Repairing and Preparing our 1974 Olympic Adventure

As the sun rises, light trickles in just above the port side pilot berth where our three year old sleeps, however, it’s not the light from the porthole… it’s diffused light leaking through the fiberglass- our hull- damaged from Hurricane Irma, an ever present reminder of that powerful storm.

With an interior wooden section removed, light leaks in through fiberglass

While we were still staggering over the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, our home town, we learned Hurricane Irma was heading for Florida- and heading for our boat, along with many others.

We were fortunate that our house didn’t flood in Harvey’s relentlessly rising waters, but those flood waters still demolished the lives and homes of so many, bringing the city to a standstill. As the city began the long journey of repair and recovery, we still had to brace ourselves for Irma.

My husband prepared our boat as much as possible for the storm, but as anyone might expect, it’s impossible to fully anticipate what a storm will or won’t do, as well as how a boat will respond. In the end, strong sustained winds induced chafing on the hull where it met the pier’s metal ladder. Again, we were thankful that it was well above the water line and we had no water damage, but it was disheartening just the same.

The fiberglass has been repaired and soon the gel coat will be applied, hopefully concealing any trace of the scar. In addition to that project, the boat to-do list keeps growing, but the list of projects we’ve finished is growing too. To date, we’ve replaced the original stove/oven for a new Dickinson one, installed an Airhead composting toilet in our forward head, repaired/ replaced our main outlet and plug for shore power, installed new life lines, replaced (almost) all the fans throughout the boat and fashioned a pantry out of a locker in the galley.

The original oven: broken gimble lock, knob half broken and all numbers indicating temperature have long since faded away!
Our new Dickinson oven! Shiny!
Makes the galley look great
A disorganized locker next to the companionway is getting updated
Removable shelves built and tested
Shelves painted and installed! This is a huge help for our family of six! With a little care, eggs and butter are fine at room temperature.

We talked endlessly, it seemed, on how to make cruising work better for us emotionally and relationally (I wrote about it here) and now that we’ve said “I do” to the lifestyle, we are preparing our boat to be physically more comfortable and functional for future cruising.

We moved aboard knowing we wouldn’t be traveling anytime soon. We knew hurricane season was fast approaching and that we’d have to wait these few months out anyway, so we’re making the most of it- organizing, assessing, repairing, upgrading, making lists and of course- dreaming. Even though it will be many months away, planning out a (very) tentative route to the western coast of Mexico is what gets us excited in the midst of sweaty days of endless projects and far too many trips to the hardware store.

With patience and vision, we’re repairing and preparing our boat for more adventures to distant shores, and… enjoying the view in the meantime.

2 thoughts on “Repairing and Preparing our 1974 Olympic Adventure”

  1. Thanks for sharing, you guys! Brittany, you are a true artist with your writing, and Michael, you have my deepest respect and admiration for your visionary leadership of your family! I will keep you in prayer and enjoy tremendously each stage of your lifelong journey! I have been dreaming of an RV and doing a similar thing on land. Love always, Brad

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