Monthly Archives: September 2015

Sailboat Guideline – Only Multiple Use Items Allowed

Since space is a premium when living on a boat, sailors try to find multiple use items to save precious storage. This mantra can lead to some fairly creative multi-purposing of standard items.

Case in point; the ice chest.

As part of her standard charter packaging, LIB was outfitted with a large ice chest which hangs out in the cockpit.  When it is only two of us on board, the ice chest is rarely used for cold storage. But it serves many purposes such as holding fresh water to rinse scuba or snorkeling gear. It can act as a dry container in the dinghy when transporting laundered clothing from shore or perhaps provisions from the local grocery. It is an extra place to sit or a place to store gallons of water.

Sometimes we use the ice chest as a large container to wash clothes because we do not have a washer/dryer on LIB, nor do we have plans to add one.

Now that we will be living on LIB and will use our ice chest more often to wash clothes, Frank decided to modify it to try to make it a bit more self agitating and hopefully create less human agitation. IMG_0596

Plastic cut-outs ready to glue inside the ice chest.

The hope is that when we put clothing, water and soap in the modified ice chest, the plastic edges will act as bumpers and increase the movement of the clothing inside the ice chest thus allowing the clothing to agitate/clean itself while we sail.


Here is a picture of the inserts actually glued into the ice chest.

The modifications to the ice chest are fairly small and will not significantly affect our ability to use the ice chest for other purposes, so this could be an excellent way to improve the washing machine function of our ice chest while retaining its other functionality.

I have some concerns that since our boat is a catamaran and does not heel like a monohull, the agitation inside the ice chest/washer will be insufficient to clean the clothing.  However, if we find that is the case, we could put the ice chest in the dinghy and tow the dinghy for a while when we are sailing.

Surely the bumping and movement of the dinghy, combined with the modifications Frank has made, will be sufficient to bump and clean the clothing….

This may not be the perfect solution to our laundry needs, but in this case, my laziness is the mother of Frank’s invention.

Thanks, honey, for working on making laundry on LIB easier. I sure hope it works!

The Results Are In…. and We Won!

Okay, so we weren’t actually entered in any contests, but we feel like we won anyway.

Why? What did we win?

Well, we just completed an in water and out of water survey on LIB to see how she is doing now that her charter life is completed.


LIB, the day she arrived at TMM from France

I am thrilled to report that the “Deficiency” list did not have any big items!  TMM has done a fantastic job of keeping up with the maintenance of LIB and making sure any problems were addressed properly.

As a result of their admirable care and good judgement on who could or could not captain the boat, LIB remains in excellent condition.

Now that isn’t to say we don’t have any issues to address, but thankfully they are minor and mostly related to maintenance that is expected after two plus years of charter.

The list included 31 items, so initially I sort of gasped thinking there were problems. However the report was very detailed and several items are cosmetic or were already on our list.

Seven points were superficial like “Emergency fire extinguisher ports in both aft cabins should be marked.” “Topside Gelcoat shows scrapes and scuffs and should be buffed.”   “The scuffs and scrapes at the galley surfaces are consistent with regular use and would benefit from a clean and polish.” These are to be expected.

I was surprised to read that a few items were not up to “ABYC H 27 standards” since they pertained to factory installed parts. But I didn’t really know what ABYC H 27 standards were, so I had to do a tad bit of research. (Some of you must be shaking your head at me and others are probably saying you don’t know either.)

ABYC is the American Boat and Yacht Council. The link will take you to their mission statement, but in essence they are “the essential source of technical information for the international marine industry.”

At first I thought, “oh, well this is the American standard” and LIB was built in France.  But then I read that ABYC considers themselves the international standard…. I guess Fountaine Pajot either doesn’t agree with the ABYC standards or perhaps many boats don’t quite meet up to the “standard” when built.

SO, having said all of that, what didn’t meet up?

Well some of our factory installed through hulls, made by Randex, are molded plastic.  Our surveyor recommends we replace any below the waterline through hulls with marine grade bronze or Marelon.

The fuel tank hoses are type B1 and the surveyor recommends changing those to A1 or A2 to meet the ABYC standard. Ditto for the related fittings and connections.

Apparently our 110V AC outlets are not fitted with GFCIs, and I think we should probably add those.  Shocking right?! – OKAY, I know that was a really poor pun.

Some items the surveyor listed were already on our list:  anchor chair needs to be cleaned and proven, zinc anodes at the prop hubs need to be replaced, sliding door into salon needs attention (again) and the bottom could use a scrubbing and fresh antifouling.

There were two items I did not expect though. One was that the air conditioning duct in the generator has heavy condensation above the generator battery. A drip pan is suggested to protect the batteries. That seems pretty sensible to me.

The bigger of the two concerned the exhaust system for the generator. While the generator has worked great and we have had no issues with harmful fumes in the boat, apparently the exhaust flows toward the bridgedeck and has made a sooty mark. The surveyor does not see damage from this but suggested we alter the exhaust so concentrated heat from the exhaust doesn’t harm the gelcoat or the hull.  Glad to know about this before it is a problem.

General maintenance items include gasket washers on the gooseneck that show compression, the saildrives show minor movement and need to be serviced and the bearings on the rudder stocks need to be serviced.


Spinnaker flying on LIB

An issue caught by the surveyor and a known problem on LIB concerns the spinnaker halyard. Here is the verbatim remark: “The Spinnaker halyard is chafed, and the block at deck level is cracked. Both should be replaced or the line retained as spare gash line only. There is distinct chafe and abrasion at the line below the mast cap sheave adjacent to the main halyard that should be end-for-ended and trimmed, or replaced. The cause of the abrasion is unknown, and the line reportedly replaced recently. We recommend the cause be should be sourced by a rigger and measures taken to prevent future chafe, and all lines replaced as needed per the currently maintenance schedule.”

This has been a bit of an ongoing problem and is a focus of our energy. We definitely need to determine why we are having the chafe problem and fix it. Believe me, we will figure it out!

That about sums up the survey report.  We are pleased our Helia has held up so well to the myriad of skippers she has had over this 30 months of charter.

We are especially grateful to TMM for taking care of LIB and us.  It is with sadness and excitement that we leave the safe haven of TMM.  We will certainly look back with fondness and gratitude to everyone there who has made our experience so positive as well as helped us improve as sailors.

Let me know if you have any questions about the survey for LIB.  I don’t have enough experience to know how most surveys go, but I am pleased with the results of this one.

Durango Was One Adventure After Another…

We have reluctantly left the beautiful state of Colorado and returned to Texas.  Don’t get me wrong, we love Texas and it is a fabulous place to live, but Durango in the summer is heavenly!

The whole time we were in Durango, we were amazed that summer could be such a mild event.  We had forgotten that there are places where the weather is cool enough to spend the whole day outside.  In fact, I would guess that 90 percent of the time we were in Durango, we ate our lunchtime meal outside, without air conditioning or misters and without sweating! That was pretty great.

Since the weather was so mild, we also found we could hike or bike any time of the day. No need to set an alarm and get our exercise in before 8 am to avoid the heat!

While in Colorado our list of activities included biking, hiking, kayaking on the Animas River, 4-wheeling, horse back riding, tennis, white water rafting, visiting ancient cliff dwellings, catching up with friends who left Coppell years ago (shout out to Gail and Scott!) and fly fishing. As if that wasn’t enough, our sons joined us for 10 fabulous days! Guess you can tell we had a blast.

I have already shared some pictures, but here are a few more photos…


Dry and dusty at Phil’s World


Streams are found on so many trails.


Suited up for white water rafting on the Royal Gorge.


Yes, that path on the right is the bike trail…. beautiful!


The wild flowers were stunning especially with the mountains in the background!


MG and friends went 4-wheeling up to the continental divide.


Frank’s daily transportation.


Nothing proves it was a fun trail like a bike full of mud!


The crew is a bit cleaner at the beginning of a ride.


Thanks Durango, for an awesome visit. Walking or riding our bikes almost everywhere we wanted to go was so fun and we simply loved spending August in temperatures that never surpassed 90 degrees!

Let It Be, we have not forgotten you…Frank will be there in a matter of days!

T minus less than 30 days for Mary Grace….

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