31 Mar

Spring Update: Sails and more

It’s been sooooo long! And so much has happened. The last time I saw our boat was June 2019. Three years ago!

Actually the last time we “saw” the boat was in the winter as a friendly neighbourhood YouTuber (Sailing Floating Freedom) was nice enough to send me some pictures. They share the dock with us at Stones. Looks like winter was a tad chilly!

Things that are new

As it’s been so long and we were due to do some maintenance so I knew we would have to do some work. Just how much work was a bit of a surprise.

When we bought the boat I had fully intended to do most of the work myself because a) there is no better way to learn and b) it would be way cheaper. That lasted for the year we were aboard but as soon as we became  long-distance owners that went out the window. Which really bums me out.

Just a note: at this point I have seen none of these upgrades/repairs. Sigh.


Back in 2020 the seals on our windlass finally gave up the ghost and, as usual, parts were no longer available.  We knew this was coming but it burned me to replace a perfectly functional windlass just because it leaked water into the the v-berth. then again I don’t sleep in the v-berth 😉

What we replaced it with was a Lewmar Windlass CPX3 Gypsy/Drum for 5/16” g4/bbb (~$2800). This gives us a drum to use—although I am not sure what to use it for other than maybe hauling the dinghy on board :-). The “downside” is they had to cut a hole in anchor locker lid to  fit the drum. I will have to wait and see to judge how I really feel about that.


As previously mentioned we had to get a new tender.  I picked up a Highfield 290 UL (with aluminum hull for less than $3000, which I consider a steal.



This was scheduled. We were going to replace them in 2021 but the dinghy took precedence, so this spring I started looking around for  a sail loft. I started with the ever popular Precision Sails (they have an awesome marketing department). They  are local to Vancouver Island although sails are produced overseas and they are the favourite of all the most popular YouTube channels. Then I looked at a bunch of local lofts: Leitch and McBride, Ballard Sails  and a couple who didn’t get back to me.

I finally settled on Zoom Sails who are associated with Jamie Gilford, husband of author Behan Gilford, and the owners of Sailing Totem. They are another overseas loft but distance didn’t actually seem to be much of a barrier time-wise. Partly it was a trust thing and partly it was a price thing. The price was pretty darn good. I am told the sails look good too, but no pics so far. In total the cost was ~$5000 cad for main and jib (fwiw, the highest quoted price was $7500).

I will write a bit more about the process after I have a chance to see—and use—the final product. Stay tuned.


I mentioned at the end of our last trip back in 2019 that I had to replace our old e80 chartplotter as the screen was dying. I purchased a refurbished unit from eBay for ~$400. Unfortunately it didn’t last. I had reports last year of it  stopping working and, in the middle of a cruise and learn this spring, it died again. You can imagine the instructor thought this was unacceptable.

After talking to the technicians at Stones and doing a bunch of research we decided to forgo replacing it with the brand new Axiom MFD (multifunction device) that is its natural successor and go for a cheaper Raymarine ELEMENT 9S for around ~$1400. It does most of what the old e80 did but is missing the touch screen and fancy network integrations, most of  which would be useless unless we replace all the instruments as well. As far as I can tell the big thing I will miss is that that radar does not overlay the charts and I will have to use it in split screen mode.

The big downside is that none of the new plotters will work with my old analog radar. So that meant upgrading that as well. So we also ordered a  new Quantum digital radar (~$2200). Sigh.

Of course all the old system ( AIS, instruments, GPS etc.) is on Seatalk 1 (NMEA 0186) and the new stuff is Seatalk ng (NMEA 2000). So we will have to get a bunch of bridging hardware and hope and pray it all connects. More on that after we get it all installed and running. The device does have WiFi but I am currently unclear if I will be use an app to access it. So much to learn.

I do now how a perfectly functional e80 with a bad screen and a less than functional e80 with a good screen. The spring project will be to see if I can make one functional e80 chartplotter.


More inconsequentially, since the guys are going to have  to run some new cables to the binnacle I thought they could  run few more wires and add a USB outlet so we can power our phones/tablets etc. in the cockpit. It’s something I keep meaning to do but haven’t actually gotten around to. So that will be nice.


So who’s counting. Since 2019, not including regular maintenance items  we have forked out around $14,500 for a boat we haven’t been able to use. I will say that Covid, after a rocky start in 2020, was a big windfall for the charter industry and bookings have been really, really good. So how much this actually costs me out of pocket remains to be seen—but it won’t be anywhere near that, thank goodness. And of course  hoping that nothing else breaks.

Future costs?

In the next bunch of years  these sorts of things are going to keep poppin’ up. Off the top of my head:

  • I think there is going to be some major canvas work in our future
  • I also think the mattresses are tired and that certainly needs to be addressed; likely along with all the other cushions
  • Eventually the rest of the instruments will need to be upgraded
  • The batteries are getting on
  • The running rigging is also going to need looking at
  • And of course the standing rigging.

By which time  the cycle will start all over again… The joys of owning a boat 🙂

Oh, and btw, our flights are booked. We will be back aboard at the end of April, and if all goes well, we might actually have 2 months aboard to make up for the all the non-sailing years.


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