Words by Ryan
Location: Ashby’s Boat Yard, Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
Over the past 6 months, “We’ll do it in New Zealand” had become a catchphrase aboard Khulula, always when referring to certain jobs and modifications that required more than a McGuyver solution of duct tape and chewing gum…
Now, standing on New Zealand soil, the emotions and soaring spirits accompanying a successful passage from Tonga still pulsing in our veins, that comment had finally caught up with us. As the dust from arrival celebrations and happy reunions with friends settled down around us, we started to see the length of the “To Do” list peering at us through the murk. On arrival at the customs wharf in Opua, Khulula was in a sorry state – the front hatch leaked, the mast leaked, the rudder post leaked, the headliner sagged with moisture, the oven did not work, the auto-pilot was not working, the AC battery charger was broken, the refrigerator not longer got cold, and everything was damp due to lack of ventilation. We could not ignore it any longer. We booked an appointment to haul Khulula out of the water for Friday Nov 30th, 2007.
The next three weeks would be a nightmare of howling winds, pouring rains, flapping tarps, full body fiberglass infused itchiness, paint fumes, grinders, marine sealants, rusty fittings, large invoices, sanding dust, respirators, and endless quantities of New Zealand Meat Pies, Tea and Cookies. During the whole process, Mother Nature decided that there should be a downside to the incredible luck we experienced on our passage from Tonga to NZ, and rolled in a 14-day cycle of back-to-back cold fronts which lashed us with wind and rain as we gamely attempted to make things stick and bond to Khulula’s hull… I have to say that in those two weeks, we saw some of the worst weather I have ever seen in my life. Sure, in Vancouver it rains for two weeks straight, but is it ever accompanied by 40-knot winds? Had we been in the weather-immune indoors, I realize it would not have appeared so bad, and that getting drenched day after day under the racket of a flapping and bucking tarpaulin (I will never forget that awful noise) magnified the severity of the weather…
Two and a half weeks later the three of us were standing on a completely refurbished and modified Khulula foredeck. Monday, and having just put the finishing touches to the boat, we unanimously agreed that it was all worth it. One of the great accolades of the human memory is its ability to forget pain, while remembering all the good times.
So what did we accomplish in these two weeks? Below is a listing of the large projects, before and after pictures to follow!
The front hatch
Task assigned to: Ryan Robertson
And endless source of frustration and moisture, Khulula’s original front hatch was cracked, opaque and leaky, hard to open and close, ugly, and infinitely scabby. This task involved replacing the trapezoid shaped curved hatch with a new, flat and square hatch. It involved chopping a large new hole out of the foredeck, building the curved deck up to a flat platform, filling the overlap hole of the original hatch with some deck-like substance, fibreglassing the new structure to the hull, and finally installing the new hatch.
Heavy weather Dorade Vent installation
Task assigned to: Hugh M. Patterson
Ventilation was something that did not exist during heavy weather on S/V Khulula. When the weather got rough and waves were sweeping the decks, the crew had no choice other than batten down all the hatches, companionways and portholes. The result? Zero airflow or ventilation. Slowly but surely the interior temperature and humidity inside would rise until all surfaces were moist; and this moisture ultimately turning to mould. Very uncomfortable. Heavy weather dorades are ingenious devices that allow air in and out of the cabin, while keeping water out. Any respectable offshore boat has the tuba shaped bells of the offshore dorade attached to their decks.
This task involved removing two of the deck winches, cutting a 4″ hole through the deck, glassing in a 4″ PVC pipe, then glassing the offshore dorade to the deck.
Removing headliner and repainting interior roof
Task assigned to: Bryson Robertson
The original headliner inside S/V Khulula was nothing short of ghastly. Constructed of a vinyl layer over a ½” sponge under layer, the headliner is designed to form a barrier between the interior living space and the fiberglass roof of the hull. In Khulula this liner was not only the perfect location for a mould colony (in the foam), but was sagging in a variety of places, reducing headroom. Added to all of this, a previous owner had painted the vinyl with a white paint that had never truly dried and was still tacky. Excuse the pun. We wanted it gone, with every fiber of our being.
This task involved ripping out the entire old liner, rerouting electrical wires, sanding the rough fiberglass under the liner, painting and priming, and the endless job of adjusting wood trim, remounting portholes, hatches, and anything else that interfaced with the roof.
These were the major three tasks, and highlighted each crew member’s pet peeve on the boat. For me, the forward hatch had got to a point that I could barely look at it, and every time a new item of gear got soaked from salt water drips from the hatch, I would dream of the day I could take an angle grinder to it.
Below is the complete list of tasks that we had compiled during our transit of the Pacific Ocean, a list which is now on it’s knees! Feel free to peruse it (it still gives me shivers), but before I let you go, I have a few thank yous:
1) Mike and Adi, Shane and Jo – thank you so much for opening up your homes and playing host to three dirty, fibreglass coated fellows, day after day. We couldn’t have done it without you guys!
2) Deano, Melmal, Adi, Jess and Mattie D – thanks for the free labour! I still chuckle at the comments of the other laborers in the boatyard: “How on earth did you three convince three good looking young girls to come and work on your boat!?” It is a testament to the caliber of our friends…
3) Pete, Val and Stu – Thank for the tools, the advice and outpouring of help. Before starting this project, Hugh and I made a trip to Auckland and raided Pete and Stu’s shop for grinders, sanders, compressors, drills, air tools, routers, chisels, shop vac’s and a heap load of other tools.
We could not have done it without all your help, HUGE thanks!
Without further ado, the list (you may get bored after the first or second page…):
Install 1-way valve in engine bilge pump & syphon break Install bilge pump under engine (needs syphon break)
Build new bow pulpit w’ superMAX mounting!
Buy new sails
Check and tune all other rigging and lanacote mates
Clean RACOR fuel filter Engine oil change (to be done every 150 hours)
Sand down and Epoxy wood transom (stern of boat)
Add extra chain rode on main anchor
Fiberglass in a guard for bilge pump thru-hull in lazerette
Construct Dingy oars
Fix keel stringer
Fix Main sheet blocks (new plates needed)
Inspect and grease all seacocks
Install 2nd bow anchor roller
Install air vent for starboard quarter berth
Install padeyes to strap down dingy
Install propane sniffer in lazerette
Make roller for stern anchor at Pete’s shop
New A/C charger
New gasket on diesel tank
New roller furler line
Non-slip on companionway stairs
Patch gel coat chips on deck
Plug for main anchor chain hauser (2″ dia)
Plug starboard anchor chain hauser
Plumb inside manual bilge pump to thru-hull
Re-align mast head wind instruments
Rebuild forward hatch, make it mo’ better
Rebuild head (marine toilet)
Re-build inside manual bilge pump (valves are bent)
Re-mount hand rails on deck
Re-mount watermaker in more better location
Remove headliner and paint
Replace scupper through-hulls
Replace seacock on engine water intake through-hull
Replace Yanmar fuel filter
Re-seal rudder post at transom (join at deck)
Seal all deck fittings!!!
Seal leak above aft port quarter bert (close to aft)
Seal leaky bolts in outer track
Seal manual bilge pump in lazerette
Seal mast and collar seal sailing instrument wires
Seal water from coming up rudder post/replace rudder bearings
Seal window above galley
Sump/baffle system for bilge
Transmission oil change
Build shelves in starboard pipeberth
Cut new, firmer foam for settee cushions
Draw Electrical Diagram Fiber glass bulheads in starboard settee
Fix stainless anchor chain guide pin
Install anchor bash plate
Install new spin halyards / main sheet / Reef lines?
Make stainless guards for Dorado’s
New Aft pulpit
New bolt on boom goose neck
New leach line in 135 genoa
New, larger capacity batteries
Patch boot strap paint
Patch rear bimini where boom wore through it (sew at Jo’s)
Platform for hydrovane
Plug watermaker inlet to black water tank (1/2″ or 3/4″ plug)
Rebuild cabin top winches
Sand/varnish lee board
Sew new slugs on Main Sail
Sew straps on companion way cover
Silicon around sink in galley
Tent/cover for forward hatch to catch rainwater
Touch up deck paint (Pettit Marine Paint – Easypoxy – 3518 Sandtone)
Varnish wood inside
Varnish wood outside
Weld another set of surfboard racks LEDs in Boom
Re-splice frayed dock line Sew dingy anchor rode bag (out of canvas)
New belt for autopilot (Raytheon model # 4000?)
Re-seal port deck organizer again (old hole needs sealing)
Yup, yup, that’s why we procrastinated…