Starting the remodel

I started by removing the toilet and entire holding tank system with hoses down to the bronze seacock and valve. I cleaned out the upper lockers and then as much of the areas where the new holding tank will be installed, including as much as I could reach under the toilet mounting platform. I started stripping and sanding the moulding and tongue and groove beadboard with paint stripper. My first couple of days I was dumb enough to begin the stripping and cleaning without a respirator, then came the morning with a compromised respiratory system and now wisely equipped with eye, hand and lung protection. I have a plan for the next tasks at hand and I’m curious at what order this will really play out.

What’s next:

Strip all of the beadboard down to bare wood then sand, seal and then repaint

Strip the lacquer off of the veneer, patch holes then lightly sand, seal and varnish

Remove glue from old wallpaper and add shower paneling or paint

Remove sink, faucet and top coat of countertop paint, then seal and repaint

Finish varnishing the moulding

Patch holes on wood floors, cut new holes for toilet then sand, seal and varnish

Caulk with clear latex, install finished moulding with new bronze screws

Once these steps are completed, I am ready to install the new faucet, holding tank and toilet. Right now I’m only at the varnishing stage with the moulding but so far it’s a great indicator to how glossy the rest of the veneer and floors will look. The first coat had filled in much of the surface so another two coats should demonstrate a smooth, high-gloss finish. I also am using a penetrating epoxy as the first primer coat to seal the wood since the bathroom wood will have the highest amount of humidity in the boat and the least amount of direct ventilation. Th

Penetrating epoxy drying on the bathroom moulding.
Penetrating epoxy drying on the bathroom moulding.

Since the finish work is so damn slow going, I am taking the in-between time to start replacing and rebuilding the other mechanical systems on the boat. I bought a new bilge switch and pump, plus hose and clamps so I have a brand new automatic bilge assembly. Getting the hose attached to the outlet was not easy. In order to reach over to attach the hose and screw the clamp on I had to open the cockpit floor to get better access to the engine compartment. Then I contorted myself to fit inside with both arms able to reach the hose barb and screw the clamp closed. Then once I had that finished I removed the bilge switch fuse from the electrical panel and clipped the wires to the old bilge and switch and then wired the new parts up. I am not happy with the wiring so later I will run new wires all the way from the electrical panel to the bilge but for now I just used the old wires as they seem to be mostly okay.

Next was learning where the switch was to be mounted. I really wanted both the bilge pump and switch at the bottom of the bilge but realized that the compartment is too small and the backwash from the pump would cause the switch to cycle on an infinite loop so remounting the switch to a higher point fixed the issue. Now I just need to deal with the remaining water using a diaphragm pump and a manual switch to keep the bilge bone dry. I know this isn’t a big deal with a lot of boat owners but I can see how having water under the flooring for extended periods of time can cause mildew and other odors I’d rather avoid. Solving this will not be difficult since it’s just to keep the bilge dry instead of move large amounts of water in a short period of time. Using a solid state sensor could also make keeping the bilge dry totally automatic while docked and connected to shore power. While underway I can just use a rag or run just once or twice per day instead of cycling as often as being docked.

Installing a new Rule 1100 and new switch into the bilge.
Installing a new Rule 1100 and new switch into the bilge.

I also ordered the holding tank, pump-out assembly and faucet this week. I need to cut out the countertop to install the tank. Once I have the tank in the locker and know what the faucet drill pattern looks like I can finish the countertop with new melamine paint. I’m not entirely sure how this is all going to come together but for now, I’ll focus on what I can do and keep ticking off the ‘to-do’ list to complete the project.

Wood stink

Seriously, it’s not that bad but no matter what how many times I clean the surface I can still smell it. It’s pretty much embedded in the entire area and smells of sewage that needs to go away before anyone is ever going to live on Satori. The problem is that wood is porous and the old finish allowed for the leaks from the old toilet to soak into the wood. I’m not sure how far I need to go to get rid of the odor but since I started the wood has had bleach, oxalic acid and lacquer thinner spread onto it and the odor is still there. My next task is to use paint stripper to remove the old  finish and get it back down to bare wood. Some sanding will hopefully get most of it and then embedding it with a clear coat of epoxy sealer should take care of it completely (I hope!). I have many, many hours of work ahead of me. Lots of sanding, refilling holes, making new ones and still need to clean out from under the toilet platform more. That’s going to take some skills and contortion to get under there. Last night after work I cleaned the old molding and started sanding it back down to bare wood again. I’ll start with molding, then strip the walls of paint, then clean off the old wallpaper tacking and then finally strip and sand the flooring and other areas.

Before stripping paint and flooring after the first attempt at cleaning the sewage buildup in the wood
Before stripping paint and flooring after the first attempt at cleaning the sewage buildup in the wood

In the photo above you can see the ring where the old toilet once was mounted. The old toilet leaked sewage from the base over to the corner next to the door and down into the shower tub. There is also a little gap down there where it leaked into the walls a little bit and that’s where I have debated about ripping out the permanent molding under the door and some of the other flooring to get access to the mess underneath. I’m in debate now about dealing with it or just simply covering it up to mask the odor. I’ll decide later after many more attempts to clean up. I’m giving myself until November to finish this project but I’m also allowing for more time on this one so it’s done right and will last another few decades.

Original teak molding from the bathroom
Original teak molding from the bathroom

A note on a previous project:

I replaced my fuel system  a few weeks ago and Mark from Auxiliary Engine was able to come back and teach me how to bleed the lines into the injectors and start the engine. It’s great to have someone like him come out and check my work and then show me how easy it is to get the motor running again even if it costs more, just for peace of mind. There is nothing to it really and next time it’ll be a snap. He complimented me on keeping the system simple and secure and then offered a few suggestions on filter micron size and placing valves before and after the Racor filter. After we quickly and easily started the engine we chatted briefly about the next steps. He helped me identify where the exhaust valve is located and I asked him about the vacuum breaker in the exhaust system. That was very helpful as I never knew where these things were located even after extensive searching. Depending on how much more involved the bathroom will take, I am planning on replacing the exhaust system to eliminate the leakage that is happening from the muffler which is corroding the engine block and mounts. Once this is finished, I only have to replace the raw water strainer as it’s currently coming from a thru-hull strainer that is awkwardly located in a bulky area. I’ll eventually mount a strainer out of the way and then just have a valve with a simple hose barb to route the water intake so it’s not making a 90 degree turn right at the strainer and resting right against the hull in the way of the water pump.

One step at a time….

Belaying pin rail

As part of the standing rigging replacement process, I had a chance to refinish the belaying pin rail attached to the lower shrouds. The idea with a belaying pin is to keep all of your halyards away from the mast when not in use to prevent unnecessary banging. Noise can be an issue on a boat with so many things running vertically and sometimes with some slack. Pin rails are a very salty accessory. Salty in the fact that ships and cruisers for centuries have used this method for organizing shrouds and other lines on the boat. Modern vessels have faded out the pin rail for other options or simply a bungee to pull them away from the mast. I think it’s great that Satori still has the pin rail, except that they have been painted white using an oil based paint. There is nothing wrong with it except the painted part. I took them home and started the process of stripping, sanding and oiling them back to life.


The state of the pin racks before refinishing
The state of the pin rails before refinishing

I must remind anyone who is thinking about painting over teak. Don’t do it, or if you do then make sure you prepare the surface beforehand. I ended up buying some paint stripper, a gallon of Cetol, orbital sander with a bunch or papers, a Dremel and a bunch or sanding and polishing accessories for the Dremel. Quite a bit of inventory for beginning the painful teak refinishing endeavor. The problem with these boards is that I’m not working with straight edges or newish wood. There was plenty of wear under the paint and the pins have really degraded quite a bit. They have weathered similar to driftwood and within another decade someone will need to mill another set. I’ll keep an eye out until then for replacements. For now I simply did the best I could to remove the paint from the pins and sanded them as little as possible to prevent removing too much material.

Pin rails after paint stripper, before sanding
Pin rails after paint stripper, before sanding

So with a pin rail I imagine they work very much like the tuners on a violin except with a little more play to prevent them from freezing inside of the rail. When you want to free the halyard, instead of unwrapping it you simply pull the pin and the halyard is quickly freed. Put the pin back and it’s ready to ‘make fast’ the next time you need to secure the halyard away from the mast. The pin tips and rail holes (male/female) were not painted originally so they have weathered much differently than the rest so I did a minimum amount of sanding because the material at the pin end is much softer and is quite a bit beyond it’s refinish-able life. So I sanded them minimally and cleaned them as best as I can, then go ahead and oil to assist in preserving for a little bit longer.


I also went ahead and used up a few of my polishing tools on the Dremel to polish the bolt heads so the entire assembly looks bright. Notice in the picture below that the closest pin end is still showing the naturally weathered grey color. This will be sanded as little as possible due to the surface being taken down too far and not making a close fit into the rail hole.

How the raw wood of the belay pin rack looks before cleaning and oiling
How the raw wood of the belaying pin rail looks before cleaning and oiling

I sanded the surfaces first with a 60 grit paper, then 120 grit and finally a 220 grit which really pulled out the color of the dark texture. After lots of sanding and dremel use for the pin holes and shroud notches I finally cleaned everything with mineral spirits and a cotton rag. Then came a coat of Cetol teak oil and a wipe down to eliminate runs.

First coat of oil drying
First coat of oil drying

Update: I took a full day yesterday working on Satori, picked up the new lower shrouds from Northwest Rigging, mounted and tuned them and then attached the rails. I measured them at 30.5″ and 32.5″ from the shroud clevis pin.

Mounting the rails

Newly attached lower shrouds and pin rail with pins
Newly attached lower shrouds and pin rail with pins

Split pin trick:

After a full day of work I now have the lower shrouds mounted and tensioned and the upper shrouds removed along with the staysail forestay. I learned a little trick I thought was worth sharing about bending the new clevis pin ‘split pin’. The split pin is for keeping the clevis pin in place but when working with the shroud tangs, there is limited space to make a proper bend to prevent the split pins from potentially snagging on sailcloth. If you’re working with a clevis pin and split pin, the best way to get the split pin to bend properly is to first push the clevis pin out a little after you have the split pin threaded through the pin hole. Then grab the outside end of the clevis pin with some standard pliers and grab one end of the split pin with needle nose pliers. Rotate the clevis pin with the pliers (on the opposing side of the clevis pin) and hold one of the split pin tips in place and this motion will easily wrap the split pin wire around the clevis. Do this on both split pin ends. The result is a clean, snag-free tang and takes a fraction of the time compared to trying to muscle the split pin ends into spreading properly.