Sailing in Comfort!

Blondes and Sailboats?

So, we had our leaks fixed.  Our next problem revolved around my being a fair skinned blonde.  With that said,  you can imagine  how fast I burn.  I have also suffered from heat exhaustion in the past and that affects my comfort level.

We went out sailing  one afternoon in July. The temperature was in the low to mid 80’s , but the sun was strong.  By the time we were ready to pack up and go home, I was burnt.  I do not mean red.  I mean sick to my stomach, dizzy, and giving off more heat than a furnace.  Yes, I had used sunscreen.

Dave had to figure out how to take down the mast alone.  I simply could not help at all.  All I could do was sit in air conditioned truck.  We stopped at a convenience store and purchased ice and aspirin.  I had to put the ice in plastic bags and lay it across my thighs. Dave had to figure out how to take down the mast alone.

If Burnt Try This!

Years ago,  a nurse friend taught me to  take 2 parts water and 1 part vinegar and keep wetting the sunburn with a washcloth until it cools.  If a large part of my body is burnt, I fill the tub with cool water and vinegar and soak.  It really does minimize the burn and keep you from peeling.  I also take two aspirin as soon as I realize I am burning.  The purpose for the aspirin is that it thins the blood and cools the body temperature.   It really does help.  I now keep vinegar and aspirin on the boat.

Yes, Let’s Get A Bimini

We realized that if we were going to spend sunny days on the boat, I would need some protection from the sun.  Researching  biminis  was not as easy as I thought it would be.  Most places that make them for boats, make them for power boats.  These are too high to work with the boom of a sailboat.   The boom is very low on a Macgregor so it is tricky to find one that will work.  I eventually found SoftTopper.  They make the perfect bimini for a Macgregor.  They shipped it fast and it was so easy to install.  You will not believe the difference it made in our comfort level.

Cockpit Seating Hurts My Butt

Next, came the cockpit seats.  I originally made seat cushions from foam and outdoor material.  They looked nice but they got wet and stayed wet.  One of the issues with a sailboat is dew.  We had to take the seats inside the cabin every night or they would be soaked in the morning.  You can only imagine how much space in the small cabin those cushions took up.

We attended the Chicago Strictly Sailing Show and found a booth called C-Cushions.  They sold cushions made from closed cell foam.  They also make cushions for medical equipment.  The cushions are made with a  unique vinyl coating process that makes them durable and comfortable.  You can even use them as a float.  People have commented that they are comfortable enough to sleep on.

Now, we just take an old towel and wipe the dew and dead bugs off every morning.  When the grandkids enter the cockpit after swimming, no problem.  Even Dave’s dripping fishing pole goo doesn’t bother me.  You just have to wipe the mess off.  This was one of the best investments we made in our boat.

To order from C-cushions you just have to trace your seats.  They make them to fit any boat.  They recommend you use the brown shipping paper you can buy at Wal-mart and a marker.  Once you trace the seats you send that pattern to them.  They make your seats in about 2 weeks.   You can also see that we purchased the L cushions for the back of the seats.  The L-cushions come with snaps to attach them to your boat.

First Things First: Seabreeze Had A Leak or Two!!!!!!

We Can Fix The Leak?

When we purchased Seabreeze the previous owner was honest in telling us that she had a leak or two.  She leaked water in the seat compartment areas.  He told us it came in when sailing and when it rained.  He had no idea where it was coming in.

Dave looked over the outside and he  couldn’t come up with an defect that would be a real problem.  Dave’s first thought was that it probably was leaking around the rub rail.  He thought that wouldn’t be too hard to replace.

After we purchased Seabreeze it rained and we had about 2-3 inches of water in the compartments.  After pumping that out,  we took our first sailing less on  Lake Clinton  with an instructor.   We ended up getting about an inch or two of water in the compartments again.  In all fairness we did get a pretty strong rain storm while we were anchored out at the lake. The water was probably more from that storm than from sailing.

The Leak is A Hose?

When we arrived home, Dave started his brain storming.  He discovered that a hose going from the cockpit drain to the outside of the boat had a huge crack in it.   The hose was leaking under the boat into the  seat compartment area.  Menards sold the hose by the foot in their plumbing section.  Replacing that hose made a big difference, but we still got really damp when it rained.  It wasn’t 2 or 3 inches but it was enough water we needed to use a sponge to clean it up.

Our Rub rail was faded and cracked from being out in the elements for years.  We call all around about getting a rub rail for a Macgregor 265D.  Nobody had the same rub rail.  We even traced it and sent it to a few suppliers.  Finally, we contacted West Marine and after sending them our traced pattern they could special order it.   We ordered the rub rail thinking it wouldn’t be too hard to put on.  We were so wrong.

After finally getting the old one off.  One purpose of the rub rail is seal off the seam  to keep water out.  We decided it would be beneficial to loosen all the screws connecting the boat seams, apply marine sealer under each screw and then tighten them back down.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of screws under that rub rail.

Easy Rub Rail Replacement? Not!!!

When we finished sealing all the screws, we needed to start the rub rail installation.  The instructions that came with it said to wait for a hot day.  It didn’t mention how miserable you were going to be doing this on a hot day.  It was 90 degrees in Illinois and  miserable.  The directions said to use a heat gun to heat only about 6 inches at a time to make it pliable enough to squeeze it into the frame. We had to work fast or it hardened up again and couldn’t be squeezed into the frame.  This ended up being an all day project.

Seabreeze with new rub rail.

After we finished this tedious project we waited for a rain storm.  In Illinois during the summer you don’t have to wait long.  After the storm, we opened up the compartments to find water. No, there wasn’t as much.  Each time we fixed something we got less water.



We decided we were never going to replace that rub rail again.  So, a couple of times during  the summer and before we put the boat away for the winter we treat the rub rail with Starbrite Rub Rail Restorer.  It keeps the rub rail shiny and also pliable.

We Need More Silicone

Dave decided  to go inside the sailboat and look for leaks while I sprayed the outside with a pressure washer.  Actually, we were worried that the windows were leaking.  That would be costly to fix.

So, while I gave the boat a bath, Dave tried to trace where the water was coming from.  Success, he discovered that the water was coming in around the lifeline stanchions.  We loosened all the screws and removed the plates.  We sealed the around the screws and under the plates with marine silicone and then screwed them down again.

This is where you insert prayer.  We were running out of ideas.   The other option was to live with moisture in the compartments under the seats, right?

Success, we waited for the silicone to dry and tried the pressure washer test again.  It was a miracle.  Well, maybe not a miracle, but it felt like one.  We didn’t get a drop inside and everything stayed dry.

Dave and I have been sailing for two years with no leaks and dry compartments.