We all know and hate the bilge.  The bilge is dirty, stinky, and looks like something out of a horror movie, at least ours was that way. Because we have all the floor boards at home for refinishing, we thought now is the best time to clean our bilge.

With so much dirt and grim in our bilge we decided we needed to scrub it first to see what we had to work with.  Armed with Mr. Clean, Super Tuff and a lot of scotch brite pads we rolled up our sleeves and went to work.  We scrubbed and rinsed for a straight day.  Having access to a fresh water and a garden hose helped a lot, as we scrubbed we could wash down the bilge and drain the water out with the bilge pump. The little water that we had left we used our wet/dry bucket vac. With day one of cleaning the bilge done, we went home for a beer and shower.

Now that we could see the bones of the boat, day 2 was all about prep.  We had scrappers and scratch pads, along with sand paper and acetone. We scraped all the loose old paint off, cleaned any additional spots that were missed and then gave the surface a full  sanding. At the end of all this was the final vac, again with our wet/dry vac we sucked up as much of the dirt and old paint chips as we could.

Day 3 was the best!  We got to see the results of our hard work. We were unsure which product to use at first and got some great information from different Facebook groups…with that, we decided to stick with Pettit Paint (we use Pettit for bottom paint). We purchased our Pettit Bilge Paint from Jamestown Distributors in white, and the results were instant. We did not use the acetone to wipe down the bilge before painting, for us, this did not cause a great concern.  The paint went on great, with no issues, and while there was some left over paint chips, this didn’t affect the out come we were hoping for.

All in all, it took us 3 days to complete the bilge, and we are completely happy with our results and hard work!

James and Tammy on svoceanphoenix


Thank you @PettitPaint for a great product!


From the Beginning

Our dream…to retire when James turns 55, myself 50 and sail away into the great blue yonder.  Yup, we all have dreams and some of us out there share this same dream. We have ten years to turn this dream into reality.

James has owned boats in the past, a powerboat first and then a Beneteau 323.  After the sale of both he became a beachcomber, a sailor without a ship.  I have had no real experience, the occasional fishing trip and ferry ride, lol.  Shortly into our relationship, I understood how important his passion was and I was excited to give something new a try. About a year into our relationship (November 2016) we came across a CS 22 for sale at an auction, we decided on the highest price point and WE WON!  The first time we seen her, she was so sad looking, but we fixed up the trailer and pulled her home.   We spent the next several months during the weekends working on her.  We must have cleaned out about 50 clay wasp nests, hence the name Yellow Jacket.  Fast forward to summer 2017 and we have a beautiful boat ready for the water, we added items, took out items and designed a crutch for the mast.  We now have a week vacation and decide to take her to the Thousand Islands.

All work and no play….

New instruments, new refridgeration, mast re-rigged, wiring, new sunshades, floors redone, dripless shaft, fuel tank sensor wire replaced, regular maintenance…

There was a lot of days with a lot of work. At the boat show this year you will remember that we purchased new instruments and the refrigeration conversion kit for our ice box. The instruments were first, as the mast was down for service anyway. Was a fairly simple task to install the new windex and cable. As for finding someone to install the instruments this was a challenge all in its self.

I don’t know what others are experiencing with marine services but no one wants to take our money!!!. After a bunch of calls to have someone finalize the install of the instruments and do the final connections…. zip, zero, nada. Ended up calling Raymarine support and they walked me through the entire setup and identified every cable and junction I needed. They were great!

On the mast, we added a new LED anchor light and a new foredeck/steaming light.

The refridgeration install was not that difficult, however, you need to take the time and plan your install and be gentle with the copper tubing. You only have about 3 bends in the copper before it workhardens. The only thing we found is I should have used a larger gauge wire for the power supply. On the deep cycle batteries when the compressor tries to starts the voltage drop is too low and the compressor won’t start. So for now we run on ALL batteries since the starting battery has enough to get it going. Other than that it is working perfect and our 150W solar panel keeps the beer cold.

Now for the outstanding jobs.

Still have the 3 solar vents to install. 2 forward hatches to retrofit. The bow roller still needs to happen. And the new bow pulpit and ladder need to get mounted. Would like lazyjacks and a new sailbag next season to make the mainsail easier to manage.

Top Side:

And this is the Big One…. we are going to strip the top deck down to the original beige gelcoat, do any gelcoat crack repairs and repaint the antislip coating. This came about because the last owners had painted the topside white however over the years it is wearing off and the origional color has shown through. We sanded a small area as a test and it looks great so we have decided to continue. It’s a daunting task but the results will be worth the effort. Last season we rebeaded to salon windows. They are leak free but we are not happy with the overall condition of them. So we will cut new smoked acrylic windows and possibly bolt them in place. Currently they are held in by sealant.

Mechanical work:

Finally got the fuel gauge working. Thank goodness for a good multimeter. Turned out to be just a broken sending wire. Now it’s time to dive into our Diesel.

Our M35 universal is a great motor. It is a hard starter though and I want to get that resolved. I am sure it’s a glow plug issue. The motor starts imediately when it is warm but takes some time first thing in the morning. So new glowplugs and new power wires are on the list. Other than an oil change and new water impeller (preventative maint) she is good to go.

At the end of the day we get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction from working on Ocean Phoenix as well as sailing her. We purchased her knowing the workload would be high but she is a solid & safe vessel with great performance. The key to our success is Tammy and I work great together and have skills that compliment each other.

Whether its projects or sailing we are a great team!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Her first trip… sailing to Martha’s Vineyard

We have had a very busy spring season and we are behind on our posts, (we will fix that soon, I promise)

Today we want to share our trip that we are planning. We have not yet taken Ocean Phoenix on any kind of sail outside of a couple hours here and there. At the end of July, we are sailing to Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard, and we are very excited!

We are planning on leaving Barrington on Sunday and sailing to Cuttyhunk first, we will stay the night there, hopeful there is a mooring available! Monday we will make our way to Edgartown where we have reserved a mooring for two nights.

We are looking forward to sailing, fishing, and sightseeing. We may take our bikes for when we reach land. The one thing that is exciting us the most the chance to get the boat out and really sail it and to see how it handles, and to get some experience under our belts. We have not really sailed for more then a couple hours at a time and now our first sailing vacation and one step closer to being cruisers. 😁⛵

Have you made this sail? What do you recommend? What was your experience? We would love to hear from you, drop us a line!

Dripless Shaft Seal

Last year we were really watching our packing glad, the thin jam nut seemed to be warped a little and we were unable to lock it down like we wanted to. We could get a slow drip but had a slow steady stream after motoring for a while, not urgent, but made us want to look at replacing this. After some research, we decided to purchase a dripless shaft seal.

As expected the removal of our current packing gland proved to be quite the challenge. We had previously, the week before, soaked the motor coupling with PB Blaster. We let it sit overnight to soak in a little. There are 2 grub screws that hold the coupling to the shaft. One came out with a little effort but the other would not budge. Eventually, I snapped the one screw off flush with the coupling hub. So out came the drill to remove the broken end.

Once that was done we tried to use a 2 bolt puller to remove coupling… nothing. Then added a little heat to try and “wick” the blaster into the seam of the shaft bore and expand the coupling slightly…. nothing. At this point, we decided to split the coupling with a cutting disk on a grinder at the keyway, tapped in a feather wedge to spread it a little and …. success!

We used some emery cloth to clean up the shaft. The cutlass bearing looked great and there was only .002″ thou of wear on the shaft so at least we don’t need a new shaft also. We gave the shaft seal parts a quick test fit, all good, and we will order a new coupling from “General Propeller” in Florida on Monday.

Upon assembly, I will use a little anti-seize to make life easier for next time.

A big shout out to Paul.G of Magicflyte, fellow C&C owner, for his guidance and offer to use his alignment bushing for the new installation.


Tammy and James Doucette




It’s that time of year 😎

Spring is right around the corner (literally, it’s tomorrow lol) and that means it’s boat prep time. Last fall we got ambitious and we decided to bring home all the flooring from our sailboat with plans on redoing them. Well, we have started. The weather is just nice enough to work in our garage to removed all the old vanish. We will keep you all up to date on the progress as we go. Please remember, we are new at all of this.

Over the next 2 months we have much to do. Finish the flooring, clean the bilge, redo the bottom paint, run all the halyards back through the mast again, install the new instruments, install the new PSS shaft seal, convet our icebox to a fridge… wow I see some long days and nights ahead, but we’re are excited!

THEN, we are on the water again and all the hard work is done but a distant memory. Our days will be filled with sailing, fishing, sundowners, and of course the regular maintenance involved with having a boat.

I don’t know about you, but we can hardly wait to get out there again.

Cheers all!

A Great Time!

The Toronto Boat Show was fabulous! We stayed at the Western Harbor Castle and we definitely recommend this hotel, wow! The service was fast, professional but very warm.

The boat show more then exceeded my expectations. This was the first time for me, James had been there in the past. When you walk in it’s total sensory overload… in a good way of course. We explored some of the new sailboats on the market, and yes they were really nice but I think we will keep our little gem. We spoke to a lot of vendors, and got some great information. We even made a new friend! Daryl was the shopping for his boat, an 89 C&C 37/40 +. We had spoken to him numerous times via social media, but it was a great pleasure for us to speak with him in person and share thoughts and ideas about our boats! Daryl, we look forward to seeing you in Troy, NY, as you pass by on your way south!

We had a lot of fun shopping for Ocean Phoenix. We bought new Raymarine instruments, a steaming light, 2 day / night vents, and a refrigeration conversion kit for our icebox. We are really excited about the kit, we will be able to keep items colder and have more of a shelf life. This kit converts our icebox to a refrigerator and even has a small freezer. Nothing better then an ice cold beer!

We are excited for all the work we have coming up, we are looking forward to making this boat so much more for us. We will try as much as possible to take pics and keep you all updated with our repairs and progress.


Tammy and James on sv Ocean Phoenix

The Boat Show!

We are here at the Toronto Boat Show! We are excited to see all the exhibits and vendors… honey hide the credit card! Items of interest this year…

– Instruments

– North Sails

– Teak, and interior items

– Sunbrella material

– Windlass

– Manson Supreme Anchor

Just to list a few 🙂

We will report back with our thoughts about the show and the items we purchased!

Photo 1

One of my favorite pics! The blue sky, puffy clouds, American flag in the wind, and Ocean Phoenix sitting pretty on her mooring.


Photo 2

Our first night on Ocean Phoenix on the water.  We had just gotten her into the water and there is no better feeling then your boat gently swaying in the water.  Best sleep ever.


Photo 3

My amazing and loving family. We all enjoy the boat and each others company. And sometimes we just like to kick back, relax, and have fun together!