As you likely saw last week, we sailed !!! Yeah. But where were we sailing to? We were sailing to the Shipyard. We needed some work done on the boat. The biggest priority for a while has been a nagging little issue our insurance company had with the boat. When we submitted the survey to our insurance company 3 years ago, they picked up on the fact that we had a steel diesel tank (and one aluminum and one Poly type), but they had an issue with the steel one. Because they can rust, they wanted a pressure test done on the fuel tanks to be sure that there was no rust that had compromised the tank and could cause leaking. In the 3 years we have had the boat, we have never had a drop of diesel in the bilge except the few I dripped when changing the fuel filters. But none the less, the insurance company had on us a ‘Port Lock’, meaning we were not able to leave the dock until that was tested and fixed if there was an issue.
- We reached out to them with the quote from the yard seeking permission to allow us to sail it (and cover it from an insurance perspective) on a specific date to the boatyard. We waited while their underwriters determined our fate. And their decision surprised us, they just lifted the port lock. Period. They didn’t impose any conditions or even require the test, but since we had been living with this for so long we wanted to prove that it was fine.
This is one of the things we are having the boatyard do for us. But I am getting ahead of the story.
Let’s start where we left off last week which was with sailing her across Lake Ponchatrain to the boatyard. Sadly we had some engine problems and I am about 90% sure that problem was I ran out of fuel in one of the tanks and couldn’t successfully switch to one of the other 2 tanks full of fuel. I suspect this is operator error combined with bad or insufficient labeling of all the valves to choose the fuel tank draw and return sources.
We had TowBoat US take us into the port from the lake and we arrived at about 10 pm, which made for some interesting tight maneuvering at the yard. But we arrived safely and side tied to another yacht at the direction of the direction of the yard manager.
Becuase of the late night arrival we decided to come back in the morning and unload the things off the boat we needed to get as well as some straightening up we wanted to do. Things like putting all the settee cushions up on a bunk, etc. Our friends David and Leigh gave us a ride from the yard back to our other boat “Last Affair” where we will be staying while the work is being done.
We stopped by early the next morning (8:30 am) and to our surprise they were already moving one of the boats up on the hard to make room for where they wanted to put DreamChaser. Because of the move, they had part of the walkway removed and we couldn’t get over to DreamChaser so we waited an hour or so. When we got aboard it was a mad dash to do the work we needed. While Deb, Whitney and I worked below, they removed some of the boat’s rigging and moved the boat via lines into position to be lifted. By the time we popped out of the boat, we were along the wall with the slings already in position for lifting.
We quickly carried all the stuff off the boat we needed (or didn’t want to carry down an extension ladder) and put it in the car and prepared the cameras for the lifting of the boat. Check out the video below for a quick time lapse of it. This operation is always a little hairy as this is not a travel lift but literally a crane that is used to lift the boats and pivot them into the place where they need to be for the work to be done.
They told us they typically leave it in the sling for 24 hours resting on the blocks to be sure that nothing settles or moves so they wouldn’t do much to her short of power washing the bottom for that first day. We came back to the boat on Wednesday (2 days later) and they had made some pretty good progress already. We have a camera mounted in the boat that allows us to see the work being performed (at least the part that is in view) which is kind of cool. The camera records any time there is motion or we can watch live, so I was able to capture the first few seconds of all the movement in the day. The video below shows it and it is funny looking, I hope you enjoy.
During the first day, they held a meeting to discuss all the options, how to clean the bilge, get all water our, prep the surface and then discussed the best material (paint) to use for the job. There are several options but the yard recommended a hard enamel paint. This is similar to something like a Bilgekote paint you can get at the marine store, but less cost and without the brand name. The suggestion was that it didn’t have to be a 2 part epoxy, but something that would hold up to oil or fuel that potentially could get on it. We wanted something that would be hard (not chip if a wrench is dropped onto it, or a can of green beans rolls around on it while sailing).
We also wanted it to be easily cleanable so we can brush, wash or wipe it. All of this is what we will get with the suggestion from the yard. We chose Ship Gray to allow us to see spots if something were to drip. I considered white to help brighten it up as well as show any dirt, but that seemed a little too “show boat” which we are not. I should have chosen a lighter gray but I didn’t specify light gray, I just said Ship Gray and that leaves a bit of it up to interpretation.
They prepped the bilges (all except the engine room where we are going to have that fuel test done, so wanted to wait and clean and paint that after the testing is complete. The bilges looked so much better and the new paint looks great. This is just the first coat, but you can already see it is making a difference. I may get ambitious and mount LED lighting on the underside of the sole in the Galley to help light up the engine room better too. I am always using a small headlamp when doing work down there and the LED’s may help that issue especially with the lighter color.
When we got to the yard, much to our suprise, they were doing double duty. The work was being done on the inside by a couple of workers, which we could see on the camera. But when we arrived, clearly they had already started to prepare the boat for more work we are having done. The hull was sanded lightly and the ports taped up. You can likely guess we are getting new paint, the colors and patterns to be revealed soon. 🙂
Check out this weeks video and if you like it, please share our youtube channel with your friends. If you know of someone that may like it or can help spread the word on the channel, we would certainly appreciate you sending it to them directly with a nice note asking them to check it out.
Safe sailing from the crew aboard S/V DreamChaser.
Also published on Medium.