2 Weeks in Florida – Boat Projects, Checklists, and More Boat Projects


After spending a couple of weeks in Florida getting familiar with the new boat, moving our gear from the Nordhavn 40 on board, and working to prep the boat for our seemingly imminent trip to Panama, everyone is back in San Diego for the week.

Before we get into some of the details of our prep – a little bit of more information about the new boat. Cassidy was adamant that the new boat not be named after her. "It's too much stress" said the 8 year old. Respecting her wishes, we had a new name picked out upon closing of the purchase. After spending a few days on board the new boat, Cassidy ended up liking the existing name, Ata Marie, so we decided to keep it. The boat has had this name since she was commissioned in 2010, through 2 previous owners, so not such a bad thing to leave it alone. It simplifies some logistics as well since we don't need to send out our AIS transponder to be reprogrammed with the new name, we can leave various markings around the boat in place including the name on the transom, and it even allows us to continue to use the fancy embroidered towels that were hanging in the heads when we moved on board! So there is is – the "new" boat will continue be known as Ata Marie.

Ata Marie on the dock in St. Peterberg, FL

Not a bad view while we prep the boat.

Logistically things have proved to better than expected. Dave, the person from whom we purchased the boat has been super gracious in allowing us to leave the boat on the dock behind his house in St. Petersburg, Florida while we prepare for our big trip to Panama. He has also been great with downloading his wealth of information from his 3 year tenure as owner of Ata Marie and took us out to learn about the sailing rig the day after we got to Florida.


Learning to sail

A beautiful day on the water

We rented a pickup to move gear around and run errands and have gotten to know the area pretty well. Dougal and Cassidy took a road trip to Ft. Lauderdale one day to drop off our raft for service, pick up a new anchor, and discuss and set up satellite data and phone options with the company that Dave had service through when he owned the boat.

Old CQR Anchor getting hauled away

Dropping off the liferaft for service and repacking

Picking up the new Anchor in Ft. Lauderdale. (This is a scale model for testing)

Getting our satellite data options sorted out

Satellite communication equipment

Picking up the new anchor

New Ultra Anchor half way to the dock.

Shiny Ultra Anchor 60 installed on the bow

All of the equipment and personal items that came off of the old Nordhavn 40 were stored in a PODS storage container but we didn't want to schedule the shipping to Florida until we were sure the deal for the new boat was final. Because of this, we lost a spot in their shipping cue and it it took longer than we had expected to be delivered. The container arrived on March 16 which gave us a total of 4 days to get everything stowed and organized on the new boat. After unpacking the container, it was somewhat overwhelming looking at all of the gear staged on the dock and we wanted to be sure to put some thought into where everything was stowed. We ended up taking the better part of 4 days to get everything on board and properly stowed, but the upside is that everything is well organized and we have a detailed inventory of where to find all of the spare parts and less frequently used stuff that is buried in all of the various hatches and compartments.

Our gear from the Nordhavn 40 has arrived!UnpackingUnpacking


Gear from the Nordhavn 40 staged on the dock

Another view of the dock

After spending two weeks in Florida on the Nordhavn 56, we are making good progress toward the goal of leaving but it is amazing how time consuming a list of seemingly relatively small tasks can become. Ata Marie is relatively new, being launched and commissioned in 2010, and has been apparently well treated and maintained by both of her previous owners – with a consistent history of upgrades. Our pre-purchase survey identified some things that needed repair or attention and none of them were show stoppers and all things one would not be surprised to find when buying a boat on the brokerage market vs. new. Even new boats have things that need to be worked out and we are used to working on boats.

If we were going to keep the boat in place and didn't have a big trip planned in the immediate future, we would likely slowly whittle through the list of needs and wants – but with the goal of leaving the dock to head toward Panama on or soon after April 2, there is more of a sense of urgency to get things done.

Here is the checklist that we have been working against so far:

  • Install backup raw water pump on generator and order a new spare pump
  • Troubleshoot boom winch for launching dinghy and order a backup/spare
  • Calibrate propeller pitch indicator
  • Remove old CQR anchor and order and pick up new anchor.
  • Set up satellite phone and data service
  • Connect and interface navigation PC from old boat to existing navigation electronics onboard
  • Investigate oil leak at turbocharger on main engine
  • Take liferaft to be serviced and repacked
  • Drop headsail and take to sail loft for repairs.
  • Learn how to rig and deploy gennaker (kite sail)
  • Fill propane tanks
  • Fill gasoline tanks for dinghy
  • Take on ~600 gallons of diesel to top off tanks
  • Order 10 gallons of oil for main engine and generator
  • Order 2 sets of spare fuel and oil filters for main engine and generator
  • Replace batteries in high water alarm
  • Flood bilge and test high water alarm and high water bilge pump
  • Repair manual trigger for automatic fire suppression system
  • Schedule hull cleaning for right before we leave the dock 
  • Order replacement drain pump for dryer
  • Design and order new boat cards with contact information
  • Order spare impellers for main engine sea water pump
  • Order spare impellers for oil change pump
  • Test inflation equipment for large fenders for Panama canal transit
  • Wax hull and topsides – this one is very unlikely to be accomplished until we are killing time on a dock in Panama!

We've been making great progress checking things off of this list but it seems like it is never completely empty. There will inevitably be more things that surface and get added to the list, but as long as the essential safety items are taken care of we will call it good to go.

Solenoid for boom winch for tender – replaced as part of troubleshooting

Network switch for the navigation electronics – luckily there was an open port

Behind the helm panel – reassuring to see such clean installation work.

Measuring the boom winch to order a spare

New sea water pump and drive gear for the generator

Attaching the gennaker to the pulpit

Hoisting the gennaker up the mast

Learning how to deploy and snuff the gennaker on the dock

Dougal is flying back to Florida this Saturday for a couple more days of final boat prep, and then our crew arrives April 1. Dougal's dad Colin is flying in from France, and our other crew Nels and Rudy (the experienced sailors in the group) are flying in from Wisconsin. There is a somewhat long story about how we got connected with Nels. The short version is that he was hoping to purchase Ata Marie and we beat him to it, but now he has the chance to experience a passage on her and see if he wants to have a new boat build or look at one of the other boats that are currently available on the brokerage market. We are very excited to have two very accomplished sailors to crew and it will be a good learning experience all around.

We will be turning our Delorme InReach device back on shortly so people can track our progress on the passage on the Location page of this blog. Though we have never tried it, apparently we have the ability to post updated to this blog via email so we will hopefully post short updates while underway if this works and the satellite communication equipment works as expected.

Cassidy and Ata Marie


3 thoughts on “2 Weeks in Florida – Boat Projects, Checklists, and More Boat Projects”

  1. Your reasons for keeping the name were exactly the same as ours, plus adding one more complication prior to leaving BC.

  2. “…too much stress!”  That sounds like something Tea would say.  They are two peas in a pod!

    Big congratulations on your purchase and new adventures to come!  Wishing you wonderful and safe travels.  Tea sends Cassidy a big hug ??

    —Reply posted by Cassidy, MV on 3/26/2019

    Thanks – and Cassidy says hi to Tea.

  3. Your list of work to be done looks surprisingly small, just shows how well she has been looked after.  Will the tools you had on the 40 be sufficient or do you need to buy another swag of tools, more importantly did Cassidy get to keep the ‘pretend’ anchor.

    —Reply posted by Cassidy, MV on 3/26/2019

    Indeed the boat was in really good shape when we took possession of her.  

    I think the tools we had should be sufficient.  This boat has one less engine to maintain so that is a definite plus.  There are some new things to learn like the control system and gear boxes for the Hundested prop and the hydraulics for all the sailing winches.

    And that “pretend” anchor is probably a good chunk of money considering what the full size Ultras cost!  So no they didn’t let her keep it.   They use them as demo in various substrates to show how the anchor digs in relative to other designs.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *