It’s a Hard Life this Yard Life


Life has a way of balancing out, so after nearly two years of fun we were due some hard effort.

It would be easy to make the assumption based on our videos and photos that living on a boat is easy. Don’t ever let us con you into thinking that. Unless you have the money to pay others to do the hard work for you, there is plenty of hard graft required to make it around the world.

Although we keep up with general maintenance on Florence along the way, there are some jobs which are difficult to do with the boat in the water, especially when you are moving from one idyllic, isolated island to the next.

It became very clear that the fun was over and the balance about to be well and truly restored as Florence was hauled up the boat yard slipway, revealing her hull, which was covered in weed and barnacles.


As Matt conveniently busied himself with other jobs, Amy set to work on the hull. 80 grit sandpaper and a good sander resulted in removing everything around the barnacle while the bases remained firmly in place. After much debate it was decided that the only way to remove them was individually with a very sharp 2 inch long paint scraper. Three days and a couple of paint scrapers later, she was able to start with the sander again, taking the anti foul back down to the primer ready for re-painting. Sorry for banging on about barnacles again, we promise not to mention them in the next blog.


Meanwhile Matt was removing our old anchor windlass which had broken beyond repair back in Cape Verde, Africa. This involved a lot of time hanging upside down in the anchor locker preparing new mountings for the shiny new working windlass, and complete disassembly of the forepeak interior to run the cables. He also removed the steering pedestal to replace the bearings inside it. The staff who run the yard at Norsand were very helpful when grinding and a welding turned out to be necessary to complete this job. We have neither a grinder or welder on board, but to allow us to save money they let him do all the preparation and just stepped in with the right equipment at the right time.

Shiny New Windlass
Polished Topsides 

With a communal BBQ area and lots of friendly cruising as neighbours, dinner was always social. We would have liked to have taken part in this more but we were keen to be out of the yard as soon as possible. We worked from dawn till dusk, showered, ate and then set to work again before bed. The cost of being in the yard, teamed with the motivation that the sooner we were finished, the sooner we could tour South Island had us packing as much into each day as possible.

Re-sealing a window

If anyone is interested, a full-ish list of the work we undertook in the yard is below. Although the list is long, all of the jobs are fairly minor and we are under no-illusion that there will be a lot more hard work along the way to keep Florence in good working order for the rest of our voyage. Florence looks after us incredibly well, so we owe it to her to return the favour.

The joy of being back in the water

Jobs completed:

  • Replace spray hood windows
  • Replace lower shrouds
  • Replace bearings in steering pedestal
  • Remove 1,000,000+ barnacle bases and scrape back anti-foul
  • Sand down hull
  • Epoxy prime exposed areas and new raised waterline
  • Prime below waterline
  • 4 coats of anti-foul
  • Polish prop
  • Grease prop
  • Service seacocks
  • Service winches
  • Polish topsides
  • Raise waterline
  • Paint dinghy
  • Make new dinghy seat + paint
  • Varnish dinghy woodwork
  • Fit new dinghy bumper strip
  • Make covers for saloon cushions (by hand as we have no sewing machine)
  • Re-seal anchor locker cables
  • Fit a new anchor windlass
  • Make new outboard mount for stern rail
  • Varnish cockpit table, flag pole, drinks holder, wash boards, new dinghy outboard bracket
  • Fix deck lights mounted on the mast
  • Remove, fix and re-fit wind instruments on the top of the mast
  • Re-galvanise anchor chain
  • Make new chocks for mast and secure in place
  • Re-tune the rigging
  • Replace impeller shaft seal
  • Engine checks/service
  • Service heads pump
  • Sell inflatable dinghy
  • Fabricate a new custom block for the wind vane self steering
  • Remove and re-seal starboard windows
  • Remove and re-seal companion way hatch (this involved removing spray hood, instrument panel, instruments, spray hood track and the main sheet track)
    Re-sealing the companion way hatch


    Our re-galvanised anchor chain
    New spray hood windows we can see through