new power plan for the boat.  I’ll talk through that in another post, but needless to say, I’m pretty excited it’s up and working…nearly completely silently.

SilentWind Pro 12V Installed and Working

We also knew that we would need to be able to be off the grid (a slip with A/C) and still run our watermaker and other power sources for long periods of time.  I opted to overhaul the power backbone on the boat so we would be able to run most of the boat using DC systems…vice having to use a generator all the time.  We opted to route the incoming A/C through a massive inverter/charger that would be able to handle the load from our portable water maker, so we bought a Magnum MS Series Pure Sine Wave Inverter/Charger and installed new power cables to push charge up to the panels mid-ship.  The massive Magnum MS 2812 will be able to support plenty of juice throughout Tulum and was a significent investment in our own internal infrastructure.  Although we hired a very, very smart electrical expert to help us install this and the Wind Turbine, it was priceless education for me.  I’ll discuss further in another post on the subject.

Magnum MS 2812 Installed and working. So very sexy!

Finally, the day before my wife’s retirement when we had 15 out of town guests arriving for dinner on the boat….our new liferaft arrived (2 months early).  But…so much better than late.  With me actually getting a haircut to get all pretty and trimmed up, my wife had to write a big check to the gentlemen delivering the raft and haul it on the boat.  I’ll write a much more detailed post on our thoughts on why we bought this particular liferaft, but needless to say…it’s here.  Our Revere brand liferaft arrived shiny and new, with a deck cradle.  I’m pretty stoked as this is another milestone for us…replacement of the old liferaft was one of our mandatory requirements to leave.It’s been a crazy fun week and weekend and now we’re moving on to other projects.  This week we’ll have an expert electronics installer working with me to install our Iridium Go and marine broadband router, helping to modernize our communications backbone.  I’m pretty excited by all this.  Needless to say, there was some stress last week as the entire master berth needs to be torn apart every time we work on batteries or need to get into my back closet…so I’ll include this parting shot of what the salon looks like while that work is going on…while living with a Great Dane and two small children on the boat.

This is our bed and everything from my closet taken out to the salon for several very long days of work installing the Wind Turbine and Inverter/Charger.

We leave with Baja Ha-Ha in early November and invite you to follow our blog to share our adventures.  

Projects Coming Together

Slowly, projects have started to come together here on Tulum.  I’ve already ranted and raved about how I usually have 2-3 projects going at the same time, but sometimes it’s hard to know what they are and see evidence they’re getting done.  A neighbor was surprised last week when she asked if we still had major projects to complete on the boat.  I couldn’t help but stifle a giggle, as it’s obvious even our closet neighbors don’t realize all the stuff we have going on the boat at once.  But finally, some projects have started to gel and I’ve pretty happy that they’re starting to come together.

Today I finished the blinds.  I’ve been working on this project for several months and on various occasions it’s really been slow.  The old ones were the metal pull shades that tended to be really nice in port, but would have been a nightmare in rough seas:

 

Michelle picked the fabric and I spent the next four months working on different projects, without thinking through how much work some curtains would be.  They were more work than I imagined, but today they came together and I’m done with that project:

Curtains in my room, complete project done.

Today I also climbed the main again and re-installed our new check stays, made of Dyneema.  They went up quick after I finally climbed the mast in early morning (less wind) and they really seem to sexy up the boat! 

I’m concurrently working on sewing our new dinghy chaps (kicking my ass) and we’ve confirmed our appointment to get our new stainless welded onto Tulum for our new antenna farm and wind generator.  Going to be a busy July! 

Stay tuned, as LF2SF is growing into itself and loves our followers!  You can connect with us on YouTube and Patreon and follow us here! 

 

Strippin Isn’t all Fun and Games

Stripping is hard work!  For those of you who know what I’m talking about, you know that stripping is hard and not all fun and games.  NOW I know why people pay a great stripper, cause it’s long hours in the heat and has sucked the energy out of me big time.   (more…)

Boat Projects with No End?

I’ve commented before that my normal posting days are M/W/F/S/S, so if I miss a post it’s likely that we’re out sailing, I’m swamped with a project or I’ve just been lazy and didn’t get to it.  Time seemed to fold between this week and last week.  Before I realized it the seam of time had thrust May upon us and I had more projects unfinished than ever before.  I knew I could knock out some small projects last week, but several turned into monsters and have stretched into this week.  

Last week I experimented with a 3-part clear epoxy based covering for varnish or Cetol, with impressive results.  The Awlbrite Clear Gloss system comes with 3-components mixed together, easily applied with a brush.  The system says to use multiple coats and IS more expensive than a normal clear coat but is said to last longer.  I was initially told it would hold up to 7-years in direct sun, but then the guys at the store said 3-years in direct sun.  Since the area’s I’ve applied it to are not in direct sun, I only used two coats (but will use at least three coats for areas in direct sun).  The results were great.  The stuff dried fast and hard- but we kept kids and dog off of it for at least 24 hours….a huge accomplishment on my boat.  Here’s a couple of quick pics-

Transom Platform (under dinghy and solar panels) with the system already applied.
Cockpit floor, inside the doghouse.
Another view of the cockpit floor.

Last week I also started messing around with trim on the cabin windows of the boat, especially with the weather getting better.  Here’s how it looked as I started:

Contemplating how much work I had in front of me!
Work in progress with scraper and heat gun, Day 1
Scraping and cleaning done, have to still sand before even thinking about varnish or Cetol.

I have (10) cabin windows to get done as well as multiple other smaller pieces of teak on deck before I even think about the mighty toe rail.  Might I mention that we went from a boat with almost no teak to this boat…with a freaking LOT of teak.  This isn’t a complaint….just an observation.

I skip around on projects when the weather doesn’t play right, when I run out of supplies or when I get bored with one and move to another.  So last week I also started working on the promised curtains for the boat.  This involves cutting fabric, doing the edge work, taking down the old metal blinds and putting up new curtain rods.  This is before I ever get out the Sailrite.  But I did actually get to the sewing machine, get all the curtain rods mounted and made enough curtains for four windows before running out of supplies.  I’m now waiting on the supplies and the boat looks pretty funny with three covered windows out of six in the main Solon.  Here’s what the curtains in my room look like now (I’ll do a full story with before and after pics when the project is finished):

Curtains in my room, keep in mind I did not pick out the fabric.

And as a parting shot to make you smile and tell ALL your friends to follow LF2SF:

The morning after the second coat of Epoxy Clearcoat in the cockpit, Quincy CANNOT figure out why she can’t get back in her doghouse.

PS: Weds coming, are you signing up?

Saturday Sailboat Musings

I’m up early Saturday morning as usual because Quincy the Dog needed to go out, and when a Great Dane won’t let you sleep, there’s no ways of it you can avoid taking her for her walk. I used to just be able to open a glass door from my room at home and kick her out into the backyard, but here I’ve got to walk her and will continue to do so until November. When November comes, we’ll have to start taking her to shore 2-3 times a day for her walk and runs whenever we’re sitting in a harbor. It was a long week but I’m not sure why. I was in my 3rd class in a series at TRLMI, called Marine Electrical Systems. The course runs from 6pm to 9pm and after a day of work, it often turned into long days. I’m glad I took it, but there was alot of theory and equations. My days are filled with working on the boat and doing boat related projects, which I love to do + picking up and dropping off kids and dog. This week I was able to tour and photograph a 41′ Formosa Yankee Clipper built in 1980 in Taiwan. She was very similar to the boat I grew up on and brought back lots of memories. She’s on Sailboat Listings and will soon be available through a broker, but I’ll bring that to you in a separate story Mon or Weds. I also needed to get the Check Stays down from Tulum’s masts (so I could get them to the rigger for updating), so I rigged up my pulley’s and went up the mast for some adventure. Tulum’s Main Mast is 65′, so the second spreader is well off the ground:

Tulum’s Main with the check stay already taken off. It goes to the 2nd spreader on this main mast and to the top of the mizzen mast.

Here’s the connection at the second spreader that you have to manipulate to get the wire Check Stays off:

Shackles that have to be undone mechanically and by hand, with seizing wire that must be cut beforehand.
Tulum 5, from the second spreader.
And two Check Stays, off the mast and into the Riggers.

Next time up the mast, I’ll bring my track lube and my anti-corrosion spray for the metal parts, plus I’ll start the laborious task of getting mast steps back onto the mast. The frustrating part about this for me is that there’s tons of open mast step holes all over the mast (that’s how I’m getting water in the boat from the rain) and I finally found the mast step that matches those holes exactly. However, that specific mast step is priced at $20.65 per step, as opposed to the steps I can afford at $8.56 at the same store. Both steps are aluminum, but the more expensive one is also larger, meaning it would take fewer steps to get them up the mast. Very frustrating for me. So I let out a big sigh and bought a rivet gun. I’m gonna tackle that project myself and rivet the new steps on with holes I drill as much as I have to-

Ok, we’re changing up the website, we’ve turned on Patreon and I’ve started messing with my new video camera to try to start getting the editing and filming started. We’re gonna streamline our look a bit and try to professionalize the site a bit more. If you’re reading, keep it up. If you’re visiting, cool, thanks.

Touring a Cheoy Lee “Pedric” 36

Part of the fun of a boatyard is getting to see lots of different boats, really up close and personally.  So when my friend (and broker) called and asked if I wanted to come check out a composting head on a really unique boat, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  I had seen composting heads before and am already sold on them, but the boat is a diamond in the rough and a unique piece of classic plastic.  The Cheoy Lee “Pedric” 36 was built in 1985 (perhaps only in 1985) in Taiwan, carries lots of water and fuel for her size and this particular boat comes with multiple surprise additions.  As soon as I went onboard, I could see she was a diamond in the rough, being brought back to life by my friend and broker, who’s determined to give the next owner the best boat possible.  With a composting head, barbecue, dinghy, outboard motor and watermaker; this boat will make a single sailor or cruising couple really happy when she finds her forever owner. (more…)

Prepping for Haul-Out, Thoughts On My Own Projects

http://livefree2sailfast.com/2019/03/02/haul-out-and-yard-work-on-the-horizon-for-tulum-v

After I published the project list (above) I had discussed with the boatyard, I started thinking through everything I would work on while Tulum was out of the water.  This is in addition to getting the kids fed and to/from school every day (Quincy will be in the kennel and Michelle is on business in Japan for two weeks).  As I went down the list, it became longer and longer and there’s no way I’ll finish while she’s out of the water.  So I just decided to think through it during this post, knowing what tools and supplies are on the boat – while having to think through what I need to get out of the dockbox.  Here goes:

  • Using the templates I have, cut and install the new sound/heat barriers in the bilge spaces under the galley floors.
  • Install new heat/sound barrier in the engine room.
  • Take off heat shield material on engine exhaust piping and install new heat shield and heat shield tape.
  • Find out where the lower coolant drain is- drain and change engine coolant.
  • Find out where the engine thermostat is- change it (make sure you buy extra thermostats).
  • Drain and Change Engine Oil.
  • Figure out how to get into the space and change the impeller (take existing impeller kit and buy two more prior to changing it).
  • Change the primary Fuel Filter (canister)- at the boatyard we’re right next to a large Marine store- get extra canisters.
  • Change the primary Oil Filter (canister)- at the boatyard we’re next to a large Marine Store- get extra canisters.
  • Pick up Main Sheet (getting a new one made) and reattach to the main.  Take off the mizzen Main Sheet and have a new one made.
  • Install new speakers in the cockpit, stern boxes and main salon.  Run the wires and install Amp and Stereo Face.

Should be an interesting haul-out, as most of the week looks like we’re going to get rain.  This means I can’t do the deck sealing and I can’t start the varnish nightmare, so I’ll focus on the projects above.  Should keep me busy.  It I get through even half the list, I’ll be impressed.

 

Deep Bilge Work To Welcome the New Year

Today’s Weds, so I’m working to get back into my M/W/F posting routine, but launched into working in the deep recesses of my deepest bilges today.  I’m hopeful that none of the muck gets caught in the keyboard.  If ya don’t know or understand..older heavier boats built in Taiwan in the 70’s tend to have really deep full bilges.  Engines tend to sit in those spaces.  My deep bilge is the hardest I’ve ever seen to get into and clean out.  It sits nearly 5 feet below my engine and the shaft that rotates our prop is also under the engine, further complicating working on the bilge.  Yep….there’s a few smart folks out there scratching their heads because most engine shafts normally come out of the engine directly to the propeller to power it,  but ours had to be complicated and is attached to a “velvet drive”.  Simply means things are backwards and the shaft comes out of the engine to the “V” drive then goes back under the engine to the propeller.  Yep, it’s as complicated as it sounds.  Now,,,,bilge- A bilge is defined as: The bilge /bɪl/ is the lowest compartment on a ship or seaplane, below the waterline, where the two sides meet at the keel. (wikipedia).  Our bilge has two large pumps that pump water out of the boat and various other hoses to things that were a mystery.  Mystery no longer.  The problem with our bilge also is that the extra special “V Drive” means we can’t really get into the bilge but other stuff can fall in and disappear forever.  Our large bilge pumps are supposed to have automatic float switches on them that start pumping water automatically, but ours have been broken.  Today we went through every single hose going into or out of the bilge, much to my surprise there was lots more than I thought.  We found out that our full tub drains directly into the bilge (important to know) and that we have another pump for the bilge that could be used in combination with the forward saltwater wash down pump to de-water in an emergency.  We also found out that we needed to fix and update every hose, several were burned through by touching the shaft and simply done.  All of this work is accomplished by someone on their stomach on top of the engine or looking through a 1 foot by 1 foot hatch from the galley.  Not terribly efficient or effective setup, but I love to work through problems so this is a great experience and I get to learn more about the boat.  Here’s what this process looks like from above:

The bilge ends about 5 feet below Francisco, he’s on top of the engine.

I’m also babysitting (parenting) the kids while working on the deep bilges because they don’t go back to school for several more days.  So I’m knocking out this post on my lunch break (kids eat all the time and MUST be fed) and hopefully by the end of the day I’ll have working bilge pumps with working float switches and new hoses too?  We’ll see.  If not, it’s my priority project tomorrow and the curtains get to wait.

Happy New Year and a quick hello to all the new folks who are following our little blog. Baja Ha-Ha leaves in October….are you in ?