We decided to get the boat hauled out before leaving for The Bahamas this year to take care of a few things you can only do when out of the water. Just south of Fort Lauderdale lies a “do it yourself” boatyard by the name of Playboy Marine. Don’t let the name fool you, the last thing you’ll see in this yard is a naked woman. We spent our fair share of time in boatyards throughout the past few years and have learned that you need to have everything ready and scheduled before arriving if you want to get back in the water within a week. This year, we were almost prepared for the task. Our to-do list:
- drill a hole in the hull and install a thru-hull fitting (scary)
- identify and fix a propane leak (also scary)
- install and plumb a new head (very scary)
- sand and repaint the bilge area (because ours is a disaster)
- put another coat of bottom paint on the hull
- buff and wax the hull
- install our RedPort long range wifi extender and run the line through the boat
- have Beaver Brand Canvas finish the installation of our dodger and side enclosure
When we arrived at the yard we came across another Hunter 340 that looked about the same year as the Miss. We approached them and got to talking. Paul and Wendy are from Ontario and have just had their boat shipped down to the yard to prepare it for yet another delivery all the way to the Virgin Islands. They will remain on their Hunter in the Virgin Islands through the winters and fly back to Ontario for summers. Hard to argue with a plan like that. They’re probably drinking rum punch and skipping down the beach in Tortola at this very moment.
Once we got hauled out of the water and safely put on blocks we went to work. Cass headed off to the grocery store to provision for our trip as Brian tried to fix the propane leak, having no clue whatsoever where to start. A little research on Google got the process started. Brian filled up a spray bottle with soapy water, opened the propane tank and began spraying down the hoses and fittings. Unfortunately, this revealed nothing. After taking a picture of the mess that is our propane locker, it was clear that we needed professional assistance. Two metal parts where the propane line goes in and out of were a ball of rust and very clearly not working. I went over the picture with someone at Boyes Propane and discovered that the balls of rust are called a regulator and solenoid. At the same time we discovered that the propane tank in the boat is not the right kind of propane tank for the boat. The one in the boat, because of it’s size, always lays on it’s side. Well, apparently there are propane tanks that are designed to lay on their side and propane tanks that are not. This one is the latter. Two new vertical propane tanks, a regulator, and a solenoid will hopefully take care of the problem. If they don’t, then the leak is somewhere in the line that leads all the way to the stove and I’m sure that would be a huge job and one I’m not equipped for. Swapping everything out was surprisingly simple and after I had it secured, it was time to give it a test light. I quickly put on my lucky underwear, crossed my fingers, rubbed a rabbits foot, made a wish upon an eyelash, and held my breath as I lit a match. I was greeted with a small, steady flame as Cass looked on from a few hundred feet away.
The thru-hull fitting and new head replacement took us two days to finish. The 1.5″ hose we had to run every which way is just about as pliable as a hunk of tree bark. We were able to set up the vented loop (something you have to install on intake and discharge lines when the toilet is below the water line so that you don’t create a siphon) in the bathroom closet. I’m never doing this again.
The waxing, buffing, and painting took us another two days and countless Red Stripes. When everything was finished, the Miss had never looked so sexy!
The only thing left on the agenda was dinner and drinks with our friends Ed and Rosa, who will be meeting up with us in Hope Town during the holidays. Next stop, West End, Grand Bahama!