We spent the past two months since arriving back in Turkey working nearly every day on refit, repair and maintenance projects. Today we decided that we had completed enough of the work to declare ourselves ready for another sailing season. We put away the tools and washed down the decks in preparation for departure tomorrow.
While wintering-over in Marmaris, Turkey, we installed a new countertop for the galley sink. The old one was cracked when we bought Gyatso five years ago, and we’ve lived with it that way until a corner piece actually broke off last season.
Below deck, we replaced the 25-year old diesel fuel tank over the winter. It was nice to return to the boat in Marmaris, Turkey and find that Demir Marine had done an outstanding job removing the old one and installing the new ones. We weren’t having any trouble with the original, mild steel version except that it was showing signs of its age, especially where the boat builder had fiberglassed the tank to the hull. We learned that this is the worst thing you can do to mild steel, which is otherwise a perfectly suitable material for the job, because it seals it off from the air. In Gyatso’s case, the 90 gallon tank was literally rusting underneath and along these fiberglass seams, from the outside in.
We just finished re-wiring the Nav station with the help of Libero, an extremely well-qualified marine electrician who also teaches at the high school here in Gaeta. After adding a new chart plotter, AIS (for tracking commercial shipping movements) and Navtex receiver (for getting weather reports and security alerts here in Europe) in the past year, the tangle of wires was so bad that we were having trouble sliding the drawers underneath the Nav table. Libero called it, “Doing battle with the war of wires.” This is what happens when you’re the fourth owners of a cruising sailboat, and it is part of our seemingly never-ending efforts to “refit” the boat to meet our standards and needs.
After purchasing our 1985 Tayana 37 in 2005, we undertook a major refit to prepare the boat for extended cruising. Right after the Annapolis Sailboat Show that year, we loaded up a one-way rental car and drove to Yarmouth, Maine. We were hoping to sail the boat back to our homeport of Annapolis so that we could finish moving aboard, and if all went well, to pack-up our household belongings and put it on the rental market. Then we planned to continue south via the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to St. Augustine, Florida, the port we selected for refitting the boat based on the recommendations of several friends in the marine industry in Annapolis.
We used the 20-year old head sails for a year while we were getting to know our 1985 Tayana 37 cutter which helped us work with a sailmaker to get exactly what we wanted when the time came for this item to rise to the top of the list. It did in 2006 while we were in Annapolis, and after shopping around, we selected the UK Halsey loft for the job, mainly because of our respect for Scott Allan there. We were very pleased with the sails.