I got back from St-Thomas/Puerto Rico. Even though Nereia isn’t going to be our boat, the trip was super productive. Here is what happened.
The bones of the boat seemed bomber, but unfortunately it got broken in. Lots of equipment was stolen and the stuff that wasn’t stolen wasn’t functioning properly. Nereia still seems to be a good deal, but it’s just above our price range after including the cost of all the repairs.
I still got to learn a lot and help the owner with fixing up everything we could in just 4 days. I installed a brand new starter, but before doing that, we had to troubleshoot why even with all electrical switches off, the starter was still getting full power (great for making unwanted sparks when working on it thinking the electrical is off…). It turned out that one of the hot wires was connected on the wrong side of the on-off switch, resulting in power going to all systems at all times. The wind and solar panels where connected on the wrong side too.
We had gotten excited with this boat because it was setup with higher than average quality components throughout and that’s why we were ok with going a little above our initial budget, but the more stuff I tested, the more I found that they were not working. Here are a few examples: Nereia is equipped with a $5,000 autopilot, not the electric motor on the wheel, but a serious hydraulic piston that pushes and pulls the rudder. Unfortunately, the screen died. When I called the manufacturer to get a quote, it turned out that they don’t make that screen anymore. I could have bought the new screen, but the new screen doesn’t work with the old computer. Once all said and done, the fix was going to cost $3,000. The boat was equipped with the best high output alternator to charge the batteries more efficiently. Unfortunately it was putting zero power out. The radar screen got stolen, same thing as the autopilot, old screen not made anymore. The engine was refitted with a brand new cooling system 7 months ago. Unfortunately after running the engine for 5 hours, we found coolant in the bilge and saltwater on the drip pan. I estimated the fixes to be around $15-20,000 and the boat started out at the top of our budget.
On the plus side, I helped cleaning the hull with a hookah system, it’s an air tank on the boat with a 100ft hose connected to it delivering air to the diver through a regulator like the ones for normal diving. I spent a good couple of hours underwater scraping the whole hull but it was kind of fun with that system. It was incredible how much plancton, fish, crabs, mussels had found home on this hull… Speaking of learning, I learned to wear gloves while scraping the hull, I got some pretty deep cuts…
For the last couple of days we sailed from St-Thomas to Puerto Rico, with one night on the island of Culebra. We had to clear customs which wasn’t a big deal, but it was nice to see what to expect.
We’ve put the boat on the hard in Puerto Rico were it can safely weather the hurricane season.
Well, so once I got back home, Sara and I discussed the boat and accepted that this one would just be too much money for our budget. So we’re reverting to plan A, we both finish work on August 26th. After that we’ll start driving to Virginia to go pursue some boats that we’ve found online and spend some time with Dan, Sara’s brother. Hopefully Pete and Ryan and Debbie and Marty will be able to come visit before we set sail!
Stay tuned, the adventure is about to begin!!!