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Opening Pandora's Box

Hakluyt - formerly Arctic Tern I in March 2022
The challenges of working on a boat - in March - in Newfoundland never cease to amaze us

I have been, well... just a little busy the last 2.5 months. There is a LOT to catch you up on. So this is going to be a really long post.

You can think of this blog entry as a good bedtime story when you need to fall asleep and nothing else works. Or, I leave it to you to decide if it is a story of adventure, a horror story, or an "I told you so" story. If nothing else the pictures help tell the story - a mess here, a mess there, diagram this, diagram that, more work on this, more work on that kind of thing - so you can skip the blah blah if you want and just stick to the imagery.

In order to avoid spamming you with blog updates - I packed a bunch of updates all into this blog entry. I will try to keep this post organized so you can jump to a topic that interests you or you can simply read the entire blog with handy stopping points along the way. Feel free to utilize the "Table Of Contents" links and click on the link to the topic you would like to navigate to.


- FINDING PANDORA - Planning a refit of this scale

- REFIT BEGINNINGS - How the refit shaped the rest of the refit

- THE DECISION ALL "REFITTERS" MUST MAKE - Keeping expectations in check

- Of RUST AND MEN - How I learned to forget about scope creep

- GUTTING THE REFIT - Tearing apart some projected plans and timetables

- WELDER TIME! - Bringing out the big guns


- REFITTING THE GUT - Getting our first look at the servo prop installed in the h


Stumbling Down The Scope Creep Stairs And Bumping Into Pandora In The Basement


Hakluyt - March 2022

I am familiar with the concepts of "scope creep", the "snowball effect", and "Pandora's box", etc... etc... It doesn't take a lot of effort to allow any of those to inject themselves into a project such as a boat refit - especially a "steel" boat refit.

"Refit" - to remove and improve. Remprove? Oddly you don't call it a "remodel" or "renovation" in nautical vernacular - but then you don't call a rope a rope in nautical terms either. Anyways, I already digress.

A refit of "any" scope or scale requires planning and - managing expectations, not to mention forecasting a budget. Hakluyt has been sitting on the hard for over 7 years with a brief day or two in the water for a sea trial back in 2016. Boats - of any construction material do NOT fair well when left unattended or maintained. I knew this when I purchased Hakluyt and expected "some" surprises with the steel hull. I have refit 3 sailboats before, and discovered many unexpected problems - but I have never completed a refit on this scale. At least I feel armed with the notion that this refit will likely require "expanding" my initial, projected project scope. After all, when forecasting my project plan/schedule - I had only been on Hakluyt a few days - last year... I also realized I could be walking into a Pandora's box - a vessel with far more problems than I anticipated or fully understand. The later being the more prescient.

Where it all started - a view of the interior prior to the refit. Remember this picture when viewing the scenes depicted below.

A lot of my planning and speculation had been based on a Marine Survey performed on Hakluyt (kind of like a home inspection) that was performed in 2016 along with copious pictures that had recently been taken. Hakluyt had not been in the water since 2016, so surprises involving big ticket items should "theoretically" not have changed - with the exception of the continuous onslaught of hull oxidation... Many of the boat amenities, accoutrements had not been upgraded since the early 2000's (or in many cases long before) and I had an idea of what would indeed need addressing or wholly replaced (EG liferaft, life rings, flares,etc.. are all woefully outdated). The below waterline portion of the steel hull had been externally sandblasted in 2011 and any issues found during that maintenance were attended to. The hull above the waterline did not get sandblasted - at least per the records I found onboard. So above the waterline I knew there would be some potential concerns. Indeed - during my walk through last September I could see many rust spots and stains leeching through the exterior paint,

Example portion of my decision tree / mind map to keep project flow going

I had spent the winter building out a "mind map" / decision tree / flow chart. Just one tool I use for structuring and organizing large scale projects from beginning to end in order to stay focused, organized and, to an extent, help pay attention to the hazards of scope creep. The object of any boat refit project - at least for me - is to stay focused, stay on track, stay on schedule. I don't have an affinity for boat yards, or life on the hard - so getting in the water is a priority second only to sea worthiness and safety.

My CAD rendering of the Oceanvolt "Servo-prop" motor - a LOT of work goes into getting two of these installed and operational

The very first priority of the refit process is getting the auxiliary propulsion installed - the Oceanvolt servo props. Ergo - remove the Diesel engine and install the new electric motors. The next priority is installing the auxiliary and boat power systems --> the MG Energy Power Battery bank. Then - installing the new galley, settee, and navigation station. After that comes increasingly smaller scale objective items such as painting, installing a variety of new lighting systems and electronics.

At first, the project flow chart looked a little something like this:

Remove Diesel engine --> Remove fuel tanks --> Remove old (house/engine) batteries --> Remove old galley --> Remove starboard pipe berth --> Remove Settee --> Remove Navigation Station --> Remove anything prohibiting access to Oceanvolt motor install --> more of this --> more of that.

Notice there are a lot of "removes" there... Any one of those items is a major objective that would deserve its own "refit" schedule. And before I entered the "refit" gate, I knew that the schedule had ample opportunity to be derailed based on unforeseen problems; so I made some room for allowances in advance. "Some" allowances... Looking back I had postulated the potential that the entire interior would have to be removed - but I wanted to keep that as much of a remote possibility as absolutely possible. I might have better odds predicting outcomes playing the winning lottery numbers.

Enter Pandora. I am not sure if she was waiting there when we arrived in Lewisporte, or if she showed up when I removed the first piece of joinery, or - if she just decided to drop by as I started removing the first bolt from the Diesel engine, In any case - she was there.


Starting the Refit


Getting the Diesel engine out was trivial compared to the other projects that awaited. It was out and sold within a week of our arrival. (An ever thankful THANK-YOU Brian and Ron!!!!) What I thought might be a challenge turned out to be the "easiest" project on the list. Remove Diesel engine - check.

A perfectly good (and largely new) Diesel engine - permanently removed

The residual smell of diesel fuel was simply overwhelming. It gets that way on a boat that hasn't been aired out for over half a decade. The smell had permeated everything; the cushions, walls, wood, plastic, paint, screws, bolts, steel you name it - everything on Hakluyt reeked of diesel fuel.

Stainless steel fuel tank in floor - finally exposed

The rather large diesel tanks were next to be jettisoned and carried off by their new owner - however, this proved to be the first formidable challenge. The tanks were huge, full of fuel and weighed between 200-250 pounds each (sans fuel). Thankfully - with skyrocketing fuel prices there were several takers for the 100 gallons of 7 year old fuel stored in the tanks. The tanks were exponentially more difficult to remove than the engine. The starboard tank barely, just barely fit through the companion way opening (sorry stairs for all the scrapes and scratches...). In the end, a few Lewisporte locals got some extra diesel for their heating systems and the tanks were finally out.

Recycle old diesel fuel -check.

Remove fuel tanks - check.

With the fuel tanks out, the inner sanctum of the bilges were revealed. I am guessing the lower sanctum of the bilges haven't been visited by human eyes for perhaps 20 or 30 years. And I knew there was a certain amount of time I would serve my penance for being a bad human by washing bilges and ridding them of any diesel, oil, antifreeze, unknown chemical residues and other nastiness. This would have been an impossible task with the diesel tanks and water tanks situated over the lowest part of the bilges - so they all had to go...

Fuel tank ready for removal - note the rust - previously hidden out of view - along the lower stringer

Remove old water tanks - check.

Underneath, a myriad of residents such as filth, dirt, hair, corroded AA batteries, molded lentils, and other alien substances nestled peacefully in the bilges. This unseen and conveniently forgotten ecosystem devlops when you build a boat with items such as fuel tanks that won't allow access to the lowest parts of the bilge - things get lost, roll or float around and eventually don't want to be disturbed anymore so they come to rest in the most remote recesses of the bilge.

But despite the removal of all the tanks, it seemed an impossible task to clean - even partially clean. The other notable bilge surprise was the encasing of the lead ballast surrounding the lifting keel box in "concrete". Yes - concrete... I am pretty sure we were able to land a man on the moon in the 1970's - and in the 1990's we surely had "some" better technology of securing ballast than with concrete inside a boat. The middle of Hakluyt is indeed - your everyday driveway style concrete. After some research - to my dismay however - this appears to be a once common boat builder's practice of securing lead ingots. Maybe a cost saving measure? I just don't understand how you are EVER able to inspect the hull steel under that part of the cargo without a jackhammer... For me, the interior hull plating in that area will remain a mystery. Perhaps the builders thought the steel under the concrete will outlive any reasonable serviceable life expectancy of the hull. I don't know - but I hope that part of the hull doesn't fail in the middle of the ocean...

Bilges washed and cleaned - check.

Breathe Wes, breathe....

Starry night. That's better - it is scenes like this that make all the work worth it. Just can't wait for this scene in some tropical paradise...


Any Re-fitter Must Make The Same - Unwanted - Scope Creep Expansion Decision(s)


Here is the deal. Nothing is as easy as it seems during a refit. Nothing goes as perfectly as planned. And Pandora ALWAYS leaves you a few unpredictable surprises. I know this empirically.

For instance I have found myself starting off, thinking - Ok I am going to replace that wire today. But that wire ends up being zip tied to something just out of reach or out of sight. I remove one panel, or shelf, or tank only to find it is zip tied to something else - again just out of reach in a more contorted and painful body position under some piece of boat joinery. I remove the next panel (et al) - wash, rinse, repeat, and a week later, the terra firma outside the boat is littered with hacked out-interior joinery, zip ties and blood stained fiberglass only to find the wire is now embedded in the hull epoxy. For the sake of time you would think a pair of wire cutters would be a more attractive solution. Yes.

But no.... I want the entire wire - and the boat to be rid of dead, legacy, stray wires - Hakluyt has a LOT of legacy abandoned and atrociously messy wiring already. I want a clean start - no confusion in the middle of the ocean because the radar went dead and I am tracking down a short only to find a spectrum of dead legacy wires confusing matters - the proper way is to remove ALL legacy wiring. The new wiring will be perfect so in reality there won't be any shorts - and hopefully Hakluyt's wiring isn't embedded in concrete... ;-)

Functional - maybe...  Practical in an urgent situation - ummmm no
Ummmmmm.... OMG... See what I mean? It all has to go... Just one example of Hakluyt's ad hoc, legacy, nightmarish wiring. Need I say more...

That allegory applies to pretty much every objective I have set out to accomplish with Hakluyt - removing the galley means everything around the galley has to be removed. Walls, bulkheads, plumbing, hideous tiles, weirdly rotted insulation, etc... Pandora's box - was being opened. It was here the first signs of serious rust shook hands with my nightmares. Stringers (the longitudinal steel reinforcements that run the length of the hull) along the walls were showing signs of serious corrosion - obviously caused by water - but from where??

It had been snowing out and the freeze - thaw - thaw - snow - freeze - thaw cycle was generating a large amount of water on deck, The Fuel tanks had been removed revealing stagnate water sitting on top of the lower stringers (lower down towards the bilge) and in the lowest bilge section - I could see a tiny water trickle path weaving its way from the stringer above through the limber hole (designed to allow water to drain from stringer to stringer - or rib to rib to the lowest part of the boat) to the stringer below. The 2mm wide trickle appeared in my mind as a river and cascaded like Niagara Falls from behind the wall of the starboard shelves and pilot berth. Ugggghhhh....

Shelves on the Starboard side - hiding the microscopic flood of water from an unknown leak in the upper hull or deck that eventually drains into the bilge

Every boat leaks. Well, unless you have vastly more funds than I do and can afford a "new" boat - let's just say, all "older" boats leak, all new boats will leak, and all steel boats rust AND leak... I realize now Hakluyt obviously has rust and leaks... I did indeed expect that leaks and rust came part and parcel with my nearly 30 year old steel boat. Where the leak under the old starboard pilot berth was coming from remained a diabolical mystery - unless... Unless I hunted it down; but only if I amended my originally intended scope creep limitations. Here in lies the genesis of the dreaded refitter's "Pandora refit decision" and shall I say; gateway drug to "scope creep". Doing things "properly" often means looking scope creep in the eye and shaking hands.

One small item of worry or discovery leads to an ever expanding exponential widening of the original scope of the project. You can't help but ask - I have gone this far, I might as well do "X" while I am this far to do things "properly" - or should I?

One major objective of this refit, as noted above, is safety - I want Hakluyt to be as safe as I can make her before setting out to rugged, wild, remote destinations. She needs to be self sufficient, safe and reliable. I need systems to work to the best of their ability - and I need the hull to be trust worthy. How can I truly trust the hull "knowing" there are big rusty patches, "potentially" in structural components of the hull? There are some things I can pay less attention to - but rust, emerging rust, serious rust and corrosion I feel demand my attention now - when things are accessible.

So... I shook hands with Pandora and thanked her for my box - err... my beautiful boat. Challenge accepted. Game on. Now please leave.


Of Rust And Men


The first rule of any steel boat is (if you haven't figured this out already) - they rust... We are so very lucky that Hakluyt was built in a professional boat yard and it was obvious the builders gave serious and professional attention to future rust prevention. It likely saved her from the scrap yard or from tormenting a new owner even more dramatically. I often compare Hakluyt to the other steel hulks on the hard nearby here in the Marina, I can't help it. I am ever thankful Hakluyt is in REALLY good shape by exterior comparison to the steel denizens of Lewisporte Marina - I think she is perhaps, in the best condition of them all.

That being said - after 30 years, rust happened, happens, is happening. Every steel hull requires constant "rust vigilance" and attention. The interior hull of Hakluyt likely hasn't seen this kind of attention since she was born. She is - for all intents and purposes - long overdue for this kind of attention.

Starboard diesel tank removed. Port side diesel tank exposed. Diesel heating stove removed. Galley removed. Boom...

I not only tore out the galley, the wiring, the plumbing, the shelving, the counters, sinks, cabinets, the hideous tiles - but also the marine plywood walls and insulation behind the galley to see first hand the interior of the "steel" hull above the bilge. Rust, rust, rust and more rust - scaled stringers, rust stains, and moderately damp dirt just waiting to be rescued and liberated from long hidden solitary confinement. This was a serious but not surprising discovery. Behind the galley there was no evidence of "active" leaking. Behind the starboard shelves above/behind the pilot berth - somewhere - was another matter.

Galley, all aft storage, engine room removed.

Starboard shelves, closet, pilot berth, storage, heating stove all removed. Note the rust just visible along all longitudinal stringers.

For brevity - I will skip all the inglorious details and just say that preventing "scope creep" in a refit like this, is like dreaming you will someday own a Tesla and a Ferrari and drive them both on Mars. Scope leap isn't the right descriptor either. Scope destruction is a little closer to reality in this refit circumstance - I suppose I am still at a loss on how to describe it. Long story short - I tore out the ENTIRE interior from the mast to the transom. There. Done. Boom. Sob. Hello Hakluyt Hull! And - goodbye to Hakluyt's original schedule of departure...

Judith's friend Lisa came to visit and help us work on Hakluyt for a couple days. I had received a tip from a local that the anchor locker had been "improved" but in a "half ass" manner. Great... The anchor chain needed inspection anyway, so Judith and Lisa hauled out the 330+ feet of chain to the ground along with bumpers, buoys, and an insane amount of spare dock lines from the forepeak / anchor locker. There were external signs of cracks in the filler material on the outside of the hull directly opposite for the anchor locker so I now had some profound fears that the forepeak was a complete ruin.

Lots and lots of rust. Lots... But not necessarily where I expected it. There was serious scaling - but around the upper stringers - not the lower ones where a wet moist and damp chain, a steel hull and rust should be fait accompli. I felt around the hull with my fingers next to one of the ribs (vertical trans-sectional members of support like a rib bone in a whale) and the metal seemed to move. I grabbed a screwdriver - and with about 5 pounds of force - the tip went right through the hull.... For a brief second I couldn't feel my body. My ears didn't work. I felt weightless in my contorted position under the deck. I have a hole in my boat dear Liza...

Corrosion hole and rust scaling in the forepeak.

I had one word to say. "Shit". That pretty much sums it up - I could end the blog here...

It took me awhile to come to terms with the situation. There was a paper thin veil of metal and paint covering a 1 inch gapping grand canyon in the hull. Hyperbole aside - it made me instantly think - that is a 1 inch round hole in a boat that has almost 900 square feet of steel hull - in a completely unexpected location. Where oh where are the other holes that are bound to be existent???????? Another singular word described my spiraling thoughts - "shit".

A word on "Ultrasounding" steel hulls. I am often asked whether I had the hull "ultrasound'ed" or "plate surveyed". This is a process of using an ultrasound device to determine the thickness of the steel plate of the hull in order to gauge whether or where corrosion has eaten away "X" amount of steel at "Y" spot. In theory, the ultrasound "survey" is supposed to reveal the horror locations like the one I found in the forepeak. The short answer to the ultrasound survey question is "NO" - I didn't have the hull surveyed prior to purchase. For one - I purchased her during the height of COVID and there was nobody available who could perform the test. In any event, I likely would not have had it done if there was someone available. Nothing beats a dedicated visual inspection in my opinion - and I knew that a fair amount of Hakluyt's interior would be removed to allow this kind of inspection. On the exterior - my intention was to inspect all visual corrosion locations. Keep in mind, a hull ultrasound is NOT like a CAT scan or MRI or traditional "baby" ultrasound where you get holistic detailed information about the region or object you are scanning. A hull ultrasound test gives you an "idea" of where problem spots "might" be. The key word there is "spot". The ultrasound probe survey is every ~12-24 inches along the length and height of the hull. They are simply spot checks of the hull - with a little more than random approach - therefore you can miss a LOT if the probe doesn't hit the exact region where corrosion is occurring - like a 1 inch hole and the surrounding corrosion in the forepeak. There are good arguments on both sides of the fence to be made about hull ultrasounds - they will definitely give you an idea if the hull has major regions of corrosion, sure - but knowing I have a lot in store during Hakluyt's refit that will inspect both inside and outside of the hull, in addition to the "spotty" nature of the ultrasound survey - I ultimately decided to forgo it.


Gutting The Refit


Ruthlessness. Air chisel. Hammer. Screwdriver. Scraper. Pry bar, crow bar, screw drivers, socket wrench, sledge hammer, headlamp, and tenacity. Throw in some hand warmers and pack them into my tool belt. As the folks at Home Depot say - "lets do this..."

I will skip forward to the good part. Every stitch of wood was removed, Every rusting floor girder tossed out the companionway like javelins. Every inch of wiring was removed. Galley - gone. Settee (dining area) - gone. Navigation station - gone. Port sleeping quarters - gone. Engine/battery compartment - gone. Slimy, molded water tanks - gone. Slimy - god knows what is in there plumbing - gone. Old ship safe - gone (well almost... more on that later). All hull insulation - gone. The ground around Hakluyt littered with layers of bulkheads, metal, wiring, wood, blood and all manner of detritus. Hakluyt is naked on the inside, stripped bare - now gutted from the Mast to the transom (aft most part of the boat). It's as if she is a hulk of a bare hull in a factory or like looking at the inside of an oversized barrel. Everything that is rusting/rusted on the inside in this portion of the boat now revealed. And - as a parting gift - no diesel smell anymore!!

In the end, 7 corrosion caused holes were found; 4 holes I would classify as major and 3 minor small holes. Two of the holes in the aft transom were particularly worrisome. They were just as large if not larger than the hole in the forepeak mentioned earlier. However - these holes were obviously existent and well known to "a" previous owner. Which previous owner is unclear. But - the fiberglass patches and copious interior silicone sealer over both holes indicates that prior knowledge of these holes did indeed exist. These two were the culprits of much of the water seeping into - and running the length of many of the interior stringers. The water stemming from this dereliction in maintenance had decades to inflict an array of interior casualties. The good news is - of all the corrosion I found - I didn't find anything I would classify as "critical" or "structural".

Port side transom corrosion - hole to the left unintentional, hole to the right was intentional for wiring, Note the fiberglass patch (laying on wood platform) used in attempt to fix the missing metal (Also note the old "Euronav" logo from Hakluyt's Antarctica expedition)

FYI - "Limber holes". Small (intentional) holes in lateral structural members (ribs) near the hull plating to allow water to drain to the lowest portion of the boat in order to prevent the accumulation of water in any section and reduce the potential of corrosion in any one section.

Another historical incident took place at some point in time during the last 30 years. Perhaps when Hakluyt crossed the roaring forties from South America to Antarctica. A gallon or two of paint, sealer, epoxy, or some thick liquid spilled from the very aft / transom storage locker. It managed to drain its way on the port side over ribs and stringers, blocking limber holes all the way down to the lowest part of the bilge. Note the part - "blocking limber holes"... Nearly all the limber holes in the port quarter and aft center of the hull were blocked by this coalesced red sludge. This allowed water from those aforementioned leaking transom corrosion holes to accumulate and just sit and corrode the metal along several ribs and stringers. It was almost a perfect corrosion storm if you will, where one small tip of a paint can allowed rust to fester on the interior of Hakluyt for many many years. One of the bottom pans - between the stringers and ribs was particularly affected and I worried an entire region of steel would require replacing. But to my surprise - after air chiseling and sanding, the rust and scale came off, and I didn't find any holes - there is a sufficient amount of steel left to perform safely. Whew!

Mysterious hardened red "goo" that blocked aft and port side limber holes - chiseled and broke apart ready for cleaning in this photo

Aft bottom pan with some of the most serious corrosion due to blocked limber holes

Corrosion removed and enough metal left to sail safely into the Arctic!

My thoughts on boat surveys. Sometimes, now hear me out, I am not sure I understand the purpose, or at least the depth a survey is designed to go. It boils down to managing expectations of what the survey can/will do for you. Hakluyt's 2016 survey was woefully inadequate for any purchaser to rely on with confidence enough to make a purchase decision. There were several egregious errors and many significant "non-findings" due to "lack of access". For example, Hakluyt actually had a 110hp diesel and not an 85hp diesel as recorded in the survey - which was an error of little consequence, but just one of several examples that glaringly demonstrated that attention to detail was lacking. I caution anyone who hires a surveyor to survey a boat who consistently remarks "Could not inspect - too much stuff in the way" or "dingy too heavy, did not inspect". That to me is inexcusable if a survey is undertaken solely to make a purchase decision. (I did not rely on the 2016 survey for my decision thankfully). If necessary - the owner or owners representative needs to accommodate the surveyor so they can inspect areas that are vital; like through hulls and sea cocks, wiring, plumbing, ummmm corrosion areas - or regions where a modicum of effort will allow the surveyor to inspect areas of the hull/systems that warrant inspection. I understand boats can be packed to the hilt in their storage compartments - and I get all surveys/surveryors have limitations. My point is simply, a buyer has to fully understand that omitted sections on the survey can result in perilous and/or expensive outcomes. If the potential buyer in 2016 had purchased Hakluyt based on that 2016 survey - I am guessing they would have been pretty pissed off based on what I have actually found contrary to what had been omitted or incorrectly reported.


"Exploits Welding" Team - Paul, Chad and Dean - To The Rescue


I had engaged with several other welders to fabricate the servo prop tunnels and weld them to the hull after cutting two massive holes for the new motor tunnels. They all looked at me like I was crazy when I solicited them for the project... The Exploits folks were the first to take me seriously and without flinching. They are certified to do welding on big oil tankers after all - so Hakluyt should be a no brainer.

I can't say enough good things about the team at Exploits Welding & Machine Shop. They are simply awesome. A BIG MASSIVE thank you to Paul, Chad and Dean!! I had contacted them initially to fabricate the servo prop tubes/tunnels - and then quickly enlisted them to weld the motor flanges to the tunnels and then the tunnels to the hull for our new twin Oceanvolt motors. This project also required they cut two massive holes in the hull to accommodate the servo prop tunnels. I think this is where I lost the other welders I had previously contacted - "cutting holes" in a boat, below the waterline, is a super scary proposition. Not to mention welding the fabricated tunnel back into those precisely cut holes so that it is watertight... Its a tall ask by any measure. But for the Exploits crew - this was child's play, and I felt honored that they would take on such a "small" job!! I will forever be grateful to those boys!

My discovery of not just corrosion holes in the hull, but corroded sections around the holes had me asking them for more and more "patch" welds. I also had them remove a 2 inch through hull pipe for the old galley - patch that hole and cut a new hole and weld the pipe back in for the new galley location. At some point I expected their patience to wear thin with my daily additional requests - but they never showed frustration - they took on the add hoc challenges in stride like complete and utter professionals. In three days they had the Oceanvolt flanges/tunnels and a multitude of welded "hole repair" patch projects and galley pipe renovations completed. Simply amazing!


Oceanvolt Servo Prop Flange/Tunnel Mount Installation


The early priority, besides identifying safety issues and consequential corrosion areas, was to get the boat ready for the Oceanvolt servo prop motor installation. In an earlier post I talked about fabricating my own Oceanvolt flanges to mate with the Oceanvolt mounting plates. The main missing element was the tunnel/tube. As noted above, the fabricators at Exploits Welding came to the rescue and the flange was welded up and ready for installation.

New servo prop tunnels to match the aperture of my fabricated flange just completed in The Exploits Welding shop!

But first, Hakluyt had to be leveled out. For the fabricators to install the flange/tunnel combo - Hakluyt needed to sit as level as possible - and she was sitting several degrees bow down. The flange (shown above) really needs to sit as level to the water as possible. With Hakluyt sitting bow down, it is much more difficult to get the flange level to the boat and water line. Brian from Lewisporte Marina rallied the hibernating marina lads and got the travel lift fired up for the first time of the season. Armed with a 4 foot level we finally got her situated within a couple inches of being level - at over 47 feet we considered that quite a feat!

Tavel lift used to level out Hakluyt in preparation for the Oceanvolt Servo prop mounts.

A couple panicked phone calls were placed to Oceanvolt before the point of no return was reached... Cutting TWO massive holes below the water line for the servo props created a tad bit of anxiety. I just needed a vote of confidence on placement of the new motors. Too far apart and when the boat is heeling under sail, we will loose power regeneration efficiency. Too close together and we loose any advantage of steering that comes with having two motors. Too far aft and they won't be well protected and will be potentially too close to the water line reducing thrust efficiency. Too deep and they are too exposed to underwater items such as ICE! I landed on a decision and Chad just wryly smiled as Dean started blowing a torch hole through the hull. I held my breath and almost closed my eyes,,,

The first hole was cut - and what was done was done - no going back now! As soon as Chad and Dean started fitting the servo prop tunnel I knew everything was going to be perfect! They had a plan and with the precision of a surgeon - modified the new hole to perfectly fit the prop tunnel. A couple tack welds later and we were ready to test the positioning of the flange height and prop to hull clearance. Once we were confident of the inside flange position (level wise) and the prop clearance externally, the tunnel was cut to match the profile of the hull. Then the final water tight welds were laid down both outside and inside - simply bomber!

Chad lining up the servo prop tunnel and flange in the new hole cut in the hull.

No - this isn't Hakluyt's new toilet. ;-) Servo prop tunnel and flange tack welded into place.

Chad testing the servo prop placement and alignment with the tunnel and flange. Plenty of prop clearance!

One servo prop tunnel and flange completed one down, one to go! Lets go!

One done then one to go. The second hole was cut and the next tunnel was in before I knew it. Impressive how quick everything was in and ready to go!

Some REAL progress and a sign things are moving in the right direction. Both Oceanvolt servo-prop flange bases are in!

Oceanvolt flange (blue) sitting on the first servo prop mount. Note the ample room to work from gutting out the interior!

Tying up loose ends - welding shut the old prop shaft tube.

While Chad was welding up the servo prop tunnels, Dean was masterfully prepping the hull patches to take care of the known leaks and bad corrosion locations.

Dean cutting out the corrosion where the leak causing Niagara Falls finally located and mitigated along the starboard gate to deck junction.

Patch to starboard gate applied and welded up - ready to paint!

Anchor locker patch with tack welds applied - no more Grand Canyon! I had removed a section of filler that had cracked for fear the corrosion was a hideous mess behind - I was pleasantly surprised - now its time to patch the patch...

Transom patches applied - WHEW!

And so it went - wash - rinse -repeat - cut - weld - cut - weld. All holes were patched and welded up! It took three days of work for Chad and Dean for what would have taken me 2+ months of work if I did it myself. Thank you again lads! This really helped keep Hakluyt on schedule for getting her in the water later this summer!


Refitting The Gut


Oceanvolt bases/flanges are in and a TON of other prep work completed - now its time to start putting Hakluyt back together! I will end this post by describing one of the least fun aspects of prepping for the rebuild and one of the best parts of the rebuild! The least fun part is metal prepping, sealing and bilge painting. Anyone who knows me well knows I loathe painting. I could NEVER stay between the lines in grade school and those skills didn't improve much over the decades. I just don't have the patience for it. The paint directions aren't always motivating... Sand the to be painted surface how many times? Wash and rinse and wash and rinse the surface how many times before painting? Sand again??!! Please....

In any event - I managed to extend my exhausted painting patience a little to get all the previously rusted metal prepped and sealed. This was a painstaking matter of removing ALL loose corrosion scaling, dust, and as much rust as one human can tolerate before applying a rust locking paint.

Watch 10 different YouTube videos on how to prep your rusting metal hulk of a boat - and you will get ten different hours of advice from which you can subtract 10 hours from your life you will never get back. Thats not to say paint / rust restoration research isn't important - it just sucks a ton of time out of the refit schedule. I did the best I could and I am hoping its good enough.

In the end I settled on Pettit "Metal prep" or "Rustlok" (it has been sold under both names) to seal out oxygen and moisture - in an attempt to limit the continuation of any corrosion on previously rusted metal. By initial impressions - it appears to be some really amazing stuff that adheres to rusted metal like a magnet! I may have went a little overkill with the stuff laying down two coats over the entire length of each and every stringer I could see along with any corroded metal on the plate steel. When I was done it looked like something out of a horror movie - or like a bunch of 3 year olds high on Mountain Dew had just gone crazy with a silver paint brush,

This what it looks like when a band of over sugared toddlers grab paint brushes and are unleashed on the interior of a boat.

Hakluyt's entire exposed interior is getting a makeover. Her drab black depressing paint will be covered over with "grey bilgekote" and white Interlux easypoxy. The liber holes will be re-drilled and another coat of metal prep and paint applied to keep those nice and rust / red goo free. Its pretty exciting actually - and the foundation of the next refit phase is now cast!

The bilges were then coated with 2 coats of Bigekote.

Even on a big canvass - I still can't paint between the lines.

So here we go - on our way to refitting the gutting of Hakluyt! This is what the naked inside of Hakluyt looks like!

All this work - really boiled down to one really exhilarating moment. Finally seeing what the Oceanvolt Servo-prop system will look like once officially installed. I still had some residual pesky fears that something doesn't fit right so I elected to "dry fit" the port motor and prop. This came with its own set of fears as the motors have a critical challenge to their installation - being a set of wires that must absolutely be installed without crimping or integrity compromise. Neither unit is light weight and they present their own equal challenges - but thankfully we had Martin and Stephanie from SV Sandpiper give us a hand and got a the first views of our new auxiliary propulsion that had become the talk of Lewisporte!

This is the Oceanvolt motor "head" seated on the flange and custom servo-prop tunnel.

Shiny new bilges and a shiny new port motor! Starboard flange ready to accept her new motor! Two of these will take up HALF the space required by the old diesel engine!!!! WOW!

The alignment with the original prop shaft is almost spot on. Note - the servo-prop in this photo is not completely bolted in yet - hence the appearance that the fin is resting on the tunnel wall.

I am also really stoked about the lateral placement - it is just where I had it on my CAD renderings for optimal thrust/propulsion! Here you can see the two servo-prop portals,

Simply bad ass looking!


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