Dirty Dreams and Clean Tanks

When’s the last time you thought about how clean your boat water tanks were?

Honestly,,,most of us don’t worry about the plastic or aluminum water tanks on our boats,,,,,cause what could be in them?   Ok,,,,,be very, very afraid,,,,since after this post you might be forced to actually look in your tanks,,,,or even cut them open to clean them like I just did!  I’m still having dreams about those damn dirty tanks.  In another post earlier this year, I told you that even though Tulum IV is for sale,,,,my OCD doesn’t allow me to ever stop improving and working on her to make her better.  So for the last few weekends, I’ve been devising plans to open up two of my water tanks at a time; putting view ports and new tank sensors in them and cleaning and sanitize them.  Mission complete.  I’ve finished two of my four water tanks,,,,and what I found in them was nasty!  Prior to working on the tanks, I’m not sure they’ve been cleaned since installation.  There was slime, dirt, particulate, solids and other stuff in the tanks.  But when I was done, there were clean dry tanks with 4-inch opening view ports for access and new tank sensors, all professionally installed.

Take a look by photo essay below:

First, have you ever seen how thick your plastic water tanks are?  Take a look at a core from the top of my tank-

Using a drill, we drilled out these cores on both tanks to install the 4-inch view ports with removable openings,,,,ya know the view port things-

After getting the view ports installed, we started to see what was in the tanks,,,and the cleaning started.  We used the trusty Zep Mildew and Stain Remover,,,,which is probably bleach and simple green mixed together,,,smelled like it.  Here’s what was in the tanks and is probably in your tanks if you have not cleaned them in the last couple years:

Bottom of tank 2

Love the wide angle lenses,,,inside of tank 1

After a full cleaning and double rinse, I installed the a new tank sensor on one tank and made sure the other sensor was working:

Old Tank Sensor, not working

New Tank Sensor, working very well

Lastly, we finished up by testing both tank sensors and making sure both tanks were squeaky clean and sparkly, putting the boat back together like new.

Yep, we work on them, sail them, play on them and raise our family on our boat when we’re there.  Love to adventure travel, sail and cruise, stick with us,,,,we love living free and sailing fast!



Capri 16.5 Rigging and Docking Notes, mostly to myself

Knowing that I’ve sailed larger boats the last few years, I took last Saturday and this coming Saturday to return to my home sailing school to sail small boats again, in preparation for helping Warrior Sailing next week.  This post is my notes to myself for rigging and docking the Capri 16.5.

1.  Rig the rudder first-  this helps stabilize the boat while you’re doing the rest:

Pay special attention to that metal clip, it’s gotta be in that position to work

2.  Loosen the traveler to allow the tiller to come under it:

3.  Take off the Sailcover

4.  Rig the Main:

  This to the Main

That sheet attached to the top of the sail, just like on a big boat!

5.  Allow the sail to luff before raising it:

Let this loose to allow the sail to luff

6.  Raise Sail:

7.  Move all the rest of the control lines back so you can reach them from the tiller or from the midpoint of the boat if you are using the tiller extension:

8.  From the dock I was on (and preferably with a partner), kick the bow of the boat off the dock first and hop in.  Now the bow should be heading away from shore,,,,and you have enough wind to get moving.  Raise the Jib when comfortable,,,,and go sailing.

The reward,,,,,a ship and a star to steer her by!

9.  Coming back to the dock, allow the sail to luff as you’re trying to dock,,,,easier if you have someone who can take the bow and stern painters.  Without this help,,,,,don’t get out of the boat until you’ve tied yourself to the dock,,,,securely.  Especially while your old sailing instructor is sitting above you eating lunch with his wife,,,,,watching you flail around trying to keep the damn boat on the dock.

Daily Dose of Tulum IV

Photos like this remind me to slow down and take life one step at a time, remembering what’s important.

Tulum IV at Sunset (beefed up rigging in the foreground)

Remembering my time in Houston fondly and considering I’m a Texas state resident, please keep Houston and the folks there who are less fortunate than ourselves in your thoughts.

Photo Credit to my hottie wife using her iPhone.

Tightening up the Boat (Tulum IV)

Good morning.  For the last couple weekends I’ve been here and sometimes while my wife’s been here, we’ve been working on various projects to completely tighten up the boat.  “What do I mean why this”?   I mean,,,we’ve been doing the little things here and there that are left to do,,,,as the boat is still for sale.  We want to sell her for the simple reason that we think we need more space.  We’re living with what we have for now, but a bit more space for our growing family would be a Godsend.  All of the projects we’re doing will help sell the boat, and with my own “thing” with constant improvement, I have to continually make the boat better, healthier and in better shape as we continue to keep her up for sale.   Here’s where we were two weeks ago as I cleaned bilges, traced various pipes and checked the hot water heater in detail:

And here’s how she looks normally, all put together again:

I’m not sure a used boat is ever going to be perfect.  But as long as you give a crap about your boat and constantly work to make her a better boat and a better place to live, you’re GOING to make the boat better.  It doesn’t take much money and it doesn’t take a lot of skill (if I can do it,,,,so can you), but it does take some “give a crap”.

We’re LiveFree2SailFast.com,,,,,and we’re  still planning to leave for extended blue water cruising in the next few years,,,,in the meantime we’ll continue to adventure travel with family in the meantime.

A steady Cruiser

Good Morning:

Me, the wife and the kids were down on the docks a few weeks ago at Shelter Island boatyard looking at another boat when I saw this Peterson 44.   She’s a boat I’ve been on before when she was listed with another broker and have written a post about already.  She’s a steady cruiser at a great price that would be a great boat for someone who wanted to do some Bluewater cruising.  No offense to anyone, but keep in mind she’s not a classic Kelly Peterson 44 (cause she wasn’t built at Qween Long Marine) but aside from that she looks pretty close.

When I saw this stern profile again from the docks, I was taken back to Tulum III.  My parents circumnavigated a Kelly Peterson 44 around the world in approx. 18 years and they swear these are the best Bluewater boats on the planet, and they’re sometimes hard to find on the West Coast.

If you want to read more about her or see the rest of my pics from inside her, take look at this post I’ve already written:  https://livefree2sailfast.com/2017/01/18/india-44-kelly-peterson-and-44-lafitte  or hit the link above to see the pics from the broker.

(I even called it a Kelly Peterson, but I don’t think it is).

Million Dollar Boat- and they let me on it!

This is a nearly $1 million dollar boat,,,,,and they let me on it!  They may have known that I write for one of the top 40 Sailing Blogs on the internet or they saw how ridiculous handsome I am,,,,,(except neither of these things are really true),,,,so I was simply another potential customer.

So, this is a 2017 Aquila 44 Powerboat,,,,and she’s sweet.  MarineMax is actually a publicly traded company that has “stores” (brokerages) all over the US and sells boats and provides rentals and bareboat in places,,,like the BVI.  I like this, pretty cool.  But, on this boat Saturday afternoon after I had been in the bilges all day,,,,it was sweet to have a free cold Margarita put in my hand and have the nice sales lady give me a full tour.  When hot wife showed up, we got a better tour and were able to discuss the bareboat opportunities in the BVI.  Of course,,,,,all of this was in the name of blog research (that got me another free drink) and I had a fun time doing it.

Here’s a few more pics of this good-looking boat:

Salon, looking toward the FULL beam Master Suite and private head.

This isn’t the Master. This is one of the two queen sized guest suites. It’s larger than the Master on my sailboat!

Umm, that’s not a real fish but that is a real barbeque up on the fly bridge of this boat.

Great Control Spaces up on the flybridge

So cool, you can get to the bow down the flybridge ladder well and it gives you great visibility.

There were three powerboats,,,,so we went on this one too, a 40 footer for less than the powercat,,,,this one was only in the $700’s.

Overall, I was impressed with how the sales folks treated us poor sailboaters and I liked the powercat.  And,,,,they take trade-in’s and say they have in-house financing.  Almost sounds interesting,,,,,,naaaaah.   Back to my bilge!

Let’s talk boat batteries-

Hmm,,,,let’s talk boat batteries real quick.  They’re not that hard but I’ve personally screwed up my boat batteries once and don’t want to do it again,,,,,so if this post could possibly help you, that’s what it’s for.  If you’re fairly poor like me,,,,,you probably have regular lead acid boat batteries and you might have the giant cell ones like me that take water to keep running,,,,,so they don’t dry out, overcharge and de-gass while you’re underway and you don’t lose ALL electrical power completely.  We did,,,,and it sucks.

First, if you don’t have the 2 quarter Lubrimatic automatic battery filler in the picture below,,,SPEND $16 dollars and get it,,,,it’s frickin magic.

You can get this at West Marine or on this link from Amazon.  (Full Disclosure- if you buy from the link I’ve provided, I make 1 cent)

Now look at the hole in my battery closely.  If you know your batteries, you’ll know you should be able to see water coming all the way up into camera view,,,but in this picture there isn’t any,,,,,cause it’s a bit low.  Using the automatic filler and some good old fashioned DISTILLED water, I promptly refilled it.  Don’t be a dumbass who uses regular water in your boat batteries, you’ll pay the price!

I’ve been a bit irregular with posts this last week but have snapped out of it and am back.  I’m excited to show you a $million dollar boat they let me on and what happens when you have to rip out all the floorboards of your boat to trace problems.  Stay with us!!

3 Things I learned in the Boat Yard

Three of the many things I learned at the boatyard,,,,,mostly from my broker.

Tulum IV was for sale on the docks at the Shelter Island Boatyard in San Diego from October of 2016 – June of 2017, while we kept her there near our broker and worked to improve her overall.  I want to share three basic things I learned about that were quick fixes to slimy and smelly situations and helped improve the quality of the boat overall.  >>>Disclaimer<<<: Many of you old salts are going to laugh at this blog post and go,,,,,,duh,,,I’ve been doing that,,,,,but these small things helped a lot and can be done cheaply and easily with a little elbow grease,,,,,yet I’ve been on too many boats that don’t practice these things.

Here’s three easy cleaning fixes that will improve the look, smell and value of your boat no matter what,,,,read on (do the work in this order!!!):

  1. Motor Mounts:  If you own a boat,,,,you probably take these babies for granted, but they’re pretty important.  These are the rubber or metal “legs” that mount your motor (engine) into your boat,,,so that when you turn on the old iron ginny,,,,it goes.  They rust and wear out.  They do.  Once they get rust on them,,,,it’s time to make them pretty again.  Plan on pain.  Get yourself contorted into a nice pretzel unless you do yoga and get into the engine space, with all intentions of actually trying to get under the engine.  Find the motor mounts and go to work with your small wire brush, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.  If done right,,,,,you’ll be filthy, covered in rust flecks, cursing, sweaty and hot and generally sore.  (if you’re down on the motor mounts and not feeling this way,,,,,start over again or fire the mechanic and do it yourself).  Once you’ve wire brushed the hell out of all four motor mounts, try to go over them once with a dry towel to get all the dust off them.  Choose a colored Rustoleum paint that will spray upside down and get in there and spray.  Try to get most on the motor mounts and less down below the engine,,,,so you don’t have the blue streaks I have below my engine now.  Use the stuff generously and your motor mounts will be protected for the cost of the paint.  A bit of work,,,,but good protection.
  2. Power Sprayer:  I broke down and bought one to clean my hull and decks,,,but my broker told me several secrets of boat prep that opened my eyes to how they get things so clean for boat shows.  One of these things is the specialized industry that only does interior or exterior boat prep,,,,like a specialty cleaning company.  When pressed, he admitted that I could bring my power sprayer below decks,,,,,and if I could get to a space below the sole of the boat,,,,I could spray it.  By this, I mean bilge spaces, engine, engine spaces, shaft compartment, generator compartment ect.  So,,,I did.  What a glorious mess I had then,,,,but the power sprayer did it’s job.  Engine came clean of oils and other gunk, bilge lost some filth, compartments began to reveal their original color.  I was impressed and a the same time upset, cause I should have done that when I bought the damn boat.  When you’re spraying,,,,,don’t forget to throw a mini-oil soak pad into the bilge, cause you’ll knock that filth loose and you don’t want your bilge pump to put it over the side.  This should be your second step after you make sure your engine mounts are nice and coated in Rustoleum and dry.
  3. Sanitize and Whiten:  Lastly, you probably want to sanitize and whiten everything occasionally, especially if you ever join the Platypus Club,,,,,hopefully you never will.  When we had to have a crack mechanic come recently and help me with a minor plumbing issue,,,,,he went to get parts and came back with BEST cleaner I’ve seen.  It sanitized, cleaned and removed smell.  But it left a bleach like smell, which I don’t mind.  I’ve fallen in love with the “Zep Mold Stain and Mildew Stain Remover”.  The stuff works and I think I’ll use it on everything, as it’s GRP and fiberglass safe and makes things whiter,,,,great on a white boat.   You probably want this to be your third step and I highly recommend you use this stuff in your bilge,,,,helps with smell.

Ok, have a great Saturday morning,,,,another post tomorrow-