While we were on holiday (vacation) we stopped by to check on Morgan’s Cloud all tucked up in a shed at Billings Diesel and Marine and discovered that her steering was seized solid because the new type of dripless packing that we tried out for the first time had dried out and frozen to the [...]

40 Rules For A Reliable Sailboat

I have been thinking a lot about the unreliability of offshore voyaging boats. It seems like most every cruiser I talk to has a tale of woe about all the problems they have had with their boat and how much those problems have screwed up their plans. For crying out loud, if cars were as [...]

You Pays Your Money…

Just made for the job One refreshing thing about Spain is that it is still a country where people carry out many of their own repairs. Evidence of this can be seen in the number of ironmongers (ferreterias) that still exist in even relatively minor towns, Aladdin’s caves filled with every conceivable item for some [...]

Saving The Day

It’s a fact of life that even in our throw away world of ‘service by replacement’ equipment there are times when good old fashioned improvisation can save the day, especially when you’re thousands of miles from the nearest service centre. As a result, part of any spares kit should comprise of a mix of wire, [...]

We joined our friends Dave and Shelly, who live and voyage on their beautiful, and beautifully maintained, Able Apogee 50, Cadence, for dinner the other night. I knew that they had spent the day on maintenance tasks on Cadence and I could sense that it might have been a tough go. (It’s a sure sign [...]

Are Refits Worth It?

Chapter 2 of 20 in the Online Book How To Buy an Offshore Voyaging Boat

It seems like a logical way to own a good offshore sailboat. Buy an older and a bit rundown but fundamentally decent boat and refit it. But does it really work? To explore that important question, I have a true story to tell you.

Experts Worth Their Weight In Gold

Back afloat at last, and it’s so good to feel Pèlerin swing to the wind and tide at anchor once more, after what seemed an endless winter. The last few weeks in the boatyard have been exhausting, as we’ve slogged through the work getting her ready for the long haul after a series of false [...]

It’s Painting Time Again

As the old saying goes, you pay for your pleasures, and that’s certainly true when it comes round to the annual re-fit. The many little jobs that were just too awkward afloat, added to the big ones like antifouling, can all back up and lead to a formidable worklist. And to top it all, there’s [...]

A Great Resource

Practical Sailor is one of the two magazines we still subscribe to. We have been getting their great information on all things boating gear for over 25 years. In that time the magazine has saved us untold amounts of money, not to speak of frustration and wasted time, by helping us to source the best [...]

Priorities In Preparation—Part 2

In Part 1 I asked the question: “who contributed more to a safe and seamanlike voyage over three days recently, Phyllis who rebuilt the mast winches and went through our medical kit, or me who installed a new AIS transponder and nearly lost his mind doing it?”. Well, to me anyway, it’s an open and [...]

Priorities In Preparation—Part 1

Phyllis and I are in the throes of preparing Morgan’s Cloud for a voyage to the high latitudes this summer. As usual, we are splitting the many tasks—I call this stage of voyage preparation “death by a thousand details”—between us, based on our individual skills. I was once, in the dim and distant past, a [...]

We Can’t Do It All

Part of the engine installation project on Morgan’s Cloud was the fitting of new engine mounts—which meant welding, which meant sparks flew, which meant the paint in the engine room got speckled. (Morgan’s Cloud’s builder did a wonderful job of most things, but painting the bilge in the engine room was not one of his [...]

Laying-Up, A Break From Vigilence

Phyllis and I just finished laying-up Morgan’s Cloud for the winter at Billings Diesel and Marine in Maine, where we will be replacing the engine. As always, we are sad to move off the boat, which, over the last 18 years, has become more our home than any place else. But you know, there is [...]

Bock Marine Soothes Boatyard Hell

"Boat Yard Hell” is our term of endearment for Morgan’s Cloud’s annual date with a boat lift. There just isn’t much fun to it: living at the top of a 15’ ladder, peeing in a bucket, the morning dash to the toilet building, and of course day after day of boat chores as we try [...]

A Top Ten List

Here is a top ten list of what we did during the refit that we really like: 1. Our new Hall Spars carbon mast. The boat is stiffer, pitches less, and we have every confidence in the engineering and execution of this great spar from a great company. 2. The Treadmaster deck covering we installed. [...]

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