WARNING: for several months to come, many of these blogs will wander off into the badlands of boat refitting. My apologies if block-and-tackle-type discussions are not to everyone’s liking, but the work is a necessary prerequisite to minimizing excitement levels during the voyage itself, and writing about them, nearly so.

With the Figure 8’s September of 2017 launch decidedly in view (seems as close as next weekend), the race to the starting line has commenced in earnest, a race that has largely to do with preparing Moli and her skipper for a year at sea.

I’ll admit that the master list is the very definition of daunting, this because the number of Figure 8 employees is small (one, to be precise), and because, if previous experience is any indicator, this many-tentacled monster will grow over time in rough proportion to the number of items completed.


The Master List. To date, the cascade of requirements has spawned eighteen other lists, all before I’ve lifted a wrench.

The immediate result of producing such a project outline is befuddlement; i.e. not knowing where to start. So I’ve reverted to the advice of James William Addison who said, “If you can’t find the beginning, just dive in, and the beginning will reveal itself.”

In my case, the beginning revealed itself to be an attack on smaller, “easy” jobs I could complete in the cabin during rainy weather and before Moli goes under wraps next week at the KKMI boatyard in Richmond.

These early tasks have included things like making the lists that attend the master list. There are eighteen so far, including titles such as “Tools Aboard by Location,” “Paper Charts Aboard,” “Clothing by Region,” “Energy Usage Budget.” On and on…


By last count, there are 151 charts aboard Moli.

Another task, overhauling the boat’s manual bilge pumps, moved to top priority when the aft compartment pump, a Whale Gusher 25, announced its demise by imitating an incontinent octopus being run over by a mack truck.

I thought the repair would require nothing more than replacing the rubber parts until I opened the pump to find it corroded beyond reasonable salvage. Then I thought the replacement would require nothing more than acquiring a new pump until I discovered that the line had been discontinued in 1989 and succeeded by a pump, the Whale Gusher 30, whose dimensions had morphed such that it no longer fit the space.

Luckily, a few sessions on eBay unearthed a vintage, unused Gusher 25 in a barn in Maine; here a large schooner had been built over many winters but had flown the coop before the pump could be installed, hopefully without disastrous consequences for the schooner.


The aft compartment on Moli is separated from the rest of the boat by a watertight bulkhead, thus necessitating a separate bilge pump for that area. The handle is convenient to the cockpit (just above the canvas tool bag in this photo) but getting at the pump requires spelunking skills.



The inside of the old Whale Gusher 25 (note deep pitting around the rim and under the lid gasket) and a vintage but unused Gusher 25. In the newer model, the Gusher 30, the stainless fasteners and black (painted aluminum) ring holding the plunger in place have been replaced by the compression of the lid itself, which is a vast improvement over the dissimilar metal issues of stainless into aluminum. If only they’d kept the dimensions the same!



In an attempt to slow future corrosion, I applied Tef-Gel to all the fastener threads and then coated the rubber and ring in silicon grease.



One of the great mysteries of bifocals is how well they function when one is sitting upright and how they fail utterly when one is standing on one’s head.



Old as the original but good as new.

Next came the finishing of a job started during Tony Gooch’s visit (yes, I put him to work) and continued during the visit of good friend, David R. Kelton (yep, put him to work too), that being the cleaning and lubricating of Mo’s ten winches.


All ten winches on the boat are of the same make, Meissner–so that’s good–but each pair of winches is a different size and has slightly different gearing.



Most, like this one, looked pretty good inside, thanks to Tony’s regular maintenance schedule.



Even the “dirty” ones weren’t bad.



But I began to run into issues when removing the central stainless crankshaft, which is separated from the aluminum housing by a Delron sleeve. On two winches, the inside of the housing had succumbed to minor surface corrosion. This corrosion expanded and pushed the sleeve tight against the crankshaft, making the winch difficult to turn and the crankshaft difficult to extract. Thus the rubber mallet.



A quick soak in mineral spirits and removal of gunk with a toothbrush…



Not surprisingly, getting the pawls and springs back in place can be tricky. Ptoing! I have spares.



Then a bit of grease and on you go…

Next week I’ll be moving Moli to KKMI, where the bigger projects, like re-rigging and painting the decks, will commence.

4 Comments on “RACE TO THE STARTING LINE: Moli’s Refit Begins

  1. Hey Doug, I’m using an online project management tool rather than excel. Not easy to export. I’ll look to sharing the list later…when it stops changing every day.

  2. Pingback: REFIT UPDATE: Mast Out (Man, that was easy!) – The Figure 8 Voyage

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