Cruising Independence
  • Rick D.

A Month of Boat Projects and Back to the US for a while! Winter 2019 - 20


After our whirlwind Peru and Ecuador travels and with the holidays rapidly approaching, it was time for Rick to complete some boat projects and Candy to return home to Australia to visit her mom and family.


The big project was installing additional solar panels (that doubled our charging capacity !!) We had found a very knowledgeable dealer in Quito and made arrangements for them to be shipped to Bahia. It seems shipping companies don't deliver directly to specific addresses and deliveries are held at a shipping agent's warehouse. Getting the panels entailed hiring a truck and driver and heading to the warehouse in a pretty sketchy area... Once we finally had them they were transported out to the boat via dinghy. Rick then fabricated some aluminum brackets and pulled the boat apart to run wiring and connect the controller. Good thing Candy was away! The total output from the solar array was even better than we had hoped... we now could go days or weeks without running the engine with the freezer, stereo, lights and PC's all on!! That is a huge improvement. When there was enough wind, the wind generator would actually put out too much juice and excess power was routed to a 12 volt water heater element to make hot water... very slick!!


The next project on the list was applying new gloss varnish in the cockpit and satin rubbed varnish on the cabin doors. We hate to be slaves to the varnish and will try to stay ahead... an endless chore with beautiful results.


Next were a number of long planned sewing projects which included... a new bimini (with hundreds of brass grommets), cockpit sun panels, mesh window covers for the pilot house, and a sun/rain awning for the forward hatch. Also a companionway rain flap and insulated snap in flaps for the frig and freezer doors to keep the cold inside.


Once all the sewing stuff was put away, it was time for Rick to don his carpenters hat and rebuild the main salon table base (which had suffered successive hip checks from Chrissy and Candy...). Teak wasn't available locally, but we sourced some indigneous hardwood that could be stained and varnished to match the teak. Finally, with double thick supports through bolted to the floor, the table can handle hip checks from anyone! One last woodworking project was to add new fiddles (removable rails) on the galley counter to keep food prep in one place in a rough sea!


And lastly, a new mast boot from truck tire inner tube covered with Sunbrella! A final project to end a very constructive month.


Rick then left Ecuador for a weeklong visit with his sister Tish and husband Ademir in Saint Augustine, (Thanks guys!!) and headed back to the cold NE for work and house maintenance projects.


In May we'll be off again for our Pacific Ocean adventure...stay tuned!



Christmas onboard in Ecuador
Old solar panels moved outboard and new 50 watt panels added to center. Note new bimini awning.
130 watt panel installed over the dinghy davits
Two more coats of varnish.
Old bimini canvas used as a template for the new heavy duty vinyl (waterproof!) cover.
New bimini with brass grommets installed every 4 inches...
Pilothouse window shades made from mesh vinyl eliminate 70% of hot sunlight, cooling the pilothouse..
LOVE the heavy duty Sailrite sewing machine!!
Installing snaps on the galley counter workspace...
Shades on the pilothouse forward windows.
Forward hatch sun / rain cover.
Nice reinforced corners!
Recut a sail bag into a binnacle / electronics cover...
Inner air barrier for freezer and fridge hatches snaps to the hatch frame.
Rain / sun flap for the companionway with intergral weights in the bottom.
Locating the table for measuring by hanging it in place...
The cockpit becomes a wood shop!
Pre-fitting the table leg pieces - now twice as strong!
Stained table legs ready for satin varnish.
New fiddles in the galley.
Rubber truck inner tube for waterproof mast boot. Sunbrella canvas cover will keep the sun from rotting the rubber.

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