From Charter to Live Aboard – Scheduled to Change – Part I Update

Here is an update on the projects from Part I.

Hydraulic Steering – Done!

Happily, the new hydraulic steering has been installed on LIB and it is working very well.

As I mentioned, some people dislike the lack of feedback with a hydraulic steering, but there are some positives to this new system. First, the “wheel of death” has disappeared. By this I mean that when the autopilot is engaged, the helm doesn’t turn anymore. This makes it easier to mess with the navigation instruments without fear of loosing a finger as the wheel spins back and forth. Second, the rotation of the wheel from full starboard to full port is fewer complete rotations of the helm, thus the boat is a bit more responsive with less wheel turn.

Anchor Windless – Ooops/Done

Well, I must admit our ignorance on this one. (It was very kind that no one sent me a note telling me I was ignorant.)

The windless did not have to be adjusted to use it manually. Our lack of knowledge was on display here.  We received some better instruction after asking a third person and our windless does work manually. Phew, one project deleted.

Frank did some general maintenance on the windless itself to make sure it stays reliable. He removed the anchor chain, cleaned it and marked it every 25 feet with both zip ties and paint. He also reversed the chain so what was the boat end is now the anchor end.  (For non boaters, marking the chain every 25 feet helps us know how much anchor chain we have let out when anchoring.  Reversing the chain helps even out wear/usage.)

Windless Remote….this one has been tabled as we do not think we need a remote at the helm, at least for now.

Watermaker – Done!

Well, this one was a challenge. The instructions and part quality on the RO Watermaker have been excellent.  All the tiny spaces in our boat where we need to run hoses and “T” into lines – quite a challenge!  Thank goodness neither of us is claustrophobic!

This photo is just to show the fun contortions we practice when working it small places. Frank’s head is still attached!

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Squeezed into the space next to our generator to access the rear wall.


The two membrane housings Frank was securing on the aft wall.

The customer support from RO has been fabulous. They accidentally sent us and AC boost pump instead of a DC one but they were very quick to send us the correct one! Plus if we have questions, they have answers. We have completed the install and think it came out well.  We have not “made water” yet as we are in a marina but we feel confident that everything is in order and will work well.


Frank did a great job making a “box” for the control panel.


Behind those AC ducts is where the RO membranes are hung.

Dive Compressor – No luck so far.

Well we placed the order for this compressor in June and we expected it to arrive in Puerto Rico by October 5th. But, the best laid plans don’t always work. We still have not received our compressor. Apparently the stainless steel cage for “our” generator was supposed to be sent air freight but somehow was put in a sea freight container.

Waiting on a boat instead of a plane would put delivery of our unit back to late November….. needless to say that does not fit well with our timing. We are working with the folks at CompressorStuff to get the compressor us before we leave Puerto Rico. Fingers crossed on this one.

*Fresh Water Wash Down – Done!

Since we are having so much fun playing with the water maker install, we decided to complicate it further by adding a fresh water wash down system to the boat.  This means we added yet another “T” to the water lines.  This new line runs to a hose bib in the anchor compartment and now we can clean the boat with fresh water. Pretty exciting!

This may sound silly to those who have not spent much time on the ocean, but trust me, it is necessary to clean the decks and wash off the salt that accumulates over time.  Plus, Let It Be looks a lot prettier with clean decks!

Cushions for LIB – Getting close!

I am beyond excited about our cushions! They are not finished yet, but Carol with Atlantic Canvas has delivered two seat cushions and one back cushion so we could make sure we are happy with the fabric, the foam, the attachments, etc.  I can tell you I love them already! Here is a sneak preview…

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Just a little tease. I’ll show you more when it all arrives!

4 thoughts on “From Charter to Live Aboard – Scheduled to Change – Part I Update

  1. Hi Mary Grace and Frank! We are looking at purchasing a Helia soon too and going down a similar path as you did. Putting it in charter for a few years until retirement. I saw some of your posts on Cruisers Forum also and was wondering if you came up with a solution to help the ventilation in the aft cabin with a wind scoop. By the way, I love your cushions! It will be so beautiful.


    1. Hi Linda! Congrats on your future Helia. We are really happy with ours, especially now that we are making it our own.
      Honestly we have not been focused on the wind scoops yet as we have been in a marina 90% of the time while we work on projects. As you know, in the marina AC is easy with shore power and it has rained nearly every night so…
      You may know this from our blog, but we sleep in the port aft cabin (we have a 4 person) and we are thinking about adding a scoop to that head to add some ventilation…
      Thanks for the kind words about the new cushions. They are supposed to be delivered late today and I am really excited!
      I’m so excited I’ll probably make a post only about them! 😉
      If you have a blog, please share it with me so I can keep up as your plans develop and hopefully we will see each other ‘out there.’
      Mary Grace


      1. Great to hear from you. We don’t have a blog yet but if we set one up I will be sure to let you know. Looking forward to seeing all your new cushions in a future post!


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