Consumer Fatigue

We’re back in the U.S. and we’re spending money like drunken sailors…well, we’ve spent very little on booze and none in brothels, but we’re spending lots. Neither of us enjoys it.

Del Viento motorsailing

Michael Robertson

Sunday, May 13, 2012

We’re back in the U.S. and we’re spending money like drunken sailors…well, we’ve spent very little on booze and none in brothels, but we’re spending lots. Neither of us enjoys it. This is really the last big spending/work spree until we transition to a more sustainable maintenance mode.

The first thing to address was fiberglass work. I foamed in and glassed over the area around the rudder post. Where it enters the hull, the vertical reinforcements were molded in the same shape as a Davis radar reflector, mounted in the rain catcher position. This configuration allowed water to pool and remain trapped against the inside of the hull until it evaporated. No more.


Standing in the lazarette and wetting a piece of fiberglass tape to build up the hatch coaming.

Of course, the source of this water was the lazarette hatch. For some reason, it is a tall hatch, but with coamings that are too shallow, about only a half-inch tall. These coamings were insufficient for preventing water that found its way onto the aft deck (including heavy tropical rains) from spilling into the lazarette. I cut foam strips into the shape I wanted and then glassed over them.

The easiest, but most significant piece of glass work will be to cover the holes that remain after I removed the radar pole and to patch the hole that said pole support made in the transom after it broke free. We are shopping for a new radar; we’ll mount the radome on the front of the mast. I need to rig a lighter-duty stainless pole to re-mount the SSB antennae, wi-fi antennae, cockpit light, and stern running light that shared the old pole with the old radome.


We are also having a new mainsail cover made. We are having a new v-berth mattress made for Windy and me. Our ancient Datamarine Link 5000 instrument cluster is dying a slow death and has already been to the shop once, so we are buying new wind, speed, and depth instruments. I had the alternator bearings and pulley replaced.

This coming week our new dinghy will arrive and I will write about that in a separate post. Our new outboard is here. I have 20 other small jobs on my list.

In her excellent reference, The Voyager’s Handbook, Beth Leonard wrote that folks buying a boat that is ten years or older, should budget about 50% of the purchase price to outfit that boat for offshore voyaging. I thought that was a gross generalization when I first read it years ago. I knew that any boat Windy and I bought, would never require that much for a refit. After all, we are do-it-yourself folks, not boat yard check writers. In fact, even after we decided on our Fuji 40 and got to know her, I would have estimated our refit cost to be about 30% of the purchase price, or about $20,000. I was wrong. Keeping in mind that many of the improvements to Del Viento we are making now fall under the discretionary column instead of the necessity column, we are going to exceed the 50% mark. I will know more when I update The Cost tab of this blog for the past quarter.


And then there is the travel this month.

Windy is flying to Bangkok on Tuesday to help her sister-in-law travel with our very young nephews. She’ll be gone 17 days. While she is doing that, we decided to fly Eleanor to Washington, D.C. For a long time she’s wanted to fly on her own. She’s repeatedly asked us questions about making such a journey alone, unrelenting in the way that Frances was about helping the stray dogs in La Paz. I think she is most excited about the prospect of ordering an unlimited amount of Sprite from the flight attendant. We think Eleanor is ready for the trip and hope it will be a positive growing experience for her. She’ll be staying with and visiting people in D.C. who are like family to us, so that will be good.

So, the mostly sober sailors of Del Viento hit port, exhausted a chunk of their cruising kitty, and are scattering about the planet through the end of this month. Shortly after we are all back together, the refit of Del Viento should be complete and we can dramatically slow the flow of money into the old girl. And head north. Whew.