Updated: Jan 23
It was the beginning of August; Kuma Too was in the middle of a refit which was becoming more challenging as the single-day projects neared completion between charters, and we were now left with multi-day projects that needed attention. We had scheduled our annual haulout in Ft. Lauderdale with a Dunedin departure of September 24 and the intention to slowly sail south enjoying the Bahamas before arriving to St. Thomas for the Annual Charter Yacht Show to kick off the charter season. As life would have it, nothing ever goes according to plan.
A scheduling conflict caused us to be hauled locally, and begin the final refit 3 weeks earlier than planned. We moved Kuma Too into a St. Petersburg marina while the boatyard worked on a fiberglass project for us. That boatyard didn't have the mold we needed for the planned project, so they quoted us building it from scratch which was going to take 6 weeks. Instead, we rented a box truck and drove to the Ft. Lauderdale boatyard to pick up (then again 4 weeks later to drop off) the mold to cut down on time since that was running into our planned departure. First hurdle successfully jumped.
The next major project was replacing our side salon windows. Leopard catamarans are notorious for window leaks because of the paint used during installation, so we had two minor leaks that were only going to get worse if not addressed. Since we had to pullout and re-caulk the entire window, we decided on new tinted acrylic glass because our existing 14-year-old windows were crazed over and required shades to keep the interior cool. The plastic manufacturer had to place a special order for the aft section of windows which delayed delivery of the new windows. Poor Kuma sat with plastic tarp over the windows for 3 weeks instead of the planned 4 days. Hiccup number 2 overcome with no water intrusion.
We had scheduled interior cosmetic fiberglass work to be completed in the marina before hauling out, and the guy who we chose to do the job quoted us quickly and started 2 days later. Unfortunately, when the 'paint' dried it didn't match, and he needed to come back out to refinish it. The problem was that we were getting hauled out the following day (boatyard doesn't allow work by other vendors), so he'd have to wait until the yard work was complete. That wouldn't have been an issue if it wasn't fiberglass. Sanding fiberglass sprays glass dust over every possible surface and into every nook and cranny, so that meant all interior projects had to be put on hold. We couldn't even install new mirrors because the dust would settle between the new mirrors and doors they were being adhered to. Installing the new mattresses and cushions were definitely out of the question.
Speaking of cushions, when we received our reupholstered interior cushions, there was an unexpected gap, so the Dunedin vendor had to drive to downtown St. Pete to redo a section for us. Although, Kuma Too didn't have seating for a few weeks, it was worth the wait.
Then it was time for Kuma Too to get a bottom job! This was the final piece of the puzzle before departure, or so we thought. In our experience, the bottom job takes 3-4 days, but again there were unforeseen delays due to weather. Those few days were now negatively impacting our departure date.
Side note on our scheduled departure: The Annual Charter Yacht Show in St. Thomas is where the brokers meet the crews and tour the boats, so it is especially important for a boat new to the area. To recap, our original departure from Florida was planned for October 7 out of Ft. Lauderdale. We are now hauled out in a boatyard in St. Petersburg expecting to be ready to depart by October 11.
Back in the boatyard, they share the news that we won't be put back in the water until October 14. Once back in the water, we still need the interior fiberglass work completed, all above items installed, and to provision for the two week passage. October 14 rolls around, and we get word that the paint needs one more day to dry, so we're scheduled for 8am on Tuesday, Oct 15. But wait, there's more! At 5:30pm, we get an email from the boatyard that their lift broke, so they don't know when they'll get us back in the water.
We show up with family and our passage crew (who has arrived from Denver) at 8am and start loading the boat. We're out of the stress-free time zone and are now a bit worried about getting underway. Much to the boatyard's displeasure, we installed a new salon table top and interior cushions. Joe finishes up the final seal on the window installation and installs upgraded house batteries, and Melissa (crew) installs new color-changing cockpit lights. Unfortunately, they wouldn't turn on because they draw too much power and had to be returned.
At 3:30pm, the part for the lift arrives, and we are docked in the marina by dinnertime. The next day is a blur between all the final preparations. The 3 of us each took tasks between running all over town, completing oil changes on both motors and generator, installation of all the mirrors (which ended up being the wrong size, so thank you Maguveur skills), companionway lights and mattresses, and family even came to help deep-clean after the fiberglass work was complete.
We were racing to get south of Tropical Storm Nester, so at 3:30pm on Thursday, October 17, we castoff the lines and waive goodbye to our parents on the dock. Our rushing to get going was so that we wouldn't be rushed once underway. Straight through, we can make it to the Virgin Islands in 12 days. We had 24 days until the Yacht Show, so now, it was time to take it in the salt air! And eventually organize the boat from all the chaos of provisioning.
There was still A LOT to be done for the Show, but after 7 months of preparation, we were finally on our way.
Until next time, Happy Sailing!