Category Archives: Boat Details

Boat Projects

We have time on our hands as we wait for a weather window and as we wait for storms/squalls to pass.  So, we fill those gapes with a few boat projects and general maintenance.  Just in case you are wondering, we do work as well as play. 

Jib Roller Furler Pin

There is a rather large shackle that holds the tack of the jib to the furler (very important).  The pin inside the shackle had weaseled its way out and was almost lost.  Thank goodness we caught it.  We had to unfurl the jib to release the pressure from the shackle in order to get the pin back into place.  Once inside, we zip tied it to secure it.  Yes, the bottom shackle is twisted as it is designed to be a 90 degree shackle.  Although, we never did understand why there are two shackles here.

Jib roller furler pin

Jib roller furler pin

Sail Bag

Our sail bag (which holds our main sail) has a panel with “Sugar Shack” stitched on each side.  The letters were starting to come off so we decided to take off the two panels and stitch the letters back on.  A lot easier said than done.  The panels were stitched on to the main sail bag and had an adhesive 2” tape around all four edges.  The stitching was rather easy to cut and remove, but the adhesive was a mess. 

We removed as much of the adhesive as we could (we did not want the sticky stuff on our sewing machine).  Then Matt began the slow process of sewing on each letter.

We had to remove the sail bag in order to sew on the repaired panels..  That is another huge project as we have to secure the main (which weighs in at 300lbs) using the lazy jacks, then remove the sail bag.  The sail bag needs some reinforced stitching and then we can put the panels back on.

About a month later, we had calm weather conditions and began the process of removing the sail bag.  Matt secured our heavy dacron main using the lazy jacks (the lines that hold up the sail bag).  He had to remove the reefing lines and a lot of other stuff to get the sail bag free. I must say hat it looks so naked without the beautiful sail bag!

Matt sewed the sail bag’s weak spots and made a few small repairs before sewing on the two panels.  We laid out the sail bag on the deck in order to properly place the panels.

And she is all repaired.

Washing Machine

Yes, we have a small wash/dry machine on the boat.  It is a 2001 Splendide WDC 1024C.  I have to be honest I love it.  We don’t use the “dry” portion of the machine as it takes too much energy/power to dry the clothes.  The spin cycle is so good that I can hang the clothes in the sun and they will be dry in an hour or two.  Having a washer is a true luxury on the boat. Well, frankly anything beats washing clothes in a bucket!  The only downside to the washer is that I can only run laundry when we have full sun (it takes a lot of power), full water tank (which means running the watermaker), and light wind (to dry the clothes).  It’s a lot to ask of Mother Nature. 

But I can usually do a full load of all our clothes every 2 weeks.  Of course, we do wear our clothes several days in a row (don’t gross out – we live on a boat!).

The Problem

There is a small 110v water pump that evacuates the water from the machine.  It has been on its death bed for about a year and we keep it limping along.  The machine is 21 years old after all.  Matt took it apart 8 months ago and fixed the fan that keeps the pump cool.  Each time I use the machine I test the fan to ensure it works before starting a new load.

However, during my last load, the machine would not evacuate water.  Fiddle sticks!  We had to drain the water into a bucket and out the window, spin the clothes, and then remove them. The machine is bolted onto a 1” piece of wood which can’t be removed.  So, in order to access the back of the machine, we have to unscrew the wood from the cabinet. This after I remove all the cleaning products from the cabinet of Course.

Splendide WDC1024 Washing Machine

Splendide WDC1024 Washing Machine

Matt was able to access and remove the small motor (which by the way is no longer manufactured).  There are two problems.  1) The seal is broken so there is a small leak from the water pump.  We can’t fix this as we would have to destroy the pump to get to the seal and we don’t have a seal replacement. 

The other issue is that the fan is moving side to side and it is not supposed to.  The bracket that holds the bearing in place (which holds the fan in place) rusted and broke (see 2nd image on right). Hmmm.  Well, we can’t get a new bracket or bearing so we improvised. Matt stuck two pieces of pvc behind the bearing to keep it from moving.  This is only a temporary fix!


We are working with Splendide to find a used water pump for our machine.  We found several on eBay but none would fit our old machine.  The thought has crossed our mind to buy a new Splendide but all of the new models are too big to fit our small cabinet. Drat!  Just our luck, we find one brand new part at an RV parts store.  We buy it and ship it to Wayne who is visiting soon.  Sweet luck!


Another joy on our boat is our fresh watermaker!  We are so darn lucky to have one onboard so we don’t have to retrieve fresh water from shore in jerry cans.  We have two pumps on our Spectra watermaker, but one of them decided it had enough of us.  Matt tried to repair it and it just won’t have anything to do with us.  Lucky for us, we were able to find a replacement and have it shipped to Wayne  as well. In the meantime, we are only able to produce 50% of the volume so we are running it a lot more than usual.


The windlass raises/lowers our 100m of stainless steel chain and our 60lb stainless anchor.  It is fantastic to have this done with a push of the button as opposed to by hand (can you imagine my biceps if that were the case?).  While we were trying to raise the anchor from an anchorage that was 18m deep, the windlass stopped working.  It would not go up.  Farfignugin!

Matt removed everything from the locker and proceeded to remove the motor.  After an hour, he cleaned everything, switched the up with the down (which was working), and put it back together.  This way we at least can use it to bring up the heavy chain and anchor.  To make it all go down we can do that manually in a controlled free-for-all type process.  Not ideal, but a temporary fix.

Matt realized that it was not the motor that was broken, but the relay.  We don’t have a spare one of these.  So, we get back online, order the part and send it to Wayne. Thank God Wayne is coming!!

Small Boat Projects

Table Runner

I decided we needed a new table runner for our cockpit table.  I found beautiful fabric in Papeete and went to work. Of course, Matt had to complicate (and yet improve) my pattern.  Not bad for a small project.

SUP Cover

The new stand up paddle board is very huge and it has been baking in the sun since we bought it about 2 months ago.  We’ve needed to make a cover for it – and now is the time!  We had some extra white fabric under the master bed that would work.  It is not sunbrella, but it will do for now (at least for the first iteration).  The cover fits snugly with a little extra padding on the tip and the side.  We left the fins on and the part of the board showing for photo purposes only (smiley face).

Other Completed Boat Projects

  • Replaced zincs on port prop
  • Cleaned Propellers
  • Repaired window leaks (port large window, starboard above nav station)
  • Salon Fan (this is dead and needs to be replaced)
  • Repaired freezer door trim

Pending Boat Projects:

A boat is always a work in progress (like a house).  In addition to the washing machine, watermaker, and windlass, here is a list of a few more outstanding boat projects:

  • Lazy Jacks – inspect and tighten
  • Main Sail – repair rub spot (port side stern)
  • Paint Bilge
  • Clean Engines
  • Paint Engines
  • Freezer insulation repair
  • Repair master bedroom leak

Keep in mind, that our beautiful home is over 21 years old and she has been across many oceans.  She is truly in excellent condition for her age and we are continually being praised for her beauty and good condition.  So, even though it looks like a lot is broken, it is just “normal” boat projects.

We spend the New Year celebration in Taravai with an authentic Polynesian BBQ in our  last blog.   Events from this blog post occurred in  January 2022.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Yamaha Repair: Reverse Away

Our beloved Yamaha Enduro 25hp outboard has been in a state of disrepair for a few months. She has had problems going into and staying in reverse.  Matt was able to make it “limp” along for a few months before it finally just stopped working (in reverse).  So, we learned to use our outboard motor without reverse.  Luckily Matt was able to download the motor schematic and determined what the issue was (or what he thought it was).  It appeared that the cotter pin that is in the shifting mechanism was broken, rusted, or non-functioning. In order to get to the cotter pin, you have to take apart the entire outboard and lift the motor (head).  Ugh.  Not something Matt has experience doing, so we decided to wait until we got to Tahiti to fix it. Yamaha shop said it would take a very long time to get the parts in, if they could get them in at all.  We ordered the parts from the U.S. and Wayne brought them in during his last visit. 

Dropping off the Outboard

We arranged to have the Yamaha techs meet us at Marina Taina where we could more easily offload the motor and load it into a truck.  They arrived on time and we showed them the spare parts that we bought and were providing.

Spare parts for Yamaha

Spare parts for Yamaha

Matt and Jerome carried the 130lb outboard to the truck and she was off to the hospital.

Yamaha takes our motor

Yamaha takes our motor

Spare Outboard

We had saved our old outboard, a Mercury 8hp motor (40lbs).  For years we thought we should sell it and once we tried.  But it ended up sitting under our cockpit table for years.  Matt worked on it while I was in the states (in July) and got it running (while on the stanchion of the big boat).  Sweet. 

Before we sent the 25hp Enduro in for repairs, Matt tested the Mercury 8hp on the back of the boat again to ensure it worked.  It started running after the 2nd pull.  How is that for awesome? 

After Yamaha took the 25hp Enduro, Matt installs the Mercury 8hp on the back of Sweetie.  He pulls, and pulls, and pulls and nothing.  He worked on it for 45 minutes and the darn thing would not turn over!  Seriously? 

Mercury let's us down

Mercury let’s us down

We decide to paddle over to another dock where I hopped out and ran to our friends on Liward.  They are preparing their boat for storage. They graciously allowed us to borrow their 15hp outboard (80lbs).  So, I hop back in the dinghy and we paddle ¾ of mile around the marina to Liward so we can drop their dinghy onto ours.

Only slight problem is that their motor is a short shaft and our dinghy has a long transom. What does that mean?  It means that we have to go slow to allow the prop to reach the water and properly operate.  The red arrow is Liward in the background – their outboard on Sweetie and the dead Mercury on its side.

Lucky for us, Yamaha was able to repair the outboard the next day and they delivered it the day after.  Thank goodness, as it was challenging being careful with a borrowed outboard and going back and forth to shore (which is well over a mile away).

Sweetie’s Motor Returns

Yamaha folks delivered our repaired outboard.  You can tell how heavy she is when it takes 3 people to manhandle her back into the dinghy.  We decided to just lay it in the boat and then use Liward’s nifty lift to put it in place.

Steve and Lili had to drop their dinghy and move it, move their ladder, and prepare their lift.  I can’t believe how awesome our friends are!

Steve moving dinghy on Liward

Steve moving dinghy on Liward

Lili operates the lines, Steve guides his outboard back onto Liward from his boat, and Matt guides it from below.

Then we use the same lift to hoist our 25hp Enduro off the dinghy floor and into place on the transom.  Works like clockwork.  Super cool.

We get back to Sugar Shack and the Mercury 8hp is still on the stanchion.  Matt has tested and started it every day for the last 4 days and it starts right up!  Not sure what happened earlier when we really needed it.  But, I am super glad we had our friend’s motor to use in its place. 

The Problem

Matt was correct in assessing the problem.  The cotter pin that holds the two pieces below together had rusted and broken off.  The smaller U shape piece is supposed to be held in place to the shaft with a cotter pin.  But instead it moved about preventing us from shifting in reverse.  Once we got it back, we could clearly see that the pin was stuck in there – which is why you can’t see through it.

Lucky for us we have amazing cruiser friends who helped us out in our time of need.

We enjoy pool time at the highest restaurant in Polynesia, in our last blog.   Events from this blog post occurred early November.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Confinement Boat Projects

A boat, like a house, is a constant work in progress.  There is always something to do, to clean, to repair, or to replace.  Confinement provides us with an excellent opportunity to focus on some of the much-needed boat projects that needed to be done. 

Some of our boat projects are just “nice to have” done projects.  For example, we want to replace our rain shades with bigger rain shades to keep our cockpit drier during storms.  We made rain shades a few years ago and they are “fine” but they could be better, more efficient, easier to install, and cover more area. 

Another “nice to have” project is making a seat cushion for the transom area of the cockpit (around the wenches and above the line holders).  People inevitably sit on the hard fiberglass area even though we have three large cushion seating areas.  So, why fight it?  We’ve been talking about making a seat cushion here for years but the concern is where to stow the cushions while we are underway…since we would need to access the lines.

But those projects will have to wait until we get through our priority boat projects.

Necessary Boat Projects

Where to start? There are so many.  We start with some of the older boat projects.  One of the great things about a catamaran is that you have two of everything.  One of the bad things about a catamaran is that you have two of everything.

The sunbrella cushion covers on both helm seats had weakened and ripped.  We needed to replace the covers which is easier said then done.  The covers are made to fit snugly over the waterproof material and cushion.  Supposedly to prevent the cushions from retaining water.  Which doesn’t always work when you are in a massive storm. 

Matt dutifully removed the sunbrella fabric and then painstakingly removed the stitching so he could replace the top panel.  Our cushions were made in Turkey in 2010 and were well made.  They had double stitching around all the seams.  Which is great, until you have to remove all the stitching.

The bottom left photo shows you what the cover looked like.  Doesn’t look too bad until you look at the top left photo which shows you how worn out it really was.  The bottom right shows you the finished cushion cover.

Annoyingly, we discovered several weeks after installing our new helm seat cushions, that when it rains, the fabric actually shows are two different colors.  So don’t look when it rains 🙂

Helm Wheel Covers

I started working on the helm wheel leather covers while Matt was working on both helm seat covers. We had covered our wheels at the helm station with leather to prevent them from slipping in our hands during storms and to make it more comfortable while at the helm.  But the leather had turned green (it was tan) from mildew and old age.  It had ripped in some sections and generally needed to be replaced.  Another “easier said than done” boat project.  You see there are 120 stitches between each rung and there are 5 rungs (600 for those of you mathematically challenged) times to wheels.   That’s a lot of stitches!


First: remove the two turks head knots that mark the center of the wheel.  You can either cut the string or try to find the end that is neatly tucked under the knot.  I was able to find the ends of 3 of the 4 knots and saved the line.  But the 4th one had to be cut. (see two top images)

Next, the stitches had to be removed.  Originally, I thought I would just cut the line.  But it was a particularly windy day and I did not want pieces of this sticky string to go in the water.  So, I literally pulled the line through each stitch to remove it.  (bottom left image).

The old leather (green used to be tan) next to the new leather (gray) in the lower right photo.

Next the wheel needed to be cleaned.  There was double sticky tape holding the leather in place and rust, and gunk all over the wheel.  Nothing that a brillo pad, cleaning agent, and elbow grease couldn’t handle.

Port Helm

Port Helm

Port Helm

Starboard Helm

Starboard Helm

Starboard Helm

We measured, re-measured, and then measured again.  Once we cut this leather there is no going back!  After we cut it, I sewed the two end pieces together, applied my double sticky tape to hold the leather cover to the wheel and started stitching.  It took me about 30-45 minutes per rung, times 5 rungs, x 2 wheels.  Needless to say, it took me several days to finish both sides.

In case you are wondering, we purchased our leather helm covers from Edsonmarine.  They are pricey, but they work wonders!

Next Matt recreated the two turks head knots on each helm.  These help us realize where “center” is which is crazy important wile underway.  Sometimes, you are looking at the sails or the mark or the channel and can’t look at the wheel.  So, it is important to be able to “feel” the knots to know your wheel is centered.

Interior Table Cleaning

We have a beautiful table inside the cabin that folds open to make an even larger table (double the size).  We try to maintain it and keep it clean, but daily use, oils from hands and cleaners and what not create build up.  The outer edge, or darker wood gets the brunt of it.  It was way overdue for some loving.  We take a very gentle approach as we don’t want to scratch the wood.  Using a metal scraper, we tenderly scrape the gunk off (with very little pressure).

I promise you it did not look this bad until you zoom in.  My sister who is fastidious about cleaning never noticed it so don’t judge 🙂

It was remarkable who well it cleaned up. Looking at the bottom three images:  before cleaning, after cleaning, and after oil.

And the finished table:

I took the opportunity to do more of our rails, leading edges and more….over a week’s time:

Nav station

Nav station

Prop Cleaning

Matt whipped out the hooka to clean the props which had grown a bit hairy.  He jumped in before I had a chance to take a before photo so all you get is his photo.  Hooka, weight belt, cleaning tools and he is off to shave our props.

Matt with the hooka gear on

Matt with the hooka gear on

The props after their hair cut.  The yellow is prop speed which helps keep the growth to a minimum.

Raw Water Pump Repair

The port side raw water pump needed to be serviced.  Matt replaced a bearing and the shaft.  In the left photo you can see the old and new shaft along with the bearing.  While he had the pump off he also replaced the hose to the raw water pump.  The old and new.  What a difference.

Random $hit:

On one of our walks we encountered the lovely ladies who were crafting gorgeous floral crowns and necklaces.  Not only were they stunning, but they smelled devine!

Just a beautiful photo of Sugar Shack on a particularly calm day.  I was snorkeling back to the boat and popped my head up to get my bearings.  It was just so pretty I had to share it with you.  You can see how clear the water is as the coral heads are apparent.


Did you meet the sharks, rays, and fish in Vaiare in our last blog.

Events from this blog post occurred during the third week of August, 2021.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.