The new year has brought new challenges. Dauntless is still in Blaine, Washington, waiting for winter to end or for me to get off my ass and sell her. While Ti and I are in Texas Hill Country, that beautiful area of rolling hills, limestone karsts, Live Oak trees and garden eating deer.
We like it here; I’m in nature, the closest house more than a mile away. But it also gives me more responsibilities. We’ve become the caretaker for house, land, and equipment. It’s a big house with a lot of equipment and vehicles. Yesterday, I finally diagnosed the problem with the Hayward pool pump, which turned out to be what is called the centrifugal switch on the motor. Who knew?
But it’s a big responsibility. Keeping Ti happy is also a big responsibility. After all these years, yes, I’ve finally figured out (I think) that a happy wife makes my life happy, and conversely…
Besides spending 12+ hours a day on her various YouTube channels, Ti wants to buy a house. That can’t happen until we sell Dauntless. Add to that that Dauntless costs about $600 per month for dockage and insurance. With her hard work every day, I feel a lot of pressure to alleviate the burden.
Even writing those words, equating Dauntless with a burden, is hurtful. She has brought me 30,000 miles of travel and adventure, at reasonable cost, safe and efficiently. I could not have done that with any other boat. The KK42 is so efficient, inside, and out, it made long distance cruising affordable for a person like me without a hoard of cash and safe in any sea state.
Which gets me to the kind of buyer I evidently need to find. The previous deal we had fell through when the buyer’s surveyor thought the side decks were 50% wet. I’m sure they are, the boat sat in the rain in Wrangell for two years.
When I bought Dauntless 8 years ago in Florida, she was the perfect dock queen. Her paint and varnish were in perfect condition, as were her basic mechanicals. Though I’m sure her decks were leaking then, as it took me a while to figure out the bilge pump went off once a day if was raining. And that is what most buyers and surveyors look for. What I did not fully understand at the time, was that she lacked a lot of systems, both large and small, that would make long-distance cruising both doable and easier. I spent a lot of time and effort putting those systems in place. I cringe now when I’m told that I should remove the “clutter.”
Systems like paravane stabilizers were an obvious need, but it took me a few years to also add little things like those inexpensive digital voltage gauges, which allowed me to keep track of the battery voltage whether I was sitting in the salon, on the pilot house bench or even sleeping. Why it took me so long to add that last meter in my cabin I can never explain, but once done, it eliminated that middle of the night trek to the pilot house to check battery status. At a glance, I knew if everything was working as it should.
In the last month or two, all of Dauntless’ faults have been made clear to me. She needs paint inside and out. I thought the insides looked pretty good, but it’s never been repainted since new and there are some cracks in some seams of the wall. That was never on my priority list. The outside teak needs a lot of work. One of the fashion plates need to be totally replaced and the swim platform and bow pulpit need work. Engine room could use a paint job, or at least a touch up.
And now the “wet” side decks. I’ve known since forever that the side decks leak some water into the engine room. I always looked at it as somewhat normal. Never happened when the boat was in Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean, or Mexico. I wonder why? In any case, what does a wet die deck really mean? Maybe it won’t support a few thousand pounds, but it would be hard to get 100 people to fit on that small deck. Probably will get worse in 20 years; I’ll be 90 then.
What to do?
I’m going to put an ad on Craigslist and will also post it on the FB group. She needs a buyer like me, who wants to cruise more than polish varnish every weekend. Also, it would help if they can do at least some of the painting, woodwork, and fiberglass themselves. I certainly can’t. She needs someone who also understands the mechanicals. Her Ford Lehman SP135 engine has 7,700 hours; I don’t know of any SP135 that needed to be rebuilt before 15 to 20k miles. I doubt any new owner will put another 8,000 hours on her like I did in their lifetime.
Also, she has tons of spare parts that I’ve never needed and some expendables. If Ti were into it, we’d be ready and able to cross the Pacific as soon as the weather allowed, only needing to replace the seals on the Katadyn Watermaker.
If I were keeping Dauntless, I know exactly what I would do or for a new owner, here is what I would suggest based on my experience:
I’d cruise her in the Pac NW, even Alaska this spring and summer, while I determine what I like, need, or needs to be changed, fixed, or added. Then I’d head south for the fall and winter, Mexico. The Sea of Cortez is a wonderful place to spend the winter. There in La Paz, there are plenty of boat yards that can do the needed work at a great price, to get her ready for more long-distance cruising. Then after a year or two there, the decision will be to go west through the South Pacific to the western Pacific, or head east, back through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean and eventually Europe?
Dauntless has her Panama Canal inspection done, so there is some saving so of money there for that passage.
Ti wants her house, sooner rather than later. I understand her needs. If a buyer comes along, with check/cash in hand, and wants Dauntless “as is, where is;” I’d be hard pressed to say no, since at this point, I feel I’m between and rock and a hard place. I’m not saying which one is Ti.
Thanks for reading.
For more information, email me at DauntlessNY@gmail.com and we’ll talk.
Here is a link to some pictures: Dauntless Today