The Long Road

This project has taken way longer than either of us had planned. To be honest there have been long stretches where we completely gave up and there have been many moments, especially in the last year, where I considered throwing in the towel completely and just walking away.

We actually started going camping just to get outdoors. To be away from the city and the crowds especially with Covid 19.

And then Prodigy Marine sends me a picture of the decks nearing completion and our hearts begin to race and our excitement returns full force.

We remember why we started this and we talk nonstop about all of the work we have left to do. Which in all honesty is peanuts compared to what we have come through!

We have not been able to set foot on or in Akupara as there was no way I wanted to be responsible for damaging the work Prodigy was doing and thereby increase the costs.

Maybe $45000 isn’t a lot for some people when it comes to paint, but it is huge as far as we are concerned. I can honestly say it is the most money we have ever spent on anything with the exception of vehicles.

Well, I hope that they finally complete the paint work once and for all so that we can get back to her and start finishing all the rest of the work. We need to get back in the water. It has been too long.

Too long of a road.

Snails Pace and COVID

Well, hopefully work on the decks will resume shortly. The completion of the painting and non skid was delayed due to COVID 19 believe it or not. The painter has been stuck in the USA due to the border closure. He is on his way back and will need to self isolate for 14 days, so he will be isolating in the shed where Akupara is. Hopefully he can wrap up the decks and the clear coat on the hull so that we can get on with completing this gargantuan project.

New Hatches!

Sneak peak at the new hatches we have purchased for Akupara. These were taken while we were sanding the decks so they are not on the new paint of course!

The Galley hatch is the only one that did not just slide right in. I needed to router out the inside by approximately half an inch to get it to fit. I need to router out a little deeper yet but that will happen soon. This picture was from before I routered.

The Decks Continued!

So after the Admiral and I spent a combined 18 hours of sanding the decks, Prodigy Marine took over the job! Thank heavens! My poor belt sander will never be the same!
They spent about a week sanding it and sprayed the first primer. Then went back and faired, sanded, sprayed and then faired, sanded and sprayed again.
The primer they were using was battleship grey. Ugly as hell, but even seeing that was enough to get us excited! The decks are smooth as a baby’s arse, and cleaner than they have ever been!
Last week they sprayed the final coat of primer, white.
My god seeing it in pictures was one thing but seeing it in person was another! It literally brought tears to my eyes!
We have been staring at the old gross crazed dirty decks for 5.5 years now. To see them clean and white was overwhelming!
One more sanding with 320 this week, and they will spray topcoat next week. When that sets, they will mask and spray the nonskid. Can’t freakin wait!!!

Deck work continues..

We have been busy prepping the decks for sanding and eventually paint. 42 years of grime, dirt, old paint, rusted fittings etc all need to come off.
Sanding day is going to be nasty!

lifelines off

The last time I was sailing…

It has been 5 years now since I was on a sailboat underway. It has actually been 5 years since I have been on any boat underway, as long as you do not count car ferries.


I consciously made a decision when we started the Akupara project that the next time I was sailing, it would be on Akupara.

Sometimes seems like that will never happen, but other times it seems like we are getting closer.

I am also going to sit down soon and add up all of the receipts and update the costs page. Scary thought but it needs to be done. I still reckon we are under our original estimate of $100000.00, so not too bad. A “brand new” 42 year old boat for 100k as opposed to a fully brand new boat for 450k.

Anyway, off to work on Akupara

Pertinacious

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This project has had many ups and downs. It has taken way longer than we ever anticipated. We expected to be sitting at anchor sipping drinks by now but we still have a lot of work to do before we are ready. To be completely honest there have been a couple of periods where we have simply lost interest. Akupara became more like an albatross than a dream. It has seemed like all we did for several years was work on her and write cheques, it has been downright depressing to say the least. We have had a few highs, the removal finally of those old stinking fuel tanks, even though the keel tank was the worst job an Akupara yet. When I finally installed the new electrical panel and had lights inside for the first time, when we installed the Cubic Mini Woodstove and had the first test fire! Those day were fun.
The biggest transformation and probably the most exciting has been the painting of Akupara’s hull! It took damn near 2 years but when it finally happened, my god, she is beautiful.
For the first time ever since owning Akupara, I had a small panic attack as we were removing the lifelines and a turnbuckle fell overboard dan near scratching the hull. That is a monumental step forward!!

So what has kept us going? Good question?
We have had many of these conversations over the last few days and we have now made it a priority to try to remember all of the reasons we started this project in an attempt to rekindle the fire! We have been talking about everything we enjoy, and everything we miss about sailing and generally being out on the water. With each new memory (things remembered) we can slowly feel the fire coming back.
It is of the utmost importance that now, especially now, we concentrate on all of the good things in order to make it through! If all goes well we have less than a year to finish her and get her in the water! It is just like running a marathon, you are tired, your feet hurt, your legs hurt, you are out of breath, you want to quit, but then you see that finish line and all of the negativity leaves and somehow you find the extra reserve of strength to push even harder!

Let’s hope we can find that last little bit! It’s time to get busy again!!

So are we pertinacious, or is there such a thing. Somehow I think that anyone who is described as such, consciously chooses to focus on the end results as opposed to the darkness and the hurdles that are immediately in front of them and I think they spend a lot of time forcing themselves to do so!

lifelines off
Hatches off
Admiral hard at work
Butyl tape, love it or hate it, but damn it works!

Stealth Boat ReBuilding – Top Secret

A lot of people have asked over the years why we approached this rebuild in the order that we did. Meaning, why did we redo all of the interior first, and the electrical second etc. Basically why didn’t we do it in a different order. There are a couple of reasons, firstly, the inside of Akupara was a complete disaster. She was packed full of all kinds of spare parts and old dirty things and we had to see what kind of state she was in. So we gutted her to expose as much of the inside of the hull as we could. Knowing that this was a gigantic project, and knowing that it was going to take forever we needed to feel like we were accomplishing something and so we (the Admiral did the majority of the sanding) sanded every piece and stained every piece and we painted inside all of the lockers etc etc so that Akupara felt clean again and at the same time we had a huge sense of accomplishment. Sandpaper and Cetol are also relatively cheap.

We left the engine room for last because I knew it was going to be the worst job and eventually one of the most expensive. Check some older posts and you can see how bad it actually was, standing up to my knees inside an old fuel tank that had rotten diesel and seawater in it. I can still taste it. Anyway, the big question I am sure everyone has is why did we leave the paint to almost the last.

Well, if you have ever been to this work/boat yard, you know that there are a lot of unsavoury characters that hang around there. Where Akupara sat for a long time is affectionately known as Crack Alley. There is also a lot of action in the yard with boats being moved around and all kinds of work happening. The last thing I wanted was to draw any attention to Akupara at all. If it looks like money, people will take note. If it looks like just another old wreck, people will ignore it. Just bringing new items down to her, we could feel eyes on us, so we actually hid a lot of what we were doing as much as possible. For example when I brought the new electronics and electrical panel down, I hid them in a green plastic tote with old wood sticking out of the top. Urban Camouflage 🙂 I mean seriously, the old rotten cushions were tossed overboard in the rain, landed in a huge chemical soup puddle, were dragged across the yard to a dumpster, and as sure as I am sitting here, I swear to you, they were gone within minutes. What’s that saying, your trash is somebody else’s gold?
We have been lucky and as far as I know, we have been spared from having anything stolen so far. If I add up everything we have down there it would, I would probably choke. I am sure my tools alone would cost me at least $8000 to replace. I don’t want to have to do that.
I have seen posters around the yard in front of different boats explicitly stating that if the owner finds out who stole “X” they will ensure that said individual spends a good portion of the rest of their lives in a body cast. I can completely understand this sentiment.
Anyway, as I said, we have been lucky so far! I am pretty sure Akupara will remain in the large shed until we are almost ready to launch and I prefer it that way. The less time we spend out in the open, the less attention she will attract. Especially now that she looks like a new boat!
So to answer my question, I would have to say that we approached the entire project from 3 angles. We did everything we could do ourselves first to save money for the large costs at the end. Second, we wanted to reduce the amount of exposure her new paint had to the yard and third, we hid as much as we possibly could to avoid any unwanted attention. Hopefully this explains our approach.

Cracked Eggs

This is the first of the Before and After photos, hopefully this turns out…

If you zoom in really close you can see all of the extensive crazing all over the hull. The port side was the worst especially in the area from the waterline up about 2 feet.

Engine Pan In

Well the engine drip pan is back in finally. Glassed, sanded, and painted!!

You may have noticed that we decided NOT to replace the keel tank. I had contemplated it, also contemplated putting a holding tank down there as well. All I could think of was standing in the remnants of the old fuel tank up to my knees in stinking dirty rotten shit. Yup, empty it will stay. We still have a lot of fuel capacity with the 2 wing tanks. If and when we head offshore, if it is needed, I will pull the engine and install one but until that time, I will keep a clean bilge! 😂

We have a foredeck again!!

Well Prodigy Marine did in 5 days what it would have taken me at least 5 weekends. Sometimes it is a good call just to hire out the job!

The new and improved repaired Foredeck!

The foredeck is back together and stronger then ever, but I do have a huge concern with it. The rest of the deck now looks like “ass”. 🙂

In a strange way it is kind of scary to see the foredeck fixed and primed. I think we have gotten so used to seeing Akupara’s outsides in a run down dilapidated state that seeing her starting to look a bit better is a shock. Ok it is only 8 square feet of foredeck that is primed, and the hull looks like a patchwork of bondo, but the progress is real. As soon as they prime the hull and it is all a smooth uniform primer colour, it is going to be a bigger shocker.

I think we need to write off next weekend to finishing the sanding and repairs on deck. To have the hull looking fantastic and the topsides looking like crap is going to be hard to take. Having it all primed would be huge!

Today’s plan is to sand and paint the engine drip pan repair I did as well as a little more paint back near the packing gland so that the entire area is nice and clean and fresh for the new engine and shaft to be installed.

That will be a major milestone as well, imagine having an engine in the engine room? Akupara has been engineless Since February 1st, 2018, almost an entire year now!

The old Ford Lehman (Lemon) coming out.

Website Changes

In case anyone was wondering, the template that I had been using for this website was removed. This caused the site to be down for a bit. I kept getting cryptic messages emailed to me that to be honest I ignored. Finally donned on me what the issue was so I quickly changed to this template that you see now. And no I do not really like it. I will find a better one soon. Cheers

Words of Inspiration

Sometimes as I mentioned in an earlier post it is easy to get discouraged!

After I posted last time I received an email from one of the few folks out there who actually read this blog. It said:

Subject: Hang In There!!

Message:

Don’t give up!  You are getting so close.  I have been checking back from time to time and it is good to see you back posting again.  She will look so good after a new hull job.  Maybe serve as an inspiration to continue.

Hang in there!!!

This email came completely out of the blue! To be honest I had pretty much figured nobody was reading the blog especially since it had been so long since I had posted. It wasn’t a long email as you can see, but it meant a lot!

And who says the internet is just full of bad things?

Thank you for the encouragement, it is much appreciated!!

January 2019

My god it’s been awhile!

To be completely honest we lost interest in this project in the fall. I struggled a bit to persevere but then got involved with some redecorating at home and that was the end of that. It jas now been 4 years since we started this and 4.5 years since I last sailed a boat.

The yard messaged me last week to let me know they would be tarping the boat for primer. I was a little shocked as nothing had seemed to be happening for a very long time. It was almost like, hey dumbass, you have a boat here you know! So I took a quick trip down and snapped some pictures and of course handed over more money.

So like all good New Years resolutions, I will head back down to the yard today and see what has been happening. I need to glass in the engine drip pan so that they can get the engine install started.

I think we needed a good break from this project. Now let’s see if we can get back into it or if we should try to sell an incomplete project and try to break even.

Fingers crossed we can do this. I miss having a boat in the water and I miss sailing but it has been so long now I am not sure it is a strong enough driver anymore.

Fingers crossed!!

All Tarped in!
I hate how things always look worse before they look better. This is terrifying!
Swiss Cheese anyone?
Port side is really the worst, 40 years of banging against docks I’m sure!
Still a few more areas on the bow!
They reglassed the bow.
And reglassed that giant hole where the anchor smashed into the hull for 40 years.

Ignorance is Bliss

I completely understand this sentiment!

Prodigy Marine started on the hull repairs and as exciting it is, it is also terrifying! As long as we have had Akupara I knew there were some bumps, I mean she is 40 years old, we all have bumps at 40, but it is only once you start investigating that you truly know what lies beneath!

So far by the look of the work that they have completed, I am not surprised. We knew about these spots and as bad as it looks, it is just fiberglass, and as long as I am not the one doing it, it is not even a big job yet. It is well over my comfort level, but nothing for the Pro’s!

The fear is in what lies beneath. What are we going to find as they continue investigating the area’s outlined in marker? I am praying to the gods of the sea and sailing that we do not encounter anything too bad! 

Next on the list…

So what’s next?

Where are we in the overall work list?

Are we ever going to launch?

Once we have the engine room sorted and the new tanks are in, Prodigy Marine will do the engine install. Somewhere between there and now, they will also sand the entire hull from waterline to caprail, prime and paint the hull. We will finish the sanding on deck, and either have Prodigy paint it at the same time, or do it ourselves.

There are a thousand little jobs still to complete inside Akupara like electrical, plumbing, refrigeration, heat, water tank replacement (or water tank bladders) chain locker doors, new companionway doors etc etc  but there is one other job I have been putting off as well.

The dreaded foredeck re-coring.

:insert dark them song music here:

Ok it isn’t dreaded at all, after everything else we have done, this will have it’s own challenges of course, but it is all on deck in the sun! I will not be hunched over like some kind of monster, contorted into strange positions all the while working with tools that can cut your arm off!
This one I am hoping will go fairly smoothly. I estimate a day to cut the top skin and clean out the wet core, a day to cut the new coring and piece it into place, a day to glass it all in, and a day to do the final finish sanding and fairing.
Ok so in boat terms, 4 days will probably be 2 weeks of swearing, but you need to stay positive! 🙂

Our plan is to launch this summer. We were hoping for July 1st. There is still a possibility of that date, but considering in January we thought another year at least, I think we have stepped it up pretty well even if we miss July 1st.
There is a saying that a job will always take as much time as you have. If you plan 6 months, it will go right up to the last hour. If you plan a year, same thing. If you don’t have a timeline, forget it, it will never be completed! We want Akupara launched this year!

Wish us well!