savethedateAbout a month or so ago, Kim and I were dining at our favorite restaurant, Los Tarascos. Kim has been ramping up her already well-established business, KBC Communications, and is settling into the groove. She felt so “in the groove” that she stated, “we need to set a date.” I agreed that we should and with that she said, “How about September 1?” September 1 sounded good to me, so we finished our meal and celebrated making this big decision.

So what does that date mean? Is this the date we leave? Is this when the boat launches? Or is that the pickup date for the truck to move it? It is all or some combination of those, we guess. Basically, it’s a point in time—a goal—and we are working toward it with determination.


Spraying gelcoat.

One big project, gelcoating the deck, is finished. We have started to re-bed all of the deck pads and hardware. We still need to paint the topsides and boot stripe, and replace the teak deck.

Late in the fall we installed a Webasto diesel furnace and interior winter boat work became much more comfortable without the need for a propane blast furnace to heat the work spaces. We also had the boat shrink wrapped (complete with a zippered door).


Fiberglass holding tank under construction.


Aft berth remodeled.

The original holding tank is in Sundown’s keel and had an extremely complicated plumbing system that required two threw hulls, a “Y” valve and a vented loop. I don’t think that it had been a “closed” system for many years as it gave off an offensive odor.. When I decommissioned the holding tank I found a rusted hole through the weld at the vent. We re-designed the system with a Nigel Calder recommendation that works with gravity. I custom fabricated a new tank with sheet fiberglass panels and mounted it directly forward of the head on the chain locker bulkhead. It’s very simple and requires no macerator pump or Y valve.

The starboard aft quarter berth (the guest room) needed some woodwork to, including removal of a rotten headliner (ceiling). I was unable to find a reasonable source for that so I made it from scratch. I thought this project would take a fair amount of time, but I completed it in a couple days! The other woodwork included wire and electrical back panel covers for new electrical stuff like the inverter control, bilge pump switch and lights. I added a shelf to the plan for those little incidentals that need a place to live while you sleep. I also painted and varnished that area.

Another project I recently completed is finishing the companionway stairs. The Hans Christian 33T comes with an unusually cumbersome arrangement for steps which double as the engine compartment cover. I redesigned the compartment cover last year and we have used a Workmate stool as the step since then. The two step original staircase had barrel bolts and small oval accesses to a cavernous and unusable storage area. I hinged the steps and cut out the back to make the stairs lighter and usable. The barrel bolts were discarded and two toggle latches were added. They were completed with varnish on the outside and white paint on the inside.


Stairs with hinged openings on steps.

We also have been switching out the incandescent lights for LEDs. We turned every light on in the boat the other day and we were drawing less than 3 amps! It’s a very efficient lighting system.

With the help of my friend, Larry Monesson, the headliner from the galley to the head is painted now, too.

We’re checking off items on the “to-do” at a regular pace, which means that September 1 date might actually mean something!

If you’re on Facebook and don’t follow us there, please do! We frequently post photos there of our progress. Kim promises to get back to a more regular blog-posting schedule once her KBC work calms down a bit. Just know we’re working hard with a target date in mind.

Photo by Elliott Bay Yacht Sales

Photo by Elliott Bay Yacht Sales

I know, I know. I’m WAY behind in updating you on our progress. That’s because we’ve been busy working on that progress or working to pay for the progress. Both are so time consuming. I promise to add new photos soon and let you know what’s new on Sundown. In the meantime, here’s a great review about how well suited she is for blue water sailing.



Woot! It’s a day of celebration at Port Sundown. We made our final boat payment! Sundown is all ours. Well actually, we’ve had Sundown’s title since we bought her. We took out a loan against one of our 401k retirement accounts and paid for her in full, so the monthly payments with interest we’ve been making have been to ourselves. Still, it feels great knowing we’re finished paying off that loan, because now we have that much more money each month to invest in refurbishing Sundown and getting her ready for our cruising adventure. Our ticket to ride–or sail–feels that much more real. Yea!


KBC logo


We’ve taken one more step to launch us in the direction of living full time on Sundown, our Hans Christian 33t sailboat. Continue Reading »

Sailboat on Grand Lake

Clay and I are celebrating our 12-year anniversary today. In some ways it feels like we got married only a couple years ago. In another, it seems we’ve always been together. Either way, it’s all great! Continue Reading »


Where in the world is the galley?

When people ask, “How’s the boat renovation progressing?,” I cower and feebly mumble something I think will appease their curiosity like, “Oh, you know, it’s a big project” or “It’s coming along.” If they say they want to see it, I cringe and politely change the subject or pray my phone rings so I can feign annoyance that we’ve been interrupted and will have to set a viewing date another time.

I react this way because s/v Sundown is a mess (view more photos in the gallery). There’s crap everywhere. It’s dusty, dirty and greatly disturbs the sense of order I need to feel balanced. But I’m reading a book that’s giving me a new appreciation for the boat’s disheveled, nasty state Continue Reading »


I wrote the title of this post with “Raspberry Beret,” a song by Prince, playing in my head. While Sundown won’t wear a cute little French hat (which is just a silly thought because sailboats don’t wear hats), she will wear these shiny, freshly painted dorades. I love visible progress like this. Stay tuned for more!



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