We were fortunate to spend a few weeks in The Marquesas Islands…..Morgan had always talked about the Marquesas with great fondness after spending over a year there 20 years ago. Its really is a beautiful spot, almost fairy tale like.
Last year wasn’t just a big year for us personally but another big year for boat projects. Here’s a list of the big jobs that was carried out.
Aft Cabin and Head.
With the arrival of our little crew member in early March my Mum and step dad Pete was coming to stay on board with us for nearly two months. This meant Morgan had to get the aft Cabin and head ready for them. When we left the US this cabin and head was no where near finished. We had basically just built walls out of Marine ply, and filled both these areas up with wood and supplies.
The aft section of the boat was such a mess neither of us actually took any pics. Morgan started the project at the end of November 2017 and finally finished minus the door to the hanging locker and the door to the washing machine cupboard (minor details at this point) two days before my parents arrived at the end of February.
Here’s a quick reminder of what this cabin looked like when we bought the boat. The floor and bed was on the same level. Meaning you had to literally sit on the floor to get into bed. Also the cabinetry was on the outboard of the cabin and half of the bed was under the cockpit sole. The Electrical panels was also in this cabin.
So in the US we decided to completely gut out this entire cabin. We lowered the bed frame and the floor and took the electrical panel out completely. It was an empty shell at one point that we primed and painted.
Then Morgan and my Uncle rebuilt the walls before we left the US.
This was the work that Morgan did from November to February.
Luckily Morgan’s brother Jojo came out to see us for two weeks in early February to help Morgan celebrate his 40th Birthday so Morgan got some extra help for that time he was here which was great and so needed.
He utilised all the old doors and the majority of the trims to add to the new cabins look. And here is the end result. A much more practical and bright cabin.
This was the same for the aft Head. We hated all the old cabinetry and formica. So we gutted it out and started over.
We kept it simple. Used Marine ply for the walls and floor and added a few coats of epoxy to seal it of. Then painted it. We installed a washing machine under the companion way steps that is accessed via the head and also added a locker space that one day could serve as a wet locker but for now holds our laundry basket etc.
This is the process. And the end result.
Pilot House Floor.
This was the most used floor on the boat and we think it might have been the original flooring. The rest of the boats floor was newer in comparison. So whilst in the US we bought 2 sheets of teak and holly. Its not 100% finished yet as there is still work to be done to the pilot house however 90% of the existing floor has been changed out for the new. Again sounds simple enough, but try lining up all the stripes from the various pieces. Of cause once the pieces all fit they were given a few coats of vanish. It looks amazing and lightens this area up quite a bit.
All boat projects came to a halt once our little Gaël arrived and turned our world upside down. When Morgan finally came up for air about 3 months later he decided to start of slow with some sewing projects. He completed several sewing projects over the last few months.
The first project was a proper mainsail cover. When we left the US we had on board an oversize mainsail cover belonging to a super yacht. When we used it we had to tuck it around the sail from all directions. It really wasn’t an easy task covering the mainsail tidily. Morgan designed the cover himself and it took him about three interrupted days to complete it. The end result a perfect fit mainsail cover.
With the new main sail cover on we were left with the gigantic piece of material that we had been using as a cover. So Morgan made a really great awning out of it that extended from the start of the pilot house back to the back stays. For a few months of usage this was amazing. It offered so much shade and cooled the pilot house and cockpit down tremendously.
In October Morgan’s mum Jacqueline came out to visit us for a few weeks. Having her around Morgan decided to tackle the job of pilot house blinds. Shade for the Pilot house was something we debated about for months. As there is windows all around when the heat is on this area could really heat up. We enjoyed sitting in the pilot house with its near 360 degree view out but depending on the time of the day it would get pretty hot. We had material on board so debated about curtains or blinds and then one day Morgan suggested outside screens. We got the material at a reasonable rate in Martinique and having an extra pair of hands on board over a weekend they got the blinds made. What a game changer. Its reduced the heat inside tremendously and I also like the privacy aspect of it. We can see out but no one can see in. Perfect.
Also whilst having Jacqueline with us Morgan decided to tackle the most difficult sewing project, a dodger. We knew this project was going to be a tricky one. They took templates out of plastic and then cut the material to it. All outside in the elements which made it quite tricky. Jacqueline returned to France before they could finish it but a few days after Morgan got the final project done. I think he did a great job.
This was a real pain in the **** project, so much so that I didn’t get many pics of the process. The original hatch linings were made from laminated wood. The majority of the hatches when we bought the boat had minor leaks from dried up hatch seals that unfortunately meant most of the hatch linings had been destroyed. They were beyond repair. However the trims were salvageable.
Morgan used packaging cardboard to make a mould of the gap between the hatch frame (lining) and the cabin ceiling/old trims. Once happy with the way it set he removed the mould and fibre glassed the back side of it to the existing trims. Once the resin was cured the cardboard was removed and the surfaces required minor filling and fairing. Then it was ready for painting and the trims were varnished.
It sounds like a easy enough task but it was far from it and took a few trials of what would work to get the right mould. In total he had to do three big hatch linings (60X60) and 5 small hatch linings (40X30).
This took about a month to complete but they look absolutely amazing. We chose to paint the linings white for a cleaner look. It looks slightly odd with our current ceiling color but it adds a burst of light to our otherwise somewhat dark interior. One day when we have heaps of time on our hands we would like to paint the entire ceiling white. But thats not happening any time soon.
Dodger and Bimini.
Now that we have had both structures for a few months already I find it so hard to believe we lived with out them. We had bought some stainless steel frames when we first arrived in the Caribbean with the intention of one day making a dodger. Well in September when we ran south to Grenada for hurricane season this was the main projects Morgan worked on. A friend of ours offered his workshop for Morgan to work in. He used two existing frames to make the dodger frame and then built a combing from scratch using marine ply. I was a bit skeptical of it at first when he had three layers of ply glued together and then bent to the shape he wanted. It took quite a bit of fairing and sanding but the end product looks amazing. When he bought it back to the boat I was super impressed.
We weighed up the options of getting the Bimini made out of Stainless steel or galvanized steel and eventually went with the galvanized steel. We have a welding machine on board so before we left Martinique Morgan bought all the materials he required and then in Grenada he fabricated the frame. It took a few trips back and forth to get the frame right and luckily we had friends there that could help manipulate this big frame structure on board. Once the pre-fit was approved Morgan painted the galvanized steel. A few coats later it was fixed back on board.
It was a few months before we sailed up to St Martin where we purchased two additional solar panels to go on the Bimini. Morgan had to once again fabricate a support frame for the panels to fit on. Then epoxy, faired and finally painted. It isn’t completely finished yet as we would like to make a material/windscreen section to join the Dodger and Bimini and also make roll-able flaps for the Bimini sides to help keep out the sun and rain. So Nomadica has taken on quite a different look in the last few months.
High output Alternator and bracket.
Whilst Morgan had access to a work shop and machine shop in Grenada he decided to fabricate a bracket on the engine in which he could install a high output alternator. The thought of ever having to motor any distance and not be able to charge the batteries made us cringe so its always been something we wanted to do. Another great improvement and a few days work to get it all right.
New Freezer and Refrigeration units.
The original refrigeration/freezer system was a Glacier bay. It worked a charm but boy it really sucked a lot of power. In order to keep up with its power demands we found we had to run the generator an hour and a half in the morning and the same in the night. The one massive compressor ran both the refrigeration and freezer so there was always a fear that if it broke we could lose whatever we had in the fridge and freezer. Also if we lost the generator we could be under powered in running the system. We could never leave the boat unless it was on the dock which is very rare, as we had to turn the system on and off manually twice a day. Morgan had moaned about this for months so finally at the end of the year he decided to change out the system for a more conventional marine refrigeration and freezer system. What a game changer these new systems are. We haven’t ran the generator since and both units works great. The Glacier Bay came with 2 thick holding plates in each compartment. Once these were taken out we were left with so much space. So whilst doing the installation Morgan did some modifications to the boxes and added shelves for practicality. Its fantastic and so much better than before. Sorry no pics.
And I think thats it…..I didn’t always get the pics as we pretty much have had our hands full but it’s been a good year all around 🙂
Now that thats done…..Lets sail to Cuba. 🙂