New Boat Projects

Old shaft seals were totally destroyed from overheating

We’ve been through this before. You buy a boat (new or used – it doesn’t matter) and you spend the first two to twelve months (sometimes longer!) fixing broken gadgets, adding new thingies, and making it a comfortable space for you to be in. In 30+ years of owning multiple boats, I’ve never been able to sign the contract, move my stuff aboard and go cruising. There’s always work to be done first. The challenge is to prioritize, work fast, and take care not to allow “scope creep” to keep you from keeping you at the dock any longer than necessary.

At the end of January, Michelle and I were beginning to feel a bit like we would never get away from the dock. There was plenty more work on our To-Do list, but the critical items were done, we were fully provisioned for a multi-month cruise, and we both felt that if we didn’t leave right then, we might be stuck at the dock for another month or more. So, we paid our contractors, let loose the lines, and motored away. We’re in the Bahamas now and I wouldn’t exactly call our cruise up to this point relaxing. Until the last week, we’ve continued to work daily on outstanding projects, but now we’re finally (mostly) down to “when we feel like it” projects — and there are always items on that list! So, we’re finally in full time cruise mode and preparing to make the jump from the Bahamas to Puerto Rico and points south.

For the record though, here is a list of the projects that we’ve completed since taking ownership of N55-24 in November:

Main Saloon (living room)

  • Re-upholster the couch
  • Remove worn carpet and replace with area rugs
  • Replace two barrel chairs with low profile recliners
  • New Mosquito Screen for door

Master Suite

  • Replace worn carpet
  • Add Garmin display to be able to view boat status data from bed (critical on longer, multi-day cruises)
  • Replaced air conditioner condenser

Engine Room

  • Install 6KW Northern Lights Generator as backup
  • Install Dynagen Autostart on main, 20KW generator
  • Replace dripless shaft seals, including new housing on both port and starboard engines
  • Change all fluids, belts, filters, etc. on both engines and the 20KW generator
  • Install temperature sensors on dripless seals
  • Remove Propellors, pull Shafts and test for damage (found one shaft was bent and both had damage from overheated shaft seals)
  • Install new Cutlass bearings and add bearings to back of shaft tube to alleviate issue with shaft sag in tube.
  • Reinstall shafts and re-align engines to shafts (they’re not spot on!)
  • Repair leak in starboard engine room fuel tank


  • Install Iridium GO! satellite modem
  • Install backup laptop computer in Pilothouse
  • Update maps on all chartplotters
  • Install Pepwave cellular modem in Pilothouse

Other Projects

  • Compound, buff, and wax hull and super-structure
  • Have life raft re-certified
  • Replace the main tubes on the dinghy
  • Service dinghy engine
  • Replace black water hoses (toilet hoses)
  • Replace grey water hoses (sink/shower hoses)
  • Replace backup manual pumps for black and grey water systems
  • Install mosquito nets on doors in Pilothouse
  • Replace headliners in cabins as needed
  • Haul, clean, sand, and repaint bottom
Michelle set up a “spray booth” in the main saloon to replace the headliners
We set up an assembly line of sorts to resurface over 3/4 of the headliners in the boat. First we had to remove all the old fabric (with help from our friends Ted & Jenny on Southern Star). Next we had to cut out the new fabric covers, then we sprayed glue on the headliner and the fabric and married the two pieces together. Finally, we had to staple the edges of the fabric to the back of the headliner.
Michelle and I spent days in the bilges pulling new wires from the engine room up to the pilot house and also replacing sanitary hoses. This picture is a bit fuzzy, but that’s Michelle down in a compartment, under the master suite, pulling wires over to the compartment that I was in just out of camera view.

Still on the TO DO List

  • Troubleshoot and repair Stingray high pressure wash-down pump for anchor cleaning
  • Replace backup fresh water pump
  • Troubleshoot issues with Dynagen Autostart on 20KW Generator
  • Make sure to have some fun every single day!

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6 Replies to “New Boat Projects”

  1. So glad you guys got ROAM 2.0 sound & off the dock! Exciting to see it all come together after having the driveline out!! Keep pushing those projects… cause, you WILL keep that list fluid! PR is in your sights & keep Playing like a Pirate!
    Love ya both ~ Haley3

  2. Thanks for the post Clark and Michelle! WOW, incredible. Enjoy and be safe…. Regards, your favorite land lover! Don

  3. Ain’t Yachting Fun… (tongue firmly in cheek) I would enjoy seeing you again if you stop at Provo, and I would hope we could find more time together. Our visit last time was very brief.

    1. Hi John, thanks for reaching out. I left you a VM this afternoon. We’re going to leave Vero tomorrow and go down to Palm Beach for a few days, then we’ll start heading north, heading for the Chesapeake. We didn’t try to get in to your marina because we don’t have any transportation and we needed to get to a grocery store. At least in this anchorage we’re an easy bike ride from the store. All the best, Clark & Michelle

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