The Winter To-Do List – At Home Items

As you may have gathered from Margaret’s recent posts on purchasing a Sailrite sewing machine and selecting foam for the cockpit cushions, we are beginning the work that we need to accomplish on Bear before next season. Along these lines, one of the first things we did was to compile a comprehensive list of tasks that need to be completed. Then, we divided the list into things we can do now in Peoria, those that have to actually be taken care of on the boat, and those that we need measurements, gear, or part numbers from the boat so that we can buy parts, contemplate our options, or build and sew items at home.

We will be going down to St. Mary’s Boat Services in Georgia, where Bear is on the hard, for a few weeks over winter break. Hopefully we will be able to finish all the projects that we need to be on the boat to complete or, at the very least, all of the jobs that absolutely have to be done before commissioning at that time. As you will see, though, our list is so long that knocking out all the work seems unlikely. Moreover, we have not even multiplied our estimated completion time for each task by a factor of three or four, which is our standard perception to reality ratio. But we will deal with the unfinished work when and if we come to that point.

Today, I am going to start by going through the things that we can do from Peoria. And we would love to hear any comments or suggestions you guys might have to help us on any of these items.

Purchase port gaskets – The gaskets on our Grand Deer ports are more or less falling apart. The ports do not leak at the moment, but, given the condition of the gaskets, it seems like only a matter of time before that begins to happen. So, we are going to order new gaskets and install them when we are on the boat over the new year. The folks on the Tayana owner’s group just had a timely discussion on where to source the gaskets from, so I will look into their suggestions. Unfortunately, the owner’s group is open to members only, or I would post a link. But I will follow up with a post on sourcing these and other items.

Purchase replacement dogs – A few of the dogs for our ports are either missing or seized. So far, our search for replacement dogs that fit our ports has been fruitless, but I think once we really harness the power of the internet, we will locate them.

Purchase port holders – I am not really even sure what these things are called, which makes searching for them a bit difficult. The port holders I am referring to are a simple chain and ring design that holds the ports open when they are not dogged down. I am confident that I will come across them while looking for the gaskets and dogs.

Design and construct a boom preventer – A boom preventer will help prevent unintentional jibes when we are running downwind, especially when we are doing so under autopilot. So far, we have not really needed a preventer, but if we are going to make some more overnight hops up the coast this coming summer, it will be an important piece of equipment to have. Again, the Tayana owner’s group has a lot of information on different setups.

Construct a bridle for our inflatable – This past summer we carried two dinghies, our West Marine HP 275 inflatable and our eight foot Walker Bay. Having two dinghies was a pain, and we rarely used the Walker Bay. So, we will be selling the Walker Bay (already on the “in Georgia” to-do list) and only using the inflatable. So we can keep the inflatable on the davits, we need a bridle.

Our friend Brian with both our dinghies in the Cape May anchorage

Our friend Brian with both our dinghies in the Cape May anchorage

Make new v-berth cushions – Margaret is already getting started on this by looking into foam and fabric and talking to a mattress builder about the possibility of making a mattress for our v-berth. She will definitely have more details in a future post.

Make new cockpit cushions – Again, Margaret has already ordered some foam and is making the final decision about what fabric to use right now.

Purchase chartplotter for the cockpit – I am almost certainly giving in and buying a chartplotter for the helm. We will be going with a Raymarine model so that we can network it with other electronics already on the boat and ones we will be purchasing in the future.

Purchase a new radome – The radar currently on the boat is analog and will not work with our new chartplotter. Our radar is compatible with the old chartplotter that is currently at the helm station, but that plotter is really old and we do not have any chart chips for it (hence why we are replacing the chartplotter). While the radar works, if we are going to spend the money on a new chartplotter at the helm, we want to not only get rid of the old plotter, but also be able to sync the radar with the new unit. We might even be able to get a package deal on the chartplotter and radar.

Look into integrating the chartplotter and autopilot – Our autopilot is an older Autohelm  type 2 linear drive unit that I have been told can still be integrated with new Raymarine chartplotters. I need to look into whether this is possible and what the costs are before we make a decision about whether to do it. I am hoping that if we buy a new chartplotter, it will have this functionality built in.

Rebuild the water pumpAll the way back in Port Jefferson, our freshwater pump stopped working. We replaced the older pump with a new one of the same model even though the older pump really just needed to be rebuilt. We brought the old pump home so that, once I buy the rebuild kit, I can do just that. We will then have a spare pump should anything happen to our new freshwater pump or older sump, washdown, and bilge pumps.

From left to right, our bilge, fresh water, and sump pumps

From left to right, our bilge, fresh water, and sump pumps

Look into replacing our interior lights with LED – Bear currently has two wonderful Alpenglow LED reading lights in the salon, but the two other reading lights in the v-berth and all the overhead lights are incandescent. Although these other fixtures give off great light, they also suck a ton of power. In fact, if we turn on all the interior lights, it uses more power than our refrigerator. We hope that we can put LED bulbs in the old overhead fixtures this year, see how that works, and decide what our long term solution will be.

Food dehydrator – Last summer, we had fresh veggies whenever possible. But finding fresh food and keeping it fresh for long periods of time was occasionally difficult. This winter, we are going to purchase a dehydrator and try our hand at preparing a range of vegetables. Next summer, we will still get fresh vegetables whenever possible, but we hope the dehydrated supply will allow us to spend more time in secluded anchorages and enable us to make whatever dishes we want at any time.

Buy and finish additional anchor snubbersAs I noted before, it took us all summer to finally settle on an anchor snubbing solution. Now, I would like to have at least three snubbers on board for backup. As I detailed in that previous post, our snubber is little more than a line, but I do need to purchase them and then seize the ends.

Buy a countdown alarm – We desperately need a dedicated countdown alarm on board for both cooking and watch standing.

Rehab the autopilot – Our autopilot was giving us some problems over the summer. After endless searching, I finally found someone on the internet who was having a similar problem, was able to fix it by taking the whole thing apart, and documented much of the process. With the time and space I can only find on land over the winter, I plan to take our autopilot apart and, hopefully, return it to like new condition. Otherwise we might have to drop two thousand dollars on a new unit.

Taking apart the autopilot this summer before recognizing just how large a job it would be

Taking apart the autopilot this summer before recognizing just how large a job it would be

Order a new gasket for the windlass – Our Lighthouse 1501 windlass has been working very well. However, a gasket on the top is falling apart, raising the possibility that we will have some water intrusion, which could cause ruin the unit. To prevent this outcome, we will be getting a new gasket, installing it, and servicing the entire unit.

The windlass with the gasket in question just visible...and the boots of our surveyor, Phil

The windlass with the gasket in question just visible…and the boots of our surveyor, Phil

Purchase tread for the companionway steps – Margaret is taking on this job. She wants to find something that is effective, durable, and not ugly.

Create a comprehensive maintenance schedule – We intend to draft a comprehensive maintenance schedule so that once we get caught up on the delayed maintenance from the two years the boat sat on the hard before we purchased her, we have a base plan for keeping on top of things in the future.

Systematic consideration of spares – The previous owners left us with a good collection of spares for many of the systems. And we have added a number of items ourselves. But we would like to thoroughly consider every system, the spare parts we might need, and the likelihood of needing those parts. Then, we will start to purchase the parts we would like to have on hand and locate where we can purchase the rest should we need them while underway.

Gather information on windvane steering – Our budget definitely does not include actually buying a windvane steering system this year, nor do our cruising plans really warrant having one. However, we envision needing one in the future. So far, we are only casually familiar with the different gear options and would like to start exploring the possibilities a little more methodically.

Types of windvane self-steering mechanisms, from Scanmar

Types of windvane self-steering mechanisms, from Scanmar’s website

As you can see, the list is extremely long, and the above is only what we can accomplish right now. We have at least twice as many tasks on the other part of the winter to-do list. It is all quite overwhelming, but at least constructing the list makes us feel more in control of the process. It also gives us the satisfaction of slowly crossing off completed tasks.

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2 Responses to The Winter To-Do List – At Home Items

  1. David says:

    I’ve noticed a movement toward LED strip lights, which creates a nice overall glow (LEDs are quite directional) and gives you flexibility with where you put them. Be careful when buying any LEDs – check the lumens/wattage, and I even recommend measuring the draw before buying more than one – I have found they do not always tell the truth.

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