As the days turn – my body burns.

I have almost completed the bottom painting that Harbinger needed. I ended up painting the bottom only because when I tried to hire it out with Pettit Marine (Olympia, WA) they were too busy, so after almost a week of waiting we decided to take on the job alone.

Truthfully it was the most painful and dirty job I have done on the boat so far. The blown head gaskets was dirty but this was beyond that. Sanding with 40 Gritt sandpaper I was only able to remove about 1/5 of the boats bottom paint in 8 hours time. Feeling defeated I decided the next day to use a method mentioned in Don Caseys, “This old boat” and scrape the bottom. What a huge difference that made as I was able to scrape and sand the remnants in one day.

With the hull cleaned up and sanded down I was able to inspect and begin the repair process. The most significant damage was under the keel caused from years of scraping or hitting logs in the PNWs rugged crab pot infested water ways.

Today with numb limbs ,aching chest muscles and loads of rain foretasted I will continue the battle – its been a long 5 days so far.

Bottom painting
Bottom painting
Interlux 2000
Interlux 2000

The finish line is near.

In a few days Harbinger will get new bottom paint and this should wrap up ‘the winter 2014″ refit. Our goal was to install or remove systems that did not work or were not installed to begin with, like reefing the main. Fortunately for us we were able to liveaboard and sail for an entire season giving us ample time to decide on what we wanted or needed to install. Things are shaping up for Harbinger and some day she will be ready to take us offshore to far away lands.

Time zooms by but at the end of the day this is the list of work we have completed.

  • Boom gallows installed
  • Boomkin installed
  • Radar arch installed
  • 4 through-hulls removed and glassed over
  • Head counter top installed
  • forward cabin hatch rebuild
  • engine room exhaust hose installed
  • Bun huggers installed
  • Re ground the tapered cone sea-cocks
  • Jacked up cabin sole and installed a new beam for support
  • Paint bilges
  • Sand, stripped and varnished the mast
  • Made new chain plates and mast crown hardware
  • Installed a new smart sensor for depth, speed temperature
  • Designed a custom chart plotter using a touch screen computer and NMEA input.
  • Repaired dinghy, a hole in the keel about the size of a nickle needed attention.
  • Re wired engine room using PVC pipe for added protection.
  • Designed a new electrical panel
  • Installed new boomkin stays and turnbuckles
  • removed wood stove
  • Installed staysail track, cars and sheets.
  • Rerouted the deck scuppers by drilling into the bulwarks and glassing in a tube made of fiberglass.
  • Converted traveler controls so that the lines run under the dodger.
  • Installed all new running rigging
  • Installed and ordered new blocks, clevis pins, shackles, and all other rigging except standing rigging.

We have a few days this week to finish up some minor details and go over each system to make sure all the bolts and hose clamps are tight. There was a ton of work taking place in parallel so its important for us to make sure we did not forget something, then again its a boat and will always need something.

Running out of hard-time.

We have been sitting on the hard for months and our time is about to run out, thankfully. Living on the hard simply sucks and I doubt we will ever do it again.

I still have 2 thru-hulls to re-build and re-seat and I have one thru-hull that I must fiberglass over. The hole that I need to glass over is in a tight spot and will take a little time to create the needed bevel using my palm sander and 36 grit. The photo below shows the 3 thru-hulls we removed in the head. We figured that less is better so now the boat has only 3 thru-hulls and one sensor for a total of 4 holes in the hull.

filling in the holes takes time and a large bevel.
filling in the holes takes time and a large bevel.

Our overhead cabin hatch needs attention and we have many other details that we can finish up while floating in the sound. Our custom chain plates are being worked on using an electro-polishing company.

The custom switch panel I designed was ordered. I downloaded a program from front panel and it worked great. It gives you real time pricing as you design the panel that I though was a nice touch.

Custom electric front switch panel.
Custom electric front switch panel.

Installing new backing plates for the seacock.

I had to install them after seeing the old rotted wooden backing plates that sit under the valve that keeps the sea out of Harbingers keel. I was skeptical about doing this type of work and just had to build up some courage diving in head first.

3/4" seacock
3/4″ seacock thru-hull rebedding

It was not to bad of a project and yet we wont know if I did it correctly until we splash back in. Oh fingers crossed.


We are getting closer to placing Harbinger into the water again. After many projects we feel its time to set a date because one could work on a boat forever. We have arraigned a haul out date and if all goes well we should step the mast soon after that date.

Below are some of the work that we have completed or remains in progress.

  • Custom boomkin solar arch tower with stern pulpit.
  • New boomkin standing rigging including turnbuckles.
  • Sanded and varnished the mast and boom.
  • Made custom chain plates including over sizing the boomkin and bowsprit stay tangs.
  • Rerouted scuppers to move deck water through the bulwarks instead of into the cockpit drains.
  • Spliced and purchased an entirely new running rigging system.
  • Mounted a new staysail sheet track and car.
  • Scarfed a new patch of spruce over the small rotted section on the boom, our mast and boom are wooden.
  • Removed 2 gauges off the cabin top bulkhead that were faulty. Epoxied over the holes with fiberglass.
  • Painted the bilges.
  • Designed a custom electrical switch panel out of 4mm aluminum.
  • Encapsulated the engine room electrical wires in PVC for better protection.
  • Insulated the head and remade the counter tops removing the sink and faucet.
  • Removed 3 bronze tapered cone seacocks and 1 speed sensor thru-hull, then beveled and repaired the holes with fiberglass and epoxy.
  • Replaced all the blocks, cleats and rope clutches with new and or larger sized for offshore ability.
  • Custom mast parts including mast crown, spreader, staysail parts with 304 stainless steel that has been electro-polished and passivized.
  • Dinghy hole repair.
  • Bottom paint.
  • Remade the forward hatch out of 3″ teak lumbar and clear 1/2″ Lexan plate.
  • Rebuilt cabin hatch.
  • Boom gallows.
  • Sent in our traveler controls having them converted, allowing for the lines to run under the dodger.
  • Removed wood stove.

We will still have much more work to complete even after we splash in but most of it will be simpler. We are looking into a diesel heater for example and probably will want to do more insulating.

Hauled out.

Climb that 8 foot aluminum ladder and come aboard while we show you the true grit about being a living-aboard.

Living aboard in the boat yard was probably not the best idea, its frowned upon and is difficult frustrating at times. Yet we truly needed to have the mast taken down and to have bottom paint re-applied so the decision was already made. Daily duties consist of emptying the 5 gallon bucket of slop, dumping the pee jug from the composting head, and taking out the trash all of these duties must be done while going up and down that 8 foot, wobbly, aluminum ladder.


making chain plates
making chain plates
Removing these was fun.
Removing these was fun.
our temporary neighbors
our temporary neighbors

Living conditions among the rows of giant keels and bottom dust is a drag. We have a massive tarp extended over 5 PVC pipes athwartship the deck. This circus tent is keeping things dry and allowing us room to work on deck but at night the street light keeps the port windows a never changing dull white practically 24 hours out of the day. The construction of many projects have kept us busy but we make sure to keep little swabbie entertained and safe.

inside the tent
inside the tent

Having no car means we walk, bike and bus about the city using the public library as one of our DVD rental outlets. Free is a hard price to beat even if the movie is in french and it gives us a chance to show swabbie some of the classic movies or some of my kid favorites. Go check out a local library when the cruising funds are being taxed to death they may have some good stuff.

The city is overfilled with homeless people who find shelter at night by using the door entrances of downtown businesses. Heroin junkies leave needles lying around and even though the city and port do a good job picking these up we see them frequently. Aside from this and the weather this place is well nothing like living on the hook. We have to get back and soon.