So, What Are They Doing in New Zealand?

Couple gets a boat, goes off sailing for a year, posts at least somewhat regularly, then returns to NZ and goes silent. What gives?

Well, we came back to New Zealand to work on the boat.  We bought a pretty nice boat, and she’s in pretty good shape, but after living on her for a year there are a few things that we think will make her even better. And then there’s the standard maintenance on top of all that.

Item one on the agenda – getting rid of all the Micron Extra bottom paint. What a terrible product. It self-polishes itself all over anything that comes close. Bump up against the hull getting out of the water and you get out wearing blue bottom paint. Lose the head shackle on a spinnaker and have to pull it out of the drink? Now you have a blue spinnaker. Go fast because that’s the kind of boat you have? No paint left on the high action areas (the bow, the edge of the rudder and skeg…). This stuff has got to go. Since getting the paint off is a relatively low skill, back breaking task Erika volunteers –


Erika takes off the terrible Micron Extra

She quickly learns that it takes far more skill than she expected, but she’s up to the task and now the entire bottom is back to original barrier coat. We only burned out one sander in the process.

Item two – re-rigging the mast. The mast is out of the boat and sitting in the mast yard where the riggers can work on it more easily. Not entirely sure we would have done this yet, but the insurance company insisted that our rigging was too old. And we did find a broken strand in one critical wire, so we’re calling it an ‘it’s time’ decision. While the mast is out we get to play with some halyards and some wiring, but haven’t even started that yet, so no pictures.


One big thing about living on a catamaran is the outdoor living space. After a year we found ours to be less than satisfactory for two reasons; the Bimini top leaked whenever it rained (or we had lots of spray over the boat) and the seating in the cockpit was less than comfortable for lounging – worked great for having a meal at the table, but kicking back and reading a book – not so wonderful. The Bimini was a canvas top with a solid walkway down the middle. It leaked at all the seams, and at the join to the walkway, and… The seating was this nice round, curvy built-in thing, but with all the curves there was no place to lie back, stretch out and relax. So…

Item three on the agenda – build a new Bimini top that doesn’t leak. Make it solid enough to walk on so that when we need to tend to boom underway we can. We’ve gone back to our roots for this, cold-molding the top out of mahogany plywood and WEST epoxy.

The top in our ‘garage’

This is the new top in our workshop under the boat (another nice feature of catamarans) – notice that at this point Erika has finished her thankless task and the bottom is clean as a… This is the top after we’ve built the cambered beams and laid up the plywood. There’s one layer of 6oz glass on top just to keep it all looking good. Lots of fun scarfing together full sheets of plywood to make the even bigger sheet that became the top. Of course we have to make it all smooth and pretty, so here it is again with some fairing compound:

There’s lots more work to do on the Bimini, but it is progressing nicely. Unfortunately it will add about 40 kilos to the boat:(

Item four on the agenda is replacing the cockpit seating. Pretty much everyone thinks we’re crazy, but we’ve actually seen at least one factory-delivered Outremer with something pretty close to what we’re planning. The demo is done (and the camera was hiding) and now we have the start of the new seating:

The corners will now be square (that’s really the big change), which will allow someone to lie (I sure hope I got that grammar right Mom) back either fore-and-aft or athwartship and enjoy a good book (or an afternoon nap). And since it will be under the ‘leakproof Bimini’ (Trademark pending) it should be something we can do whenever we please. The old seating module was built like a tank, so we should gain back 10 kilos or so with this update. Still means we need to lose 30 kilos somewhere – sorry Ashton, but I guess the next time your family comes to visit you’ll have to stay home (just kidding, we’d miss your happy attitude if you didn’t show up). Maybe we’ll just take 30 liters out of the starboard water tank – in a year of sailing we never once used that water – nice to have ‘just in case’, but we could not carry a little of it.

So, that’s what we’ve been doing in New Zealand. There’s lots of other projects (some of which we’re paying Kiwis to take care of) – some stainless railings bow and stern to make things safer when people are out on the pointy bits of the boat, and some new cushions for that new exterior seating (and the interior seating too), and too many other minor things to mention.

Our days are spent with power tools and trips to the hardware shop, our evenings walking gingerly back-and-forth across the gravel yard to the heads and showers. Then sleep, wake up, and repeat – Ahhhh, the boating life, isn’t it everything you ever dreamed it would be?

3 thoughts on “So, What Are They Doing in New Zealand?

  1. “A boat is a hole in the ocean into which . . .” Or, “Cruising is the most expensive way . . . ” Or, “Cruising is working on your boat in a series of exotic ports.” But it is still awesome! Looking good, and what’s not to love when you get to play with some epoxy??

  2. I have shirts–in particular, an Arthur Piver T-shirt–with your blue bottom paint, so if you ever want to reminisce . . . And, yes, “lie” is correct. Should you need more, I still have WEST epoxy here at home. Looking forward to kicking back and relaxing in a dry cockpit on the next part of the journey.

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