[March - July 2007 ]

Call it what you will—an 11,000 nautical mile tune up, or facelift for a 21 year old boat, but Carina underwent an extensive work at the boatyard at Puerto Lucia Yacht Club in the fishing and petroleum processing port of La Libertad, Ecuador.  Puerto Lucia is in fact a luxury condominium resort and hotel where there is a small marina and a very active boatyard.  We decided to bring Carina here for a refit after much discussion among our crew and between our crew and others who had previously used the services here.  Puerto Lucia offers us professional marineros, both employed by the yard and by Stewart Yachts and Services.  The town offers dozens of ferreterias, machine shops, custom furniture and cabinetry—a full complement of services.  Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city and port is a $3 bus ride away from La Libertad.  Puerto Lucia has a paved yard and a travelift—an enormous structure on wheels that has huge straps that lifted Carina from the water and drove her to a small patch of concrete where she was propped up by sturdy stands so work could be done on all of her faces.   Life aboard a construction project in a boatyard isn't fun, it's hot and dirty, and our cabin is filled with things we've stripped off deck, including dozens of zip lock bags of hardware and fasteners carefully labeled to preserve critical information .  Our galley is compromised by the fact we cannot use our sink drain, so our dishes are done "backpacker" style in a bucket at a nearby faucet.   We shower on land and move parts off our berth to sleep.  And, with all Carina's temporarily open holes, we'll be in deep trouble if it begins to rain hard, thankfully a rare occurrence during dry season in Ecuador.

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From aloft-shown here in November 2006-Carina looks pristine, though age and constant use were beginning to fade her bristol finish.

On Concrete

We started the hard work of pulling Carina apart in April 2007 at Puerto Lucia Yacht Club, La Libertad, Ecuador.


One of the issues we faced were the gouges left by a careless marinero who last cleaned Carina's bottom underwater.

Cat's Know How to Live

Life in a boatyard offered Jake plenty of terrifying noises but also some interesting (feral) kitty watching. He also escaped off Carina a number of times which terrified his folks.


Loaded for cruising, Carina sits precisely at her waterline; slapping waves wet the gelcoat above the waterline which created surface blisters that will require repair.

First She Got Ugly

We had all existing bottom paint ground off which made Carina look like a dirty hulk. Sigh, one step at a time...

The Fun Jobs

Two lucky marineros then concentrated on sanding the underside of the keel. We wonder how they got elected to this fun job!

More Burbujitas (Little Bubbles)

When the rudder was ground we discovered a few new blisters that were weeping water. The chain resting against the rudder (a definite no-no) was later moved by the boatyard.

Everything Stripped

We stripped most hardware and all of the brightwork (teak woodwork) in preparation for a complete professional topsides two-part polyurethane paint job.

Nix the Paint

We had previously attempted to mitigate brightwork maintenance by varnishing then overpainting wood. Not much maintenance for two years but this solution had its own issues; we removed all paint.

Mast Boot

We removed with great difficultry the leaking mast partner and rebedded it. We also need to make repairs to the rubber boot to keep it watertight. Note the numbered wedges.

Bow Roller Too

We removed the bowroller/chainplate/stemhead assembly off the bow for inspection and later rebedding. We found no stress cracks in the stainless steel.

More Ugly Stripping Scars

A concern we had were the rusting aft chainplates which were firmly and deeply set into hull. We damaged the gelcoat while removing them; this was irrelevent since we were painting this surface anyway.


The manufacturer made chainplate removal a challenge by driving chainplates through a solid teak caprail. Upon removal we discovered hidden stress cracks in the stainless steel which could have contributed to a rigging failure.

The Windlass Too

We also prepared our trusty Maxwell windlass for painting as constant exposure to seawater had destroyed its finish.

Heater Not Needed Now

We removed and cleaned a poorly installed heater stack which we will seal until Carina reaches cooler climates sometime in the future.

Portlights Too

We removed portlight trim plates and found some areas requiring repair prior to painting.

Interior Problems Too

An unseen leaking foot pump created this damage under our knife rack. The cure was a re-veneering of the wood surface.

Hull Gets Faired

Once the bottom was ground, a new epoxy-protected area was defined and our team began to fair the hull.

New Varnish

After stripping, we applied two coats of varnish (barniz in Spanish) to protect teak from paint dust generated during sanding. We will apply an additional ten coats of varnish and will have to apply an additional coat of varnish each six months or so.

Stripped Bare

With the cockpit area stripped nearly bare, Carina awaits further preparation for painting.

Tedious Work

A team of men soon climbed to Carina's deck area and began the tedious chore of meticulously sanding every square inch of space.

Details, Details

Attention to detail is the hallmark of the workmen in this boatyard.

5200 Loses Battle to PJD

We used a heatgun and a great deal of patience to remove as much hardware as possible before painting. Here, Philip removes the prism trimtabs.

Taking Off the Old Stuff

We also removed all worn or unused hardware and marked holes for later filling.

Non Skid Rebuild

The raised non-skid was rebuilt where necessary during hole repair.

There Go the Lids

Cockpit locker lids were removed and a map of all removed hardware was carefully made.

Everything Possible Was Removed

We even removed the engine control panel and pulled it into the cockpit locker, giving Jake unlimited access to lazarette exploration.

Kitties Abound

The boatyard kitties seemed to adore Philip (possibly because he fed them?) and roosted at the base of our ladder atop the sandals of the paint prep team.

Chainplate Covers

We removed the chainplate covers on the side decks, dug out waste sealant and scrubbed them clean with a wire brush.

Miles and Miles of Tape

The prep team eventually wrapped Carina in miles of tape and protective paper. Here, Jake inspects the results.

Comical Costumes

Some parts of Carina looked comical wrapped in protective paper.


The boatyard kitties continued to gain weight and act more playful as the project progressed and they continued to eat well. This is "Tripper" relaxing after a satisfying meal.

Primer Day

Primer day finally arrived on May 9, 2007.

Paint Team

A team moved fluidly around the hull during the painting operation.

Camp Kuay

Banned from living on Carina, Jake and family moved aboard Kuay with friend, Ed; Jake quickly assumed the role of supreme being.

Pin Holes Filled

Two coats of primer revealed hundreds of tiny pin holes in old, thin gel coat. Orlando fills holes prior to topcoat painting.

First Layer Topcoat

After sanding the primer coats, the first application of topcoat was applied on May 17, 2007.

Wow, shine

Carina's hull emerges shiny with only one application of topcoat.

Spraying is Work

The painting team concentrated intensely during the paint application process.

Final Topcoat Layer

After fairing of the first 2 layers of topcoat, a final layer was applied on May 22, 2007. Marcelo's image emerges in the hull behind the wind break.

Outside Work is Difficult

Particulate matter in the air was a problem during painting despite precautions taken. Nico probes a fiber free from the surface.

Non Skid Next


Non skid areas were ready for paint on May 26, 2007. Ed and Philip watch Orlando and Jhonny mix.

Eight More Days of Prep

Unfortunately the paint was diluted improperly; bubbles were apparent after the paint dried and this error resulted in seven additional days of sanding and preparation.

Shiny Hull

With the brightwork still taped against overspray, the paint still looked fabulous.

Non Skid Redo

The second, correctly diluted, non skid paint was applied on June 2, 2007. Marcelo oversees as Jhonny and Wilbur carefully brush the paint.

New Waterline

Nico and Wilbur soon began working on developing the new waterline. Redrawing a waterline is more of an art than a science.

Primer Over Epoxy

With the painting going on above, Philip began applying a primer layer of chlorinated rubber paint on Carina's bottom in preparation of antifouling paint.

Home at Last

With topsides paint done but much work still remaining we moved back home on June 6, 2007. Ed on Kuay provided the celebratory champagne.

First Peeks of Beauty

As the tape and paper started coming off, we began to realize just how beautiful she'll look when she is done.

Top & Bottom Work Continues

Next, the first layer of red bottom paint and then the first application of paint to the boot stripe - all the while a team worked to perfect paint above.

Cove Stripe

The engraved cove stripe was then painted with custom mixed metallic polyurethane. The boatyard is reflected in the new polyurethane topsides paint.


New - beauuuuutiful - rear chainplates were installed June 19, 2007 by Orlando and Jhonny. This allowed us to rebed our Monitor Windvane which had been hanging precariously by lines for two months.

Wow, That was Close...

While rebedding chainplate covers, we discovered a hint of a crack; this is what it looked like when we removed it. We pulled all port and starboard chainplates and all were in some stage of failure.

Moving Again

Once topsides (dirty) work was finished we were once again moved to the seawall to await steel for chainplates, Corian for our sink project and an anchor to replace our stolen one. With stands and blocks moved we could also complete our anticorrosive (bottom) painting.

Grab Rail Installation

First we taped and then dryfit the grabrails which had received 50 or more coats of varnsh while we were awaiting the painting. Philip is shown preparing to apply adhesive sealant. The next step was to go below to add washers and nuts to torque the crabrails in place.

The First Paint "Ding"...

It was inevitable; somehow we chipped the new paint. Here, Philip (wearing his disreputable "wallow in the boatyard dirt" shirt) uses a tiny amount of catalyzed paint and a fine paintbrush to repair the ding.

Carina's Glossy Stern

This photo clearly shows the glossy paint of the hull as well as the brillant gold cove stripe accented by the varnished caprail.

Bow Gooped to a Fare-Thee-Well

This photo shows the bow area prepared with purple tape to protect the paint. The white goop is an adhesive sealant applied just just prior to the rebedding of the bow roller/stemhead/chainplate assembly.

Topsides While Rebedding

We needed to tape and dryfit the stemhead assembly prior to adding adhesive sealant and fastening the unit in place. See the next photo for a clearer view of the message on the bottom of the assembly.

A Message for the Future

We decided to add to the bottom of the bow roller/stemhead/chainplate assemble a message for posterity.

Excess Sealant Cleaned-Up

Leslie finishes the clean-up of the excess sealant that had oozed out after the fasteners were tightened down. Note that all tape has been removed.

Her Name Anew

As a documented vessel we need to display our ship's name and hailing port prominently. We ordered custom vinyl in Panamá City and brought it with us to Ecuador.

Galley Refit...Before

Wood surrounding our deep galley sinks was difficult to maintain. We also had issues with failing non-standard drains. See next photo for our solution....


Custom drain adaptors plus Corian counters transformed our aging galley into a warm cozy beautiful space.

Deck Hardware

Old and broken teak plates for our mushroom vent and heater stack were replaced. The heater stack plate is solid and we will cut this later when we need to re-install the stack and begin once again to use the heater.


On July 17, 2007, our long awaited chainplates began to trickle in from Carlos, who'd been polishing the rough cuts for over four days. This starboard upper was the last installed at almost 6 pm!

Getting Ready to Go

Leslie takes a trip up the mast to clean the mast and standing rigging, a filthy and uncomfortable job.

Finishing touches

Jhonny Gonsalez, a local, cheerful and hardworking guy, puts a final coat of wax on Carina's hull.


Finally after months of work, Andres and his team carefully refloated Carina. It felt amazingly wonderful to be rocking again.

Beeeeauuutiful Once Again

After a fast passage from Ecuador, Carina's beauty graces the anchorage at Isla Cavada in western Panamá.