Almost Pulled it Off

We were audacious enough to think we could pull off a major refit in a month’s time.  We limped into Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a badly clogged fuel system and loads of crud in our tanks.  Our sails and sail covers were tattered.  Our little generator seemed like it had a terminal case of the flu.  One of our rudders was making ominous knocking sounds.  Our dinghy engine was on its last legs, having rusted nearly away in its 10 years of life.

Neko limping our way into Fort Lauderdale through the 3rd Ave bridge, one of many bridges in Fort Lauderdale

Neko limping her way into Fort Lauderdale through the 3rd Ave Bridge, just one of many we had to go through going up the New River to get to Lauderdale Marine Center.

We docked at Lauderdale Marine Center after an amusing trip up the New River past waterfront mansions cheek by jowl along the crowded little waterway and immediately started interviewing potential service providers.

Can be a tight squeeze traveling the canals.

Can be a tight squeeze traveling the canals.

A different experience going up the narrow New River.  A tight squeeze sometimes, but fun sailing right through downtown.

Fun sailing right through downtown.

Some houses so close you felt like you could step off the boat into their yard.

Some houses so close you felt like you could step off the boat into their yard or take a dip in their pool.

Our list of work was long: clean the fuel tanks, replace all the standing rigging, repair the sails and replace the torn mainsail bag, much canvas work (new bimini and curtains, dinghy chaps, permanent screens for companionway door and galley window, seat cushions), refinish deck chairs, remove the old generator and replace with a new one (oh, by the way, this entailed using a crane to pull one main engine out of the boat entirely, set it on the ground and lower the new generator in and then drop the main engine back in), install two air conditioning units, rewire the boat for 240V/50hz power from its original European power, replace the washer/dryer unit, plus a whole bunch of projects we would do ourselves.

New rigging

Riggers were up the mast at least 50 times.

Mauricio and his guys were masters at their craft.  Here they are installing our new grey bimini.

Mauricio and his guys were masters at their craft. Here they are installing our new grey bimini.

Who needs 50 shades when our new 1 shade does the trick.  You can see the new dinghy chaps, bimini and sail bag

Who needs 50 shades of grey when our new 1 shade does the trick? You can see the new dinghy chaps, bimini and sail bag

Neko getting hauled out of the water.

Neko getting hauled out of the water.

Prepping New Generator

Prepping New Generator

Flying generator.  (Neko is the little sailboat that could in this neighborhood)

Flying generator. (Neko is the little sailboat that could in this neighborhood)

Down she goes

Down she goes

Main engine out of the boat.

Main engine out of the boat waiting while the new generator is installed and then back in she goes.

Guess who loves the AC the most?

Guess who loves the AC the most?

This was once salon seating. Now it is access to our electrical panels.

This was once salon seating. Now it is access to our electrical panels.

Lowering down new washer

Lowering down new washer

Mary painting anchor chain.  Each color marks 25'

Mary painting anchor chain. Each color marks 25′. We got new Maggi anchor chain.

Lots of trips to Home Depot and West Marine

Lots of trips to Home Depot and West Marine

We got down to hiring service providers and hounding them to work harder and faster.  We really wanted to get out on our timetable because the Bahamas beckoned and we had plans to get up the East Coast and meet up with friends and family.  Boat refitting is similar to making renovations on a house, but in much smaller quarters with everything you want to access under, behind or in between something else. This means the whole boat is torn apart.  And all the contents of those perfectly stowed cabinets and lockers are now spread over every square inch.  Making it hard to work, live, maneuver, breathe.

Mess spills into the cockpit

Mess spills into the cockpit

salon, where's a dog to sleep around here?

Where’s a dog to sleep around here?

workers every inch

workers in every square inch

This was once our shower

Even our shower was chock-a-block with stuff

Everybody worked diligently and understood what we wanted to accomplish.  Once they began they showed up and worked hard to get their projects done … except for one company – our riggers.  Despite our continuous hounding of them, they failed to show up and do any significant work for about a month in the middle of our stay.  It got to the point where all the other workers finished and moved onto other projects.  We’d pass them on the docks and they’d ask “Ya’ll still here?”

Yep, still in Fort Lauderdale.

Yep, still in Fort Lauderdale.

We eventually gave up on getting to the Bahamas this season, making apologies to our nephews, whom we’d promised some time in the islands, as well as friends Lloyd and Rob, who wanted to do the sail over with us.   Also, we were then approaching the time of year when our insurance would not cover us for tropical storm damage because we were lingering in the south for too long.  So we also lost the chance to stop in northern Florida and visit with Uncle Bob and Aunt Lorraine.  But on the bright side, being stuck in Fort Lauderdale so long allowed us to see family and friends, attend our dear friends’ wedding, see Mary’s folks and Mr Kitty in Central Florida and Mary to travel up to NYC to celebrate her god daughter’s high school graduation.  Also, we had a wonderful visit from Uncle Bob, who drove all the way down from Stuart to meet us on Neko.  And we saw Mary’s brother Tom (and Andre) before he moved from Miami and who kindly lent us his car for a month.

And Mary made time to help rescue a baby raccoon who had fallen in the water.

Raccoon rescue, off to the wild life sanctuary.

Raccoon rescue, off to the wild life sanctuary.

So good things do come to those who wait and Neko is almost as good as new. And we leave Fort Lauderdale much better than when we came.

See ya later alligator

See ya later alligator

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Almost Pulled it Off

  1. Wow. I knew the story of your haul out BUT, now reading more details, I’m exhausted! Your boat looks amazing so guessing all that time and energy was well worth it? I believe so! Bahamas will be there waiting for you next season:) See you there!!!

  2. Wow – the repair list was massive but glad that you got it all done! And it sounded like most of the items were on the “honey MUST do” list….very surprised to learn that you have a washer on board. I guess it takes the apartment sized unit to a whole new level. Safe travels….! (Ken P)

Please leave us a comment, but if you are not logged in please leave your first name in the comment, so we know who you are.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s