• Ana and John

2018 Winter projects list - what was really done

Ok well goodbye 2018 and hello 2019, we hit a lot of repairs, projects and upgrades last year and the list is comprehensive, I thought we should share the projects completed.

I will say our winter of 2018 was successfully filled with works done at an easy pace without stress or rushes, we could have done a lot more but we prefer the steady pace that ensures the quality of work and decisions we won’t change minds in the future.

Most of the items were maintenance and upgrades, luckily we are not at a stage of big repairs and hopefully, with this continued effort we can keep those at bay.

So what kind of things did we worked on:

  • Cockpit cushions - this item had been on our list since day one and after the epic fail of incompetence and ill faith of North Sails Cascais during the winter of 2017/18, we decided not to waste another minute and get the local sail loft under our guidance to have the new cushions done exactly to our design. After a few visits modelling the shape and fine-tuning it, they did a brilliant job that puts, in our opinion, the cockpit seats at the level of comfort of a proper sofa. More details read here.

  • Swim ladder steps - after one full season of use the original non-skid vinyl on the stainless steel steps it wore off, making the steps very slippery and even dangerous. We got some inspiration on the brand new yacht of our friends from SV MR and got new timber treads carved out from Acajou (white mahogany wood) a suitable alternative to teakwood used in the production of marine timber products.

  • Cockpit utility shelve - this was something on our mind since the 2017 sailing season, we were lacking a place to put all the stuff we usually keep at hand on the cockpit that is not related to sailing (sunscreen, mosquito repellent, dog treats and brush, etc) all these items would invariably end up dumped in the cockpit table sink making a mess. Using the same Acajou wood, we built a 3 shelve unit that we installed facing the companionway allowing us to also accommodate a USB/cigarette charger for our electronics and some light switches more discreetly.

  • Companionway timber trim - the companionway has always been lacking a bit of attention (we are cruisers, not racers), we noticed the surrounding fibreglass panels have some flexing and some minor cracks were appearing in the gel coat. Inspired on some of the new Dufour models details we designed a wood trim in Acajou wood addressing this way the issue. We are only missing fixing it permanently instead of dry fixed with our "best friend" 3M double sided sticky tape.

  • Dinghy support - having tested for two seasons now the “plastic wood” cradle we had designed we decided it was time to make it in the same Acajou wood used in the above projects and make it look much nicer.

  • Shelves - we made a few new shelves in the galley cupboards to allow better storage of glasses and mugs (yes, we use glass glasses and porcelain mugs and coffee cups), a new shelf above the stove for our growing dry herbs collection. At the local carpenter, we found a wood that after using teakwood stain would match colour and grain to the veneer used throughout The Dream which allowed us to make some front trims on the new shelves making them look like they were always there!

  • Bow seat - finally John got his so wanted bow seat! The installation also prevents the pulpit from wobbling and little Ella from getting herself almost in trouble trying to get as close to the edge of the bow as possible.

  • Refinishing of the wood panels in the shower areas - we had noticed that the timber panels in the shower areas were beginning to show signs of water damage, so we removed them and gave a light sand before treating them with several coats of a marine clear sealer, should be good for a few more years.

  • Salon lighting - we have upgraded the LED saloon high lights with new more powerful LEDs to give more general night lighting on board.

  • Galley lighting - we added LED warm backlighting under the top cupboards to provide better lighting in the food preparation area, we used the same timber trims as in the shelves front trims for better integration. Now we only need to find the right switch buttons to finish the project.

  • Main berth lighting - we relocated the old salon LEDs to the top of the cabinets in the main bedroom to provide soft night lighting in the front berth.

  • Cockpit lighting - we finally solved the issue of lack of lighting in the cockpit. We had previously added a red presence light at floor level in between the two helm stations that have helped us during night sails but was still not sufficient. We added a red LED strip by the engine controls to facilitate when we needed to turn it on in a rush (connected to the same circuit of the presence red light) and added a red LED strip on the Bimini on a separate circuit that allows us to light the entire cockpit at night if needed during a sail change etc. We also added in the same location a warm white LED strip that now provides general proper light in the entire cockpit area. We also found a small decorative light to use while having drinks or relaxing in the cockpit after sundowners.

  • Deck work light - after many trips up the mast and attempts running wiring we finally have a deck work light. We can now see what’s happening on deck at night if needed and if one of us needs to go to the front to work on something the entire deck can now be illuminated.

  • Mooring/anchor light - we finally replaced our all-round white light up the mast from a normal bulb that consumes a good amount of power for a more power efficient LED.

  • Furler sheet guard - we added a spliced ring in the sail locker to run the Genoa sheet to the furler drum making impossible the sheet to get fouled on the windlass motor has occurred a number of times in the past badly chaffing the furling sheet.

  • Running rigging - we installed a new Genoa furler sheet, Genoa and Main sheets.

  • Bow roller - we got a new bow roller made of stainless steel to replace the nylon one that was starting to show signs of wear.

  • Gel coat polishing - finally we bought the Rupes polishing machine we wanted to polish The Dream. We had paid the boatyard to do it for us immediately after purchasing The Dream but they took advantage of our Schengen situation and dupped us. At five years old The Dream is again looking almost like new! We will keep an annual routine that will now keep us looking good in the water.

  • Stainless steel polishing - all stanchions, hinges, brackets, Bimini and sprayhood got polished.

  • Rust stains cleaning - as part of the polishing of the stainless steel job we did an extensive clean up of any rust marks that slowly started showing up in a few spots despite the hardware being made with 316 stainless steel. I guess the salty enviroment we live in and the constant spalshing of salt water by Ella and ourselves at some point will produce this result.

  • Cockpit shade - new sprayhood screen cover in the same mesh fabric as the side curtains to provide protection from the sun while at anchor.

  • Privacy panels - new “curtains” in the same mesh fabric as the side curtains to hide the clutter and contents of the rear lockers.



  • Electric toilet - full service, maintenance and cleaning of the entire plumbing of our main head.

  • Winches - we have stripped, inspected and cleaned all six winches

  • Engine - full service done, oil change, new oil filter, new pre-fuel and fuel filters, new impeller, five year periodical coolant change and a new spiffy air filter, we also fixed the exhaust baffle that was corroding stainless steel with a new stainless steel patch, and got a replacement that doesn’t suffer this corrosion problem (installation scheduled for the 2019/20 winter)

  • Fresh water plumbing - we tracked down a couple of minor leaks detected on the hot water pipes (resulting of a bad original design decision from Dufour on the connectors) and added the proper 316 adjustable hose clamps (a job that still needs to be concluded on the cold water pipes as preventive work).

  • Indoor soft finishes - all carpets and all sofa cushions got washed. All ceiling liners got cleaned with gel bleach.

  • Hull cleaning - we had the bottom scrubbed by a local diver in the marina, this included visual inspections of all anodes and the folding propeller.

- We made a test sail in the middle of March before our final departure from Tunisia, covering 170 nautical miles and discovered that the main car attachments were loose, we fixed these with Loctite blue we also tightened up the gooseneck boom base bolt and added Loctite to it also.

These were some of the things that kept us entertained during the winter, next winter season we will be tackling much bigger projects. More about that at the end of the season.

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