Boat Refit Overview

So, what did we do to our beloved Morgan’s Cloud that could possible take four winters of hard labour?

First we removed every deck fitting on the boat, then Doug and his crew of master painters at Billings Diesel and Marine painted her. We then put down Treadmaster deck covering and put all the deck fittings back but with many improvements. We had the hatches anodized, together with a lot of other metal stuff that used to be painted, and re-bedded the lenses. Wooden hand rails are a pain to paint or varnish, so ours headed for the scrap heap, together with the wood trim round the cabin top, and we replaced them with stainless steel.

We then moved to the rig where we replaced the mast (the old one was cracking) and most of the rigging, both standing and running. To make it easier for one person to deploy, we bought a new carbon spinnaker pole and changed its stowage position from the deck to the front of the mast.

Below, we spruced her up with paint. We rebuilt the sea berth, to make it more comfortable and increase storage, and added a computer work station for Phyllis (I use the chart table). We had wood bezels fabricated with plexiglas covers to stop condensation forming on the ports in cold weather and added a book shelf. The galley got a new stove and we checked over the refrigeration system and replaced the compressor.

We completely rebuilt the forepeak to incorporate a redesigned chain locker that holds 330-feet of 7/16 chain without any need to hand flake it.

We improved the head holding tank system and rebuilt the shower so that it will be easier to keep clean and drain better.

The aluminum hull seems to be in good shape, even after 20 years, but we had Dave, the brilliant machinist at Billings Diesel and Marine, install and accurately align a new rudder bearing so the steering is now smoother than it has ever been. While Dave was at it, he checked the prop shaft and trued it up slightly. We replaced the cutlass bearings and generally went over the running gear.

The engine and generator got a thorough going over from Danny, master mechanic at Billings, including new injectors and rebuilt injection pumps. (Normally we do our own engine maintenance, but there is no substitute for having an experienced professional go over engines every couple of thousand hours.) While we were thinking about fuel, I cleaned the fuel tanks and rebuilt the fuel system complete with new tank lids and pickups engineered by David and welder Chris. Not to be outdone, Phyllis cleaned the water tanks and we installed a triple filtration system to keep wee beasties at bay, since we eschew the complications of a water maker and rely on shore water, sometimes from questionable sources.

Back on deck we added a new dodger and reinforced the bimini top too so we can stand on it.

We finally bit the bullet and installed an electronic navigation system including a dedicated computer and on-deck screen with waterproof mouse and keyboard. While doing computers, our change from film to all digital photography demanded that we install a powerful computer with a big screen for photo storage and editing and a network to tie all three of our computers together complete with a Wi-Fi client hub and external hi-gain antenna.

All this, and about a gazillion little jobs, have made Morgan’s Cloud better than she has ever been. In the process we learned a lot, made some mistakes (including a real doozy) and frequently got to the point where only whiskey therapy dulled the pain of a refit that cost twice what we budgeted and took two times longer than we expected.

So this series will be about what we did, the mistakes we made, what we like (most things, I’m glad to say) and what we don’t.

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Meet the Author

John

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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