It’s official, Makara now hails from Key West, Florida.
When titling a vessel, you can choose to deal with a state or with the Coast Guard. We chose the Coast Guard thinking we could get away with not paying sales tax on the boat. We thought wrong. If you stay in any state long enough, they will come asking for proof of registration and title. Although we did not have to title it with Florida, we did have to register it with them since we were going to stay here for more than 30 days.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The pressurized water system was leaking and a rusty reservoir tank was about to burst.
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”.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The trip was from December 15th to 30th, 2015. I wish I would have taken more video, but Lindsay and I were kind of busy sailing in rough seas. It was just the two of us after Southport, NC. Music by Pink Martini. Enjoy.
On Sunday December 12th and Monday the 13th, we finished up some needed repairs on Makara’s fuel tanks. As forecasted, the wind blew hard from the south during that time. We decided to wait until 11 am on Tuesday at high tide to depart, as the winds were forecast to turn, or “clock” to the west. The previous owner, Tyler, agreed to come along and show us how things worked as we sailed along.
The six-foot waves from the south were tough to sail against, and beating to weather is never fun. We kept on a somewhat comfortable angle to the wind and waves for the rest of the day. We were definitely not heading directly to our destination in Southport, NC but we were sailing! We headed offshore.
Apparently, a solo sailor on a forty foot boat was about 60 miles offshore and in distress at the same time we were heading out to sea! I can only assume he was heading south like everyone else and was off Cape Hatteras over the weekend’s heavy weather. Anyway, his distress call was heard and he was airlifted as you can see in this video. I could be critical and try to assume why he got into trouble but I’m not going to do that. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
THEN, about 12 hours later, we spotted flares coming from the direction of Camp Lejeune. It may have been explosions from military exercises, we don’t know. That’s why when we saw several long-lasting amber flares at about the same time in the direction of the open sea, about 30 or 40 miles offshore, we thought they were more military exercises. Then we heard a call from a passing military vessel by the name of Button. They were asking if we had heard a distress call, as they could not make it out clearly and were no longer getting the transmission. We told him we saw flares but thought they came from them! The radio man aboard the military ship Button said, no, they were not their flares. The flares were well off their stern when they saw them. They then proceeded to relay the distress call to the Coast Guard in Charlotte, SC. They also hailed a freighter that was passing the area where the flares were seen. Because we don’t have a very powerful VHF like a military or Coast Guard vessel does, we didn’t hear any more about those flares. We were too small to assist anyone in that weather so we were not asked to do anything, in case you were wondering if we were supposed to help.
It seems weird there were two emergencies twelve hours apart in the same area. Lindsay mentioned there might have been a mixup in the am and pm of the reporting on this story. There is a very good chance we saw this man’s flares that night. This is quite possibly “b-roll” of previous rescues, as that is in the title on the Coast Guard website. As Captain Ron says “Nobody knows!”
We are glad he is safe and it is unfortunate he left his vessel at sea.