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Phuket Refit 2002
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[Sail Handling] [Refrigeration] [Storage] [V Berth] [Water Tank Access] [ Navigation Station] [Galley] [Satellite Communication] [Phuket Refit] Updated 15 Jan 2002
During preparations and as a result of experience, we have made a number of changes to the boat - the ones we have captured here may be appropriate to other boats as well. Also, we refitted many of the systems in Phuket, Thailand in 2002.

Sail Handling

Furling head and stay sails - We installed a ProFurl N42 system in New Zealand (to replace the the Mariner furler - a system that permitted furling a hank-on sail, but it could not be reefed) and have been extremely happy with it and its performance.  We found a small used Mariner furler, and installed it on our staysail.  This makes deployment of the staysail a breeze (no pun intended) so we experiment more readily, and since it still hanks on we can easily replace it with a storm sail. Since Mariner is out of business, if anyone needs a copy of an old manual download our Mariner Manual from here.

Furling Drifter - We installed a Doyle drifter with a Harken 435 small-boat furler, built-in kevlar headstay, and sail - hoist it on a spinnaker halyard, unfurl and go!   It is easy to stow, great in light winds, and the only downside is that when the wind picks up, it is impossible to furl completely unless you can blanket the drifter behind the main sail.

Single Line Reefing - Our slab reefing system on the main required putting a ring on the tack over a hook, and separately hauling in on a line through the clew.  We have replaced this with a single line which pulls the tack and clew down simultaneously.  It is a little slower and has some frictional loss, but it is safer and more convenient.  We then upgraded to a Selden boom which has the single-line reefing hardware built into the boom, and it is better and has even less friction.

Lead Lines to Cockpit - As a step to easing sail control, we have led most main lines to the cockpit: halyard, both reef lines, staysail sheets, and topping lift.  They go through line-stoppers to one of 3 winches on the coach-roof. When the wind picks up, one or two people can readily ease the main halyard and pull in the single-line reefing lines and thus do 90% of the work from the cockpit under the protection of the dodger. Downsides?

Friction - all lines go through more blocks and thus take a little more effort, but in the cockpit we have winches and places to brace ourselves, so this is not a real problem.

Line snags on deck - When the sail is lowered to reef, the reefing lines will occasionally catch on deck hardware and one of us has to go on deck to free it - we try to quickly take up all slack in the reefing lines as we lower the sail.

Line clutter in the cockpit - with the reefs in, we end up with 150' of lines of various colors and sizes in the cockpit to coil up and keep out of the way - a nuisance but acceptable.

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When purchased, Long Passages had an ice-box - period.  For living aboard and cruising we felt we needed refrigeration and installed an Adler Barber Cold Machine.  When we got to the tropics we found it ran 60% of the time (surprise!) and we decided to re-insulate. We found it had 1" of wet styrofoam.  We used "39 Ways to Improve Your Icebox" from Weems and Plath and:

  • Installed 4-6" polyurethane panels all around
  • Lined box in 'space blanket' material
  • Lined box with plywood, covered in fiberglass and impregnated with resin, fastened in place with sealant

This reduced our run time to 25-30%, normal for this unit. Unfortunately we used polysulfide sealant and the sulfur odor permeated food for almost a year after the installation.

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  • Closed off Pilot Berth - Long Passages was built with a pilot berth, a comfortable amidships berth for a small crewmember of a large crew.  With only 2 of us on board it was wasted space and we have converted it to useful storage:
    • Charts - about 200 folded charts, dry and secure
    • Books - about 50 of our navigation books
    • CDs and miscellaneous items - lots
    • Computer printer and supplies
    • The pilot berths on most boats we have seen have also been replaced with storage.  This was done crudely by Bob in the US, and more elegantly in Thailand - see Phuket Refit.
  • Navigation Table - This large table for charts and navigational tools had lots of knee room and little storage. A pre-made drawer unit was installed under it to hold all of those little things one needs at hand: gloves, locks, glasses, snatch blocks, tank cover keys, lead-line, etc.  A second drawer was added to provide the "80% tools", i.e. those tools used 80% of the time. It also holds our laptop in a waterproof Pelican case and all engine manuals.
  • Wine and Liquor - Our Captain's table is typical - 2 leaves that fold down out of the way when not in use - leaving a 8" gap in the middle. We built a bottle storage compartment in this space to hold 8 bottles.
  • Dry Locker - Inaccessible space under galley counter can now be reached through a lid on the counter-top to stow pans, bottles, and food. 
  • 'V' Berth - Under the 'V' berth we installed a storage area and on each side of the berth are deep 'V' shaped storage areas for clothes and tools. The sketch shows where we picked up storage space.
  • Behind Drawers - Three  port settee drawers had unused space outboard of them - plywood partitions were fiber-glassed in place and several cubic feet were gained to store items, including provisions for long trips.
  • Safety - We have put positive locking catches on all storage areas, including floor-boards, ice-box, drawers and locker doors.  Our thought has been: what could fall open if the boat rolls over?  We have tried to lock all compartments so they will stay shut in a roll-over.
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'V' berth

Initially supplied with with a single berth to starboard and a workbench/vise to port, we converted to a Queen sized 'V' berth with a design 'plagiarized' from Summer Salt, a sister-ship sailed over 100,000 miles by Dale and Spence.

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Water tank Access

We developed a fresh water leak and discovered there was no access to the tanks - they were sealed under a solid floor. A skilled boat-builder cut a hole to my specifications so that we could remove the tanks, and then turned the floor into a removable panel in the event of future problems.  The problem turned out to be a corroded $0.75 hose clamp, and it only cost $5000 to fix.

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Navigation Station

The navigation area had no navigation instruments and the electrical breakers were distributed around the boat.  The changes we have made include:

  • Consolidated electrical power panel. Newmar AC/DC
  • Dedicated shelves for Ham and SSB radios and Inmarsat C
  • Electrical outlets for laptop and accessories
  • 110 and 220 VAC inverters around the navigation area.
  • Instrument repeater and redundant depth sounder.
  • Radar and C.A.R.D. radar detector viewable from navigation table and companionway
  • VHF radio and hailer accessible from navigation table and companionway.
  • Spray protection - we installed a sailcloth partition between the companionway and the navigation station to protect it from spray or green water. It mounts into track top and bottom and has an opening for access to VHF radio and hailer.


After 25 years, the galley was growing a bit long in the tooth and after seeing the new countertops on our friend's boat, 'Moonshadow', we decided to take the plunge.  So we upgraded:

  • Countertop - Replaced aged Formica countertops with Corian-like molded units with integral fiddles and backsplashes.
  • Sink - Replaced 2 sinks with a double stainless steel sink that has a neat platform for all plumbing, mounted under the counter so all water runs into the sink.
  • Faucet - Replaced faucet with streamlined single-handle control.
  • Vents - Replaced miscellaneous tank vents and water-maker fittings with a purpose-built assembly that is neat and will be easy to clean.
  • Doors - Replaced sliding doors on galley lockers so they match the countertop.

All in all we are quite happy with the results, and the countertop is now a dream to keep clean - set for another 25 years!  Below are a couple of before and after pictures if interested.  Total project cost was approximately $US1500.

Long Passages - Galley - before.jpg (29660 bytes)   and      Long Passages - Galley - after.jpg (23359 bytes)

and a few views of the finished product

Long Passages galley sink.jpg (22436 bytes) Long Passages Galley overhead.jpg (23291 bytes) Long Passages Galley icebox.jpg (16801 bytes)

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Satellite Communications

The cost of satellite technology has continued to drop, and several events prompted us to upgrade while in Singapore in 2001:

  • Plan to cruise through areas of potential piracy (Malacca Straits and Red Sea)
  • Iridium satellite phone costs dropped from $3000 to $600 and airtime from $7.00/min to $1.50/min.
  • An Inmarsat C unit became available on eBay for $250 rather than $2500.

All of this resulted in a major re-design of the navigation area:

  • Secure laptop into a cabinet out of view and away from salt water.
  • Install an LCD display monitor on a flexible arm and a keyboard for remote use.
  • Relocate instruments to make room for the laptop.
  • Install the Seasat 2 Inmarsat C unit with an antenna on the top of the mizzen.
  • Install the Iridium handset within reach of the navigation table.
  • Connect all units through a serial switch to the laptop for easy email and web site updates.

The entire project has cost approximately $2000 and taken over a month but we have a much cleaner and more functional communication system (see our Communications page for some of the trade-offs we examined).

Check out some before and after shots below.

BEFORE:  Long Passages Nav Station Before.jpg (24194 bytes) Long Passages Nav Table Before.jpg (21088 bytes)

and while "progress" was being made:Long Passages Nav Area Wiring Mess.jpg (24776 bytes)

AFTER: Long Passages laptop holder open.jpg (23849 bytes) Long Passages Nav area and laptop holder.jpg (24595 bytes) Long Passages Nav table with monitor and radar.jpg (24747 bytes)


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