Wanna Go to Mexico? Or the Caribbean?

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.

Dauntless in Blaine under afew inches of snow

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?

The “V” looking thing is the switch whose contacts were not making contact

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…

Texas Hill Country

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.

Some of the vehicles I maintain

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.

The pool at sunrise

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.

The North Atlantic in the end of August. This KK42 took it in stride like everything else

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.

I’m going to lower the asking price. I don’t want anyone to get a bad deal, I want a fair deal for both of us. With the added faults, I’m willing to lower my asking price to $159k. We all know that any price is negotiable, as this certainly is.

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

 

 

Returning to Dauntless; Dream or Nightmare?

Coming back to a cold, dark boat after a couple of months can either be a dream or a nightmare. In 2014, when Dauntless was in Waterford, I still remember getting back to the boat in late afternoon.

It wasn’t even 5 p.m. but it was already dark.

And cold, the temperature about 38°F (The weatherman in me remembers this, but not what I had for dinner yesterday!). As I dragged my suitcase over the cap rail, I was careful not to let it fall in the water again like I had done while leaving the boat two months earlier.

As I got inside and turned on some electric breakers, I fumbled through the boat to turn on some lights. In those early years, if the batteries were fully charged, I was happy. But the boat was cold, and I was exhausted having left New York 24 hours ago, with little sleep in the meantime.

Dauntless did not have the Wallas forced air diesel heater at the time. Dauntless did and still has the two main A/C units, one with a heating element, the other with a reverse cycle heating option, but at these temperatures, neither is very efficient and often they would trip the shore breaker with its meager power.

No hot water yet, it would be hours before I had hot water and it never occurred to me to just heat up a pot of water.

Again, I vividly remember crawling into bed and my first thought was that I had a leak over the bed, as it felt wet. This had happened before, when the water channels overflow because the drains are clogged with debris in the bow deck locker.

I felt the ceiling but found no water. I got out of bed to try to determine where the bed was wet. From top to bottom, I could find no discernible difference. Maybe it wasn’t wet, just cold?

After 15 minutes of examinations, I resigned myself sleeping in a cold, damp bed.

By morning, the bed was warm, and the cabin was warm thanks to a little electric heater. Hot water was also plentiful. Life was returning to normal. I now took the time to check the rest of the boat and like always, then, and now, the bilges were dry, and the boat had no smells.

A smelling boat has always been an issue for me, since I don’t hear very well, don’t see very well, but my sense of smell is great. So, I’ve always been meticulous sensitive to smells. In my search for the boat that would be Dauntless, there were some boats that in the first 5 seconds, I knew that this was not the boat to be, because of how it smelled.

So, I’ve always been sensitive to what can cause those smells.  On boats, it’s usually dampness, sanitation system and sometimes cooking.  On Dauntless, my storm windows, had the effect of stopping virtually all condensation on the inside windows, a major source of dampness in a boat. I am also fanatical about the sanitation hoses. In normal use, I would flush the two Raritan toilets a few extra times per day, just to minimize the waste sitting in the sanitation hoses. If leaving the boat for any length of time, I had a specific process. I would run hot water and bleach through each toilet for 5 minutes to make sure there was no waste in the hoses nor the Purisan processing tank. Additionally, I always keep water and bleach in the holding tank when not in use.

I also put a small aquarium water pump in the forward bilge, so I can  pump out any water that the larger bilge pump can’t get. It’s worked well in keeping the forward bilge dry, though it will never be bone dry as it is connected to the chain locker.

Fast forward to today and Dauntless is now much easier to return to.

As before, no smells like normal, but now, she’s easier to bring back to livability.

For one, when I turn on the electric breakers, all the lights also come on, as I have everything on when shutting down, that way I can also check that all power to boat lights are off, as we leave. So immediately, the boat is fully light. I also added a light to the panel, so I can actually see what I am turning on/off in a dark cabin.

Salon Electrical Panel also has a light so I can see what I’m turning on or off!

The Wallas heater is easy to start. Turn on the breaker and hold down the on button. We’re good to go. Now, the boat won’t get hot right away, but like the water heater, by the next morning, it will be good.

The water heater is now a 20-gallon water heater, which was great for the three of us. It will take a few hours to get hot water, but now I know to just make a kettle of hot water to wash of the evening.

For the last three years, we also had an Ivation dehumidifier. This is critical to keep dampness and moisture out of the boat for liveaboards and this type works well in cool temperatures.

I’ve saved the best part for last. The warm bed. Since the Ireland days, I’ve gotten a heated mattress pad. Everyone north of the Bahamas, should have one. Last night, I turned on the heating pad and by the time we were ready to go to bed an hour later, the bed was warm and toasty. Since the Wallas heater will take a while to warm the boat, this heated mattress pad allowed us to sleep nice and cozy in a relatively cold cabin. A must have in my opinion. By the way, in the last 5 years, I’ve had three different pads, the first one was 12 volts, was great and lasted 3 years. But it’s replacement, from the same company, only lasted two months. So, I switched to a 120-volt pad two years ago and it has worked flawlessly, with no transformer issues like some 120 volt pads and why I stayed away from them initially. The current on is a MaxKare Heated Mattress Pad from Amazon.

So, dream or nightmare. Clearly a dream, having learned what to do and how to do it, in the subsequent years, since the nightmare.

And I’ve yet to whack my elbows or shins yet, but I still have time.