Over the past couple years, while we were working to refill our cruising kitty by working in the Virgin Islands, we were also working to improve our boat to better fit the type of cruising we enjoy and to make her more seaworthy. During this time we even considered if we wanted to sell our beloved boat and get something larger. We looked at a couple of storm damaged boats from Irma and Maria but ultimately concluded we didn’t want to trade a cruising ready boat for a project that would require time and money that we could instead put into Smitty to make her better suited for us.
These improvements included:
- Adding a 12 volt water maker
- Installing solar wings to give us more power generation
- Changing from a single solar controller, that was damaged by corrosion from sea spray thanks to Hurricane Maria, to two controllers that give us better feedback
- Installing a high output alternator with an external regulator
- Replacing our old and hurricane damaged electronics with new
- Replacing our worn-out vee berth mattress
- Removed the main hatch, bedded with butyl tape and through bolted instead of screws
- Changing our mainsail handling from the Dutchman system to a stack pack
- Ordering a new headsail better suited to sailing in the trade winds
- Replacing the “Berry” our hurricane damaged stolen kayak and making a rack for it
- Adding more chain to our anchor rhode
- Installing an arch to hold additional solar and lift the dinghy out of the water
- Replace our leaking water heater and install a rum tank
- Refinishing the cockpit cushions
- Installing a lithium ion primary battery bank and AGM reserve bank
- Replacing fuel lines and switching to the Racor 500 filter
- Replacing the leaking cockpit bimini and improving the connector for better shade and rain protection
- Giving the dinghy a refit too with chaps and nonslip floor
- Rebedding and potting all of the stanchions and rails
- New lifelines
- Inspecting and rebedding the chainplates
- Laptop stand and set it up for use as a backup navigation
- Replace the interior cushions (Soon Come)
- Shedding extra weight to improve Smitty’s sailing characteristics
- Tweaking the sail handling to make single handing easier
It will take us some time to get caught up on posts for all of these improvements while also posting about the places we are visiting. We won’t be putting them up in any particular order. If there is an improvement you are considering or want to know more about, please let us know. We will work on those first. We already have a request for the writeup on the stack pack conversion, so that one will be coming soon.
October 18, 2019 at 6:41 am
I enjoy following your travels. We owned a 2001 Catalina 31 for years that we loved but have now upgraded to a Catalina 350. We sail out of Barnegat Bay NJ.
Happy to see the picture of your dog. You did not mention him in the last few posts and was wondering how he was doing.
Nancy Onffroy – Perfect Fit (Catalina 350)
October 18, 2019 at 2:51 pm
Summer is doing well. She is 14 now so she has slowed a bit. But who hasn’t?
We like the 350, nice boat! The 355 is one of my dream boats. I think that size is perfect for a couple to cruise.
October 18, 2019 at 12:07 pm
Awesome, looking forward to following your lead with our 310 as we work toward our goal to sail away on her!
October 18, 2019 at 7:09 pm
Hey guys! We sure do miss you three!!! So….inquiring minds want to know…what the heck is a rum tank and do I need one? And I love the T-Bag lol! What’s in it though…is that your throwable up there? Your ditch bag? Something else?
Don’t know if you say, but we just sold Radio Waves this week, so we’ll be boatless for the next couple of years. 😦
October 18, 2019 at 8:32 pm
We did see that Radio Waves has a new owner. Are you planning to get another boat?
The rum tank is just like it sounds. A tank that holds two cases of rum so we can smuggle rum into countries that charge duty on rum!
The T-Bag holds our life jackets.
Miss you guys!
October 25, 2019 at 6:05 pm
Love the work you do-always innovative, how do you like the instruments? they should be plug and play.
Take care, enjoy your thoughts!
October 26, 2019 at 3:49 am
Funny. We had some friends over for dinner tonight. We got onto a conversation on our new instruments. We love them.
Yes, mostly plug and play. I now finally have the parts to connect the VHF with AIS receiver to the Raymarine backbone. So that will give me AIS on the chart plotter.