LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Battle of the Bilge! Bilge Cleaning…A must-do unless you enjoy the smell of sewer.

Turns out, a dirty, dark, and damp bilge smells just like a sewer when left to fend for itself. Not the most pleasant way to maintain it if you ask me. Although our boat was fairly well maintained, we are not quite sure if the previous owner ever really cleaned the bilge. And the bigger question really is…why the heck is it dirty in the first place?

Well, the smell alone was reason enough for us to make cleaning the bilge a top priority after purchasing the boat, but it is also important to keep the bilge clean to prevent growth of unwanted bacteria and prevent rust and corrosion that can pop up on key equipment in that area of the boat…ahem the engine.

And aside from the foul smell, a closer look at the water in the bilge led us to believe that there was old diesel or oil in there too. Not good in terms of cleanup.

So, the only cure for said dirty bilge was to…CLEAN it. And I mean really clean it. This “not-so-lovely” maintenance was one of the top priority boat projects on our list just days after s/v LAHO officially become ours.

But how the heck do you clean a bilge?  And get all that dirt, grime, and grease out of there? As super beginner boat owners, we certainly had no clue.

Like most things thus far, we did some research and DIY’d the heck out of it.

We decided we needed some serious cleaner to do the trick AND a little ingenuity to get the oil out before we pumped the bilge out overboard. (Remember, it is illegal to pump oily discharge overboard. If you find oil in your bilge water, you need to turn off the bilge pump and find an alternative way to dispose of the oil. The test for illegal pollution is simply a “visible sheen” on the water.)

It definitely didn’t help to see THIS many cleaner options when we browsed for a solution at West Marine. I mean really…did we need bilge cleaner concentrate, a degreaser, etc etc etc.?

After randomly selecting an appropriate cleaner, Jereme had to squeeze his girly figure (jk!) down into that hatch (you can see him poking out in the photo above) and alternating soaking up the oily water with diapers and hosing down the area with water/cleaner.  After many repetitions of this process, the bilge seemed much cleaner. And luckily, the awesome “sewer” smell went away.

Oliver did a great job “supervising” this project. 😉

It’s important to note that if our trusty float switch was working properly in the first place, then there would have never been any fluid in the bilge. Hence, no foul sewer smell. Next up on the never ending project list = FIX the float switch! ASAP.

[…] getting to know where various parts were on our engine and cleaning miscellaneous pieces, like the bilge.  But neither of us really have a clue when it comes to regular engine maintenance on our 50-HP […]

Sailboat Offer…ACCEPTED!

We made an offer on a sailboat! And…it got accepted! Woot woot!

So, after roughly T-W-O solid years of researching, investigating, and educating ourselves, turns out it only takes a few days to make an offer, negotiate it a little, settle on a price and doggonit we are scheduled for our marine survey on April 1st!!!

A marine survey and haul out on April Fools Day?  Hmmm…here’s to hoping the jokes not on us!

adamSeptember 16, 2015 - 1:48 pm

how much did it cost?

Virginia HeidersbergerOctober 15, 2016 - 1:04 pm

I love your adventure since my dad crossed the Atlantic 3 times…. And I would kind of follow your footsteps.
May I ask, how much did your boat cost?


We found “the one!”


We knew it as soon as we walked down the dock and saw her.

Well, I guess we had a pretty solid feeling having done very extensive boat research ourselves beforehand. Plus, she matches up pretty darn closely with our sailboat priority list!!! And once we saw her in person, well that just did it.

Say hello to this pretty lady…Ms. Roxy! …A 1982 Endeavour 37 Plan B.

Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing.

Ron ChurchillAugust 23, 2015 - 2:09 pm

Great blog. I think you did it right. See the window of opportunity, experience the adventure. Then move on. Looks like your boat needed a lot of upgrades though.
Upgrades = time.

Holy moly, we’re finally boat shopping. In person.

Must be the luck of the Irish or something? Two years later and we’re finally shopping. In person. {insert happy dance here.}

You know, the kind of real life shopping where you go and see things you want to buy?  I wasn’t sure if we’d ever venture out of the online “browsing” status to actual in-person shopping. But WE DID! Yay us! And on St. Patty’s Day no less. Imagine that!

So, it only took two years of searching, learning the market, talking about buying a boat, calculating what it would cost, searching a ton more, talking about it lots more, and then FINALLY we bit the bullet and called a yacht broker for one great-looking, fits-our-budget, lines-up-with-our-priority-list kind of boat we came across on Yachtworld.

*Al Pollak with Massey Yacht Sales in St. Petersburg, Florida was amazing to work with! I would highly recommend his expertise to any serious sailboat or yacht shoppers out there.

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing.

Getting Our Priorities in Check! Sailboat Buying for Beginners

For two long years, Jereme checked and sailboat listings (& occasionally, Craigslist) twice a day to check out any and all new boats. Let’s just say he was intimately familiar with every boat for sail in Florida.

So after browsing what feels like 10 million sailboats up for sale online, I think it’s safe to say we’ve effectively narrowed our search down and developed a shortlist of priorities we want in a boat.

Let’s be honest, if it were up to me (Kim) our boat would look like this

Image courtesy Google Image search

Who am I kidding? This is more in line with what we can probably afford… 😉 

Image courtesy Google Image search

At the end of the day, we know there is never going to be the perfect boat, but we are trying to find the one that’s best for us AND fits our budget.

Here’s what we know for sure…

  1. Our boat will be used.
  2. She needs to be sturdy and seaworthy.
  3. She will be affordable (to us that means less than $60,000 cash money).

In a nutshell, here’s our narrowed down sailboat shopping priority list:

  • Model: Endeavour, Gulfstar, Irwin, Morgan, Pearson (older production boats, we don’t want a newer production boat). And newer than 1980. *At first we thought we wanted Gemini 105M Catamaran for all kinds of crazy reasons, but then at the Miami Simply Sail show we got on one and changed our mind. 
  • Current Location: In Florida, preferably the Gulf coast (somewhere we could easily sail back to Naples without getting too crazy)
  • Rigging: sloop
  • Length: Ideally between 35 and 40 feet. Big enough to be comfortable, but not too big that we can’t handle it or can’t afford the maintenance/upkeep.
  • Draft: Less than 5 feet (necessary for cruising the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean)
  • Water Capacity: the more the better
  • Engine: needs to be a perkins or yanmar, and as low of hours as possible
  • Anchors: Electric windlass, and the bigger the anchor the better
  • Air Conditioning (for Kim)
  • Refrigeration: electric
  • Bimini/Dodger: definitely needed to shade us from the tropical sun
  • Storage: the more the better
  • Fuel Tank: preferably one that we won’t have to replace in the near future, and the bigger the better
  • Autopilot: To relieve the helmsman.
  • Dinghy with motor: Would be a bonus.
  • Wind instruments and depth sounder: depth sounder essential, wind instruments very helpful.
  • Clean marine survey (for the major things — engine, structure, dry boat, etc.)

And here are some things we would certainly love, but aren’t a deal breaker:

  • A pretty boat. (again, Kim)
  • Large cockpit
  • Jib with roller furling. Easy to handle from the cockpit.
  • All lines leading aft to the cockpit
  • Solar power
  • An inverter
  • Instructions for all of the equipment. (So we can figure out how to fix things when they inevitably break.)
  • Maintenance records. To know how old everything is and when it will need to be serviced.
  • Chart plotter
  • Sail track

***UPDATE: We’ve purchased a 1982 Endeavour 37 B Plan. You can see all of her specs here.

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing.

[…] However when we were boat shopping, we also knew that the water tank on a 1982 Endeavour 37 had decent access, as compared to fuel tanks and water tanks on similar boats. Luckily, the fuel tank had already been replaced by the previous owner (one of the items on our boat shopping priority list). […]

[…] then FINALLY we bit the bullet and called a yacht broker for one great-looking, fits-our-budget, lines-up-with-our-priority-list kind of boat we came across on […]

[…] about our boat is that it came with a beautiful canvas bimini top and dodger. Both of which were on our original “must-have” list when boat shopping.  With the obvious need being shade – a major necessity when sailing in […]

AaronOctober 16, 2014 - 6:24 pm

Hello, I’m really enjoying your blog. Just found it. I am an aspiring sailor myself with very little experience. I am interested in purchasing my own board in the near future and I have been looking hard at catamarans. I’m curious about why you changed your mind on the Gemini when you actually got on board one. Thanks for the help and keep up the great work. Your an inspiration. Aaron

ScottJanuary 31, 2015 - 5:47 pm

Just found the blog and love it. My wife and I are looking into getting a boat in the next few years. I’m really interested (like Aaron) on what changed your mind about the catamaran. That’s where we’re leaning right now. Thanks!