Time for Bonzai’s second haulout!

Once again we found ourselves on the travel lift of Shelter Island Boatyard in San Diego. This is probably a very good place to mention that if you have your survey haul out done at Shelter Island, and you return for your survey repairs, the return haul out is FREE!  That saved us a little chunk of change right from the start. Which is good, because we were going to need it.

We had arranged subcontractors for all of the various repairs we had scheduled, and honestly, Ken Closs of Closs Marine, and Richard, the boatyard manager, organized them all expertly so that we could focus on the repairs we were doing ourselves.

Shelter Island pressure washed the hull while we were still on the travel lift, moved us to our ‘spot’ in the yard, and within minutes the Shelter Island guys were there to start sanding the bottom paint.

Most of our subcontractors were located in the Shelter Island Boatyard, which made communication with them throughout the process much easier.

We were scheduled to be in the boatyard for about 7 days, so everyone was pretty much working to that pace. Don immediately got started going through both engines, including giving me a crash course in diesel engine mechanics. So much to learn! Don and I had made a pact when we bought our first boat that both of us would know how to do everything on the boat. We feel it’s safer that way, because if one of us is incapacitated, the other can still take care of anything that needs taking care of. So, I am learning diesel mechanics! Don’s overhaul consisted of inspecting every bolted on piece of our Westerbeke 40 engines, removing most of them, removing all the rust and corrosion, replacing worn hoses and clamps, changing fluids…oh yeah. Fluids. When he drained the port engine transmission fluid he found it fouled with water. You may recall that there was water staining on the inside hull of that engine compartment that our survey recommended be checked out. We discovered the source…the swim step shower had been replaced fairly recently, but the connection for the cold water had cracked and was leaking. Yes, that leaky connection had flooded the engine compartment at some point to a level that fouled the transmission fluid and even put the battery under water. So, the transmission fluid was drained and changed twice to ensure all the water was out, and the battery was replaced as well. We also replaced the cracked connector on the shower to stop the flooding. Ultimately, Don spent about 60 hours going through the engines. In the process, he unknowingly fixed the starboard engine fuel leak that we had known about, but that no one had been able to find. We’re still not sure where it was, but when Don put everything back together, it was gone! Yay!

Chingon Metal Fabricators arrived and were shown what we wanted done to extend our existing solar support system, and Don then emailed exact specifications to them so they could begin fabricating that.

I got started on several projects:  removing the crumbling sound insulation from the engine compartments (a nasty job). We had purchased new sound insulation, which I installed as per instructions with spray glue, but it kept falling off and refused to adhere. We eventually gave up and just left it off.  I also started servicing the winches. Apparently, I’m a little OCD about winch servicing. In my opinion, the gears should look brand new when you’re done, so that’s a project that takes about 3-4 hours per winch. We have six of them, but I only got a couple of them done while in the boatyard. I’ve saved one to do a how-to video on later. So watch for that upcoming episode! A small project for me was to redo the tiny bit of wood on Bonzai. We have two added-on steps to the mast that are wood, as well as the outboard engine mounting plate on the stern. All 3 were completely gray with the grain separating.

This was a pretty quick and easy project using StarBrite products, (Star Brite Premium Teak Care Kit – 3 Easy-to-use 32 Oz Products to Restore, Beautify & Protect Marine Teak) which brought these things back to life! Now I just have to maintain them with a little teak oil every month. I’m really glad though that this is all of the wood that needs maintaining!

We also pulled out the old Raymarine electronics. They were still functional, but they were old an outdated, and we had already purchased a full suite of B&G electronics for our previous boat that we had brought over to Bonzai with us. The only thing we kept was the Raymarine Autopilot, which, unfortunately does not talk to our B&G. Don was headed to the trash bin with the old stuff when I shrieked, “Noooooooo!”  These were perfectly good electronics and I felt like someone on a budget might need them to either replace outdated, unobtainable parts, or to use as they are until they can upgrade later.  This turned out to be spot on, as Don sold the entire lot within days on Ebay.

Once the old electronics were out, we had several holes in our helm that weren’t necessary. Ultimately, we decided to place a Starboard panel (high density plastic) over the big hole and mount our B&G Zeus 2 to it. It updated the look of the helm as well as functionally covering the hole in the fiberglass. The rest of the various holes at the helm, those inside the salon at the breaker panels, as well as our fiberglass hull repairs were done by Miguel Hernandez Yacht Refinishing, and he did an immaculate job!

Now let’s talk about those cutlass bearings. This turned into quite the little project…

Closs Marine started by attempting to remove our Gori props.

2 bladed Gori props fold when the engines are turned off and put into reverse. They can decrease drag by about 35%, increasing your sailing speed by about 1 knot!

Turns out, the shafts had not been machined to fit the Gori’s when they were originally installed, leaving gaps between the shaft and the nuts which had corroded over the years, effectively welding the nuts to the shafts. At one point, Ken Closs, of Closs Marine (our engine guy) had suggested we would have to cut the Gori’s off. Don offered some alternative things to try, including using a heat gun, which helped.  Eventually, we ended up saving the Gori’s but sacrificing the nuts. New nuts had to be ordered from Italy, which would take 2 weeks to arrive. So, the original fixed blade props would be put on and yet another haul out was scheduled for our future. Meanwhile, the shafts were removed,  remachined for the Gori’s, and reinstalled as well as replacing the cutlass bearings.

Just to make things even more interesting, on our 3rd day in the boatyard we were informed that we needed to be ready to go back into the water on day 4 due to a scheduling conflict. Richard (Shelter Island Boatyard) and Ken (Closs Marine) coordinated all of the subcontractors to speed things up, and in the end all was accomplished on the accelerated scheduled with the exception of Chingon Metal Fabricators.  Shelter Island Boatyard allowed us to stay on their dock in the water an extra day while we waited on Chingon, who finally arrived to install the solar support system, only to discover it did not fit…at all. The measurements that had been emailed were pulled out and they went back to try again. At last the solar support system arrived and was installed. But then we a little problem with the bill. Chingon insisted on billing us an additional $2000 for a ‘change order’. After multiple phone calls and a little more ‘firmness’, Chingon finally agreed to accept our payment only for the correct work that was done. Their argument was that they had not received ANY measurements for the job. Which is a strange argument, because one wonders how or why they would fabricate a structure without any measurements. In the end, although the work we finally received was good, we find it difficult to recommend them, unfortunately.

Once the solar support system was installed, we were out of the boatyard and headed over to our mooring ball at the ‘Downtown’ mooring field in San Diego to await our standing rigging replacement and Gori prop nuts!  And clean up the boat. What a mess poor Bonzai was in!





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