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.

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