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Finish the Jobs

It was late April and the project deadlines and launch date of May 8th was approaching fast. Throughout the winter we had been collaborating with the yard in Deltaville, VA to tackle one of Moment’s largest projects ever, replacing the primary diesel tank, which ended up bringing in elements of carpentry, engine mechanics, refrigeration, plumbing, and let’s include wizardry for good measure. Every time you get into one particular project, it leads to several more because everything is ‘engineered’ in so tightly on a boat. Getting all of these extraneous issues solved ended up taking more time than necessary.

In addition to the tank work, Moment received a fresh coat of bottom paint, running gear paint (that’s the propeller and shaft), and all new sacrificial zincs to protect the valuable below-water metals. She also received a new transom paint job. The transom angles up to the UV rays, which causes it to weather much faster than the sides of the hull, so it was prematurely oxidizing and ready for a little make-over. That meant removing the vinyl name, metal swim ladder, and taping off / covering everything that could get covered in fresh blue paint. There were imperfections to be filled and sanded and then primer and final coats of Awlgrip were then applied.

Back inside the boat, the new teak and ash floor that had to be matched and hand-laid above the sub floor above new diesel tank was scheduled to be done with at least a week before launch so that there would be time to varnish the new wood and the remainder of the cabin sole. Not only did we blow that deadline, but we launched three days late and the floor was not even varnished on launch. Oh good.

While normally Captain Chris meticulously does all the exterior varnish work, and was prepared to do the interior cabin sole, it was turned over to the yard this year so that they could wrap up all other simultaneous projects going on such as getting the refrigeration to work again after the lines had to be severed to install the new tank. This was an exercise in relinquishing trust and an exceptional amount of coin to paid pros in order to sail away on time.

Upon launching, one always runs around the boat checking for leaks. We had three. Two were quickly solved by tightening up some plumbing and then the third was the stuffing box, where the shaft exits the boat. It was apparently its time to be repacked, so we held the back end of the boat out of the water, while that was performed and then we really launched. We then took the afternoon to get the sails back on. Interestingly the smallest sail “the staysail,” is the most pesky and requires one person to go up the rig to allow it to pass through a troubled spot in the track that it sits in. We then moved Moment to a nearby slip to complete all of the outstanding jobs including a new name decal installation, and finishing the bimini project (which is the awning that covers the cockpit). This was different from our original intention of sailing to a friend’s private dock 3 hours away immediately after launching.

We were instructed to stay away from Moment the majority of the week as there would be wet varnish and other projects going on and couldn’t show up until the day before sailing a 400 mile offshore passage. And when we again thought all would be complete upon our Friday arrival there was still more to do.

We took Moment to the fuel dock to fill up and test the new tank. Sure enough, there was diesel gushing out the brand new tank as a gasket for the fuel gauge had not initially been fitted properly. After running some of the fuel out of the tank, a fresh gauge was installed and we were good to go–with that … at 7PM. Once that was complete, there was a final project to be done…

What was the finishing touch that was being worked on at the 13th hour you ask? We had new doorknobs installed on two of the interior doors as the old ones had seized up and were no longer working. To the guest who spent some extra time in the the aft head last summer due to a door knob failure, we are still profusely sorry and you shouldn’t have that problem this year now that it’s fixed!

Unbelievably with all the drama surrounding the departure, it was ‘pencils down’ and we left the dock just hours within our originally intended date.