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A Work in Progress

As this season comes to an end,  I’m taking stock of past improvements and consideringplans as I  look forward to next season……..

Everyone who owns, or has ever owned, a boat knows it isalways a work in progress! Some is simple maintenance, some major ‘renewal’ ofcritical components or repairs, but some is investment to improve comfort,performance or safety.

Now in the 4th year with Valinor, we’ve donemost of what was on the ‘LIST” …… rebuilt the helm, upgraded the battery system,improved galley storage, added a cockpit table and stern seats, and replacedthe Dutchman with a new UK Lazy Cradle system (with sail modifications for aloose-footed main).  We added 30 morefeet of chain to the anchor rode providing 60ft of chain and another 90ft ofrode with a Danforth and small plow riding on the bow.
Helm – Like dominos,one decision leads to a whole series J 
I decided to add a C80 chart plotter to thehelm – and later a wheel pilot.  To makeroom and accommodate the new wiring, the old single, straight 1” guard was replaced witha new 1 1/4” double bend guard and two new instrument pods to provide for theplotter and the X5 wheel pilot control. The old, cranky windex system has also been replaced.
These changes made single-handing simpler, and with a newDSC radio and RAM at the helm, much improved safety.
Batteries – More electronicsand longer cruises placed greater demands on my single, limited 12V housebattery.  The standard two 12v batteriesand switching were replaced with two 6V in series for the house bank and astandalone 12V starter controlled in such a way that only a dead starter wouldrequire connecting to the house bank. Upgraded to a new 20A Xantrex charger. This season we added a Xantrex batterymonitor to track usage and provide real-time information on battery state ofcharge. These changes raised the house capacity from 80ah to about 180ah,and the related changes in wiring (heavier gauge and shorter run) greatly improved starting power.
Galley – Any 30ftboat is limited in storage space.  A criticalimprovement was the addition of a small wine rack J.
Also, an over-the-sink shelfadded greatly to convenient storage. Including a plexiglass panel protected thesalon cushion from spray from the sink.

Cockpit (table andstern seats) – Finding so much time spent on deck, a cockpit table wasessential.

After choking down the cost of a ‘convenience’ like the stern seats,we’ve come to appreciate that nicety, and wondered why not sooner.

With plans in the works for longer cruising, energy storageis rising up the otherwise shortening list. Either generator or solar seems the bestsolution, but will have to wait. As will cabin heat, either propane or diesel. Trying not to think about replacements:  sails, canvass, standing rigging, or theaddition of an asymmetric drifter.  
So, I guess it only ends when the boat is sold, or when timeruns out …….
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