Final Prep Before Launch

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… a frog visits Island Spirit…

Our final prep for launch is wrapped up and, as every boater knows, you are never ready and you are never finished working on the boat. Maybe that is what makes boating so interesting, you always have something to work on, something to fix, something to shop for, something to solve, something to design, on and on and on it goes. Bottom line, you need to set a schedule, set dates and simply move on. If you do not, you will never get out of this “working on the boat” endless loop. We did move our launch date back from Wed to Friday, then to Monday and now we are going, no more delay. Island Spirit is meant to be in the water, she loves to sail, and she loves to keep us safe. She is a wonderful boat and we really put our life in her hands and we trust her. We also know her very well. Our good luck frog was found in the cockpit under a life jacket while we were putting things away in the sail locker. This beautiful frog was rescued and moved off the boat and onto the lawn where it happily hopped away.

Below decks getting better

Below decks, we still have lots of work to do. We need to fire up the refrigerator.  We need to move our bags onboard and set up home. We need to set up the network, WiFi, the Router, Printer/Scanner and the Internet. One challenge we may have is the fact that Hinckley may not have a dock for us to move into once we launch. We are supposed to have a dock for two days after launch. This would allow us to wash the decks and to load our bags, food, sewing machine and clothes, plus water, propane and dinghy gas! Knowing we may be launched and then must drive off into the sunset, we are trying to figure out how this will all work. We will move 3 hours around to the other side of the harbor at Sunset Bay Marina where we will take a mooring ball to continue our refit #3. We are really hoping that we can move to a Hinckley dock to load up and clean up before we motor out.

Line cutter added to propeller

Over the past couple of days, since out NMEA 2000 network has been installed and connected, we focused on finishing up that install and then re-stowing all the gear back into the sail locker. We used up the left over quart of Petit Trinidad paint which is very expensive and we could not let it go, so we rolled on a second coat around the waterline, like we always do. We also added a line cutter called a Shaft Shark to the propeller shaft. This device is meant to cut off any lines that wrap around the propeller.

Repacking the propeller shaft…errrrrrr

The final job was to repack the “stuffing box” which is really a cap nut around the propeller shaft. This cap nut is hollow and needs to be filled with a packing material. When this cap nut is threaded down against the fixed stern tube, it makes a water tight seal between the boat bilge and the spinning propeller shaft. This job requires you to loosen the cap nut, then, using dental picks, extract the old packing material, clean the area and then install new packing material. This all takes about 1-2 hours and it also brings out the most creative vocabulary due to the terrible working conditions. You need to be face down with your arms fully extended down into the bilge and there you work with tools and picks and wrenches repacking the “stuffing box!” What a pain in the butt. Next to rebuilding the head or sewer holding tank, THIS is one of the toughest jobs on a boat. We did it and it is finished.

So, we are as ready as we can be, we are in the middle of a full refit, but we will launch this boat Monday and we will be back onboard…..finally….

Here are some photos….

Our bed, yup, we still have some rearranging to do  here !!!


Repacking the Stuffing Box. This is how far the cap nut will thread up with two rings of GFO added.

This would be the third ring, if added it would allow only a few threads
So, we only used two rings of GFO Gore-Tex Packing

This is back together……this took over 3 hours of work.

This is the stuffing box. Cap nut, lock nut, rubber clamped seal, stern tube, hull

Our antenna farm: AIS, Sat Radio, 3G/4G Cell, Bullet with 12db gain

Solar roof and wind machine
350 watts of solar, 450 watts of wind, which gives us about 100 amp hrs/day

New B&G GPS just over the solar panels

Our quarter berth rtern wall extra access cut out. It helps with all this work.

Radeen, poses at the beam of Island Spirit

Looking EAST, towards the Bahamas.

Radeen with “Goldie” 2our 003 Taurus with our Vero Beach sticker

Every day we go to Home Depot, errrrrr

Every day we go to West Marine $$$$$$

Our prop with fresh Petit Prop Paint and the new Shaft Shark line cutter

Our beautiful Island Packet 35, Island Spirit

She is ready to go

Our 8,000 lb full keel, this keeps the boat upright at sea

Hayden’s selfie at the bow of Island Spirit

Looking from the bow up past the anchors to the 50 foot mast, always interesting

Island Spirit is READY, she will take us to the Caribbean

We are excited, we know we have more work to do, but we are living a lifetime dream and we recognize this. We fully appreciate our ability to be living this cruising life. We are on the launch pad for a new adventure and we are excited with our goal of sailing beyond the Bahamas and sailing onto the Caribbean. Thank you for sailing along.

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