What does B.O.A.T. stand for? Break out another thousand! We’ve heard it said many different ways, and no matter how you word it, we know it to be true!
It is the fall of 2020, and we start the annual trip south in mid-October. But first a stop at Zimmerman Marine in Deltaville, VA for some scheduled maintenance work. Replacement of the shaft seals and rudder seals, which keep water out of the bilge, is the main job. There has been a problem with the oil pressure in the port engine that needs a qualified Yanmar mechanic to look at. We expect a 3 to 5-day stay at the boatyard for the work.
As the boat is lifted out of the water, Adam Sadeg, the yard manager at Zimmerman Deltaville, looks our girl over. The first thing he detects is that the hull is in need of fresh bottom paint. It had been a very hot summer and there are a lot of barnacles clinging to the boat! Immediately after the boat is secure on braces the workers take a power washer to it and start the general scraping.
That evening, after the work crew has left for the day, I figure I’ll help the process along so I pick up a scraper. I take the putty knife and start scraping some of the areas that are challenging to get to. Pop! Something that wasn’t a barnacle came off. I show it to Jim. Oh crap, it is the head of a bolt that is holding the swim platform on! We later learn that several of the bolts, and the struts supporting the swim platform, show signs of galvanic corrosion. According to the BoatUS website, “Metal parts underwater are subject to two basic types of corrosion: galvanic corrosion and stray current corrosion. Both types can harm your boat, propeller, and motor if not correctly monitored and avoided.”
Living on the boat while it is on the hard (which means on jack stands in the boatyard) requires that we climb up and down a ladder every time we need to get off the boat! We use the head sparingly because we won’t be able to have our tanks emptied while in the boatyard. We take many trips over to the marina bathrooms.
The work crew at Zimmerman Marine Services in Deltaville are top-notch. They are friendly, considerate, and very professional. They make this inconvenience the best experience they can.
As the boat is finally on the lift and taken over to the well to be splashed, Adam notices that the zinc for the bow thruster is missing! A new one is located and installed. Will it ever end?!
Because new cutlass bearings were installed, Adam recommends that we have a shaft alignment. He explains it could be up to two days of extra labor. We hesitate, as the total cost of the repairs is still a mystery! Jim calls his brother, another avid boater, to run it by him. At this point, we’ve invested so much in all the repairs and maintenance we come to the correct conclusion that we need to proceed and do the whole job right. So, we give Adam the go-ahead. While it is a challenging job, and a somewhat tedious procedure, it takes just 8 hours to do both shafts. We felt like we finally caught a break!
As all the work is being done, Jim and I aren’t sure what it is all going to cost. One thing leads to another. Honestly, it was all necessary. Adam had given us an estimate for the bottom paint. He gave us a few different options on the various types of paint. The major cost in this job is in the prep, so it seems foolish not to go with the best paint.
The cost of the repair on the swim platform structure is the biggest unknown to us. The large support braces have to be sent out to a local machine shop. Upon arrival, Jim had a rough idea about the cost of the shaft and rudder seal repairs. At this point, we are well past that estimate!
As Jim is writing out the check he states ” Barring anything unusual we should be in good shape for a while.”
Finally, 3 weeks after the boat is lifted out of the water, we pay the final bill and the following day, we continue our journey south for the winter. The 50 miles to Norfolk is a calm and beautiful ride. We are so happy to be on the move again.
We left Deltaville feeling like our beautiful Floating Home was in great shape. Yet at the end of the trip, Jim discovers about 30 gallons of water in the bilge! Discovering this much water felt like a punch to the gut.
The next few days, Jim begins to diagnose where the water could be coming in. No more water was in the bilge the next morning after Jim vacuums it out, so we knew it only came in when the boat was underway. The next two days we travel at idle speed through the Great Dismal Swamp. Again, no water! When we arrive at the Albemarle Sound, I take the boat up on plane while Jim climbs in the rear bilge with a flashlight and our go-pro camera! That is where he discovered where the water was coming in.
It seems that when our boat was in the travel lift, the transom was under stress, enough to loosen the caulk that seals where the hull meets the upper part of the boat. In Wilmington, NC we are finally tied on a floating dock. Jim is able to remove the rub rail and re-caulk this area. Once again, our Floating Home is watertight.
All in all, everything works out fine. At the time we are crushed but now looking back we realize a boat is just a hole in the water you pour money into!