Category Archives: Winter 2015-2016 Projects

How To Remove Old Hardware – Gracefully

By Rich

Few things can make a boat look older than patched holes on the deck where unwanted hardware used to be. Anyone who has raced on a 1980s era raceboat can attest to this commonly-encountered visual blight.

Our Sabre came with the “option” of pulpits around the dorade vents.


Continue reading How To Remove Old Hardware – Gracefully

Polishing A “Turd”

By Rich

While trying to defend his lousy workmanship on our cabin sole, our former contractor declared the floor and write off and said he “didn’t mean to insult us” but that he “couldn’t polish a turd.” The floor was so old and trashed, he said, that it wasn’t worth putting much effort into. Here’s how the floor looked after his half-assed attempt at varnishing it, complete with huge brush marks (yes, the varnish is dry here).

Version 2

Here’s how the “turd” came out after we fired him and did it ourselves. I’ll let our esteemed readers be the judge of how the ‘turd’ came out.


Adventures In Varnishing: The Cabin Sole


By Rich

Between age and the wear and tear we inflicted upon it after two winters of intense restoration work in the interior, our cabin sole was in need of a new coat of varnish this spring. We tried hiring a contractor to the work, but as we detailed in this post, that turned out to be a disaster. So we took the project on ourselves. Here is what we learned about the process. Continue reading Adventures In Varnishing: The Cabin Sole

How To Destroy The Boat Ownership Experience


By Rich

“Let’s get something straight right now, Rich: I don’t care if I ever do any more work for you. Do you understand? You are not a priority for me.”

Welcome, dear readers, to the third circle of Hell. It’s June 30, 2016, the Thursday before the July 4th weekend and our Sabre 42 still sits on land. I’m on the phone with our diesel guy. Between a lengthy, enduring project list and huge delays in getting Annapolis area yacht services companies to so much as reply to quote requests (let alone complete work) our late July launch date is in danger of slipping now, too. But with this call my week’s work trying to get help with the boat is about to sink to a new low. Continue reading How To Destroy The Boat Ownership Experience

We’re In The Blackest Hell With a Wacko Diesel Mechanic

By Rich

We’ve found the blackest circle of hell with a diesel mechanic who removed our starter motor June 2nd after many weeks of broken appointments. He promised to return the next week to install a replacement and never returned. Gentle prods via phone and text resulted in a tantrum during which he declared that we were ‘not a priority’ and that he had ‘more important customers.’ After we found a new diesel mechanic he sold us (for cash on the barrel head) the replacement started he ordered but refused to help put it in.

Now the new diesel mechanic finds it doesn’t fit and the former mechanic has refused to provide the new mechanic with either any guidance on what he removed or the old starter as a guide. So now we’ve resorted to trying to call Sabre and from there a Westerbeke dealer for advice but we’re stuck hauled out with no visibility on when we might be able to button this up and launch – and it’s mid July. No other work below can continue until the diesel mechanics are done.


OK, I Admit This One Was a Somewhat Frivolous Vanity Project


By Rich

Looking at the photo above, one wouldn’t immediately assume that I’m a guy hung up on vanity. I’m just as happy dusty and grubby in the shop as I am cleaned up n’tidy for dinner at the Club. But I do have one vain hangup: I hate it when boats are out of trim port-to-starboard.

Hate it. Drives me nuts. No idea why. Continue reading OK, I Admit This One Was a Somewhat Frivolous Vanity Project

Leaking Deck Hatches? Here Are Some Troubleshooting Tips


By Rich

There’s nothing more cozy and peaceful on earth than sitting below decks on a boat and listening to a steady rain drum overhead. By a country mile my fondest childhood memories of cruising on our family Pearson 40 were of such moments.

As an adult responsible for maintaining our boat, there’s nothing that can obliterate the magic of those same moments more comprehensively than indignity of having to strategically place one or more salad bowls to protect nice cushions or teak from a leak. Between this past summer living aboard in Newport and this winter working down the resulting “to do” list, I can provide our dear readers with a comprehensive troubleshooting guide for deck hatch leaks. Continue reading Leaking Deck Hatches? Here Are Some Troubleshooting Tips

How Not To Install A Holding Tank


By Rich

Among the rules of installing water, fuel, or waste tanks on a boat is the Golden Rule: marine tanks must be installed in such a manner that no significant forces act upon the tanks’ fittings. Let me say that again, in case it wasn’t entirely clear:

Marine tanks must be installed in such a manner that no significant forces act upon the tanks’ fittings. Continue reading How Not To Install A Holding Tank

Centerboard Boat? How To Prevent Potentially Dangerous Leaks


By Rich

It’s vital for centerboard boat owners and crews to be fully aware of the location and nature of all components below the waterline – and for these components to be inspected regularly. Last summer when we hauled out to replace our broken centerboard cable, we got a look for the first time at the sheave box for the cable in the lazarette (pictured above) when it was removed as part of the cable replacement. Those brown streaks mean that some parts of the box had rusted completely through and begun to leak through pinholes – not good news given that this component lives below the water line! The rust wasn’t serious enough to be a risk to the boat in the immediate future, so we re installed it and made a note to remove it and have it repaired over the winter. I also noticed that a small section of rubber hose served as a coupler between the sheave box and the rest of the cable conduit, which is stainless steel. Though it was certainly due for replacement, the coupler didn’t look to be unsafe. Still, having seen both lazarette components I made a mental note for the coming winter to inspect the second (forward) sheave box where the cable exits the hull and its rubber coupler.  Continue reading Centerboard Boat? How To Prevent Potentially Dangerous Leaks