Windsong's first sail, FLAWLESS! by Eric VanMalssen

As you can tell by the post title, things went well this weekend

On Saturday I went out to Inglis to see Windsong. I had three friends in tow and a list of things to accomplish. First off was to give the engine its oil change. I had replaced a few parts on the oil change pump and got it pumping water in a test run. But once we got to the boat the pump wouldn’t suck out any oil and eventually burnt out. So now instead of repairing this thing I am going with advice of some other boat owners (readers of this blog, thanks!) and get a manual pump. So the oil change didn’t happen, but that didn’t stop us for the day. I also replaced the hose on the Whale Gusher manual bilge pump and was able to use it successfully for the first time. I love knowing that it works now, great sense of security especially since my primary electric bilge pump is still on the fritz. After the bilge pump we had to secure a leak on a water hose on the engine, then we were done with the needed chores of the day.

I had planned on taking her out and about in the river for the day, but with the encouragement of my friends and the weather cooperating we decided to take the trip out of the channel and hoist some sail. I was nervous because I still haven’t upgraded a lot of the safety things (flares, fire extinguishers, etc.) that I wanted before we went out of the river, and the engine still makes me nervous, but we were feeling whimsical and went for it anyways. First off we had to turn the boat around in its narrow channel. We were […]

Short days and diesel heaters By Scott Maxwell

Amatheia DE32

Winter was a slowing experience. The mast step repair was finished, a beautiful job by Todd at Charlot Marine. He found the rot to be more extensive than thought, extending up into the compression post a bit. The shower pan was cut out, the old fiberglassed mast step was removed, the bottom of the compression post was trimmed off and the new fiberglass wrapped mast step made to fit. The new post was tabbed to the floor, the shower pan was re-fabricated and a brand new, very cool piece of sole was created for the entire head. Gorgeous work and very well done.

Pursuing my favorite job of disassembly I removed the fuel lines for replacement and the engine cooling hoses for the same. I have a shaft/packing seal situation in that area, that’s a job for later.

In the garage some serious sanding occurred during the cold months. All the ceiling strips were sanded and re-stained. The brightwork was sanded and triple coated with Cetol Natural Light. the bowsprit had the same treatment. The handrails looked OK but needed quite a bit of sanding to shape the mounting holes damaged from fatigue combined with the bung removal.

Jon disassembled the Butterfly Hatch, sanded all the parts and we reassembled with 1/2 Plexiglas windows. Used the old gaskets, maybe it won’t leak. But I’ll make a Sunbrella cover for when it rains.

Snow fell and the temperatures got quite chilly. The diesel heater took some of the chill off.

For more adventures with Amathea please visit

S\V Blue Sky Richards Bay, South Africa, Oct-Nov 2009

Richards Bay, South Africa, Oct-Nov 2009

Further adventures of S\V Blue Sky and Crew

Once again the children proved to be our little ambassadors.  Playing at the park in the Yacht Club they met some wonderful children.  In return we met the parents who have been very helpful and generous.  One family, the Davidson’s took us out to their property at Dick’s island, where they raise goats and cattle.  David took us on a tour of the lake where we saw a massive crocodile above, the photo does not give it justice.  The lake is choaked with water hyacinths, which the city is trying to get under control, Phoebe and Thomas plough the way.  The children spent the majority of the day building a tree house, while we relaxed under the trees and were treated to a braii.

Phoebe and Drake had the opportunity again to attend a local school, Grant Leigh.  This was a more formal school than the one in Mayotte, and they had a good experience seeing what other children are required to do. They both still think it is all about socializing, but they did well listening to the teacher and following the instructions.

#gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ Karyn, Phoebe, Carolyn, Drake and Kyle, driving around Laura Donna, Matteo and Leo Mattioda John and Karyn Weller Phoebe, Drake and Caroline with giraffes at Tonevale. baby giraffe Shannon and Caroline from Rhode Island, off s/v Some Day Came. his shots from 100 meters out. Not bad Matteo coaching Jim Drake holding a rifle Phoebe holding a baby ostrich wet elbow installed Progress Empangeni […]

Disassembly: Amatheia DE32 by Scott Maxwell

Once the dust had settled we started the process of mapping out the repairs. The surveyor we had used didn’t use a moisture meter. He tapped around the deck and cabin with his small ball peen hammer. There were small pockets of de-lamination in the cabin sides he told us. That didn’t seem too bad I remember thinking. But the survey was long done when we started pulling off the deck and house fittings. Off came pad eyes and fairleads, winches and jib tracks. It was clear there was significant moisture in areas, when the port jib track came off we had to catch the drippings in a large pot. “There are wet ones and dry ones” another local surveyor told us. It was pretty clear to me that I had a wet one. I drilled a number of test holes through the inner skin. The side decks were wet, especially to port although most of the cabin top was dry. The forepeak was the worst. The deck had been saturated repeatedly from the gaping unsealed holes for the samson posts (bitts). It wasn’t long before it was apparent that the head and side liner of the interior had to go. We stripped it off and pulled a lot of staples. We marked and stored each piece in turn. The large windows were a total loss. They had leaked and been resealed a number of times judging by the different sealants we encountered. They had funky plastic frames. Out they came. Out came the bronze port-lights forward. Off came the butterfly hatch and it’s frame.. We knew the chainplates and maybe stanchions were leaking. Off came the ceiling strips in the salon and v berth. Now we could see what was going on. Off came the chainplates and to our […]

Windsong: Oil Change at last by, Erick VanMalssen

Went up to see Windsong this weekend to get some of the remaining chores done before we take her down the coast. I was solo, so didn’t get to take her out for a ride unfortunately. I gave up on the electric oil change pump and purchased a manual vacuum pump to replace it. West Marine was having a sale on some other items so I also purchased a few things that I needed before we headed out: a backup handheld VHF, handheld GPS (Garmin Oregon 400c was on sale), new flares and the oil change pump.

When I got to the boat I tried my newly rebuilt manual bilge pump and discovered that it had stopped working for some reason. I just replaced the major parts on it so I had no idea why it wouldn’t work anymore. It takes two people to remove it, so I’ll have to wait for a friend to come to troubleshoot it. Needless to say, I was pretty upset to find it not functioning once more. Last weekend it worked perfectly after we finished installing it. But now…nothing.

I also began to remove bungs and some trim around the boat to take home and begin more wood restoration. I figured that there is a lot of wood that needs to be stripped and varnished, better start now than later.

Then it was onto the engine: oil change and stuffing box tightening.

Pumping out the oil:

The oil change was smooth and uneventful. Getting it finally done was a happy occasion though. After the oil change I focused on the stuffing box. It was still leaking slowly, not as fast as when we stopped the engine a week ago. But still leaking more than it should. The problem is that the locking nut […]