Thursday, March 30, 2017

2016 - The Year of Upgrades; Prep for Living Aboard

After 28 years in commercial management and development with the Minkoff Company, Inc/B&R Mgmt in Bethesda, MD; Rip retired Jan 15, 2016. Rip has spent 2016 and most of 2017, so far, upgrading Lab Partners. From electronic upgrades to adding storage and from canvas/sewing projects to brightwork and waxing - he has done it all. SO, when I say "we" did something ... remember, "we" means Rip! Yes, I handed him tools or held the ends of things and, yes, he engineered sewing projects while I did most of the actual sewing, but not all - this multi-talented guy sewed, too.. Thank goodness for the Sailrite LSZ1 sail makers heavy duty sewing machine and our garage loft, we aptly call the Sail Loft.

Completed projects to make the boat more comfortable, safer and generally more fun for living aboard for a year include:
     Repainted house doors and glazed lower section
     Installed Galvanic Isolator 
     Replaced autopilot with new Raymarine Evolution EV-200
     New LED lighting Throughout cabins
     Replaced Xantrex with Magnum MS2012 True Sine Inverter/Charger
     Helm seat brace
     Install holding tank gauge
     Storage in master (port aft)
     Webasto Diesel Heater
     Replaced Shorepower switch with 4 pole version
     Install new 140 Amp alternator and controller
     Replaced Radar with HD Radar
     Install Sterling smart charger
     Installed Vesper XB-8000 AIS transceiver and antennas
     Replaced Norcold Fridge with Noval Kool

Trimming the top rail

New Noval Kool Frig installed within the old opening yet, 
we have 2.2 cubic feet more interior space! On a boat ... that is a lot of space.
HD Radar!!

Installed and ready to go back up
Doors repainted & new glass added ... now, including glass on the bottom panel!
Interior is so much brighter with bottom panel of glass.
Thanks for the idea Maurice & Renee of Le Marie Sophie!

Central Vac installed - a MUST with a Lab aboard

New teak chart book box; lid lifts to access the stored charts,
while the top with fiddle rail holds the current chart displayed

Teak rack is a charging station for our 2 phones and 2 tablets

New salon curtains; wasn't on the list until I washed the original ones & they started to shred
(this was done before the new glass was installed at bottom of doors)

New master stateroom curtains made to go with the switch in bedding
Made a bag for the inflatable SUP ... we made bags for EVERYTHING
Bike, bike trailer, awnings, stern anchor, dinghy davit lines & more
Look who is ready to help, right there by her daddy's side 

Cally helped, too!

New winch and sheet bag for the dinghy davit

Hatch covers to block light and heat in the staterooms

Hidden storage for the screen from the new opening center window
This is ingenious, but hard to appreciate unless you are on the boat
it just disappears in the ceiling of the salon

New Helm (& Co-Pilot) chairs & cushions
and the long one is Cally's cushion.
Seat slides to centerline for use or to port for clear aisle.

Made window screens to help block heat & filter light
from inside.  You can still see out really well

New Life Sling bag - hope we never need this Man Overboard tool
Bag for the stern anchor; ready for quick deployment

Cally's Dock Box -(behind the sign) hidden inside this Sunbrella/Phifertex wrapped aluminium box
are her 2 ramps( to access docks from the boat) and her steps (to access the dinghy)
HUGE storage locker added into unused space in transom
access thru master stateroom

Tons of space for storage
Locker goes higher than you see and further to the right, also

added easy access to easily reach the storage space under the settee 

where there is a project ... there are tools and sweat

Step for salon helm chair with tool storage

Removable brace to hold the helm chair in place in rough seas
it was top heavy and prone to moving before

Picture frame is actually mounted via a TV wall bracket
It switches with the TV (left side) when we want to watch TV from the master stateroom
Otherwise TV is safer, out of harms way, off to the side; as shown

Knife rack so I don't cut myself when searching thru a drawer
and safe from falling on Cally if we are in heavy seas.

New 2-Burner Cooktop
this looks tiny, but it is good sized

Custom Bamboo & Teak cutting/prep board over the new cooktop
really extends the work space

Storage shelf added behind a closet
was completely unused space previously
Made awnings - shown deployed to shade the cabin from sun/heat
also provides a place to bring Cally under to be dried off before entering the cabin

Awning covers the side decks shading the cabin door

Rip had a running list of things to do ... over 125 items to do. Some items were routine maintenance, many items we decided to do along the way were never listed. Now, some of the items were parts of the whole item, or steps to take, but still ... the amount of work and the fantastic results are nothing short of amazing. So much more storage space to stow things, more things can be safely and correctly put away; everything is more organized.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Upgrades & Updates for M/V Lab Partners 2014-2015

We bought an immaculate Monk 36 Trawler, built in 2005, one of the last Monks built. Buying her in 2013, 4 years before we hoped to depart on The Great Loop, was on purpose to have time to use her, get to know her and to upgrade her for our purposes, comfort and safety.

Coming into the home dock for the first time ...
Delivery trip from Beaufort SC to Aurora, NC 2013

Because of Cally's leg issues and recovery (see Sept 2013 post), Lab Partners didn't move much for 9 months. That didn't mean we weren't working on her. We were. And by we, I mean Rip, was working on her. But, I helped, sort of. We moved her from our NC dock to The Marina on the South River, MD (Boyd Tompkins place) near our Annapolis home so she would be near by for cruising and updating.

Rip and crew, Dick Harville, head off at 0'Dark Hundred from
The Marina in Edgewater MD to Delaware Marina in Delaware City MD

Delaware Marina
waiting for haul out
After a couple months of work in the summer, she went to Delaware City Marina, on the hard, for a winter. First in, first out ... so we went in EARLY in the season! Not too much work done; but several trips to check on her and the status of the batteries, etc. Very pleased with the new battery bank discharge (or lack of) while on the hard and not being charged.

Lab Partners with her winter cover on (i.e. the fly bridge enclosure is down)
I actually thinks she looks better without the fly bridge enclosure
As the Captain looks on; across the street she goes back into the
late Spring of 2015 (or was it already summer?)

Hartges Yacht Center on the West River, MD
Then back to the Annapolis area with a short stay at Hartge's Yacht Yard; where many more upgrades were done; AND we met slip mates and now new friends Anthony & Annette aboard Magnolia. Check out her sewing blog at
They have been to the NC House by boat (they live aboard) twice so far to visit!!  Third visit is coming up soon.

Lab Partners coming into Hartges

Cally enjoyed spending time on the boat at Hartges
Slip mate, Anthony, taking a shot of our girl leaving for Olverson's
Hey, Anthony - did you send me this pic? 

Next move - further south with a stop at spider haven, Olverson's Lodge Creek Marina, on the Yeocomico River in Lottsburg, VA. Fred Olverson & crew are very nice, but LORD, the spiders!! And, where there are spiders there is Spider Poop to clean up.
The view was great; nice protected creek

Access was easy enough; but all those covered docks meant spiders

Then onto Portsmouth with a short stay at Portsmouth Boating Center where her was hauled for work; her rudder was enlarged (typical update for Monks); great hull wax job and the bottom was cleaned and painted. Very happy with Mike & crew at Portsmouth Boating Center. Not a large place, but SO very neat and clean. hardly a blade of grass out of place. Nice communication, and pics of the work they did and how she did during a rare tropical Storm that blew their way.
Lab Partners to the left (another Monk on the right)
Water over the bulk head and in the yard during Joaquin

Beautiful sunrise as we leave spider haven

nearing Portsmouth, VA

Arrival at Portsmouth Boating Center (PBC)

PBC office with updated showers/bath house underneath

thought this was cool; they filter the run off water from wash downs through this attractive set up. 

Quiet, cute place; not big but really clean

Being hauled to go on the hard for work ...
Rudder will be enlarged, haul waxed and bottom cleaned and painted

Finally, the last move back to her dock in NC.

Approaching one of the locks on The Dismal Swamp

Not sure, but maybe this is why they call it
The Dismal Swamp

Getting close to home port

Home, sweet home!

This catches you up to the end of 2015 ... next up ... all the work Rip has done to the boat in these 4 years!