An amazing weekend

We set out on Thursday evening from Troy, New York to Barrington, Rhode Island.  From our land home to our water home.  We loaded our Dodge Ram full with all the to-do items we needed to finish getting Ocean Phoenix ready for the water.  If you have been following us, then you know that she has been on the hard for 3 years now.  She was a very successful racer in her day (more on this later) and we are transforming her into a cruiser now.

We had compiled our to-do list for this weekend over the course of a couple weeks.  The reason for this last push…OUR LAUNCH DATE!!! We are launching Ocean Phoenix on June 8th.  Below is a list that we set out to complete this weekend?

  • Renaming our boat… goodbye Who’s yo Daddy, hello Ocean Phoenix.  We installed our new vinyl letters, thank you to Ultimate Screen Graphics in Troy, NY
  • New bottom paint
  • Install new taps in the galley and head
  • Install solar panel charging controller
  • Troubleshoot propane system
  • Remove every item from the boat that is not needed for sailing…down a 14-foot ladder
  • Install new through hull for high water bilge alarm/pump
  • Drain 3-year-old diesel fuel from the tank
  • Finish salon windows with silicone and cleaning
  • Spray and clean off the top deck
  • Install new mooring cleat
  • Installed our new Magma BBQ on our port side stern rail

Guess what!!!!!

We got everything done, except for replacing the taps in the head…a 10-minute job we will complete on our next trip. We even took the time to enjoy a beautiful sunset!

Below you will find some pictures of our weekend and all the fun we had working to get here ready for our launch date.

Major project #1

So here we are just weeks away from the first launch and we still had a few big projects to get completed. The salon windows, the water system and the bottom preparations.

2 weeks ago we removed ALL the salon windows and the top deck window. They came out pretty easy considering all the different bedding materials used over the years. A combination of Sikaflex (I think), white silicone, 3M 5200 and gorilla glue or some form of contact cement? Anyway here’s what we know for sure… the original bedding held really well for the first 20 years and we believe it was Sikaflex. However the other repairs done after that were AWFUL!!!!!



So we started from the beginning. Remove all the old bedding and start over. But what to use? All internet posts say butyl tape, however our windows do not have any fasteners. they are just glued to the fiberglass. Some say DOW 795 is the way to go. In the end we chose MULCO Supra Expert. It is a window adhesive that has 1400% elongation. Yes that’s right 1400%!! It is a thermoplastic material used for high rise windows that use Aluminum frames.

Lets get to the project now.

We arrived at the boat this Friday night and found that our plastic and Duct Tape had not held over the open holes that the windows were in. The inside of the boat was fine but we consider that a close call for a lot of potential damage. We had a rainy day  on Saturday so spent the day working on the final plumbing items. The hot water on demand was repaired and back in service and other than a small drip on the pump we are good to go. Got the propane solenoid valve replaced for the main system and mounted the TV to the bulkhead.


Sunday was somewhat overcast buy we decided to go for the windows regardless and take our chances with the weather. We taped all the areas we did not want the excess Supra to touch and started to place the windows. A 1/2″ bead of Supra Expert was layered on and we pushed the windows into place until we could see the adhesive squeeze out the edges inside and out. Placed a few sandbags on the face to keep in place and VOILA! Sealed windows we hope!!! Just have to trim up the material when we get back on the long weekend and seal the edges with 3M UV4200.


Its supposed to be rainy for the next few weeks so we will let you know if we have any leaks. We do feel pretty confident that it will work out for the best, if not we will go with Plan “B”… drill the windows and add some fasteners with butyl tape bedding. Time will tell.

The bottom repairs are pretty basic. Have some fairing compound to add around the keel and a epoxy repair around our head through hull. Some epoxy barrier coat to seal everything up and touch it up with bottom paint.

We are so very close to our maiden voyage. We hope to launch the weekend of  June 8th.

We will keep ya up to date on our progress!

James and Tammy on svoceanphoenix


The never-ending repair story

Why this title, because as all boat owners know the list of to-dos, must-dos and would like to-dos just never end, lol.

The last post we told about our spring prep list…well we got a little sidetracked.  Our list is now spanning a couple of years. Head over to Refit Projects & Cost for our to-dos and completed to-dos.

We have now spent 2 weekends in Rhode Island so far this season and here is update.

We spent Easter weekend onboard and wow that was a COLD, one.  This first weekend was all about the wiring and the leaks.  If you are following us on our Facebook group Sailboat refit and repairs then you have already seen the mess.  We started on Friday with trying to trace the wire for the nav lights, at one point they were working and then NO.  When wired before they were wired with the instruments switch, at least we know where it runs now.  Our thoughts were to change it to the running lights switch, which operates our interior red LED lights, but we need the nav lights when the instruments are on, not the running lights.  We may go with a separate nav lights switch in the near future.  Here is the before and after wiring videos.

In this video, almost everything is still in there. We found many wires that were not connected at all, it was a mess and there was a lot of tracing and track to do.

In this video, you will notice the large amount of wiring that we removed as it was no longer valid and 2 large pieces of dated equipment…So much better!

Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day, the sun was out and the temps went up a bit.  And today was a great day to tighten the toe rail, and every other nut we could get our tools on.  With the nav lights still being flaky, James has decided to run all new wiring and do a proper connection, as they are connected through the light in the head. I have set off on a mission to tighten and track our leaks.  Some of the nuts were great, others not so much, it was tedious but a must do.

We got all our supplies back onto Ocean Phoenix, as well as the re-purposed covers that we talked about in an early post titled Updating our Cushions.   After staining the fabric and redoing the zippers they look great onboard again.

This past weekend was our plumbing weekend with small odds and ends.  James worked all of Saturday ensuring that the water bladder was installed and connected, the foot pump was repaired and put back into place with the y-valve now connected to it.  Originally the waste bladder was connected, but with no way to pump out.  He installed a new hose connecting it to the deck fitting, y-valve, and bladder.  We have a new bilge float installed along with new Sahara bilge pump wired to a high water alarm as an emergency backup system.  In total, right now we have 2 automatic bilge pumps, 1 electric manual bilge pump, and 2 whale pumps.  We have tested our pumps and they are all working, YAY, our next job in this area is to run the systems for the water and flush everything and then get we are good to go.

Ocean Phoenix is almost ready for her name. While James was busy inside, I removed the old name from the transom.  I don’t think there is an easy way to do this but to grin and bear it.  I used a heat gun and straight blade to peel off the old vinyl.  It is a process, but for us and many others, one that is really worth it.  Our new letters are almost done and we should be able to do this really soon, based on the weather of course.

If you are looking for more information about any of the above, please write to us, we would be happy to help, as so many have helped us in the past.  You can also head on over to Facebook and find more discussions on our page.  Links are below.

Sailboat Refit and Repairs
SV Ocean Phoenix

2018 Preparations

AHOY sailors!!!

So its that time of year again when us northern folk are really starting to get into the swing of things for the summer boating season. Cleaning, polishing and fixing is just a few tasks we all endure or enjoy (depending on perspective) as we get closer to launch.

I truly enjoy the task of getting the boat ready for summer and this year is even more special as we get Ocean Phoenix ready for her maiden voyage after our purchase this fall. We have made a pretty comprehensive list of things to do and add on’s. And yes, we also have the must do’s at the top of the list.

time to sail

We got a few of the systems running last fall and started repairing and surveying the electrical system on the boat. We resolved the GPS signal loss issue thanks to my wife Tammy and her keen eye for detail (broken fuse holder). However the Nav lights that did work when I started, stopped working all of a sudden. So still some work to improve the systems on board.

Here is our list so far: Must Do’s

Install bow roller, install 4 cleats and 1 center bow cleat for anchor rode, new vinyl lettering for boat name, repair foot pump in galley, install repaired water bladder, replace “Y” valve for head septic, install 2 solar panels and controller, upgrade inverter to 1800 watt, get and set up BBQ.

Nice to do:

Install new Windlass, new instruments (Depth, speed & wind), LED lights for interior, high water alarm, install 30A shore power system.

We will post a few pics and think about doing some videos this year of our projects. We have found some great how to videos of us regular Joes working on our boats , so this will be a bit of “pay it forward” hoping others will benefit like we did. The best resource is other boaters.

As for mechanical preparations, we will be doing the standard items like battery installation,oil change and fuel filter, purging the water system. We will, however, also complete a few additional items suggested by some fellow boaters in our previous posts. Diesel tank will be drained and new fuel added with conditioners. We will also test the glow plugs and ensure they are working properly and check all fuel lines for leaks as the engine starts harder than I like.

And finally to ensure we stay afloat on our mooring we will check all through hulls and make sure they work (a bit seized up) and service the packing gland (may install a drip-less shaft seal in the future). Bilge pump is also a high priority to keep working and will likely add a second one for good measure that is attached to the high water alarm.

With so much to think of and consider, we want to make sure to have the MUST DOs done and not sink…is there anything else that should be or needs to be done before we put her into the water?

For now we have all our items scattered in our basement and garage being organized for relocation to Rhode Island in a few weeks.

Can’t hardly wait!

James and Tammy on svoceanphoenix



Two years ago, James, my amazing husband, surprised me with a packaged trip to Cuba for Christmas.  Our trip was booked for January 12, 2016 to January 20, 2016.  When we left our home (at the time we were living in Canada) on the 12th, we had to deal with freezing temperatures and a blinding snow storm in order to make it to the airport.  After making it to Pearson Airport in Toronto Ontario, we caught a couple hours of sleep on the seats as we waited for our flight.  We arrived in Cuba on January 13th at 10 am, it had just stopped raining and was cloudy…but it was HOT.  We loved it already!

We found our shuttle easily and we were on our way to Memories Jibacoa.  On the way we made a stop at popular roadside establishment, where we enjoyed a spectacular view, met some of the locals and could purchase local wares and a Pina Colada.

Memories Jibacoa…

The hotel was amazing, light and airy, open with the hills at the back of the hotel and the sweeping ocean in front, we were in paradise. The main lobby was bright and clean, with large open windows and stained glass borders it allowed an impressive view of their courtyard and beach front. We were offered a beverage as we were checking in and exchanging our currency.  Our room was also very clean and bright, white walls and floor, with bright bedding, curtains and accessories. Everything we needed was there including a safe to keep our travel documents in. The bed was comfortable and the water was hot for showering. The slideshow below shows some of the pics that we took in and of the hotel.

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The Wildlife…

The week that we were there, unfortunately the weather was not in our favor most days so we did not have a chance to snorkel at the hotel, but we were able to still see a lot of beautiful things.

Day Trip One – HAVANA…

I had always heard that Havana is a city set in the past.  A city of great history, culture and of times gone by.  We took a bus to Havana as one of the trips you can book while at Memories Jibacoa.  The city is remarkable! The people, the buildings, the colors, the smells, everything is so alive. As we walked the streets, we were in awe, nothing would have prepared us.  You really have to see it and to walk around to understand the feelings.

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Day 2 Trip – The Jeep experience

We booked this trip on the 16th, my birthday…What a day!  There was a group of us and we all loaded into different jeeps, we had a driver for our jeep so we were really able to look around.  We drove through many towns and through an amazing countryside, our first stop was for Pina Colada’s of course. They Cuban family that owned the first farm was really nice and hard working.  While we were there they were making mugs out of long stocks of bamboo.  We purchased 2 of them and they came filled with yummy Pina Colada.  Next we enjoyed a boat ride on one of their rivers, the weather was warm and the view was speculator. When we reached the shore again, we had a beverage and had the joy of experiencing a native dance.  Back into the jeeps and over to the oceans edge.  We went snorkeling,  my first time ever.  We loved it, the water was warm and you could see sooo much. After a full morning we arrived at a coffee farm for lunch.  We had a traditionally prepared Cuban lunch followed by coffee and took a scenic horseback ride around the farm. Once we were done with our horses we loaded back into our jeeps and found ourselves at a freshwater underground cave, our last stop.  The water was cold but really refreshing.  The cave and all the colors in the cave and water was truly wonderful.  Our day was beyond words, it was perfect.

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The people that we met and talked to were always very kind.  Whether on or off of the resort the people always had a smile.  They would wave, say hi and go on their way.  We were asked to share our left over items (shampoo, soap etc.) when we checked out, but we never felt harassed.  We were happy to share.

The Countryside…

As we drove around on our many trips out, we were able to take in the breathtaking beauty of the Cuban Country, and of our hotel area.

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If you are ever considering a trip to Cuba, then go!  We enjoyed ever part of it. The food was amazing and full of flavor everywhere we went. We had a choice a regular foods including bacon, chicken, fish, pork, beef, pasta’s and seafood.  We never need extra salt, spice or hot sauce to supplement the flavor, the cooks always did a fabulous job.  The wine during dinner and the coffee after dinner were available and free flowing.

Off resort you do need to carry coins with you as if you need the washroom it will cost you a coin or two for some toilet paper.  It’s not a big deal and keep in mind, you are supporting someone when you purchase your handful.

Thank you to everyone who helped make our trip to Cuba a time that we will never forget.  We hope to return again, but next time maybe we will set sail and arrive by sailboat.

James and Tammy

“Sail” tales…What now?

Our Sails are BACK!!!

From our previous post “Sail” Tales, you know that we took our sails to Kingston Sail Loft in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.  John looked over the six sails and the results…

  • Sail #1 – Kevlar, patched leech on both sides – GOOD SAIL
  • Sail #2 – Kevlar – DEAD
  • Sail #3 – Kevlar, delaminated –  ALMOST DEAD
  • Sail #4 – Kevlar, Heavy – ALMOST DEAD
  • Sail #5 – North White sail, tear fixed on the leech, cloth tears easily – JUST USE IT TILL IT DIES
  • Sail #6 – White Sail, very heavy, very old but structurally good – GOOD SAIL


Now what?

We have four that are dead or almost dead, two that are good and will be added to our other four sails in great condition, along with the two spinnakers.  It seems like a waste just to toss out the dead sails.  What do others do?  What do you do with your old sails?

I have seen beach bags made from sails, shoulder bags, shower curtains and a few other items.  Have you seen anything else?  Is there anything that can be made from our of old sails that would benefit us as we are sailing?  We would love to see some pics of what you have made?


James and Tammy

Updating our Cushions

FYI…circles are pics, squares are videos, click on the squares…enjoy

If you have read any of our past posts,  you know we have recently purchased our forever boat and we will use it on weekends and summer vacations until we retire in 9 years. We have a lot of work to do to transform her from a racing boat to a live-aboard cruiser.  We are planning on redoing the fabric and cushions completely in about 5 years, so we were hoping to re-purpose what we have.

At first sight, the fabric was faded but seemed to be in okay shape, so we loaded them into our car and took them home.  We wanted to take the fabric off and wash both the foam pieces and the fabric.

Washing the foam was a bit of a task, but fairly easy to do.  We had an extra garbage can (very large) and filled it with water, swimming pool chlorine and a splash of carpet cleaner with Febreze for a fresh scent.  We dipped the cushions in the water, squeezed the water out and left them to dry in the summer sun.  END RESULT…Fresh foam, waiting for the fabric

This is where things got interesting…

As you can see above, the zipper pulls that were used were made from metal, add this to the salt water environment and voila!!!  We tried to scrape it off and add new zipper pulls, but no…the corrosion was not coming off and we could not find matching plastic zipper pulls.  OUTCOMES THE ZIPPERS (great time for a movie, lol)

Pile of old zipper

So the zippers are out and our new products have arrived and are waiting to go in…

We were not happy with the faded look, after some research we have decided to dye the fabric…

Filling the washer

After we dyed and washed the fabrics we found that the edges were fraying badly.  We could not find any binding to fit our needs, but we did find ribbon.  We folded the ribbon in half with an iron and then stitched onto the fabric.  Very time consuming, but it added some great strength to the zipper area.

Fraying after the wash

We sewed the new plastic zippers into place, added the zipper pulls, sewed up the end pieces and hand stitched around the zipper teeth. At the time of this post, we are still working on some of the zippers.  As this is our winter project, it is a work in progress.  As we complete a zipper, we take the pieces downstairs and insert the foam back into them.  I have to admit this is the fun part of the whole process.

We laid down the batten and but the cushions on top to measure them out. After we had the batten cut, we spray glued onto the foam.  This gives it a softer and plumper feel and look.  Next, we cut a piece of silk film larger enough to cover the whole foam piece.  SILK FILM is your friend, it makes life so much easier!!!  We use our vacuum to suck the air out of the foam and then it slides right into place.  LOVE IT.

Seat with foamSilk Film 2






And now we have cushions that are one color (not faded), clean, fresh and plump.  We are so excited to get these back to our boat and to try them out.

We hope you find this helpful and should you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  We would love to hear your feedback as well, leave your comments below.

Cheers all

James and Tammy on svoceanphoenix

Understanding and Awareness

Self-Defense should be learned by both males and females.  It does not matter how old you are, self-defense is not about strength, it is about avoiding and getting out of dangerous situations.  As I proceed with our post, you will start noticing that I use general terms…we, the attacker, someone, people, they… The reason for this is that not all attackers are going to be a single one gender, males attack and females attack, it’s as simple as that.  It is careless to have people watch out for only one gender, it leaves them open and vulnerable to attacks by others.



When you walk down the street, in a mall, or any other busy area, how do you walk?  Do you lower your eyes to the opposite sex? Do you look away?  Are you slumped over? You should make eye contact with the people around you.  Tighten your core, straighten your back and shoulders.  As you do this, it will allow the people around you to see you as someone with strength and not as a possible victim. You will be more aware of what is happening.  Some attackers will be looking for a victim, if you do not present as a victim, at least it is a start and a good start.

When you visit a new place, there is usually a sense of urgency.  We want to see as much as possible, take in all the new sights, sounds, and tastes.  As you are exploring and tasting, keep your hands and arms free.  Purchase a backpack with multiple pockets.  You can keep our cash and valuables hidden deep, carry water with you, a whistle on the strap, and all your purchases can go into the pack.  This pack also becomes a defense tool, which we will discuss later.  This enables you to hide what you have bought and keep your hands free, just in case


Awareness of where you are and who is around you is extremely important.  Why…because knowing where you are and where your exits spots are can help you escape from a fire, an attack, or any other possible danger.  Knowing who is around you is equally important, is there a person who presents a danger, are you being followed, is there someone that needs help…

Can anyone relate to the following…

  • Leaving your office and your arms are full of paperwork, books, briefcase, the cell in your hand and your tired
  • Carrying so many bags of groceries at once you swear your arms will come right off
  • Reading a book, magazine, or looking at your cell phone
  • Jogging with music and both earbuds in
  • Exploring a new area, and being overwhelmed by everything around you
  • While traveling, you go off the path well traveled for a better look

All of these could put you at risk and have the potential of making you a target, you are distracted, unable to defend yourself and unable to identify situations.


  • Keep your purse or wallet closed and secure. Ladies, the strap over your shoulder and purse part closed and between your body and arm.
  • Don’t weigh yourself down with bags, make an extra trip.
  • Let people know where you are and where you are going
  • Trust your feelings
  • Look around and see what is there and who is there

More to come next time, for now, stay safe everyone!




One in five women at some point in their lives will be raped

46.4% lesbians, 74.9% bisexual women and 43.3% heterosexual women reported sexual violence other than rape during their lifetime

Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault

Every 98 seconds someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. That means every single day more than 570 people experience sexual violence in this country



We live a beautiful world, great places to see and destinations that are sought after.  As we sail from land to land we stop and take in the sights and sounds.  Some of us visit the country side and hike the mountains, speak with the locals and even take in dinner with a few.  Others seek out the local pubs, tasting some of the finest and best draft that your area offers.  Others yet, will head a shore with empty bags only to return with their arms completely weighted down with fruits, fresh veggies and little trinkets from the local merchants. This new land that we are excited to see is filled with so many new smells, sights and things to taste and touch…our sensory system is on overload.

Do you notice when you are being followed?  Did you happen to feel when the person took our money from our bag handing off your shoulder? What about the person who slips something into your drink as you turn around to take a selfie with the local bartender? You really need to go pee, someone is standing by the public washroom, but you don’t give it a second thought. As a female, you are walking down the street, you look away from males as they pass you.

Talking (writing) about abuse, assault, rape…any of it can be a very difficult subject.  As you see from the stats it is real and it is around us.  I have been waiting to cover this heavy topic.  This will be the introduction to more, I will answer the questions in the paragraph above, give you more tips and techniques that I have learned over the years and answer question that you may have.

Please note…There is NEVER any guarantee that the tips and techniques will work, but I will provide as much information as I can, including images and videos.  You do not need to be fit, young or flexible to save your own life…The first topic we will cover is “Understanding and Awareness”.  Till then be safe!

It’s your LIFE and it’s worth fighting for, NEVER give up!16667167664_4901761eb5_b

The above stats were found below

Sexual Assault Stats Link



The waters are calm, the refection almost mirror image.  As she stretches out from bow to stern she has a certain style.  Her lines are smooth and clean…flawless.

As she moves she has a classic grace about her.  She will slice through the water and flow over the waves.  As the wind expands her sails she starts to feel her full power.  She sets out, slow at first, as she gains speed she never loses her grace. She handles her power with ease.

She will take you places that you can only ever dream of.  Somewhere close for an afternoon outing with someone special or a passage through time to a far-off island full of grace and refinement.

She will teach you balance and culture.  She will teach you patience and endurance. Of course, there are more sophisticated beauties out there, newer, sleek, more elegant.  But once you meet her and form that connection, that’s it.

SHE…is your sailboat, she might have some years on her, but that gives her charm.  She has our respect and she gives us her joy.

The Daily Post Elegance