03: The Refit
Boat Boot Camp

Boat Boot Camp

It’s been a work week like none other I have known before: manual labor from sunup to sundown. My body has grown soft and weak sitting in its office chair all day Monday through Friday, so this new routine has been hard on it but GOOD for it!

As the clock struck seven AM this past Monday morning, we pulled out of 7014 Porthole Place, Rogue riding low, crammed with our last remaining possessions. Thank you SO much, brother Dan, for housing us for the week and hanging out!

Three and a half hours later, pulling into Triton boatyard in Oriental, North Carolina, we were both parts nervous and excited (me more nervous, Stephane more excited). There she stood- OUR boat! Nancy showed us the yard, the facilities, and let us get to work.


We pulled out the vinegar, spray bottles, sponges, paper towel, and lysol and went to town. A few hours into cleaning, we hear the soft splashing of raindrops on the deck; minutes later soft turns hard and it’s pouring out. Good opportunity to see where the leaky spots are, right? Of course right…


I look around and see small puddles of water under two of the three hatches and the companionway. Checking where the chainplates enter from the deck above, I feel…oh crap…water…moving in right on down the chainplate and through to wooden shelving below. And the wooden shelving? It’s rotted through. Ugh. This is pretty horrifying to us- made more horrifying by the fact that we don’t know enough about boats to know how bad this really is. So much for having a survey done- it did not mention any of these issues…



We securely cover all of the chainplates/hatches in case of another rain so there will be no more leaks inside. Then we get back to cleaning and more projects.

My project for the day was the settee cushion covers and foam cushions. Stephane’s was cleaning out the mold and rotted wood from the sections underneath the chainplates.


We pulled the cushion covers off of our fifteen or so cushions. Luckily, the foam cushions were not moldy! They just smelled mildewy – we hit them with some Febreze and let them sit in the sun and de-mildew-ify. The cushion covers had only a few moldy spots which we hit with vinegar, oxi-clean, and then took to a local laundromat. To my surprise, the mold and stains were completely removed! We saved ourselves a LOT of money going this route – apparently foam cushions and covers are VERY expensive to have made.


Feeling better about the boat today. We’ve discovered that the mold and rot was contained only to the areas underneath the chainplates and we’ve cleaned it all out. We’ve gotten in touch with a local boatyard who will be sending someone over to check out the chainplates and we’ll be re-bedding (fixing) them. They are also sending another guy out to put in a new cutlass bearing (this is a piece that helps to turn the propeller).

Deep cleaning the fridge / freezer. Emphasis on deep. The fridge is about as deep as I am tall!


Cleaned out the stove, oven, and area behind the stove. Voila!


Today we decide that we need to clean the areas under the chainplates again (just because they were so gross and moldy). And then we decide to rip out the entire settee backrest and part of the seat – start from scratch with fresh, strong, un-rotted wood and also to cover the entire area with a  fresh coat of paint. Stephane finds the perfect piece of teak at the local boatyard and goes to work shaping it – he is AMAZING!


Here is a view of the settee framework – lots of mold and rotted wood here. We hit the mold with vinegar and pulled out all of the rotted wood.


We pulled out the entire backrest and part of the bottom section.


Thorough cleaning and a coat of marine paint + new bottom section Stephane built.


I made the form for the cut-outs and Stephane made the whole thing work – he does good work, right? Next we’ll throw a few coats of white paint on it and be done!




In the meantime, I ordered our battery bank! Two deep-cycle 12 volt, 8D batteries, 250 amp hours each. One of these suckers weighs more than I do! In addition to these two batteries, we will have a second, smaller battery devoted just to starting the engine (our “starter battery”) and a third battery for the windlass (this is machine that pulls the anchor up) – we haven’t ordered these yet, but we will soon. The emphasis is on the battery bank for now as we have no 12 volt power to the boat – meaning no light, no water pressure, no cooking, no anything, really. The batteries will hopefully get delivered by the end of next week!

My mini projects include soaking all of the curtains  ——- mom skip this part ——— in bleach water  ——- okay, mom you can read again: ———-

and then washing curtains in soapy water and hanging them out to dry. We have four small fans throughout the boat. Stephane removed them for me and I washed them and de-rusted them and gave them a nice new coat of spray paint to freshen them up.



Today we painted the settee section (see pics above) and Stephane created the new wood inserts for the backrest and seat rest. Then it rained. And rained and rained and rained. We’d pulled out a  section of the sealant around the chainplates (in preparation for removing them) so water was just pouring in RIGHT ONTO MY NEW PAINT JOB. We’re running around trying to sop up the water and Stephane fell through the companionway (second time doing that- I’ve told him, “you’ve got to turn around and go in backwards!!”). He went to the local hardware store (The VILLAGE Hardware Store – love it) to get some plumber’s putty to fill the gap temporarily. Stephane is now known by The Village Hardware Store as “The Little Canadian” — heeee!!!! I laughed so hard when he told me that.


To celebrate surviving week one of Boat Boot Camp, we treated ourselves to pizza at Little Italy (soooo good – reminds me of Paisano’s).

That’s a good pour.


6 thoughts on “Boat Boot Camp

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    • Author gravatar

      Sara, thanks for sharing the journey with us! Your week sounds similar to our last spring break cleaning 8 years of dog hair and grime from the old house before selling it. What an adventure!

    • Author gravatar

      The boat looks awesome good to both of you, have a great time good to such wonderful progress. Take care have fun later Jeff

    • Author gravatar

      OMG!!! I am tired just reading about everything you are doing! It is almost as if you are ripping apart and rebuilding the boat from scratch…I am so proud of you guys, everything you are doing and the life you are creating!!! It is such a wonderful thing to behold!!! (Did I just sound super old and sappy there?? Oh yeah! I AM super old and sappy!) Love and lots of good mojo and energy coming your way from us here in the mountains !!!!! C&J

      • Author gravatar

        Thank you Chris! You are so sweet! We are having a blast and working hard and loving it. Please keep sending the good, strong mountain vibes – we need the energy – we’re exhausted!!! – Sara

    • Author gravatar

      Sara, we are loving your adventures! Here’s a suggestion from the group, get a box of well-sharpened pencils for the trip and keep them secure!

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