The return back to Slick took quite some time. Aside from the flight I spent a night in Istanbul, Oddly I ran into a backpacker I met in Amman there. So it was nice to have something other than a new face. Then I took a 13 hour overnight bus to return to my, I guess you could call it, home. A short Dulmus ride took me to my beloved Slick, except she was not were I left her. The marina moved her and it took me a few minutes to find her. None of that is interesting though, what is interesting is that I am now involved in a complete and utter refit of the boat, so here comes a run down of the maintenance.

The first thing that concerned me was the part of the work that I had to do – the engine. I decided last season to dump Perky after she decided to spring one more leak and that put me over the edge. So in order to replace her, with a new Yanmar 3 Cylinder, I needed to get her set for removal. Of course, like everyone, she didn’t want to leave Slick. To be fair, she was a pretty good engine, but it was time we part ways. So I got her all unbolted and then had to use a grinder to get the shaft coupling to let the shaft loose. Then it took lots of pounding to remove the shaft. After all the wires were disconnected it was time to do what I really was dreading, try to lift the cockpit floor. Much to my surprise, the top popped right out. A few days later a crane came and within 30 minutes Perky was on the ground. Since then I have just been refurbishing the engine compartment. What a nasty, dirty and greasy mess. Lots of scrubbing has finally gotten me to the point where I am ready to repaint it. On top of that, I needed to rip out all of the old egg crate insulation which will be replaced with a more modern foil coated foam. Its such a nasty job, but its getting there. I can’t figure out how I ever used to like working on engines.

Another thing I decided to do was make a hard top dodger last fall. After it wasn’t coming out so well I had decided to scrap it. It had gotten bent when I put epoxy on the bottom and it shrank when it dried so I was going to chuck it. I was still on the fence though and thought I would screw it down and see if it could be pulled into position. Sure enough, it was close enough. So I decided to continue.
I was having some edge issues and after some consultation with another cruiser, I decided to make a hard fiberglass edge. After a thick lay-up I used my 24V portable Sawzall to do the trim work. People always look at me funny when I do precision work with a Sawzall, it came out alright, so I just assume they are just jealous of my tool. Now its time for filler, lots and lots of filler and then some sanding, lots and lots of sanding. I am pretty optimistic about it now. I don’t yet know if I will do the windows myself or hire that out, parts and materials are just so expensive here in Turkey.

One more thing that has been on the list for a long time was to get some welding done. I wanted to have a new engine mount for Mutley to cling to his mother, some hard rails up to the first stanchion, a few passerail parts and finally a propane tank holder to get rid of the plastic crate that we picked up way back in Jamaica. It was so, well, not slick. I was really impressed with the welders. The price was pretty good and they said they would be out the next morning to take a look and by the afternoon everything was finished. These guys were fast, cheap and good, usually you can only pick two of those three.

The bottom job was slow to start thanks to all the rain, but now they are prepping away and will soon start laying on the first of two or three coats of fiberglass. Otherwise, I am already tired of living in a tree house. It was really cold the first few nights here, so I broke out the asphixiator 5000, an alcohol burning heater my friend gave me when we left Boston, and tried to give myself carbon monoxide poison. It didn’t work and I was woke up by a 55 knot storm. It might have saved my life for all I know. All the improperly stowed halyards in the marina were slamming and the masts whistling.
Slick’s foil was rattling against the forestay, which ties into the boat just above my head. This was sort of like trying to sleep inside of a guitar used for cutting heads by Joe Satriani with full distortion. There have been a few storms like that, I mean about 6 in the two weeks I have been back. When it’s dry though the yard is loud with paint scraping, which sounds like puppies being tortured, grinders (there is one running on Slick right now), cranes and all manners of other boat work. Its also dusty and dirty. These are the tough parts of turning Slick into a home Baba Yaga might live in.

After spending four months away though, I realized that there is so much extra shit on Slick. All this spare stuff I thought I might need while crossing the Pacific, and frequently did, fills the lockers, and is giving into the environment. Old clothes, mildewed leather, rusted things, its all getting tossed. For the first week I was here, I threw away a garbage bag of stuff a day. Thanks to living out of a storm duffel for four months I am trying to get rid of my hoarding ways. That just has no place on a sail boat, especially in this part of the world. Anyway, that is what keeps me busy when the weather is too nasty to go outside. If its nice I work on the work list, and its pretty big, and there is less than a month to our launch date. Then its back to sailing!