After months of sitting under a tarp on the hard (That’s sailor speak for being out of the water), Wind Affair is in need of a little polishing. Ok, fine… She’s filthy. She’s a 34 year old boat, too, so there’s also a bit of upgrading that needs to be done, as well as a little refitting.
We are, naturally, racking up the frequent shopper points at West Marine. Hull cleaner, rigging packs, a new transducer, dock lines, flares, an air horn, a few more life vests, a solar fan, marine grade electrical panel, the list goes on and on. Not to mention that our Ace Rewards points are skyrocketing, as well. I feel like we are in these two stores eleventy times a day. In one of my recent trips to Ace Hardware I scored a new pair of channel locks…. because the pair we had continues to rest peacefully at the bottom of lake after a failed rescue mission. It was our first casualty, and it most certainly won’t be our last. We accept this, and we move on.
Because it’s been unprecedentedly hot and dry, I bought a battery powered fan to hang from the forward hatch in an effort to get a little air moving inside the cabin and started to work cleaning all surfaces and lockers with my bottle of Simple Green and some rags. Soon I was coughing. The “camper” smell was really strong and soon I spotted areas of mildew which we know is a trigger for me. My next trip to store rewarded me with a mask and multi surface cleaner with BLEACH.
Evan went to work on the hull. Her paint had been dulled to a slightly creamer that white color after all those months of exposure to the elements. We purchased some de-oxydizing hull cleaner and he cleaned, buffed and waxed away. She was a beautiful creamy yellow again when he was done! Amazing!
My interior cleaning efforts were put on hold for a few days when Evan started working on upgrading the electronics. We needed a new depth sounder, and we didnt’t really like the way the switch panel was set up. Also, there was no longer a need for the car/marine stereo system as we have my SuperTooth (LOVE LOVE LOVE my SuperTooth), so that needed to come out and free up some precious interior space. The chart plotter -while functional- was very old, and it, too, was being replaced. In addition, there were several places where we found the wiring work to be old and now of questionable quality. Evan wound up tearing out, replacing and rerunning ALL electrical on the boat. There was crap everywhere in the cabin, so I wound up staying home after work for a few days (read: a week) and took care of the household duties that had been a bit neglected.
Once electrical was completed, I was finally able to start back in with the bleach. It still smelled like a camper we thought for sure that over a week of having her opened up would have lessened the intensity. Something seemed suspicious, but I was not to be daunted. I sprayed and scrubbed everything I could reach. We even ordered a jar of Kanberra Gel and set it inside the cabin. By now Evan was convinced that our holding tank (where the waste from the head, or toilet, is stored until pumped out) is the culprit. We know that is been emptied, but it’s old and perhaps the odors have simply permeated? I wasn’t convinced that was the full answer, but I decided to keep it in the back of my mind.
Eventually, I finished cleaning everything I could clean. While at work one day, I received an email from Evan with a picture attached. He had taken out the floor boards to check the automatic bilge pump. Ohhhh Dearrrr. Remember when she took on a little water during the lowering of the mast? Well, on top of being an old and nasty bilge, not all the water had been pumped out and had effectively sloshed all over during transport and then had sat in the heat for days on end. GROSS!!! Evan pulled up the whole cabin sole and took a couple of days to clean it out.
The smell in the cabin was now starting to improve, but the camper smell was still pretty strong. I closed the V-berth lockers back up to cover the holding tank and the next day everything smelled much better. Apparently, it really IS the holding tank – or at least the hoses. We have no pump out available at this marina, so we can’t use our head. With it being smelly and useless anyway, we have decided that we will just remove the head and tank and replace it with a really good porta potty. We will reinstall the head and holding tank before we sell her, but that won’t be for several years. We’ll be good for now.
While Evan took care of the bilge and a few other items he discovered, I took on the task of removing all the covers for our boat cushions and washed them. They were pretty musty smelling. I washed everything 3 times and with ammonia. I also took all the foam cushions out into the yard and sprayed them down with straight ammonia and allowed them to dry overnight. I forgot about the sprinklers though ::palm to forehead slap::, so everything got completely drenched and they had to be moved to the porch for a few days to dry out. Then I reinserted the foam into the covers and stuffed about 50 dryer sheets (a little exaggeratory) into each one. One of the zippers was broken, so Jacob helped me close it up with 20 saftey pins (not exaggerating) and we now have