Rehabbing a Used Boat - Part 5

Rehabbing a Used Boat - Part 5

Many say that a boat is a never ending list of projects (not unlike a home).  When an unfinished rehab project boat is bought, sometimes you don’t make a list, because there is just so much to do staring you in the face.  But we like lists anyways.  After 4 straight weekends in the shipyard sitting on a cradle 13′ up in the air, after 41 crew days accumulated ‘creating chaos out of all of this organization,’ the boat will launch this week.

Not that it is finished, the current list has 30 items on it, and that’s before we step the mast, rig her, hook up the mast wiring, put the sails up for the first time to learn what additional projects will need attention. This 1982 built boat is not all that different than buying a 1982 Chevy Impala and fixing it up so that it is your daily drive around car.

We’ll launch and step the mast between Wednesday and Friday on the south branch of the Chicago River, and be one of the boats responsible for having the bridges open on Saturday through downtown Chicago.

I have not dealt with a dirtier boat in my life, each day after working on it, when I come home I go straight to the shower.  And these showers are like no others.  Going in just covered in dirt, fiberglass dust, caulk, glue and can just feel the dirt everywhere on my skin, I come out refreshed and feeling human again.  As Johnny Carson would ask, “How dirty is it?”  Well yesterday, I went up the A-frame ladder to wash the sides of the boat.  Four hours later, I was finished.  Blech!

During the river trip and out into the Lake to the harbor this coming weekend, I will continue to tinker.  11 items ought to be off the list before the engine is fired up.  And I should be able to knock off another 7 in the river as the boat is moving along.  These include adjusting the rubber protective feet on the swimming ladder, permanent marking of the boat’s name on safety gear, adding the final vent on deck, cleaning dirt spots on the upholstery, cleaning some plastic parts with lacquer thinner, installing the repaired speakers, and oiling the remaining new wood installations.

Once to the dock, that is when the real cleaning of the deck and interior begins.  While washing the deck, we’ll have someone below decks looking for leaks, and place a dangling piece of tape by the drips.  After everything dries out, we’ll pull the bolts, clean up the hole and bolt, then add fresh Lifecaulk to prevent water intrusion again.

When boating, you have a plan for each weekend.  And this is what I have waiting for me as I give up another weekend of sailing to get a boat ready to sail.  Who knows, not much longer and the boat will be gliding along under the peacefulness of sail.

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