In the fall of 2009 I began my journey as the owner of a Canadian Sailcraft 27 (CS27).  With only five lessons and a life long dream leading the way, I pulled the sheets in and decided to see where it takes me.  This web site is a record of my journey, and what I hope will be information useful to other sailors, and CS27 owners in particular.

The latest information is always available in the CS27 Ravat Blog

Recent Web Log Postings

  • Primary Winches Need a New Pad I was looking at the winches today while on an absolutely amazing day sail trip, and it dawned on me that I really am going to need to put a ...
    Posted Aug 19, 2012, 7:19 PM by Christopher Hubbell
  • Instrument Networking Having finally mounted the plotter, I'm now sorting through that rather thick bundle of cables hanging below my cockpit floor.  The plotter needs to interface with the DSC VHF ...
    Posted May 31, 2012, 5:54 AM by Christopher Hubbell
  • The Chart Plotter Is Mounted! Now this one is really exciting for me.  I've had the angled pedestal guard installed for a year now in anticipation of this day!  Last year I build a ...
    Posted Jun 21, 2012, 2:16 PM by Christopher Hubbell
  • Installing the CO2 Detector Having finally re-installed all of the panels I had a place to mount the C02 Detector.  After toying with a large number of options I finally arrived at a ...
    Posted May 29, 2012, 6:53 PM by Christopher Hubbell
  • The Cabin is Back Together! I seriously underestimated how difficult it would be to put the cabin back together.  It wasn't all that bad removing it, and refinishing the wood was easy.  But it ...
    Posted May 29, 2012, 6:48 PM by Christopher Hubbell
  • Marching Towards the Launch... Had a great day on Sunday de-funking the decks.  That winter sludge is some nasty and persistent stuff.  A day of scrubbing is required to bring her back to ...
    Posted Apr 16, 2012, 6:35 AM by Christopher Hubbell
  • 120V AC Outlets. Still? Yes, I'm still working on them.  The real problem for me is that the original box outlets didn't have a monster honking GFCI in them before, and that ...
    Posted Apr 8, 2012, 6:23 PM by Christopher Hubbell
  • 120V AC Outlets - More Delays I have small pockets of time I can spend getting things done out at the Yard, and last weekend was no exception.  My plan was to get the AC 120V ...
    Posted Apr 5, 2012, 7:00 AM by Christopher Hubbell
Showing posts 1 - 8 of 131. View more »

Fall and Winter 2009

The story begins with CS27 #1254, the "Cap N Crunch" as I found her on the day I took ownership.  In need of some significant work, but a beautiful boat none the less.  Fortunately, I was able to spend a small number of weeks sailing her before the season ended.  That time was very valuable as it allowed me to make observations about what I liked and what was in need of attention.  Most significantly it set a hook deep inside me, fueling the long and tedious restoration that would follow.

The boat came out of the water in late September.  A month earlier than most, but intentionally so.  It was time to start poking around under the hull, and getting busy on the refit.  I had been enjoying the sailing so much I was making little progress on the repairs.  That's pretty typical though, right?

Most of fall was spent slowly taking the boat apart on the inside so I could inspect all of the plumbing, wiring, and holes in the deck.  The courage to rip apart a new-to-me (and first) boat was something that built slowly.  With each panel I removed, I realized it wasn't as bad as I'd expected.  Every step was filled with much photography to ensure I could put it all back together again.  That theory remains to be tested, but I'm naively optimistic.
There were two big surprises following haul-out which turned my stomach.  The first was the discovery of thousands of dime-sized gelcoat blisters throughout the hull.

The second was an awful case of water ingress on the deck which had caused core saturation and rot.  The two rear stanchions had no backing plates, and at some point had flexed enough to crack the deck.  My guess is that erosion of the core had made the upper skin susceptible to this cracking.  When I'd purchased the boat I didn't realize how bad the crack was, nor did I realize the volume of water inside it.

Before long I had cut up my decks and begun my personal reenactment of the saying, "it's gonna get worse before it gets better"...  It was at about this point that winter set in, and my ability to work was impaired by temperatures that made epoxy work impossible.

I tarped up the boat, and began my winter sabbatical in which I devoured books about marine systems, and spent time tracing wires, learning about the guts of my boat and planning the day when I would perform the name change ceremony and call her Ravat...

Spring 2010

Spring came so quickly, and found me wishing I'd done so many other things in the winter so that I would be able to make better use of the brief windows of opportunity.  Hindsight is 20/20, but when it was 20 degrees outside there was only so much I could bring myself to do.

The spring weather has been very unpredictable while it transitions from unworkable to productive conditions.  One week I make great progress, and the next I'm stalled.  It is frustrating, but it is beyond my control.  The boat is nearly at its point of maximum destruction, and the journey back to an assembled vessel is beginning.
My launch date was intended to be during the week of May 17th, however I have set a more realistic, although still (very) aggressive goal of July 1.  With a little luck and a lot of effort I may get her back in the water this summer.  I am resolved not to rush the splashing, and ensure the jobs are done right so that next year I can enjoy a full season without the intense refitting activities which consume me now.

The ever-challenging project management has revolved around deciding which tasks are essential to perform before scheduling a launch, which can be done on the water, and which can wait until next year.  I'm all for procrastination, but there are some things that must be done while the boat is in pieces, or I will endure having to re-do tedious tasks.
At this point the critical path includes finishing the deck-core repair, hull-deck joint re-seal, toe-rail re-install, and associated re-painting.  The hull blisters must be ground out and faired, the gate valves must be replaced with seacocks, and the mast electrical needs to be done.  Finally, the cutlass bearing needs replacing, and a crack in the lower rudder needs repair.  There's some minor fairing to do in a few spots as well.  While this leaves a lot (infinite number?) of other things on the to-do list, I believe this is all that's necessary before getting her in the water.

Summer and Fall 2010

Like the Energizer bunny, I'm still going.  Given the timing and volume of remaining projects I have pretty much resolved myself to splashing in the Spring of 2011.  This will take some pressure off and allow me to get many more jobs done now, so I can really have her ready to enjoy next season.  I intend to spend next year SAILING with only small enhancement projects along the way.  If I can learn as much seamanship in 2011 as I have about marine systems in 2010 I'll be ready to circumnavigate!

Good progress has been made.  The hull is sporting a fresh coat of Awl-Grip, and the new windows are installed.  All of the blisters are repaired, and after a few more minor hull repairs I'll be rolling on the InterProtect.

If all goes well, before winter hits I will have the toe rails back on and the hull repairs complete. If luck is really on my side I'll have the Interprotect rolled on as well. Winter isn't far away, and once it gets cold I'll only be able to work on projects that don't depend on epoxy or paint.

Well, luck was not on my side, and things took much longer than I'd hoped.  I managed to finish most of the hull preparations, and am just about ready to barrier-coat it.  I still need to finish up the keel-hull joint fairing, but that shouldn't be too bad.  The toe rails are on, and what a difference that made!  Almost as dramatic as the new windows.  I took the rudder home once it got cold outside so I can work on it at home when time allows without regard to epoxy-friendly temperatures.

Nothing really happened over the winter.  The weather was very cold and the snow plentiful, so I took a little vacation from boat-work.  Probably not conducive to getting back in the water, but important for mental health and preparation for the Spring frenzy.

Spring - Summer 2011

Already?  Seriously?  Here I am again with a launch date staring at me and feeling like I'm nowhere near as ready as I need to be.  I guess I'll feel this way every year though.  As I understand it, boat projects never truly end. 

The goal now is reduced to simply getting the boat seaworthy again.  My most difficult task will be avoiding the distractions which I so enjoy; Tinkering with non-essential things.  The dodger is very cool, but not necessary to floating!  On the other hand, those through-hulls are pretty important.

At the start of this season, all of the deck hardware was off.  That means, I had about 200 holes in the deck, making the giant tarp a critical necessity.  The tarp wastes a lot of time each trip, so I was anxious to get rid of it.  Wrestling a heavy 30' long tarp against an offshore breeze is no fun by yourself.

Eventually I was able to get the critical holes filled, or hardware re-bedded.  The few remaining holes are temporarily plugged with tape.  For the most part she's dry with the exception of a few pesky spots I'll have sealed up soon.  The tarp has been banished to a roll at the front of the cradle.

The barrier coat has now been completed, and the results are stunning.  She looks quite new, and this has set a bit of a standard for the remaining refit.

Spring Milestones:
  • Keel-hull joint glassed & fared  [DONE!]
  • Keel fared   [DONE!]
  • Rudder glass work complete  [DONE!]
  • Rudder reinstalled on transom  [DONE!]
  • Barrier Coat Complete   [DONE!]
  • Transom Lettering and State Registration decals on [DONE!]
  • Lifelines installed [DONE!]
  • Anti-Fouling Paint Complete [DONE!]
  • Pedestal Repaired and Upgraded [DONE!]
  • New Through-Hulls installed [DONE!]
  • Fuel Tank Cleaned [DONE!]
  • Mast Wiring [DONE!]
  • DC system operational - [DONE!]
  • Instruments Installed - [DONE]
  • Safety gear on-board (Extinguishers, Flares, Life Jackets, LifeSling, Fenders, Dock Lines) - [DONE]
  • Hull stress cracks @ Cradle posts fixed - [DONE]
  • Galley Sink Through-Hull and Seacock done - [DONE]
  • Deck stress crack completed - [DONE]
  • Bottom of keel barrier coated, anti-fowling applied. [DONE]

Summer - Fall 2011

Splashed!  Ravat is back in the water.

We are in the water at long last.  Nearly two years have gone by on this refit, but we're finally able to do some sailing in between projects.  The boat looks beautiful, sails like a dream, and we're really enjoying the upgrades and modernization efforts that have been completed.

Post-launch projects have included the following:
  • Replace fuel tank
  • Install new DSC+ VHF radio and antenna wire
  • All new Aqua Signal Series 25 navigation lights and wiring.
  • Wiring of instrument transducers to displays
  • New upholstery throughout boat and new cockpit cushions
  • Installation of Harken Outboard furling blocks
  • New ignition switch
  • New Sahara 1100 bilge pump
  • New hoses on manual (emergency) bilge pump.
  • Refinishing of interior teak woodwork
Back in the water at last!

Oh yes, and a whole lot of sailing!  Unfortunately, this is a short season for us since we launched so late.  The good news is that we have enough weeks to make it worthwhile and really get a chance to remember what sailing feels like.  Next year will bring us an early launch date and a lot of time to enjoy the water.

Spring 2012

We're  on-track for the first on-time launch this year.  Ravat weathered the winter without any issues other than the complete failure of my attempted tarp frame.  Fortunately, this winter was a non-event resembling an extended Fall more than anything else.  I have since cleaned up the ripped tarps and broken PVC pipe, and started bringing her back to life. 

The gift of gorgeous weather early in the season has been fantastic for getting things done.  I don't need to rush, and I don't have anything too critical on the list which makes it so much more enjoyable then the frantic marathons of seasons past.

One thing I have learned in the past two years is that you need to hold tight to your critical path projects, or scope-creep will keep you out of the water.  With that in mind, I'm focusing very hard on a few projects prior to launch:
  1. Get sails back from sail-maker where they went in for a winter service. [ON-SCHEDULE...]
  2. Order and install all new halyards and spinnaker topping lift. [ORDERED!]
  3. Investigate upgrading cockpit cushions to be somehow fixed to the seats.  They fly right off when healing past 15 degrees, and get a bit unruly.  Maybe a set of snaps will fix the problem.
  4. Scrub deck thoroughly to remove winter residue.
  5. Awl-wash topsides.
  6. Apply 2 coats of Awl-Care to the hull.
  7. Repair small crack at galley sink drain through hull (yard crew set a through-hull on a cradle pad and lightly cracked a small area, so fortunately, that will be their job and not mine).
  8. Remove and clean engine exhaust mixing elbow, apply anti-seize to threads. 
  9. Compound and polish the deck gel coat with my new polishing tool.
  10. De-winterize engine.

Then, of course, there are a bunch of less critical projects which I would like to finish this Spring so I can minimize the number of projects I'm involved in over the summer.
  1. Finish wiring the AC 120V outlets.
  2. Install the main cabin trunk side-panels.
  3. Install the headliner.
  4. Install remaining cabin trim.
  5. Install cabin lights.
  6. Reinstall bulkhead lights.
  7. Install Auto-Pilot
  8. Install Chart Plotter
  9. Re-install the galley stove counter-weight, fix gimbal. (The stove only works fixed in place right now).
  10. Install and plumb holding tank.
  11. Refinish salon table.
  12. Repair head (bathroom) door hinges
  13. Install new turnbuckles on all shrouds (previous owner or yard crew used channel locks on them and ground up the finish so they look cheesy).
  14. Re-install fresh water pump.
If I make it through this list I'll be in good shape to start doing weekend cruises very comfortably.  My son and I are both very anxious to make that happen.