There was a lot of pleasure in taking off the various components of the boat, knowing that some would be cleaned up then replaced and some replaced with new items. Some we ummed and ahhd about. Others we knew would not be going back on the boat. The speedo, for example – the only piece of electronic equipment (and not even working). Why was it on a boat like the Investigator, where the hull speed is barely 5 knots and with a 5hp outboard, why would we need to watch the speed? Much more relevant would be a compass, so I was determined to replace it with one upon finishing.

One very sensible thing we did was to bag and label the screws / bolts to every fixture. We used small ziplock bags and labelled in in permanent marker so that we would know what screws etc went with what piece of equipment. This turned out to be a very useful as it was a few months later that many of the fittings were to go back on. One of the big issues I had was that every screw, nut and bolt was of a different size. Even when they were supposed to be the same! Some were Philips head, others flat. Some were longer than others and some were screws when they need to be bolts. Worst of all, one of the jib travellers was riveted to the deck! Rivets! These took an effort to drill out. Another good thing to do was take photos of the placement of the equipment. This way we knew what had to go where, especially as we were going to be filling in various holes – some items possibly moved and some not put back on at all. At least until we had established whether they were really needed or not.

Then there was the silicon.

I vaguely remember hearing that no silicon should ever be used on a boat. And while silicon is a relatively quick and easy solution in a marine environment, it’s messy, discolours, and is very difficult to remove! However, I also understand how it can be used, on an older boat, where there’s a chance of a leak, no one is going to take everything apart and fix it up properly with sanding, filling and paint when a tube of silicon can heal all wounds! Until you want to remove it, that is. I’m glad to say our finished boat has NO silicon! So many of the nuts and bolts and screws were covered in silicon. I spent hours scrubbing with solvent and a stiff old toothbrush, trying to remove the silicon. And generally, it worked. Although in the end I could have saved myself some effort as we ended up replacing many of the nuts and bolts with new stainless-steel ones. Some were old and tarnished, many were mis-matched, and since they would be visible on a newly painted white cabin, we decided to replace them with.

I decided the running rigging, all the ropes and lines, would have to wait until we set up the mast again. Clearly some would need replacing, but I wouldn’t know exactly what was needed until we rigged the boat. Similarly with the cleats and jamming cleats. There seemed to be a few unnecessary ones, and every one used meant more holes in the cabin. So, we decided to leave questionable items off the boat until we had launched and checked what was needed and where.

After everything but the toe rails had been removed, we started the long and arduous process of sanding, drilling and filling.

I’ve already mentioned that Jenni is a perfectionist. There was no way she would be happy seeing hairline cracks throughout, or rusted bolts poking through the cabin roof and ultimately I knew I wouldn’t either. So after beginning what I thought was going to be a few weeks work, I quickly realised that it was clearly going to take longer. A lot longer. It was also summer, and hot. Very hot. Fortunately, the boat (minus the mast) fits under the carport, so we were able to work in the shade. Although there was not that much headroom, and I lost count of the number of times I banged my head on the carport rafters!

So as sanding was happening, inside and out, we started the paint buying. Inside the cabin was the old beige gelcoat. Beige may have been the fashionable colour for the late 70s, early 80s, but white was going to be a cleaner and more modern look. But covering up the beige was not easy. There was much sanding to be done. Worst of all was the cabin roof. For some reason, the main cabin had been recently painted light blue. But the paint was also gritty, like a non-slip paint – and on the cabin roof! Was the previous owner expecting to be upside down at some point? Was it an insulation method? We didn’t know. Except it had to come off. And it was difficult to remove. The other thing inside the cabin was the wood trim. It was in good condition but was the yellowy/orange colour of stained pine. So Jenni got the paint stripper and painted it on the wood trim, later to be re-stained and varnished in a much more classy looking walnut. The wooden locker covers also needed a re-varnish in the dark stain, and together they complemented the white interior, nicely. A few days later, we were ready to paint the interior. I had done as much sanding and scraping as I could, and we were ready to paint. A satin white interior, followed by a dark walnut wood trim. Once completed, the boat was already looking so much better.

For the interior, we had opted not to use boat-specific paint. Instead, we opted for an interior / exterior satin white, one which would stand up to the knocks and scrapes and could easily be touched up. We weren’t sure how well the paint would bond with the gelcoat and cabin roof in particular, but it was something we were prepared to risk.

The other thing in the cabin to be addressed was the boat’s electrics. A spaghetti junction of cables was zip-tied together leading back to the locker where they had been joined to a 12V car battery. Still inside the cabin was a cd player, a bilge pump and a cabin light, all connected to a bulky switch panel, listing the various switches such as cabin lights, nav lights etc. There was also a bulky wooden shelf and cup holder, things that didn’t look particularly attractive. They would all have to go, and we worked on a design for a new panel, in fact twin panels on either side of the companion way, again in dark wood stain, but with neat, new equipment. Fortunately, my son is an electrician.