Norsand Boatyard, Whangarei, New Zealand - November 2012 to April 2013
Slip Away's "Ten-Year Tune-Up"
after we started cruising, we met Larry Schick (s.v. Moira) who told us
about his theory of boat work being like a box of luck. When you work on the boat, you are adding luck to the
box. When you’re out cruising and having fun, you are withdrawing luck from
the box. It’s important to put more luck in the box than you take out.
We've put a lot into our box of luck since owning Slip Away, but we've taken a
lot out too.
By now, we'd been living on
Slip Away almost eleven years and cruising her for
close to ten years, covering over 28,000 nautical miles. During this time, we've kept a running "to-do" list,
continually adding and crossing off items. Although we crossed off
a fair number of items, that "to-do" list
never seemed to get any shorter - it just kept getting
longer. It was time
to build up that box of luck again and tackle the "to-do" list, which
included a few big projects and lots of small ones, regular maintenance items, some repairs and a few
modifications and upgrades. Slip Away was in need of
a "ten-year tune-up."
flew back to New Zealand from the USA in November 2012, Slip Away was waiting for us at
Norsand Boatyard, so we were all set to get started. Over the
next four months, we lived "on the hard" and plugged away at our list.
We did a
fair amount of the boat work ourselves, but we also got help from the boatyard
and some other local vendors on a number of items.
haul-out, we wanted to be as efficient and productive as possible, so we
established a routine of sitting down once a week (usually on Sunday) to review our overall
project list, and then setting our priorities for the coming week. This
system worked well for us, and we started seeing results right away. It
also helped to
keep us from feeling overwhelmed by our long to-do list, and make sure something didn't slip through the cracks.
Slip Away at Norsand Boatyard
often get divided into "blue jobs" and "pink jobs". When we are in the
boatyard, since Rich has good mechanical skills, he takes on the role as "chief engineer",
either handling a project himself or coordinating the work with an outside vendor. Jan helps
as needed (she's quite good at holding a wrench or fetching tools), but she also
her own painting, varnishing and sewing projects, handles paperwork, pays the
bills, sources parts and runs errands. Most importantly, she makes sure our basic needs are met,
food, beer and laundry.
Rich is not only good at mechanical and electrical repairs
but he's also able to fit into tight spaces!
Jan returning to Slip Away with a bag
of clean laundry
We were extremely pleased with the quality of work we had done at Norsand
Boatyard, and they have a great staff - genuinely nice people
who work hard and want their customers to be happy.
The Yard Manager, Peter Palmer, did an excellent job of managing our projects, and the staff was well trained and had great ideas for solving problems/issues. If we
wanted to do a job ourselves but needed some advice, they were happy to
provide it. Our timing of being in the boatyard early in the season was
quite good. NZ boatyards get quite busy with overseas cruising boats in
February and March, and their workers are stretched trying to serve everyone.
Although Norsand was busy with local boats in December, we found November and
January to be less hectic.
to the Norsand staff, we utilized the services of a number of other local
vendors (e.g. Absolute Stainless), and again we were very happy with their
work. New Zealand is not the cheapest place in the world to get boat
work done, but we generally found their labor rates to be fair (definitely less than the
USA), and the quality of work is top notch. Buying parts and other
boat-related items in NZ can be very expensive, but
we were aware of that from our previous visit and tried to bring as much of that
stuff as we could in our
luggage from the USA. (One guy who was in the boatyard at the same time
as us had a pallet of stuff shipped to him from the U.S.)
hoping to spend three months working on Slip Away in the yard, but as
usually happens with boat work, it took longer than
anticipated and we spent four. Slip Away
went back in the water on March 7, 2013. We wish we could say that we
crossed everything on our list, but unfortunately that did not happen.
However, we accomplished a lot, and our "to-do" list is now much, much shorter.
This was definitely the most
productive haul-out we’d ever had. When Slip Away was launched, we felt she
was probably in the best shape she’s ever been in, and she looked beautiful
once Slip Away was back in the water, we had a few unanticipated repairs to
make. Actually, we expected there would be some things that would not
work, we just didn't know which things they would be! From Norsand Boatyard,
we went into the Town Basin Marina, where we spent three weeks sorting out a problem with the genset which wouldn't
start (needed a new run solenoid and new glow plugs) and wrapping up some
other loose ends. After Town Basin, we headed out for
a sea trial and a week at Great Barrier Island (a much-needed break!). After
our short respite, we pulled into Marsden Cove Marina, and spent our last
month in New
Zealand resolving a few other issues that came up (e.g. burst high-pressure
hose on the watermaker) and wrapping up the "must do"
items. At the end of April, we sailed away from New Zealand, heading north to Fiji.
Back in the water after ten months on
some of the projects we completed in New Zealand:
Rigging: We replaced all of
the standing rigging on Slip
Away in 2002 just after we bought her, but it was time to do it again. Gerry
Jacobs (Norsand's on-staff rigger) was in charge of most of this project, and
Rich assisted him. We found Gerry's work to be top-notch, although he
sometimes needed help with schedule management. Absolute Stainless did
fabrication and polishing work.
serviced both headsail and staysail furlers.
new wire on headstay, staysail stay and triatic.
standing rigging on main mast with new wire and Norseman fittings. (Wire
on mizzen was replaced in 2008.)
upper and lower tangs, bolts and compression sleeves on both main and mizzen.
and installed new bobstay base and replaced bobstay wire.
and installed a new boom gallows/mainsheet traveler support- new shape eliminates mainsheet interference
with cockpit roof.
spinnaker pole (end fitting had come loose and was partially pulled out).
final original chainplate, which involved removing and reinstalling a galley
chainplates made in American Samoa in 2011, had them polished, and
new lifeline gates.
new spreader boots.
and lubed goosenecks.
Gerry Jacobs, Norsand's Rigger,
arriving with new wire and fittings for main mast
Gerry at work on Slip Away
New bobstay base installed above the old one
Old boom gallows/mainsheet traveler
With the new boom gallows/mainsheet traveler,
the mainsheet blocks no longer bang against the cockpit roof
Cockpit Enclosure: We love our cockpit hardtop, but the
and Strataglass® cockpit enclosure was the one project that we did in
Cartagena, Colombia, that did not go well. First, we got a couple of bad
recommendations from Sailrite on the awning track (a plastic one which started
to rip shortly after installation) and zippers (Riri brand, several of which
failed in the first few months). Then, the best canvas guy in Cartagena
was not available to do our work, so we ended up with the second best (second
best by a large margin). The fit and finish work left a lot to be desired, and
to top it off, the canvas guy sewed a non-UV rated trim on all the pieces, and
this trim was rotting away in the sun. This was one of our big jobs which
required coordination of vendors and took some time to complete, but we
were very happy with the end result.
To fix the
awning track problem, we had to remove the cockpit roof, and Norsand helped us
with that. Once the roof was off the boat, Rich
removed the plastic awning track and filled the screw holes, Norsand
painted over the hole repairs and Absolute Stainless fit a new aluminum track.
This project continued to be snake bit when Absolute Stainless sent the aluminum track
to Auckland to be anodized, and it was damaged in shipment on the way back to
us. Fortunately, they were able to repair the damage and didn't have to
new awning track was being fitted, we worked with Steve Eichler of Norsand on
a couple of modifications to the front and side of the cockpit to reduce water
intrusion in driving rain or rough seas. Steve designed and built a
small "bridge" across the front and center of the cockpit (on top of the
companionway hatchbox) and fitted a couple of small "dams" on each side of the cockpit
to fill in voids where the water came in. He
made these pieces out of wood, fiberglassed over them and then painted them
white. Steve is an incredibly talented shipwright, and these additions
look like they are part of the boat. Best of all, they're keeping the
Concurrently, Jan spent a couple of days removing all the sun-deteriorated
trim from the cockpit enclosure pieces. Once the cockpit roof was
reinstalled, Colleen from Colleen's Canvas got to work refitting
our existing cockpit enclosure pieces. She replaced the bottom section
each piece to accommodate the modifications we made to the front and
sides of the cockpit and to ensure a proper fit with all attachment points.
She also completely re-made the aft corner curtains (a
better design to keep out the rain), sewed new Sunbrella (UV-resistant) trim
on all the pieces and installed new YKK zippers.
The old plastic awning track was barely hanging on.
We had used some strips of aluminum as "band-aids."
The old trim, which started rotting away
after only a few months
Clayton (left) and
Peter (right) from Norsand
helping us to remove the cockpit
Steve Eichler at work on the cockpit modifications
The new "bridge" across the center front of the cockpit
The new "dam" on the starboard side of the cockpit
New aluminum awning track
Cockpit roof reinstalled, and re-fitted enclosure pieces with new trim
Caprail: This was a another big job - and we did it all ourselves.
This was another one of those projects which we did ten years ago, and it needed to be done again.
After ten years and a lot of use, we had a few leaks.
sail track and all caprail hardware (chocks, dinghy davit bases, etc.)
Used a heat
gun to strip all the varnish (Honey Teak) off the caprail, then sanded and
prepped it to re-varnish.
Varnished with Honey Teak (4 coats of honey and 4
coats of clear, applied two coats per day)
the sail track and all caprail hardware.
both inside and outside edges of the caprail (where it meets the fiberglass).
Stripping the caprail to bare wood and removing the sail track
Caprail with new varnish - re-bedding the sailtrack
Finished cap rail job, as well as
new varnish on cabintop trim and maintenance coats on handrail
We had some air bubbles in the gelcoat at the
waterline and some scratches in our bootstripe, so Norsand's painter, David
repaired and repainted all of that. We eliminated the thin white stripe between the bootstripe and bottom paint and raised the bottom paint up to the lower edge
of the bootstripe. It cost less to do it that way and will
easier to keep clean, and we like the look.
blisters on the bottom and repainted the bottom with Jotun Seaforce 90 bottom
spent a couple of days with Jason from Norsand Boatyard buffing and sealing
the hull with A-Glaze Surface Sealant.
Slip Away was so shiny that another boat owner went to the boatyard manager
and complained that our boat was shinier than his!
Scratched up bootstripe needing repair, bottom needing new paint, and
white strip between the bootstripe and bottom paint was hard to keep
David, Norsand's painter, spraying on the new bootstripe
Hull shined up with A-Glaze, repainted bootstripe,
new bottom paint, and the white strip eliminated.
of Norsand helped us with a number of small interior woodworking projects,
e.g. filling holes which resulted when we removed equipment we no longer used
(e.g. air conditioner/heat pump). He also designed and installed teak locking
latches on our galley cabinets and drawers to prevent them from opening in rough
seas - a simple design that looks nice too, and much better than our bungee
Varnished new interior wood and re-varnished portions of the galley and other interior areas which were
Re-painted the aft head, as well as the interiors of several cabinet/stowage
work on replacing all of our plumbing lines and connections with Whale tubing
and fittings - a project started 10 years ago. We have only one more
line to replace (hot and cold water lines to the front head sink).
new shower head and water mixer.
fresh-water foot pump in the galley.
new faucet in the galley, rebedded the sink and replaced the drains.
all sanitation hose on aft head.
Replacing the last chainplate required
removing part of one galley cabinet
Gluing teak veneer over a hole which used to hold the control display
from an air conditioning system which we removed
All pieces reinstalled and newly varnished,
and a new latch on the cabinet door to keep it from opening when
Stateroom vanity cabinet with the original brown paint inside
Stateroom vanity cabinet much brighter with white paint
Stateroom head with a new coat of paint,
new shower mixer, new shower head and new head hoses
Dinghy & Outboard:
Tim at Northland Inflatables
installed two new handholds at the front of the dinghy (so Jan has something
to hold on to when Rich feels the need for speed!), as well as straps to hold
our oars along the tubes on the inside of dinghy. How nice to no longer
have the oars under our feet when we climb into the dinghy!
installed gas tank brackets to keep the gas tank (and weight) forward in the
Outboard Pro serviced our outboard (a Yamaha 15 hp, now 8 years old). He
cleaned the carburetor, replaced the impeller and spark plugs and did some other tune-up
items, and it's running better than ever.
the anchor trough on our primary anchor.
Avon Industries re-galvanized primary anchor (66 lb Bruce) and chain (3/8"
Stainless installed a tube under windlass to divert chain and prevent fouling
in anchor locker. The chain fouling problem developed after installing a
new windlass in Cartagena. The chain fouls less now, but the problem
hasn't completely gone away.
piece of starboard on the caprail to protect it where the chain passes over
Rebuilt the anchor snubber with new line and hardware.
flush-mount saltwater washdown fitting (so that the headsail sheets would not catch on it).
Dinghy with new handles on the front,
straps to hold the oars along the inner sides of the tubes,
and new brackets holding the gas tank in place under the seat
Rusty anchor chain in need of re-galvanizing
Foredeck with re-galvanized anchor chain, black Starboard
protecting the caprail under the chain, reinforced primary
anchor trough, and the flush-mount
washdown fitting (lower left)
Engine & Genset: Peter Palmer (Norsand's boatyard manager) referred us to Tim
Brown of Sunny Marine to help us with some repair and maintenance work on our
engine and genset. Tim is an outstanding mechanic, and a
super nice guy!
Lights Genset: replaced run solenoid, glow plugs, engine mounts and control box shock
Engine: Rebuilt both alternators, changed raw water impeller, relocated
raw water and fuel hoses, aligned engine.
helped us gather some miscellaneous parts and provided advice to install our
Algae-x fuel polishing system (which is still under construction).
& Steering Gear:
Gerry Jacobs (Norsand's rigger) worked together to replace the steering
Engineering replaced our cutlass bearing and removed our prop shaft, cleaned
it and checked it to make sure it was still straight (and it was).
collar and bellows on PYI shaft seal, and
reduced the pitch on our Max Prop by a notch.
Waldo and Tom of Calibre
Sails inspected all of our sails, re-stitched and repaired as needed (no
major holes or tears, but a few minor ones) and sewed new Sunbrella sun
covers on the headsail and staysail. Additionally, they were kind enough
to store our sails for us until Slip Away was back in the water.
were floating again and reinstalled the sails, Jan sewed new sail covers
for both the main and mizzen.
Repitched Max-Prop with new zinc
New sail covers
Replaced Lifeline AGM batteries with Trojan AT125 wet
cell batteries (purchased from Alco Batteries in Auckland). We had converted from wet cells to AGM's in 2008 and
were not happy with their performance, so we went back to wet cells.
Steve Eichler of Norsand built battery boxes to accommodate the wet cell
Absolute Stainless fabricated and installed guards on
the corners of our solar panels to prevent the mainsheet from catching on
the cockpit roof solar panel wiring through the roof.
Eichler of Norsand helped us to convert our aft cockpit hatch from a sliding hatch
to a lifting hatch.
Steve Eichler worked together to countersink the stainless ring in our cockpit floor
(which fits around the opening through which our new engine and genset were
installed into the engine room). Jan assisted Rich with re-sealing the
Eichler repaired some dry rot in v-berth and cockpit locker.
cabintop teak trim pieces to bare wood and re-varnished. Applied
maintenance coats of Honey Teak on teak handrails.
wire and hardware on flopper stoppers (Magma Rock n Roll)
new watermaker membrane, replaced defective gauges and replaced high-pressure
engine room vent cover on side of cockpit coaming.
jerry jug covers, and cabintop hatch covers.
performed and provided a new insurance survey for us.
Empower Electric helped us with the installation of an AIS receiver.
Wilco Marine in Auckland
serviced and re-certified our life raft.
Dive HQ in
Whangarei serviced our scuba gear - BC's and regulators
Pete from Metro
Glasstech fabricated a new window for our front hatch, as well as a
lexan insert for our aft cockpit doors to prevent water intrusion should we
take a big wave in the cockpit.
Rug Doctor, which we used to clean our area rugs and settee cushions.
lots of stainless polishing and other cleaning and polishing on the boat.
probably forgotten a few things, but that covers most of it!
The old aft cockpit hatch design - slide to open
The new aft cockpit hatch design - lift to open
Guards on the edges of the solar panels to prevent the mainsheet from
catching on them, and a through-deck fitting for the solar panel wire
Countersinking the cockpit ring
New Trojan wet-cell batteries in new battery