Apparently this is the year we will be spending gobs of money getting this boat ready to take off. When we bought this boat, we knew what we had. A fixer-upper. That means improving and replacing systems and all the other projects that come with a refit for an extended voyage. We knew we would be spending some heavy cash to make that happen. But we did think we were leaving in 2017. Spread out over what was another 3 1/2 years at the time we purchased Galapagos, we figured we would just do a little at a time.
Now that we’ve moved the date of departure up by a year, and we are getting a little excited about that for sure, the squeeze is on to pay for things faster. Good thing Mike has always been a good money manager. And also good thing, thanks be to God and Grandmas, we have some help with college tuition. Almost done with this one! I keep my day job for now. These next 17 months are going to fly by. This will definitely be the year of spending dangerously.
January in Seattle is the month people begin to get excited about boat season being ‘just around the corner’. (Which means only 5 more months. We love our boating in the Pacific Northwest.) In celebratory anticipation, we get this huge boat show at the end of the month. We get to see boats afloat on Lake Union, and then we get the free shuttle bus to the really over-stimulating, loud and exhausting part in Century Link Field. Mike and I were in extremely high spirits getting to spend the day together looking at boaty stuff and spending hard earned cash.
On our list this year were many of the things we still need to install on Galapagos to make this plan viable for us. Your mileage may vary on your own boat, but we want refrigeration, a self-steering mechanism for those long ocean passages, radar for the fog and night time, and an SSB radio so we can email friends and family at home and get weather reports. We need a different dinghy and we also need to decide if we will bother carrying a life raft.
You know, it’s more than a little amusing to notice how immune one gets to the high prices on these kinds of things. A few thousand for this, a few thousand for that. Then we see the sticker on the lifeboat and say, ‘Oh, it’s only 2000$ for the 4 person life raft. That’s not bad at all.’ My how our perspectives change. We’ll see where we stand on the life raft issues after the first round of spending.
That’s already quite a list but there is one more thing. Deep in the dark recesses of my fearful little heart I have harbored a strong desire for a bow thruster; a desire that boarders on lust. No pun intended. As we walked by the booth showcasing these things, I sent my desire-vibes wafting over in Mike’s direction in such a way that I won’t be surprised if Santa brings me one early, sometime before we leave. The model we’re looking at, called Yacht Thruster, is installed on the outside of the hull so does not require a large hole that then has to be fiber-glassed in. I saw them at the show last year many is the fine moment I have spent fantasizing about having one for Galapagos. These moments of fantasy happen each and every time we pull into and out of the slip. With Moonrise, our Cal 34, Mike would just give the bow a little shove and we’d be pointed in the right direction for backing. To do that to Galapagos is like trying to flick a flea off a horse. She never even notices the effort. She will not be nudged. Nope. She is 23 tons of stubborn that way. (By the way, word is that these do not bother your sailing performance.)
What joy could be mine with one of these babies busily fending all 23 tons of Galapagos off the neighboring boat as we pull out of the slip! What rapture I would feel as we make way straight as an arrow, perpendicular to strong current that is trying to push our girl into the stern of the boat to starboard! ! Of course, this is a ‘Want’, not a ‘Need’, but I’m practicing saying ‘Yes’ to my whole-hearted ‘wants’ lately. If you have one like this, let us know how you like it before we pull the trigger on it, okay? We cannot afford to install the other kind where you make huge tunnels in the bow of your boat and then re-fiberglass the whole thing. Shudder. With all the crazy spending we have to do this year, it’s this kind or nothing. And these are made with the do-it-yourself type in mind. That’s us!
Although we didn’t find all the great deals we were hoping would be at the show, we did walk away having put a deposit on a new Hydrovane as our chosen self-steering device for long passages when we don’t want to run the auto pilot. Mike is completely jazzed about this and I’m glad to have the decision made, and to be working with a company that apparently has great customer service. This kind of vane was the logical choice for our boat because we have a glorious steel swim step that would require expensive modification to support installing one of the servo-pendulum type units. We also have hydraulic steering, so units like the Monitor do not work as well for us. These have a great reputation, are dead simple, and we avoid the double line to the cockpit of the servo-pendulum types.
And as an added message from the Universe telling us we are making the right choice, the owner of this company knows our boat! That’s right! We are amazed at how many people we run into that know our boat already. I guess, considering that she has been in the Pacific Northwest almost her entire life, that shouldn’t be a surprise. But it continues to astound us. The owner of the company bought another boat from the previous owner of our boat and is familiar with Galapagos already! So his knowledge is not only broad in terms of his product and sailing, but also in terms of our specific boat. Outstanding! Sold!
We came just this close to putting money down on a new dinghy and we probably should have just done it. Our little Walker Bay dinghy, as much as I like it for around here, isn’t going to cut the mustard for us on the long voyage. At the show we saw an Achilles HB 300 FX rigid inflatable with a fold-down transom. It’s Hyperlon, and with the transom that folds down, it fits into a storage bag so it will take up less room on deck. I thought it was perfect. Mike wasn’t sure. We did the ‘Google’ and found that the price, which was right at 3000$ if we drove to Portland to get it, was about what we would pay other places. If you have a dinghy you particularly love, shout it out before we buy this one. We don’t know how much time these things take to inflate, deflate, and store. We just know we would prefer to a) not have the dinghy hanging from davits while on passage so an inflatable makes sense b) not have a big dinghy taking up all the space on the bow during passage c) we are really going to miss being able to row. And we are not crazy about the Portabotes so those are not in the running. Also 8 feet or 10? I’m thinking 10 because who knows if we will get visitors aboard? But 8 may be adequate. Thoughts, anyone?
The dinghy is one thing. But refrigeration is the next big project and we plan to do something about that when we haul out this spring. But what to do? That is the big question. So, as with all big questions, we turn to the previous owner. Did we tell you how we met him? He’s the owner who put a ton of money into this boat in the 1980’s and then sailed her to New Zealand, as I recall. We were anchored off of Portland Island last summer and he saw the boat from over by Sidney, B.C. and recognized it from that far away! It was the color of the hull. All their family boats had been that color.
So he and his wife tootled over to say hi in their big and luxurious trawler! They cozied up to us in the anchorage and we had a nice visit and made new friends. He loved this boat and we could tell it was still hard for him that he had to sell her years ago. We understand how emotional it can be to give up a beloved boat. And we are so happy that we met him and his wife, and that we have yet another friendly previous owner to contact about Galapagos. So Mike emailed him.
Apparently the refrigeration has always been an issue on Galapagos and his suggestion, which, by the way, I believe is a wise one, is to rip out the whole thing and start over. Yep. That’s probably the best course of action here.
Also looking at these:
Fisheries Supply carries the line of Isotherm fridge and freezer drawers. I like the concept of a drawer, but if you will notice in the photo, this one has a full side to it, which means you get to use all the space vertically as well as on the footprint of the drawer. The ones we saw by Isotherm have short little sides, which seems like a complete waste of perfectly good space to me. The one in the photo is by Vitrifrigo and is on a new Hunter sailboat, which I did not like as well as I like my own boat. Thoughts?
So that’s the next project. And it’s going to be a doozy. The year of spending dangerously has begun.
Major teaser photo from an actual boat we actually saw and actually went on board. I am not making this up. This is one half of a boat galley. Post in the works!