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Living Aboard Argonaut II: In the Boatyard

Updated on July 21, 2020
Argonaut II in the slings of a Travelift
Argonaut II in the slings of a Travelift

It was time for Argonaut II to get hauled out

We had not been out of the water for four years. It was time to redo the bottom paint, replace the zincs, get a marine survey (for insurance purposes), get an electrical survey, and see what was going on below the water line.

How often a boat is hauled out for maintenance depends on many factors including the following: the material the boat is made of, the age of the boat, the environment the boat is kept in(salt or fresh water), any problems the boat may have, and, last, but not least, the financial condition of the boat owners. It's expensive! We learned on this boatyard visit that four years between maintenance haul-outs may be too many for a 92-year-old wooden boat, even though we moor in fresh water.

It wasn't our first time in the boatyard

In 1998 my husband Jerry and I quit our jobs and sold our house and most of our possessions to buy a 57-foot Seine boat that had been partially converted to a live-aboard. We lived on the boat in Canada in a boatyard called Shelter Island for about four months where we replaced the deck and did a lot of other more cosmetic work. It was brutal, grueling work--but I loved the boatyard, the other boat owners, and the guys we hired to work with us. Note, I don't say FOR us, but WITH us because we learned so much from these people, and they became friends.

Unfortunately, for many reasons, among them that there was very little living space on the boat and the dark, gloomy Canadian winter really got to me, we ended up selling our boat, moving back to New Mexico, getting our jobs back, buying more land, and building another house. But we never stopped thinking about living aboard and cruising. In 2006, Jerry found the perfect boat for living aboard, Argonaut II , and we did it all again: quit our jobs and sold our house and most of our possessions. Are we crazy? Maybe, but what a ride it's been!

We bought Argonaut II in May of 2006 and in July we hauled out in Port Townsend(a wooden boat haven) for "a little bottom work" recommend by the marine surveyor. That little bit of work turned into a complete refastening and recaulking of the hull below the water line which took 50 days out of the water to finish. Again, though it was grueling, we found great people to work with.


An example of a marine railway
An example of a marine railway

Now, four years later, it was time to haul out again

The top-sides paint and boot stripe were looking shabby, our marine survey was due to our insurers in April, and there was some very suspicious looking "fuzzy" wood in the bilge, indicating electrical damage.

We initially decided to stay in Seattle to haul out. Since Argonaut II is very heavy and very old we need to be careful. Many classic yacht owners use a system called the "ways," a boat moving railway, for a haul out considering it safer.(example shown above) The ways are safer for older boats, putting less stress on their hulls. The disadvantage of the ways is that only one boat at a time can be worked on. This means long waits for those further down the list if a boat in front of them has unexpected problems. This ALWAYS happens.

We were on the list for a marine railway here in Seattle, but month after month went by, so we decided to visit a Seattle boatyard to make an appointment for a travel lift haul out in the slings. However, when we described our boat and told them its age, they refused to haul us out!

Time to go back to Port Townsend--wooden boat heaven. Though not strictly required by the size and weight of Argonaut II , we used the largest travel lift (certified for 300 tons--Argonaut II is 70 tons) with 6 slings. The haul out crew in Port Townsend is very knowledgeable and conscientious. We had no problems.

Here's Jerry pressure washing the hull

Once the boat is lifted out of the water, the travelift moves it into a location to be pressure washed. After four years in fresh water, we had accumulated a thick coating of slime. A boat that has been in salt water will be more interesting with barnacles and other growth. Though salt water "pickles" the wood, preserving it, there are also wood damaging organisms such teredos, a wood-boring worm.

The debate rages on among wooden boat owners--fresh or salt water moorage? It is agreed that the best situation is what we have--spend most of your time in fresh water, going out several times a year into salt water. Since our boat spent its first 80 years in salt water, the hull is pretty well "pickled," and being in fresh water keeps the teredos out.

Argh! Our rudder shows damage from electrolysis!

As we cleaned off the rudder, it became apparent that we had a real problem. Marine electrolysis is an extremely serious, complex issue. Both the rudder and the propeller were affected with deterioration. This is usually caused by improper electrical wiring resulting in stray current transferred between two metals, eroding the lesser metal. The addition of water, especially salt water, to the system essentially creates a battery!

A little off the subject here, but because electrical problems are relatively common on boats, a marina is a very dangerous place to go for a swim as I see so many people doing during a hot summer day. Don't get in the water in a marina. You could be electrocuted!

This damage had occurred in the time that we had owned the boat, and Jerry had worked on the electrical system. He was sure his work was done correctly but had checked and rechecked his work when he started to see signs of electrolysis, e.g., fuzzy wood in the bilge. Since Dave Thompson, who did the recaulking of our hull, had come over to see us when he saw Argonaut II lifted out of the water, we had a recommendation for an excellent marine electrician before we finished pressure washing.

If you're in the area and need a marine electrician, I cannot recommend Chris Brignoli highly enough. This guy really knows his stuff! If fact, everyone at the Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-op is just great.


Then we're moved into our location in the yard,

And Set up on Blocks and Supports.

We were placed right in front of the marine supply store, across the street from the Shipwrights Co-op, and


Right Next to This.

The W.N. Ragland, once owned by Neil Young(and maybe now owned again by Neil Young), is an awesome sight. The unvarnished teak of the wheelhouse, deck, stanchions, and handrails is unbelievably beautiful. Below deck looks like some kind of groovy grotto where the party that started in the 60s never ended. It was a thrill for me to be in the yard next to this vessel.

I had seen Ragland on previous visits to Port Townsend. Around two years ago she came through the locks and was moored for a time near Fishermen's Terminal. Rumors were going around that she had been sold and the buyer later reneged on the sale. I don't know the truth except that in April 2010 in the Port Townsend boatyard, she was owned by a boat broker who was in the process of a sale. Later, after purchased, she was dismasted, and, last I heard, she was again in the possession of Neil Young. Boatyard gossip!

Quick and dirty


Since I have no mechanical, electrical, or tool using skills, I do the scraping, sanding, and painting. We ended up painting just the starboard side green paint, the yellow boot stripe on both sides, and the bottom paint. Jerry worked with me part of the time, but also worked on the electrical issues and the rudder. I had originally put together a procedure for top-sides painting as well as the bottom paint procedure you see below. However, on second thought, there are so many variables that must be considered for our quick and dirty method, I really need to publish a complete hub devoted just to this matter. Bottom paint is a lot simpler.

A Bit about Bottom Paint

Some people feel that a wooden boat, kept mostly in fresh water, does not need bottom paint. Bottom paint is designed to stop teredos and other wood damaging organisms from attaching to the hull. However, though bottom paint does not stop algae and slime growth, it does retard it.

There are two main types of bottom paint: soft or ablating and hard. To use the newer style paint that dries to a hard surface, we would have to completely strip all old paint off the surface and prime the surface before adding several coats of paint. In addition, it is very expensive and contains even more toxic, dangerous ingredients than ablating paint. However, once hard bottom paint is in place, it is, overall, less labor intensive than soft paint.

After much debate and research we decided to go with the type of bottom paint that has been on Argonaut II since 1922--soft, ablating paint. It is less expensive: we bought navy surplus at about $350 per 5 gallon can. The main toxic ingredient is copper, a heavy metal. This paint can be applied the day you go back into the water because it never really dries completely.

The first time I used bottom paint was 1998, on our first boat. At that time I wore cut-offs, a tank top, and flip-flops. I had sunglasses on, so maybe that qualifies as safety glasses. Now that I've done some research, I wouldn't dream of painting the bottom without safety equipment. This is some nasty, toxic stuff! Yes, safety gear is uncomfortable, awkward, and dorky looking--use it anyway!

Bottom Paint Procedure

1.Tape

2. Gather materials: safety gear, paint, drill motor and stirring attachment, paint roller on long handle.

3. Don safety gear: disposable painting jumpsuit, gloves, waterproof shoes, head covering, safety goggles (not glasses, these need to be closed in all around), and respirator. Don't even bother with a dust mask for this job. A mask does not keep you from breathing volatile, toxic, carcinogenic, organic compounds--such as the fumes from bottom paint.

4. Stir paint. Use an attachment on a drill motor, not a stick. You really need to stir the paint well.

5. Dip your roller in the paint can rather than pouring the paint in a pan. Yep, that's what the pros do. Just dip, try to distribute the paint somewhat evenly on the roller, and roll. Yes, it's extremely messy. That's one of the reasons you're wearing safety gear. Dip and roll, dip and roll--quick and dirty. Use a brush if you have to on areas you can't fit a roller into. I had to use a brush behind the keel cooler.

6. When the boat was picked up by the travel lift, we ran over and painted the bottom of the keel and the areas covered by the supports. That's a common boatyard practice; just be sure the crew knows you're there first.




Now we needed to deal with the electrolysis issue

The rudder was sandblasted and painted with six coats of two different kinds of 2-part epoxies designed to produce an electrical barrier
The rudder was sandblasted and painted with six coats of two different kinds of 2-part epoxies designed to produce an electrical barrier
Then the rudder was coated with bottom paint and new zincs attached
Then the rudder was coated with bottom paint and new zincs attached

Our propeller had been scientifically tested by two boatyard experts and was pronounced sound, though the ends of the blades had thinned out due to the electrolysis. The test? Hit the prop with a mallet and listen for a satisfying, clear pong. Must be a pong, not a ping. All that was needed was to grind down the razor-sharp edges of each blade. The rudder was coated with epoxy as shown above to arrest any further damage. Now we needed to find and stop the cause of the damage.

Chris, the marine electrician, did an electrical survey--going through the boat and "mapping" all electrical wiring. When Argonaut II went back in the water, he also measured any electrical current in the water. It's important to have a certified, experienced marine electrician, experienced in working with wooden boats do this work. The perfectly capable, marine electrician who was mostly experienced with fiber glass boats, looked for our problem earlier in Seattle, and was unable to determine the cause.

Chris, however, found very quickly that the shaft brush was not making good contact. A shaft brush is a spring-loaded electrical connection which connects the current from the shaft to an outside zinc. Without this connection, stray current would destroy our rudder and propeller. Easy fix! Problem solved!


Finally! We're done!

Argonaut II looking good with fresh paint
Argonaut II looking good with fresh paint

Marine survey for insurance? Check

Electrical survey? Check

Electrolysis problem solved? Check

Top-sides green paint completed? Starboard side only. The port side can be done from the dock.

Yellow boot strip painted? Check

Bottom paint completed? Check

New zincs attached? Check

We were done and ready to go home to Seattle. However, the work had taken over two weeks. Normally this type of work wouldn't take us more than a week. What happened?

Port Townsend in the springtime is what happened. The day after we arrived the weather took a turn for the worse. Cold, rainy, and really, really windy. I've been tossed around a bit in a boat on the water but never in a boat on land. The wind blew so hard that at times the boat would shudder and shake. The hull made groaning and creaking noises as it does in rough water. There were several days when no work got done anywhere in the yard. Locals told us this was completely normal for this time of year. We will definitely wait until summer next time we need to haul out.

© 2010 Lee A Barton

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    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      9 years ago from New Mexico

      Thanks, bri36! I didn't know much of anything when we first started out. The whole thing has really been a learning experience, but it's fun and interesting. Thank you for the kind encouragement!

    • profile image

      bri36 

      9 years ago

      Now I will be first to admit I don't know much about boats and sailing but I have always been just a little bit interested in finding out if I could be a "Sailor in the deep blue ocean". this is a great hub with lots of cool information and even better video. Thanks Lee B and yes I voted^

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      9 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you so much for stopping by, ehrendreich! It's been great to discover so many kindred spirits out there!

    • ehrendreich profile image

      William Ehrendreich 

      9 years ago from Manitowoc, WI USA

      I appreciated your comment on my walking piece. I thought that I should look into your work. We would appear to have a common love. I love boats. I always have. I have been on many of the worlds waterways and the only think of when I debark is that the trip did not last long enough.

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      9 years ago from New Mexico

      Wow!!! Thank you so much, Kenneth! I could read those kind words all day. I've also enjoyed reading several of your hubs. You've really got something great going on! Plus, you've published soooo much more than I have in such a short period of time. Good on ya!!!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      9 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Let me see . . .FANTASTIC, GREAT, LOVELY ART, PERFECT LAY-OUT, I could go on with more truthful adjectives. Love your work.

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      10 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Anaya! We really are trying to "live our dreams." However, it does involve a lot of work and not all of it is fun. I must be a bit perverse, though. I ENJOY the work at the boatyard. Love the people, the sense of accomplishment!

    • Anaya M. Baker profile image

      Anaya M. Baker 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      What a great read! Your whole journey into boat living was fascinating. Especially with the economy etc., there's so many stories out there of always wanting to do X and never getting to it. Love hearing about someone being able to live out their dreams...cheers! Anaya

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      10 years ago from New Mexico

      No, I sure don't get bored, tired maybe! Thanks for your hug, Sa'ge!

    • Sa`ge profile image

      Sa`ge 

      10 years ago from Barefoot Island

      wow, takes a lot to live safely on a boat. One thing for sure one does not get bored :D great hug. thank you :D

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      10 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you so much, Bill!!!! I have seen the video but didn't know I could access it online. And I did not know about the Thomas Crosby V documentary. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Bill Tobey 

      10 years ago

      Hi Lee,

      I am sure you have seen this video but I had to forward the link just in case. Only the first 5 seconds show your home but they are incredibly beautiful. Not many homes can do this.

      http://www.tonywade.com/index.php?option=com_conte...

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      10 years ago from New Mexico

      Sounds like a lot of work--but what's new!

    • Saint Anthony profile image

      Saint Anthony 

      10 years ago from New Hampshire

      Sorry about spelling "Dingy" wrong, And you have to use regular rollers after the textured ones.

      For the big grooves you can use a brush.

    • Saint Anthony profile image

      Saint Anthony 

      10 years ago from New Hampshire

      Here is another issue of contention in the"Wood Boat World"

      http://piratebaywoodproducts.yolasite.com/

      The unsurvivable ones get this Extreme Makeover...........

      With dented cans of paint at 40.00 a gallon and texture rollers with the big fur on them, hard paint on any hull is possible.

      My home port is Winthrop Mass Harbor...$225 a year for any size boat with the appropriate mooring tackle, a digy slip is 250............both are out of state rates.

      Thank You for wishing me luck, I need it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      10 years ago from New Mexico

      Hi Saint Anthony, thanks for coming by. I'm interested in your tips, though preparing a hull as rough as ours for hard bottom paint may not be possible. At this point, since we fixed our original electrical issue, we aren't planning on bonding everything together--although this process is an item of ongoing discussion and argument in the old wooden boat community, as I well know!

      Good luck with your old wood boat! Lee

    • Saint Anthony profile image

      Saint Anthony 

      10 years ago from New Hampshire

      2 tips for you guys:

      1.Next time you bottom paint, use the hard bottom paint with 1 1/4 cups of Cayenne pepper mixed in with the paint.

      Nothing will grow on it,and it will last a long time unlike ablative bottom paint.

      2.Install a bonding system that hardwires ALL the metal items in your boat to a 6 pound under the waterline external zinc.

      You will see no more galvanic corrosion on your boat but you will see the external zinc corrode and replace it when it needs to be done.

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      10 years ago from New Mexico

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Capt. We're pretty committed to doing as much of our own work as we can for now.

    • profile image

      Marina Del Rey Boat 

      10 years ago

      Marina Del Rey Yacht- I admire you for all your hard work.

      Monthly boat cleaning is essential to boat safety, accurate boat instruments, removal of marina growth which fouls the boat bottom, lower fuel costs and faster boat speed.

      I used to enjoy doing most of the work on my boat including boat cleaning topside and boat bottom cleaning.

      One of my friends convinced me there is a better way.

      Here is his somewhat amusing story ==> http://www.boatbottomcleaningmarinadelrey.com/boat...

      Capt Jack Back

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      10 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you for reading and commenting, David! I must admit, right now my life is pretty ordinary and boring--but we do get to take short cruises now and then, and Argonaut II really is a wonderful boat. I'm reworking my hubs about cruising in the San Juans and Gulf Islands; hope you can return and check them out.

    • wanderingpops profile image

      wanderingpops 

      10 years ago

      Lee, first of all, WOW!!! What a life it has to be living on such a work of craftsmanship. Then to become a craftsman of maintaining it. I know no life is perfect but I envy you the courage to do so and I envy you living where you do.

      I used to live in eastern WA and visited the Puget Sound area several times, ridden the ferries, kayaked and in 2004 I was fortunate enough to do 2 boat dives in the San Juans with Van Ford from Orca Scuba Center in Wenatchee aboard Lujac's Quest a beautiful but small wooden boat based in Seattle.

      Thanks for the photos and the story, and especially for the word of advice about swimming in a marina. I had NO idea!

      David Sims

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      10 years ago from New Mexico

      Hey, dallas93444, that's my fantasy, too! I was tricked into this life on an old wooden stinkpot, living in the cold, gloomy Northwest, and working my butt off.

      I'd love to hear about the raft!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      10 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      My fantasy is to live on a blue water 50' catamaran and to face the difficult choice to decide if I pull the anchor up or stay another day in the South Pacific. I spent some time in Fiji building a 50' bamboo raft and attempted to sail to Sydney... another story!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      10 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you, arsih2345!

    • arsih2345 profile image

      arsih2345 

      10 years ago from indonesia

      amazing,,

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      10 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you so much, billie bob! I'm also a long time reader of Wooden Boat, so your compliment means a lot to me as it's a fine, informative publication. As I've said before, you couldn't stop me from writing about my boat, although I haven't been able to get to as much writing as I'd like lately (day job). Are you also a wooden boat owner?

    • profile image

      billie bob 

      10 years ago

      Wonderful writing.

      I have read almost every issue of Wooden Boat & there seems to be sooo much more detail & clarity in your writing.

      Love the boat also.

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Oh Peggy! You couldn't stop me from sharing! Thank YOU for reading and commenting!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      11 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What a treat to get to read and also see your gorgeous photos...especially the last one where she was sporting her new paint colors. This is all so out of the ordinary for most of us. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Thanks, Suki! I'm glad you stopped by.

    • Suki C profile image

      Barbara C 

      11 years ago from Andalucia, Spain

      Hi - I'm glad to have come across you! It's always fascinating to read about someone else's different way of life and you make it all so interesting.

      Off to read some more :)

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you, mysterylady! I'm not sure how brave we are, but we are enjoying ourselves.

    • mysterylady 89 profile image

      mysterylady 89 

      11 years ago from Florida

      Lee B, this hub is very well written. I love all the details. You and your husband are brave to have taken such a giant step! Once upon a time, I took a Christmas Windjammer cruise -- good memories.

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Hi Freya! Glad to see you here! Unfortunately, because we still need our jobs, we have to stay in one place most of the time. However, we still have our dream of cruising full time someday.

    • Freya Cesare profile image

      Freya Cesare 

      11 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

      Wow! That must be really interesting to live inside the boat with different view on your backyard everyday. I am amazed on you and your husband bravery to leave all and reliving your dream. I'm not sure I can be that brave.

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you for stopping by, Micky Dee!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      11 years ago

      So new and interesting! Thank you!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you so much, prasetio30! If you happen to be in Seattle the weekend of June 20, Argonaut II will be in the Bell Harbor Marina, right downtown for a classics show. If you can't make it, I'll be sure to take pictures and write up a hub about it. I sure appreciate your kind words!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      11 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I love your boats, I see your dedication with your boat. Would you invite me to your boat? I think it was become beautiful moment. Good article, I really enjoy reading this hub. Complete with great picture. Thumbs up for you. I rate his hub.

      Prasetio

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Nice to meet you, dags the drover! Always glad to meet another wooden boat person! Sounds like you have many cruising hours behind you. I'm still pretty new to this.

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you, Dolores! I totally agree that preserving these old boats is a calling! I have a heavy sense of responsibility, but I also enjoy it.You are so right--wooden boats do rule!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Hi Tony! In a lot of ways being in the boatyard is the down side of living aboard--but I really don't mind it!

    • dags the drover profile image

      dags the drover 

      11 years ago from still lost in Western Australia

      Thanks for sharing this, it seems our boating days are behind at least for the moment. We had 2 wooden charter boats but love to over-night, week etc as time allowed. And yes.... to all those detials about being out of the water....on the hard as they say.. Great thanks. Dags the drover

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      11 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Wow! What a beautiful boat! Wooden boats rule! You have created an amazing life for yourselves and the preservation of old wooden boats sounds like a calling, you are saving a part of the culture that is worth saving. You are doing something so important. (Sounds like way too much work)

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      Love boats and the sea so I really enjoyed this Hub. Would love to live on a boat, but not likely to happen.

      Thanks for sharing this information and the great pix.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Hello rprcarz50! Glad to meet a fellow boater. We have grand dreams of heading south, going through the Panama Canal, and making our way up the Mississippi. Don't know if I will live long enough to get to that--there's so much to see up here, and we still have a lot to learn.

      Thank you for your comments!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Gypsy Willow, I'm so glad you came by. I searched your hubs looking for your wooden boat hub and found so much other interesting stuff as well!

      Yes, the costs of boat maintenance are much more than I ever expected! We control them somewhat by doing a lot of the work ourselves.

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Hi James! Good to see you here! I'm finding out that a lot more people live on boats than I thought. Thanks for your kind words about my photos. I'm such an amateur, and the wind was so bad much of the time, it was hard to get a good shot. Hope you enjoyed your visit to Seattle.

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Thanks for stopping by, habee! It's very motivating to me to show off my work and have people appreciate it.

    • rprcarz50 profile image

      rprcarz50 

      11 years ago

      Hi Lee B ,

      I'm soo glad I ran into you will Hubbing around. We are boaters on the mighty Mississippi River . I'll be reading all your very interesting Hubs. Hope we can stay in touch.

      Nice work , thank you !

      Ron

      I'm also a2z50 on Hub pages

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      11 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      I had a lovely little wooden boat once (I wrote a hub about it) The cost of repairing it was immense so I bet your big boat cost a small fortune to repair. Fascinating story, thanks.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      11 years ago from Chicago

      This is a fascinating story. My sister lives on a boat in Titusville, Florida. I was just in Seattle last week for the first time! Thank you for the great photographs!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      11 years ago from Georgia

      This is awesome! I've always dreamed of living on a boat. We had a cabin cruiser that we slept on occasionally, but it was small. The Argonaut is gorgeous!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      You know, De Greek, after I wrote all that, I thought the same thing!

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      11 years ago from UK

      Lee, you should really make a separate hub about the costs! Can't wait :-)

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Hi De Greek! So glad you stopped by! I was going to nag, I mean, remind you via email if I didn't see you pretty soon.

      Anyway, I originally meant to include costs in this hub but somehow got sidetracked. Here's a rundown of some of the major items. I'd be glad to answer any other questions you have.

      -Haul out w/ 300 ton travelift: $875 round trip, includes set up and tarp rental (a smaller lift costs less) This winter some local boatyards were offering half price haul outs but we didn't fit in their lifts.

      -Boatyard stay: $40 per day

      -Specialized labor: $50 per person(at least) per hour for things like caulking and welding

      -Bottom paint crew: about $10 per foot, based on the cost for Ragland, $1000 for a 100 ft. boat. I'm not sure if this included the cost of the paint which can be up to $700 per 5 gals. (We paid $350 per 5 gals. and I worked for free!)

      -Electrical survey: $150, about 3 hours for one specialist, may take longer for severe issues

      -Insurance survey: $870 (most charge by the foot so a smaller boat would cost less, a larger one more)

      _Purchase survey: $1200 ( a more intensive survey also charged by the foot. This was the price 4 years ago. We also paid some travel costs)

      -Scaffold and ladder rental for 2 weeks: $250 (This was a bargain for lightweight, sturdy, easy to move scaffolding)

      -Unskilled labor: $15-$20 per hour ( There's always someone who will work for less or more!)We've been really lucky hiring people to work for us. They've been much more skilled, knowledgeable, and hard working that we ever expected. You really have to watch them until you know them. Hire a recommended specialist to do labor you don't know how to do, only hire unskilled labor to do things you know how to do so you can show them how to do YOUR way. We've been taken by a con man whom we left to work on his own. I'll be writing about him in a hub called "Pirate on Land"!

      Our rule of thumb is "Always costs more, takes longer"!

      Of course, these are prices in Washington. Canada was comparable when we were there 10 years ago. Even in Washington there is quite a bit of variety. The boatyard here, if we could have talked them into hauling out our boat would have charged $5000 for a round trip rather than the $875 we paid in Port Townsend. The difference is that the Seattle boatyard was what I call a "Yachty-yacht" yard--all fiberglass, multi-million dollar boats. I'm pretty sure they felt we were unsightly. Also they wouldn't let us do any of our own labor, so costs would have been much higher if we had to hire out everything.

      Hope this helps!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      So glad to see you here, SilverGenes! I just love to show off my beautiful Argonaut II! I'm new to this way of life, so I'm sharing what I learn as I learn it. Since I don't have internet access while cruising, I mostly take notes and photos and put it all together later for publishing. I hope to do a better job of that for this summer's cruise.

      Victoria is one of my favorite places! Ten years ago, I lived on another boat north of Victoria in Maple Bay near the town (world's smallest city!) of Duncan. I just loved it, but the long, dark winter really got to me. Going in to Victoria for a museum, shopping, or restaurant visit really saved my sanity. It's a wonderful place.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      11 years ago from UK

      Lee, I did not receive a notice that you had published this. It happens with some of the people I follow but not all.

      Anyway I have read this word for word and it is so useful, especially for me with the type of boat I have in mind :-)

      Any chance that you might write a hub about costs involved? Now THAT would be the icing on the cake for me! :-))

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 

      11 years ago

      Loved the read and oh, what a beautiful boat! And thanks for the tip about the marina and the other currents that can be happening there - I had no idea! Your idea of writing while you cruise is a good one and there has to be a way to do it. I'm from Victoria and your photos made me a tad wistful :-)

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      So glad to see you here, Cheeky Girl! Thank you for your kind words. Yes, it's true that boats are a lot of work--especially an old one like ours--but it really is worthwhile. Living aboard is a trade-off: there are conveniences you give up (for example, I don't have a freezer or an oven), but you do feel freer to just go. Too bad we have to work for a living--I'd rather be writing hubs about cruising in South America or going through the Panama Canal.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      11 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      What a Hub of brilliance! I love boats, and have had a chance to go aboard friend's boats on the Thames, which was awesome. I can see how much of a great and continuous job the maintenance of a boat can be, but the beauty of your boat here shows how worthwhile it is in the end. The boat will give you so much pleasure. I envy anyone who lives on a boat! It's radical and kind of cool too! Cheers!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Hi Merlin! Thanks for stopping by. We actually did use red lead between the planks when we recaulked the hull four years ago. It's a traditional wooden boat thing. Yes, you probably should have been wearing safety gear--especially painting something as big as an aircraft carrier. How did we ever survive our youths?

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 

      11 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      Love your outfit !

      Back in my Navy days we had some wonderful stuff called Red Lead, which was actually bright orange, and like the coating you describe never actually dries.

      As its name implies I think we should have been kitted out like you but were dressed in coveralls and trainers with very big paint brushes.

      Oh Yeah! we were in dry dock and the bottom we were painting was an aircraft carrier !

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you so much, agvulpes! I'm not sure we are doing everything the correct way, but we are sure learning a lot.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 

      11 years ago from Australia

      Fantastic Hub, what an exciting time you are having!

      It is good to see you are doing everything the correct way.

      I have had a bit to do with 'electrolysis' and it can do some pretty bad damage, and hard to detect at times.

      As I said this is a great Hub and deserves a thumbs up!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Enjoying life to the fullest is definitely the goal!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      11 years ago from TEXAS

      Lee - no doubt all that swabbing and fixing keeps you trim and excited about living. Your Argonaut sounds so wonderful. So good you're able to enjoy it all to the fullest!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you, Elayne. I just can't seem to stop writing about Argonaut!

      The Pacific Northwest is beautiful, but I sure can't help but envy you for living in Hawaii. Thanks for stopping by. It gave me the opportunity to find your hubs.

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you, David. I do try to keep things lively!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you for stopping by, Eric. You're right, Argonaut looks beautiful--from a distance. Up close flaws are more visible. I'm not complaining. Hope I look as good at 88!

    • Lee B profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee A Barton 

      11 years ago from New Mexico

      Thank you, nellieanna! It was a lot of work--but compared to our other boatyard visits, it was easy. Speaking of spring cleaning, the boat was actually filthy when we finished! Took me several hours to swab the deck!

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 

      11 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Very interesting life you are having - Great writing too. Thanks! Looking forward to the next hub. Aloha!

    • David Stone profile image

      David Stone 

      11 years ago from New York City

      Nice, Lee. Lively.

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 

      11 years ago from USA

      Looks beautiful, you all did a great job!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      11 years ago from TEXAS

      Wow - That is quite an eye-opener! Gives spring cleaningn a whole'nuther meaning!!

      Excellent write upm, Lee!!

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