When we got our survey done, Frank the Surveyor gave us a list of Must Dos and a list of Should Dos. On the list of Must Dos was a carbon monoxide detector. Considering the boat is a little like a garage with the engine running right under its floorboards, we agreed with this Must Do.
Mack sussed out a spot for it near the nav station (aka desk for planning your trips) and used a jig saw to modify a space that the depth finder and knot meter (neither of which worked) occupied. We plan to invest in a navigation system some day, so we'll replace the depth finder and knot meter when we get there.
Until then, we won't be dying from carbon monoxide poisoning, and since Mack found this nifty device that also checks for propane, we won't be having a gas explosion. Both good goals.
Since Kenutu had herpes, one of the first things we absolutely had to do was get her to the doctor. When we hauled her out for the survey we had the boat yard give us a quote for bottom paint. They gave us the band-aid price of $4,000 and the surgical price of $10,000. Kenutu's bottom half hadn't gotten any attention in almost a decade, so we bit the bullet and bought her a band-aid.
We ain't millionaires.
The worst thing about bottom paint is that you spend all this money on it, but then you can't even see it. We are forced to live with an eggy yellow deck (aka top) and sloppy topsides (aka outside walls) and her beautiful undercarriage is out of sight. And man, what a gorgeous bottom it is. The boat yard may have done the surgery but only charged us for the band-aid... time will tell.
While she was out of the water, we had the sea cocks (aka sea water blockers so your boat won't sink) and thru hulls (aka holes that link the outside to the inside) inspected, which meant that we had to replace a couple of them. AREN'T THESE THE MOST GORGEOUS $500 THINGS YOU HAVE EVER SEEN?
Hopefully this will keep her afloat for another 5 years, when we'll haul her back out and fix another handful of blisters. Maybe someday she'll be cured, but for now, at least she's pretty.
Kenutu is staying in the Port of Los Angeles right now. She's in the slip that her previous owner had her in while we try to weasel her into a marina closer to our house. The marina is the equivalent of a floating trailer park, with power boats and sail boats and big square house boats built to look like river boats. Some of the boats have their own coral reefs growing on them and others are leaning precariously to one side. The dock is a tetanus land mine with rusty screws and nails everywhere. There is hardly any paint on the dock, the fingers literally scream when they slide up and down the pilings with the tide, and when we some crazy El Nino winds last week, I was more surprised that the dock hadn't blown away than I would have been if we'd found Kenutu floating out in the middle of the channel.
Even with all its dilapidation, the marina is an exciting place to be parked. And since we have no doubt it will be shut down in the near future, we're enjoying it while it lasts. Just look at this madness.
That's the Mardia Gras on the far left. And that grey intimidator just past him is the USS Iowa, a 900-foot long battleship. Then there's a cruise ship, which are like a sideways skyscraper when they roll by. At the far right is a container ship, probably all the way from China. All this is floating right outside our cockpit (aka back porch).
Since it's the trailer park marina, we also run into cops at the dock sometimes. Last week the drama involved a mechanic trying to sell a huge fishing boat on a lien, but he didn't know how to park it after he gave his prospective buyers a test drive. He came coasting into the channel, got all crooked, knocked about three boats, and was finally dragged into his spot by helpful bystanders once the engine officially died. Apparently, earlier that day Lien Man had almost thrown Boat Owner over the edge of the boat and she was taking him to small claims court to get the lien lifted because his mechanic work on the engine was crap.
The other thing this marina gives us is a lot of fun freaking out over "what's that sound?" We'll be doing some work and then it will sound like the bilge is running non-stop. We pull up the engine panels and look inside, but the bilge is chilling. We try to locate the source of the sound, and then one of usually gets a clue and looks outside and sees this.
Right before these guys passed, we thought we heard water running somewhere near the front of the boat. Then we peeked outside and the boat on the right looked like he was Tokyo drifting and his ass end was swinging right our way. As he passed us and we relaxed, we turned right and saw that container ship. Nothing gets past us.
We definitely prefer less industrial smelling marinas with fewer threats to our safety, but we will miss all this bizarre activity and nautical triumphs that pass by our door when we're hanging with Kenutu.
The way you dress really says a lot about you. Kenutu, for a reason I can only call the late 1970s, is outfitted in mauve and cranberry and sage green with a pop of mustard yellow. She sort of feels like the inside of a dusty Chinese restaurant that I used to go to after church when I was 11.
This is the current state of our salon (aka living room/dining area). It's not uninhabitable, but it's not all that inspiring. Or pretty. Or free from odors.
I have some experience with sewing cushions thanks to our last girlfriend, Gypsy. I learned that my sewing machine hates vinyl, which makes me hate vinyl. I also learned that regular upholstery fabric, while great for couches and chairs, is no match for boats, which use every flat surface as a landing pad for tools and bare feet. And I learned that piping is a bitch, but it makes things look fancy.
I did a little more research about marine fabrics and while they're sturdy, I generally don't like them. They're too scratchy and stiff for inside seating. Then I stumbled upon this gal Deborah who shares my concerns about fabric and is a scientist. She did the investigation, wrote the report, and informed my decision to order some swatches of Crypton fabric, which is what hospitals and airports use so that all those millions of people can abuse seating and it won't look like a refugee camp after a month.
Crypton fabric is a million dollars a yard. Okay, so it's anywhere from $30 to $150 per yard, but when you need a dozen or so yards and your boat is already in the shop getting a $5,000 paint job, it might as well be a million dollars a yard. During my last sewing adventure, I discovered that Jo-Ann sends great coupons (like 40-50% off!) in its weekly emails and I managed to get like $1200 of fabric and foam for $400 by being a strategic shopper. So yes, I did a little dance when I saw that Jo-Ann sells Crypton fabric!!
Here are the swatches I bought to try on Kenutu.
I'm not a great seamstress, and even though I liked the sea blue fabrics, I didn't want geometry to make this project more difficult. I also decided that a neutral would be easier to change up if I got an urge, and I decided to do a print for the dinette because food and accidents. I'm a decider. Alas, here's the end result of all that deciding.
Crypton isn't exactly as soft and luxurious as I would have if I could live on boatopia, but I think it'll do nicely. Next up is the sewing, which is a lot of math and crossed fingers, especially since I decided to make square cushions instead of the weird rounded ones that will be the basis for my pattern. I have no doubt that no matter how it goes, Kenutu is going to look and feel so much better.
This came in the mail.
As you can see, it is the world's #1 toilet. Because Kenutu has a macerator (aka poop grinder) and a holding tank (aka sewage bin), it will be our #1 AND #2 toilet.
When Frank The Surveyor inspected Kenutu, he let us know that the head wasn't working and we'd need a head rebuild kit. I figured that would be low on the list of things to repair, but the captain had other plans. Alas, the head was what got our attention first.
We got some silicone sealant and some nuts and bolts and set out to tackle this shit. Literally.
Taking the old head off required some interesting contortionism, disregard for the concept of personal space, and the delusion that there aren't spiders on boats. Our recommendation would be to see if you or your first mate can squeeze into the box that the toilet came in and hold a wrench in their non-dominant hand while wearing a glove and resisting opposing forces. It's really that easy.
Once we settled into the fact that this wasn't a difficult endeavor as much as it was annoying, we found our zen and slowly got all the nuts off the bolts. At one point, I dropped the wrench into the dark abyss under the floor, the only 13mm wrench that fit and that we had, and heard it slide into places unknown. We went on a hunt lifting up floor boards near the pullman berth and caught a glimpse of it toward the bow. The fearless gloved hand snaked it out and we were back in business.
After we got the bolts free, we had to close the valve that brings saltwater into the toilet for flushing. You know, so the boat wouldn't fill with water when we took the hose attached to the old toilet off. We loosened the hose clamps, used a screw driver to unsung the tube, exhaled a sigh of relief when we weren't sprayed with water, and braced ourselves for the next hose.
The poop hose. Sure, pee goes through it, but poop. Come on.
The poop hose is white and says FOR SANITATION ONLY. We loosened the clamps, wriggled the hose, and crossed our fingers that we wouldn't get spackled with the old shit of other people.
There wasn't poop as we know it in the mouth of the white tube, but there was lots of plastic shards and gray, clumpy, poop smelling stuff. I now understand why superheroes wear gloves because I was fearless in the face of whatever that stuff was with those gloves on. We shook the tube out into a bucket (okay, it was a pan but it's all we had), I cleaned the ends off so we'd have a clean surface when we attached it to the new toilet, and then it was time for more contortioning.
About this contortioning. At one point I was laying with my right arm in a 5" hole holding a wrench against a fiberglass surface with my face in the Captain's crotch while he worked a ratchet whose range came inches from my face. It was so ridiculous I couldn't stop giggling and the Captain said, "Yeah, you really couldn't do this with one of your buddies." I also found myself with my left arm in the magical hole of blindness while my legs ran up the wall and my ribs on a ledge in the recessed floor at one point. In general, I felt grateful to be flexible, because this job required it.
Before we got into position to put in the new toilet, we patched some holes we wouldn't need with white silicone and marked and drilled new holes. Per the instructions, we put a bead of silicone along the base of the toilet. Then put the bolts into place and used them to align the toilet as we lowered it to the floor. It was surprisingly easy. And then came the bolting into place. See contortioning above.
Once it was all installed, we cracked a beer and congratulated ourselves on such good head. And that night we peed and peed and peed, whenever we felt like it. Bliss... at least until we have to empty the holding tank.
One of our favorite parts of getting a new old boat is looking for treasure. Boats have the most ridiculous storage, caverns that you could fit into and nooks and crannies so deep and small that you forget they even exist. Which often means people forget there's anything in them.
These stowages are dark, dirty, and home to spiders. But they could hold an old love letter or a piece of jewelry or an EPIRB. What the hell is an EPIRB, because we found one? It's a strange antennae that broadcasts your position to satellites so that you hopefully won't be eaten by sharks if your boat goes down.
When you're going through another person's space, especially when it is bound to include forgotten things tucked away in hiding spaces, you start to write a little narrative in your head about the characters who've been here before you. For instance, when we found the EPIRB we knew we had a very safety conscious person on our hands in 1985, one who probably made or was planning to make an epic journey in Kenutu.
But when I found the crack pipe I just couldn't make sense of it.
Tucked in a cabinet above the head (aka toilet), crammed deep in a corner and wrapped in toilet paper, was a real life crack pipe. I'm no expert, but I've watched enough Intervention to know a crack pipe when I see one. I'm also no drug addict so this find was more of a character development score than a materials score. I'm 99 percent sure this was not the property of the quiet old guy we'd just signed the paperwork with earlier that day, the one who almost cried when he left Kenutu for the last time.
I kept cleaning/snooping with gloves on and found a sack of women's clothing in the hanging locker (aka closet). Also in there was a shopping bag full of Miller Lite beer bottles and empty menthol cigarette boxes. After a consultation with the captain, we decided Squatter. The hatch over the head was broken, so most likely someone let themselves in, smoked meth, and camped out for a few days. All marinas have strange (you've got to be a little crazy to take a canoe into the ocean) but the marina Kenutu is in right now is like a floating trailer park. Hence, squatter.
The crack pipe was definitely the most unusual find of the cleanup, but the thing I'm most excited about is what I'm sure is my biography. Hours after making this discovery I tossed my gloves and curled up in the pullman berth (aka bed) with this prized bit of literature.
On our second date, we took Kenutu for a ride. Coming from outboard experience, having a wheel and a motor that responds to the push of a button was a major change... but a welcome one. On our last boat, we really didn't have the luxury of reverse. We had a boat hook and practice. Kenutu had reverse, forward, speed changes that don't require you lean off the back of the boat to turn a handle, and that sweet, giant wheel that turns left to go left and turns right to go right. She cut through waves like butter and when we let out her sails, she took our breath away. Kenutu has a 150% genoa sail, and it was so giant and so pristine we couldn't believe what we were seeing.
The haul out revealed what was going on underneath. Which is a major case of herpes. Since she is 36 years old, we fully expected her to have some blisters, but this old girl has some teenage grade acne. Our surveyor made some chalk marks on the worst of the blisters, and while she was out at the boatyard we had the yard crew give us a quote for a total bottom facelift and one for blister bandaids. Those quotes were almost $10,000 and almost $4,000 respectively. Apparently we should have been boat yard operators.
The other surprise discovery was that the propeller was corroded. Apparently there is a condition know as "Pink Prop," which happens when your zinc is not properly in contact with your propeller. A little scrape with a knife revealed another $1,000 issue, but we were also told that the propeller wouldn't just fall off or break in half but rather start chipping around the edges. After the negotiation, we planned to file that under To Worry About Later.
Even with her flaws and her desperate need for a face lift, we were wild about Kenutu. We met our dealer for margaritas once the day was done and tossed a couple offers back and forth before we finally sealed the deal. And now the real love affair begins.
We first laid on eyes on Kenutu on Christmas Eve 2015. We'd seen her profile on YachtWorld.com after going on dates with all sorts of other boats, including a 45' Hunter Passage that was a floating condo and 41' Formosa that required a 50' slip because of its massive bowsprit. Our plan was to wait until February to get a new boat, mostly for financial reasons, but also because we wanted to hit some boat shows and do a little market research (read: see the insides of more boats than our 1972 27' Catalina).
The thing about falling in love is that it always happens when you least expect it.
When we stepped onto Kenutu, we felt her good bones, her warm heart, her steady demeanor. She was filthy, caked in a decade of dust and stained the color of nicotine, but underneath the grime was character. She felt like an old, neglected farmhouse, and since we grew up in the Bible Belt, we equate old, neglected farmhouses with home.
Kenutu was listed at $39,900. We made an offer of $20,000. And then we were laughed at. So we threw $29,000 out there, got some attention, made a deposit, booked a sea day, and scheduled a survey. Then we held our breath and hoped our second date would leave us as impressed as our first.
Two people dumb enough to think anything is possible and smart enough to bumble their way into discoveries.