It’s called Re-Commissioning.

Since the first week of January, Lindsay and I have been busy deep cleaning, repairing and replacing parts on Makara in Key West, Florida. Before we purchased her, she spent many months alone and in a boatyard.

Makara "on the hard"
Makara “on the hard” in Beaufort, NC
Not only did the hatch seals leak, but most of the bolt holes did, too!
Not only did the hatch seals leak, but most of the bolt holes did, too!
Thankfully, most of the rigging and the trampolines are fine.
Thankfully, most of the rigging and the trampolines are fine.

Before we could live safely aboard, we needed to address the many leaks from rainwater that soaked the mattresses, the 12 volt electrical system that started small fires when fiddling with the wires and the mold that was growing under the ceiling panels.

It took hours to tidy this up after the very smokey fire.
It took days to tidy this up after the small fire.
LP Gas locker with custom valve and shut off bracket, also CO2 carbonizing system is in there for beer and water.
LP Gas locker with custom valve and shut off bracket, also CO2 carbonizing system is in there for beer and water.

So we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. We had one cabin the didn’t leak too badly for sleeping so we moved in there and started pulling down the ceilings and checking for the location of the rainwater leaks.

New butyl rubber sealant above the instrument panel.
New butyl rubber sealant above the instrument panel stopped a leak into our cabin.
Almost everything you see here was removed, cleaned and resealed.
Almost everything you see here was removed, cleaned and resealed.

All four of the manual toilets were so hard to pump Lindsay got a callus on her hand so we decided to upgrade to electric ones.

Old holes were hidden by reusing the old seat as a base.
Holes in the floor from the old toilet were hidden by reusing the old seat as a base.
Push button controls = no more pumping!
Push button controls = no more pumping!

The pressurized water system was leaking and a rusty reservoir tank was about to burst.

Pressurized water system with a redundant pump.
Pressurized water system with a redundant pump. Two supply tanks are controlled by valves “P” and “S.”

I started a list and then sorted them out by priority. New items were discovered daily and when to the top of the “A” list. Just when one leak was found and fixed, a new one would appear. For the first few weeks, the list became longer and longer. Things that I thought were a priority “A” got shifted all the way down to “C”.

Anchor windlass with it's new remote control and wash down pump switch
Anchor windlass with it’s new remote control and wash down pump switch
I did take the time to make climbing into and out of the engine room more comfy by making steps for my bare feet.
I did take the time to make climbing into and out of the engine room more comfy by making steps for my bare feet. Not really an “A” list item.
I'm still trying to adjust the refrigeration system and adding circulation fans. One big experiment.
I’m still trying to adjust the refrigeration system and adding circulation fans. One big experiment that never ends.

We started the long process of sourcing strange new parts and ordering them from the least expensive place. Amazon boxes came piling into our friend’s house in town. We had mountains of boxes in our dinghy every few days, bouncing out to the mooring field. A big pile of recycling loomed in the cockpit at all times.

It's a 15 minute ride to the dock.
It’s a 10-15 minute dinghy ride to the dock.
Makara resting in the city mooring field.
Makara resting in the city mooring field.

 

The field is full, but neighbors are not too close.
The field is full, but neighbors are not too close.

To date, we have been on board and working for 8 weeks since the first of the year. During that time, I have checked off 134 items that total approximately 319 man hours, averaging 35 hours of labor per week.

The two engine rooms are a bit tight for a large boat.
The two engine rooms are a bit tight.
Especially with a 9kW diesel generator stuck in there!
Especially with a 9kW diesel generator stuck in there!

The rest of the time was spent researching parts, bicycling to the marine hardware stores and reading how-to sites. The evenings were spent whining about my sore back and applying band-aids to my hands. Well, there have been several happy hours on shore, but I’m not posting about that right now.

The mechanical room located between the heads has many filters, hoses, pumps, junction boxes and wiring.
The mechanical room located between the heads has many filters, hoses, pumps, junction boxes and wiring to keep me busy.
After untangling the mess of hoses and wires, I can now see all the way down to the bilge!
After relocating the new pumps and untangling the mess of hoses and wires, I can now see all the way down to the bilge!

Unfortunately, because everything is new to me, I’ve had to redo most of my work about three times before I get it right. It’s frustrating to put something all together before realizing it doesn’t work like I thought it would. At my lowest point I threatened to Lindsay that this is the last boat I’m fixing up. I don’t think that’s true today.

I had to roto-zip a cover plate for this shower bilge pump switch to hide the old hole in the fiberglass.
I had to enlarge a standard cover plates with the roto-zip for the four shower bilge pump switches so I could hide the old holes.
Waterproof boxes house the toilet control boards.
Waterproof boxes house the toilet control boards. Thanks Amazon.
Some of my best work on the shower bilge pump junction boxes.
Some of my best work on the shower bilge pump junction boxes.
One of the bedrooms was always a tool shed.
One of the bedrooms was always a tool shed.

Lindsay has spend much of her time scrubbing and experimenting with toxic chemicals used in various combinations to remove mold, mildew, rust, mysterious stains and old caulk.

This vinyl trim in the door jambs has got to go! Why did someone try to fix it with sticky goop?
This vinyl trim in the door jambs has got to go! Why did someone try to fix it with sticky goop?
Sticky goop removed, hours later thanks to Lindsay.
Sticky goop removed, hours later thanks to Lindsay, a utility knife and lots of volatile organic compounds.
We will never take properly installed vinyl trim for granted again.
We will never take properly installed vinyl trim for granted again.

She has single handedly removed headliners from the cabins and scrubbed the ceilings free of anything that lives. The place smells so much better now and white walls and ceilings are now very white. It’s difficult to show her work with pictures but I’m sure you can relate. When somethings not clean, it’s not pretty. Cleaning a boat is not easy.

I installed new light fixtures in each cabin.
I installed new light fixtures in each cabin.
Retrofitting a ceiling fan pull chain switch near the door for convenience.
And retrofit a ceiling fan pull chain switch near the door for convenience.

We are far from finished, but at least we feel it is now safe, clean enough and the electric push-button toilets are functioning properly so that we can have guests aboard now. Lindsay and I both still have many things on the list, and the boat is far from ready to cross the Atlantic ocean, let alone leave Florida and cruise up the East Coast. Luckily, we have time to get ready.

We do occasionally head out for sunset sailing with friends.
We do occasionally head out for sunset sailing with friends.
The three air conditioning units are working just fine!
The three air conditioning units are working just fine!
New courtesy lights on every step.
New courtesy lights on every step.
All new LED lights in the salon.
All new LED lights in the salon and galley.
Can be switched to red for navigating at night and making more coffee and tea!
Can be switched to red for navigating at night and making more coffee and tea!
We still have not used the bowsprit and the asymmetrical spinnaker yet.
We still have not used the bowsprit and the asymmetrical spinnaker yet.
Flying the courtesy flag of the Conch Republic, with signs of wear.
Flying the courtesy flag of the Conch Republic, with signs of wear. I think it’s still legal.
I rescued Tom and Linda Erb's flamingo from their trash can. Very Keysee.
I rescued Tom and Linda Erb’s flamingo from their trash can. Very Keysee.
That's Fleming Key behind me, an obstacle to the west, and to the Atlantic.
That’s Fleming Key behind me, an obstacle to the west, and to the Atlantic.
Hoo Ha Ha.
Hoo Ha Ha.

Just for fun, I pasted the list of 134 items that have been completed so far:

Tighten rudder cableReplace bilge pump fuses (becuase I foiled them)Return Amazon Garmin thingyFix propane supply systemOrder Lewmar seal kits at West MarineFind leak in stbd engine room shelfActivate new credit cardsReplace orings on all raw filtersFind 16 1 in white plastic trim plugs for forward cabin workAdd washers to water heater baseMake American flag pole from mop handleInstall salon fanRepair PF cabin fanInstall new cabin fanRepair 12V freezerRebed gauges and helm engine control panel shield – it leaksFix stove igniterFix Propane lightRebed helm seat mounts – they leakRemove and seal rear portlight visors – they leakReplace 2nd fresh water supply pumpCheck Morse ST-3 control for neutral warm up positionReturn West Marine RIB-350 GreyStop leak under galley sinkRepair Lindsay’s PFDRemove salt H2O toilet supply port headRemove old toilet PA headReplace shower drain pump, j(x) boxes, clean up shit work portReplace faucet in SA head – next it leaksReplace faucet in SF headReplace faucet in PF headReplace accumulator tankReplace faucet in PA head – readyReplace water heater fittingInstall elbows in shower drain hose (kinked) portRebed stb stern handrailRegister Makara and pay taxesBuild snubber, attach lights and tighten tiller on old dinghyGet refunded for Gill jacketInstall new stereo and see if it worksRebed aft boweyesRemove, straighten, and rebed port stern handrailPatch holes in dinghyReplace courtesy lightsReplace headliner in PF cabinRemove headliner and clean in PF cabinRemove and seal compassRemove rust stains from dinghyRepair water heater – RESET HI TEMP SWITCHFollow laptop repairFind / Fix leak in helm/above nav stationReplace hatch gasket and rebed guard rail in PF cabinRepair PA engine hatch and remount hingesRebed far forward padeyes each sideReplace washdown pump and switch power from windlassReplace control and wiring to winlassReplace PF cabin headlinerApply registration numbers to MakaraPaint shower bilge pump PFOrder reading lightOrder switches for cabin lightsOrder replacement lights for hardtopBuy Dinghy cooler for shoppingMake new dock linesOrganize spare fuses and light bulbsFollow boat insuranceReplace bulbs in engine control panelsReplace PA toiletRemove headliner, clean, replace in PA cabinReroute and protect bilge pump wiring portReroute AC pump hose PFStop leak in galley frameless portlightCheck engine room blowers and diagnoseDetermine leak in salon floor / liquor cabinetInstall rebuilt old latch on liferaft hatchStop leak in aft shower headStop leak in SA side frameless portlightClean and lubricate all hatch gaskets, inspect for leaksschedule scope between 15 and 27 AprilFill CO2 bottle for carbonated water makerInstall new light in galley to testCheck Galleon for February 2017+Try escushion ring on sink faucet PAReplace shower pump filters port sideFix hinge in PA vanity doorreplace cabinet walls in PA cabinInstall bellscrape and ospho AC compressor in PA cabinDesign and build engine room stepsTest Alternator on port side, Remove and find repairmanSpray paint dinghyInstall pull switch and new light fixtureReplace yellow smart control switchReplace clogged AC drain tubing in salonReplace light fixture on back deck floorInstall perko latch on water tank lidInstall grill over old toilet holesRepair generatorReplace breakers, install boxes and run wire for marine heads portInstall smart control, supply line and toilet PFReplace shower pump switches portTidy up all lines in port mechanical roomInstall 12V fan in freezerReroute and protect bilge pump wiring stbdRemove heads and salt water hoses stbdRepair SF cabin seat bracketsRemove and straighten or replace SF head door hingesReplace shower drain pumps, filters, and j(x) boxesRemove headliner, replace velcro and clean in SF cabinReplace hatch gasket and rebed guard rails in SF cabinInstall boxes and run wire for marine heads stbdDrill larger holes, reroute cables at inverter, mount switchInstall AFT new cabin lights and pull chain switchesInstall SF cabin light and pull chain switchInstall grill over old toilet holes stbdTidy up all lines in stbd mechanical roomInstall new 120V boxes, recepticles and port light switchAsk around about removing gas valveReplace port alternatorInstall smart control, supply line and toilet SAReplace pump switch SARegister dinghyReplace cabin lightsPaint numbers on dinghyRemove and reseal sink drains, hook up plug chainsInstall new cheap tester reading lamp SFInstall smart control, supply line and toilet SFReplace pump switch SFInstall new lights in salonTape up window seamsReplace outlets in all four cabinsReplace smart controls and return yellow ones to RaritanInstall trim rings on all four faucets