When we purchased Neidin in 2009, she was looking tired and worn, and in need of a complete overhaul:
After 15 years of exposure to salt air and Atlantic winds, Neidin was looking tired and dated, and in need of a thorough overhaul. Having taken on the project I was not quite sure where to start, and I spent some days writing out lists of tasks, and examining the sailing tackle on the younger boats on the marina. It seemed that very few of the boat's systems were fully servicable, although the fabric of the boat itself seemed fairly sound. Some decisions however were obvious. The original specification for the boat provided for green livery and I resolved immediately that that should be changed to nautical blue. And the "truck tarpaulin" sprayhood, too, had to go! Lastly, the electrical and navigational systems were very basic indeed, and needed to be upgraded in full. And so in the end there was nothing for it but to crack on with the work, and I set into it with enthuasism and not a little trepidation!
.......and After !
The works on Neidin progressed fairly intensively over the summer months and she lay firmly tied up alongside the marina at Waterford City. Indeed it was not until the end of August that she made her first tentative ventures out onto the river alongside the marina under the capable helmsmanship of Dave Delahunty. We sailed up and down immediately on front of the marina and worked out solutions for each of the sail and rigging problems we encountered. In the end it was not until mid August that we ventured out for the first time onto the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
The following are some of the larger tasks
and systems we tackled as part of the project:
It didn't take me long on the internet to realize that a new sprayhood was going to cost me somewhere in the region of €1,800 and so, using the original as a template, Denny Covers of Waterford re-manufactured one in nautical blue for just €320. It took a few trial fittings to get it just right, but it was well worth the effort. I have since picked up all of the fittings to make my own bimini cover, but I have yet to commence that project.
New Instrumentation Console.
Sourcing a new instrument console for my large Garmin 3210 networkable GPS unit was not easy. The new unit had to be large enough to accommodate the GPS itself, as well as four instruments, but small enough to be able to sidle past in the limited width of the cockpit. After much searching on the net I selected a proprietary racing console from Ocean Equipment Inc of Florida, US, and I was delighted with the very fine standard of the unit when it arrived. Now I had to build a new stainless steel arch to support it, and Terry Coughlin and Joe Ahern of Watermark Engineering very kindly came to my assistance. With their help I cut down the old arch and inserted new tubular stainless steel sections to remanufacture the unit to the required shape. Terry did all the welding, and I then polished the completed assembly over two evenings in Terry's workshop!
Upholstery and Rejuvenating Timberwork.
The original upholstery had to go! It was green and dank and my wife Carina hated it! So off to Benedicts to choose new material. Suddenly there were two of us in this refurbishment project! It was great! We chose a beautiful Royal Blue "Alcantara" upholstery fabric. Almost like suede, it was expensive but at least it looks the part! Now I had to find an upholstered to carry out the work, and I was horrified at the quotations I received from some of the Dublin based upholstery shops. "Oh a boat, you say! Oh! That will be €2,400, €2,150, € 1,975" they would say!!! Has nobody told them that we are in the midst of a terrible recession? In the end upholsterer Michael Keogh of New Ross did an excellent job for me for the much more realistic figure of €340, and again I was delighted at the care with which he tackled the job. Now at last the boat was habitable and Carina and the kids began to make appearances on the marina!
Even as I worked on the boat Jim Atkins was tackling her three cylinder 29hp Volvo Penta engine, and he soon identified a list of components which needed to be overhauled or otherwise replaced. The exhaust, the manifold, and the fuel pump had to go, as well as the usual consumable parts, belts, filters, plugs, and impeller wheels. More serious however was a badly worn seal at one of the three plug sockets beds. I watched in horror as Jim split the engine, handed me the entire head in an oily box, and told me that new copper plug inserts would have to be inserted by a specialist Dublin engineering firm. And so off to Howard Engineering of Glasnevin to have expensive new Volvo inserts hydraulically pess fitted into the head, and then to have the entire asembly pressure tested to ensure that it would hold compression. The fix passed first time and was soon back in place on the block, and the engine running perfectly! Well done again Jim! I wouldn't have dared to take on the project without you!
Mast, Rigging, and Sails.
Neidin sailed through 2009 and the first half of 2010 with the original sails and rigging, but we had constant and ongoing problems with the furling systems which necessitated, on occasions, ascending in a bosuns chair to free up chronic blockages. The arrangement was neither acceptable nor safe and, in the end, there was no real option but to tackle the problem head on and bring in a rigging specialist. And so back up to New Ross to crane the mast down onto the hardstanding where Billy and Simon of Irish Spars and Rigging could work on it, and reconfigure the furling installation so that it would work safely and reliably into the future. And now it does! Neidin's furling system is safe and easy to operate, and makes shorthanded sailing a cinch. My thanks again to Billy, Simon, and Gail from Irish Spars and Rigging for their kind and expert assistance.
Shore power on a boat brings greatly increased levels of comfort, and can extend the length of the weekending season deep into the autumn and winter months. It is vital, however, that it is safely and correctly installed, and that appropriate RCD's and earthing is provided. I began by examining the shop-built shore power installation in a brand new Jenneau Sun Oddessy, and then replicated it on Neidin. The distribution board is a proprietary compact three circuit sealed unit, and all of the fittings are fully IP rated. A new MPD charging unit provides power to the battery bank so that 12V power can be used without restriction when the boat is plugged into the marina system. Although I read much about the provision of galvanic isolators on shore power systems I did not, in the end, install one.
Anchor and Secondary Anchor.
Neidin's original Danforth anchor had begun to revert to an unsightly ball of rust, and so I installed a new 23lb self righting Force anchor. I bought a large new stainless steel bow-roller assembly from which to launch it, and Watermark Engineering were kind enough to machine up phenolic cylinder spacers to facilitate the installation. The original Danforth anchor has now commenced a new more discrete life as a secondary back-up anchor. I have not yet installed an electric windlass, but I hope to get around to that task in the coming months.
Replacing the heads (toilet) pan on a boat is not a pleasant task! The amazing thing is, however, that the cost of purchasing a brand new Jabsco heads is so low! €125 buys the entire unit complete with hand pump, flushing mechanism, and seat! At that price I wouldn't bother attempting to repair the usual pump faults that arise with marine toilets, but would simply replace instead. Mind you, I have been told by many people that Jabsco make rubbishy toilets so that day may come sooner than I wish.
Windex and Radio Antenna.
The mast head is a pretty inhospitable place, and the antenna and Windex had, over the years, perished and fallen away. Again the lads from New Ross Boatyard came up trumps and arranged to have me craned aloft to install the necessary replacements. While up there I replaced all of the old BNC connectors, and applied silicone lubricant to the various pulley assemblies.
Low Energy LED Lighting.
In more recent times we have replaced the old incandescent nav and mooring lights with low energy LED light fittings. The new units use 125 times less power than the old, and provide much greater visibility at night. Indeed, our "engine off" range under sail has been greatly extended, and leaving ones mooring light on throughout the night is now a practical option.
The safety equipment on board was upgraded to include the following:
New offshore Seago liferaft to ISO6950-1 standard.
New EPIRB with integral GPS sender.
New Findfast skippers PLB with integral GPS sender.
New offshore flare pack.
Secondary transiever and secondary GPS.
The Big Clean Up.
First there was the big clean up! And I mean big! Indeed it was hard at times to know if I was making progress at all, but after two long sessions with an industrial power washer the white deck finish began to return in places. In other areas I had to use specialaist PDFE cleaners to cut down to the original gel finish. Then it was down to removing the myriad of marks which has become ingrained into the hull and superstructure and, for these, I found that standard toothpaste (Euthimyl brand) and tough kitchen scrubbing sponges worked best.You want to remove the marks without damaging the gel coat, so proceed vigorously but with caution. Lastly I employed the help of a domestic hair dryer to remove all of the old vinyl decals and I cleaned away their imprints using a rag soaked in petrol. Down below I spent a day in each cabin reinstating the head-linings and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Every closet and every storage space had to be visited and made good. All of the old curtains and fabric coverings were removed and stored off site in case they would be needed later for measurements. The water tanks were emptied, purified, filled, and emptied again. The ships cooker was taken off site and brought back to life using chemicals ans an angle grinder. Lastly all of the lines and sheets (those that were accessible) were steeped overnight in a very weak chlorinated solution to see if they could be brought back to life.
The Facelift Begins.
I did try to buy a new set of Beneteau decals from the Net but it seemed they were not available, and so I enlisted the kind assistance of Academy Signs and they remanufactured the entire set of decals, inclusive of the complex Beneteau "Sea Horse" logo. Applying them to the boat was a cinch just as long as you followed the vague discolouration left behind by the original decals. The transformation from green to blue was now underway and I began to believe that Neidin might after all begin to smarten up!
I was unable to bring the cockpit floor area back to its original white glory and so I resolved to invest in a little Tek-Dek to hide the problem. Now that stuff is hard to install but, once down, it is well worth the effort. I installed the product directly down onto the cockpit sole but if I was doing it again I would prepare hardboard templates and pre-manufacture the Tek-Dek panels as complete assemblies. Be careful too when cutting the product with your Stanley knife. It is as tough as old boots, and I got a really deep knife wound which left me up in the A&E department of Waterford Hospital for more than a few hours. Lastly I applied an additional panel of Tek-Dek on the turtle-deck just ahead of the mast. I was trying to rejuvenate the appearance of the boat, and to reduce the starkness of its finish. I think that it works well, even if only by distracting the eye from some of the other wrinkles of its age.