The awesomeness of owning an older sailboat is surpassed only by its affordability. Boats made in the ‘70s are the reason we get to sail as much as we do. The comparable new boat would cost roughly three years of my school tuition. However, with affordability comes its … oldness. And oldness means that there’s always something to do. Unlike newer boats where the constant work is routine maintenance, with older boats the constant work tends to be larger, occasionally grosser undertakings.
In the grand tradition of yearlong retrospectives, here is our 2012 list of the four grossest sailboat projects:
4. Finding and cleaning mold off the underside of a memory foam mattress.
Be it condensation, the lack of a dehumidifier or bad luck, the underside of the memory foam mattress lacked circulation and gathered moisture which resulted in mold in the v-berth of our Columbia 34. There were a few different varieties as well as a distinct smell. A myriad of steps were taken to remove the mold, and our new boat has both a dehumidifier and a rubber mat under the mattress to improve air circulation so that we don’t have that experience again.
. Feeding new wire for a set of cabin lights through areas newly found to be `ridden with old raccoon poop.
I wanted more cabin lights. I wanted lights in the kitchen and lights in the bathroom. And not AC powered desk lamps that fall over and take up space. I wanted overhead LED lights. Patrick wanted safe wiring. So when we went to install the new lights, we found out that previous owners had made a complete mess of the wiring. There was absolutely no consistency in the wiring type or color. In an effort to create a safe circuit where all the lights are connected using marine-grade wiring, we had to feed the wires through bulkheads along the ceiling – where we found poop. We both remembered back to the original meeting with the person we bought the boat from. He had mentioned raccoons being on the boat, but just in the cockpit area – not inside. Oh well, now its time to clean raccoon poop.
2. Using a wet-vac to remove pee from a holding tank because the pump out pipe was clogged.
Yep. Pee. Thirty gallons of pee removed two gallons at a time by my home depot wet/dry vacuum. Each bucket had to be hand carried and properly disposed of. At least it was mostly my pee.
1.Clearing a pipe clogged with old man poo from at least two years ago.
When I bought my Catalina 27, I was told that the toilet didn’t work. And that it hadn’t worked for years. Boys, apparently, will pee down the sink if need be in the middle of the night. I, however, will not. Anyway, I promptly bought a toilet and installed it. It worked great and a couple months later, Patrick drove the boat down to the pump out station but the pipe was clogged. We bought a drain snake to no avail so, after drilling a hole in the holding tank and pumping out the pee (see previous gross job) we had to clear the pipe, which we found was clogged with corroded ancient poop. Patrick was a champ and cleaned it out, scrubbed the pipe and reattached it to the holding tank. He even sealed the hole we had to drill in the tank. But his hand covered in poo was the grossest thing of 2012.