After replacing our old teak decks with nonskid,
Leveque helped me pull out the anchor and chain. We
stretched all 300 feet down the dock and painted markers
every 50 feet. I also upgraded from a 45 lb anchor to 65
lb with a snubber.
There has to be a major surprise with every renovation.
Ours was when the mast broke and we had to fabricate a
7-foot aluminum sleeve and forward stay to support the
dinghy and winch. When the mast snapped, the old sat-TV antenna popped through the dome and deposited ball
bearings around the deck. I stood there and saw large sums
of money passing over my head, much like counted sheep.
We now have a new KVH M3 antenna and a very well-reinforced mast—and we can launch the dinghy by ourselves
with peace of mind.
Step 7: Familiarizing Ourselves With The Boat
Unless we plan to stay at the dock or anchor next to Sea Tow
for the rest of our lives, we had to learn all of the boat’s systems.
For me this was, and continues to be, very intimidating. I
followed the surveyors around and asked lots of questions.
While the engine work was being done, I videoed the basic
maintenance procedures. Noting oil changing systems and
the location and workings of all the filters, impellers, zincs,
through-hulls, pumps, strainers and countless other things.
The location of all the switches, breakers and fuses was also
new to me, as were the head and plumbing systems and pump
priming. The refrigeration system is also totally different from
that aboard our previous trawler.
The difference between a fully loaded 20,000 lb trawler and
an 80,000 lb trawler is drastic. Frankly, I am getting nervous just
writing this, because I know there is still so much more to learn.
Docking and handling a twin-screw boat versus my old
single with a bow thruster is quite enjoyable, but every boat
has its own characteristics with wind, current and thrust. I am
still learning Mud Puddle Rose’s idiosyncrasies. The principle
of never approaching a dock any faster than you want to hit it
still holds true. There is no substitute for going out in familiar
waters and practicing.
Step 8: Go Cruising
I could write about this all day, and I am sure many readers
could do better. But I’ll stop here to spend my time
preparing some short cruises on the west coast of Florida,
as we’re finally ready to enjoy our labors. The wine is
chilling, and the dolphins are looking for a push off our
wake. We hope we’ll see you in the Abacos, Exumas and
Berry Islands in the spring. Just look for Mud Puddle Rose
with the two of us on the flybridge enjoying a glass of wine
as the sun sets.
Follow Joe and Susan Chilberg’s blog at www.passagemaker.com