We finally have all the survey work completed, the new rigging, all of our instruments are working (including the new wind instrument) so we head up the Southern California Coast for a little shake down cruise. Our route is from San Diego Bay to Mission Bay, a short little hop. While we are anchored at Mission Bay for the day, we take you on a little boat tour!
In retrospect, I should have probably cleaned the boat a little better and stowed the lines from sailing….but, well, that’s just life I guess!
Leopard Boat Tour
We start at the bow and point out the dolphin chairs, which are great. I’ll add in here that we also have the two forward deck lockers which house two 100 gallon water storage tanks. The water tanks are filled directly from the top of the tank. There’s plenty of room left over for other storage as well. This area shares the space for our anchor chain locker and electric windlass, also.
Talking a little more in-depth about engine access. Our engines are two Westerbeke 40’s, one on each side. The starboard engine is only accessed from down below. The top wood panel removes quickly and easily for routine maintenance. For more extensive access, all of the wood panels can be removed by taking out the screws and pulling out the wood panels, which gives easy access all around the engine. The port engine has additional access from the top by rolling back the mattress of the bed in the aft cabin and opening a hinged hatch. This makes the port engine very easily accessed!
Originally, ours had foam sound insulation attached to the wood panels, but after seeing what deteriorating sound insulation looks like…little flecks and chunks of decaying foam everywhere, and falling into whatever you open…we opted to just get rid of it. The space aft of the engine compartments are so large, we use them to store dock lines and fenders, though we do need to do some better organization of those spaces. We’re working on it!
Where to put the dinghy motor?
Regarding the dinghy’s outboard mounting situation…..what a pain that thing is! We’ve heard both sides of “just leave it on the dinghy…it’s fine!” and “No, never leave it on the dinghy!” We’re currently testing out leaving it on the dinghy on the davits, but that has an immediate downside of making the winching up on the dingy davits exceptionally difficult! Our dinghy winching pulley system isn’t perfect already, but the added weight is just awful. So, we’re also sketching out different ways of taking the motor off and storing it. Yay! Another pending boat project!
View from the helm
Adding to the ‘view from the helm’ segment: when Don and I were shopping for boats, and actually on every friends’ boat that we see, this is an important aspect that I am evaluating. I’m not a tall woman. I’m 5’3″, and on most boats I can’t see the front of the boat while standing or sitting at the helm without some kind of booster step or cushion to sit on. Remember when you were little and had to sit on a telephone book to eat at the grownup table (did I just date myself there?) That’s what it feels like. So, being able for a short girl to stand or sit at the helm and actually SEE was important to us!
Also from the helm, we were so proud to replace the old Raymarine electronics with our B&G system. The only thing we did not replace was the Raymarine chain drive autopilot. These are expensive, Bonzai’s is working fine, and although old, it is a simple system that is not prone to failure. The downside is that the autopilot uses the Raymarine Seatalk system, and our B&G Zeus II uses NMEA 2000. If there is way to make these two things ‘talk’ to each other I’d love to hear it! But for now, they don’t. So heading changes cannot be controlled by or done through the chartplotter, but are done from the autopilot control display that you see at the helm.
In the galley, I pointed out our icemaker. We love that thing! Here was our reasoning….we wanted a ‘drink’ fridge. Drinks are the thing you go in and out of the fridge for the most, and if you keep them separate, your fridge/freezer will operate more efficiently and effectively. We had looked at an Engel 12 volt portable, which are great but cost over $800. We already had the Rtic cooler
which we’ve used and really liked for over a year, and it fits under the cockpit table, but access to ice isn’t really feasible. Fortunately, we found this little countertop icemaker to keep us supplied with ice! We keep a container of ice in the freezer for iced drinks, and keep the Rtic filled with ice, and only run it a few hours a day, if at all. The amazon reviews for all of these little countertop icemakers run about the same…they work great for about a year or two and then die. But at $80 dollars, it seems more economical than the Engel.
Finally, there’s the FoodSaver. Honestly, I don’t know how we’d live without it on the boat! The thing about a FoodSaver vs. a Ziplock type bag is the airtight. Food stored in the airtight Foodsaver bags last forever! They don’t freezer burn and they stay fresh. We chose a compact size for Bonzai! which means you have to manually lock and unlock the lid when sealing, rather than the larger ones that you close the lid and they lock and unlock themselves. It’s really not even an extra step. This one also has the accessory port that will cold seal a mason jar for airsealing liquids, soups, and fragile food like lettuce. Very, very, very handy!
Moving into the salon! Yes, we hate the blue vinyl upholstery, too! Yes, it will be replaced….eventually! Meanwhile, over at the control panel….we replaced the original radio with our B&G V50 which has built in AIS, and interacts with our chartplotter. We also have a handheld “slave” to it that we carry out to the helm. Additionally, we have a completely separate, but weaker West Marine handheld that we carry as a backup. Behind the TV, we replaced the original masonite panel with a heavier material called SeaBoard and mounted our upgraded solar controls to it as well as the holder for the B&G handheld radio. This panel can be removed by taking out 4 screws. The panel below it with the electrical breakers hinges open giving very good access to the wiring for all of the helm instruments. There is also an access door below for even more access to the wiring.
on to the owner’s suite!
Of course, this hull has been tremendously upgraded in the new Leopard’s, but ours is fine. We love having the completely separate ‘shower room’. The sink and shower fixtures were pretty badly corroded; so far I’ve just scrubbed them up with vinegar, which removed the corrosion, but not the pitting, of course. We’ll be looking to replace those down the line to modernize that space a little. The only other thing we don’t care for is the push-to-pump shower basin pump out. You basically have to stand there pushing a button until it’s pumped out. We’ll be looking to replace it with an on/off switch. Oh wait…what’s that? ANOTHER pending boat project!
I’m happy to say that we are completely happy with our cabin! Bonzai! came with beautiful comforter sets, we just added sheets. For sheets, we chose to go with full size flat sheets which we secure with these awesome little Bed Bands. Saves us from having to make custom fitted sheets and they work really well.
I think the only other thing worth mentioning is the storage issue in the aft cabin. Besides Don being a clothes horse, this is where we also stash the empty fuel cans when we don’t need them, as well as being our sail locker. We’re still working out storage solutions so that this can be a cabin again, and one project that we’ve sketched out is to cut hatches into our forward hulls that drop down into the hull’s crash boxes. This is just empty space, and if we limit it to one headsail per hull we won’t be compromising the weight distribution. With watertight hatches, we don’t compromise the function of the crash boxes. The crash boxes also have access from each of the forward cabins.
But we’re also kicking around the idea of turning this cabin into a “shop”, and installing a small washing machine. Not sure what’s going to happen there in the future!
As always, thanks for following along here on the blog as well as over at YouTube! See you soon!
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