Randy Armstrong's sailboat "LIVEADVENTURE"

Feb 19, 2012:
Hi Bill,

Yes I'm still on the hard 5 years now, finally putting paint on her ...."LIVEADVENTURE" Gulfstar 43.6 1971. Here is a fairly up-dated copy of the summary thus far.

So this is the Da Boat and I even added a few recent photos from end of December when friends visited me and some of the painting I was doing then. Much more painting done and all the windows installed on that side of the boat. Engine in photos is a clone of the Caterpillar that is in the boat and will remain in storage as parts or a replacement if that were ever necessary. LOL, a 2,000 lb spare part that I couldn't pass up as it came off a fire-engine and ran the firepump on the truck ... total hours on the engine were 280 hours so engine is all but new since they run nearly 20,000 hours. Took the photo as un-loading it into my garage was NOT as straight forward as receiving it!!! LOL, all's well that ends well!

OUCH, a 44' x 14' boat project! (47' from Bowsprit to the swim-step). Yes, a substantial restoration project here. Already 5 years into it and maybe the rest of this year to go. I started by moving an orange tree to another location (it has continued producing!) and laying a road bed so that the trucker had a straight shot to move the boat backwards from the street onto my extra lot (zoning requires boats to not extend forward of the front of the house). I am sure the planners never dreamed some clown would place a 26,000 lb, 14'X44' boat in their yard! A shocking sight!! I immediately privacy-fenced everything for security and safety and to reduce the impact on the neighborhood. All is wonderful as to date no complaints from neighbors or the city.

This fiberglass "Gulfstar" boat (motor-sailor) was just fine when moved from Panama City and did everything and more than it was designed to do, "in 1971". Likely it spent some of its years in the charter business in the Caribbean and slept 8 guests and 3 crew. After re-design for a couple she now sleeps 2 owners in the Captains Qtrs and 8 guests or more forward (basically in four rooms).

My plan was 6 months to 1 year of restoration work but what happens is that when she is sitting next to your house and you would be paying the property taxes anyway one can tend to get carried away with the vision! (Can I BLAME EBay?) The quick way would have been to do a 1990's make-over but noooo, she will be a tricked out 2012! SEMI GUTTED (75%) OF THE BOAT!

CRAZY AMENITIES --- starting towards the stern (rear), in the CAPTAINS QUARTERS (master bedroom) is a 6' long navigation desk tricked out with electronics (MP-3 Music System, Satellite weather system, Single Side Band Radio which communicates 5,000+ miles, VHF radio, depth finder, a computer station (laptop, printer and Sat Phone), and the main electrical panel etc (thanks to digital photography there are thousands of photos recording construction progress). There are three sets of selectable Bose speakers throughout the boat, a 17" flat screen at the foot of a transverse bed (Simmons motion-reducing mattress) (did design/demolish a second bed from this room) and a nice rear-facing port (view window) so that you can see out WITHOUT getting out of bed to check the anchor! (If you can orient yourself). A large 10-drawer dresser, a fully enclosed shower in head, a walk-in closet and a 12,000 BTU marine air-conditioner. All new screened 18" X 10" ports throughout the boat. Teak and holly flooring throughout boat, only to be laid after all the interior work is complete and they are safe in my home for the moment, 6 sheets at $400 a sheet. (Sailors Exchange let them go cheaper than that even!) Ha, I saw one sheet going for $1020 on EBay recently as I do watch teak now and then.

Now bend down to enter the large Engine room which holds a 210 HP caterpillar V-8 as this is a motor-sailor and will do 9 knots with the sails down! I had the 2000 lb engine hanging for about two months while I rebuilt the stringers and then placed new engine mounts before re-setting the engine. The Battery box is 900 Amp Hr with 8 golf cart batteries. Feeding the batteries are a Northern Lights diesel 5,000 watt gen-set, a 165 amp Bomar alternator on the CAT, 300 Watt Solar Panels on top of the new cabin and a planned Wind generator installation on the stern. (I hope the systems will run on battery power for days and likely weeks or months at anchor before the diesel generator will ever be needed.) A 600 gpd fresh water maker, 150 gal of water storage, hot water is supplied by an "on-demand" propane water heater. (basically the physical plant is in this room).

Above the engine room is the cockpit with controls, 36-mile RADAR, GPS chart-plotter, several depth finders, another VHF radio, steering and auto-pilot controls. On the bow sits a Lofrans Falkon horizontal windlass to bring up the anchors (controllable from the helm or at the bow). The cockpit is covered by a 14'X10' cabin (party room with 360 degree view and seating) (I will remove and replace it with a lighter cabin and already purchased tempered glass windows) big break-through on this MID AUG 2009 will likely be my next focus ... will explain below, I have already removed the existing cabin that showed in the bio photo ... and now the "donor" cabin poised to replace it!!! and now it is in place!!!! And even better more time has passed and I am installing tempered glass in the new cabin. Which will be the last project on the boat before she receives epoxy exterior paint. Actually the last project is re-rigging her as a sailboat once on the coast and back on the water.

Are you sleeping Bill? Don't want to hit a reef!!! Now let's go forward into the galley (kitchen) and salon (living room), the galley is highly engineered with a fridge/freezer, a gimbaled propane stove/oven, an ice-maker, a double sink, a bar, clothes washer/dryer, micro-wave, thermo coffee maker, lots of cupboards, some drawers, and the water-maker controls. This area also has a head (bathroom) with a sink and shower. A third shower is available having the best view of all and is located on the full swim-step at the stern with hot and cold water (there are pressurized salt or fresh water wash-down faucets at both bow and stern on the boat). All this construction is covered in an off-white laminate (except for the counters which are a nice blue) over marine plywood and trimmed in teak molding. The Salon consists of a comfortable reclined couch, a dining table, a couple of bar stools which telescope down for extra seating at the table and another sofa on the starboard side (right) that also makes into a guest bunk bed. (All upholstery in the Salon is to be done in 36 yards of sand Ultrasuede material which I have purchased). Time moving on and the cushions all made and back cushions with lumbar support are also completed. Had to order MORE Ultrasuede as the initial 36 yards fell way short. The cushions are beautiful and comfortable. Another flat-screen is here that can be viewed from the galley, bar and couch. Twelve volt rope light accents. This forward area is served by another new 17,000 BTU marine air-conditioner. I removed the old steel 150 gal fuel tanks from under this room and replaced them with aluminum 230 gal tanks plus another 70 gal tank in the engine room for a new total of 300 gallons providing around 800-1000 miles range with the engine alone.

The next and last room is the V-berth which is the guest room. It has a dresser, a double bed and a closet that also houses that A/C unit. All this construction is now completed and I have been installing teak trim whenever I need a break from the technical projects. To date I have paid for a total of 5 hours of outside help which was a marine electrician who helped with the electrical plan and he will return to inspect my execution (ha, hopefully not electrocution!!!) That is ten hours total now and I hope he won't need to come back again. Now paying a seamstress to do the cushions, hey I sew but this is some very serious sewing! Cushions done and three jib sails modified and a main sail repaired. Latest project is the "Stack Pack" which catches the main sail and protects it when not in use. Oh ya she finished that and I ran out of sewing for her! Still need curtains and shades so there is hope for more sewing. I have connected the house current and am concentrating on 12V at this time. That is now about 95% completed. The plumbing is/was huge since it also involves many electric pumps and the water-maker installation but is 95% completed. This is the boat you see in my profile photos pictured as I originally found it. I did run it 8 miles from the location in the photo to another bay (the previous owners were not available to help) which had the travel-lift to place it on a transporter. I was very impressed with it's handling and speed ... 9kts on the GPS at 1600rpm ... and stability. (as if I had any other motor-sailor experience to compare it to!) It now sits about 20-30 feet from my house just egging me on each day!

Typical day 2009 went something like this ... Today's project was the second day of shaping a 20' single piece of 1" stainless steel tubing into a very complex top rail as a component of a full railing for the stern of the boat. By complex, if you can visualize this, LOL or if I can explain it! ... starts at the deck on the stern (that's the hind end of the boat!) and runs vertical then bends 90 degrees at 35 1/2" high then runs 3/4 of the way across the stern with a nice "MOON" shape at the corner (PORT which is the left side in nautical terms!) (shape of my back as this moon is a backrest and to be padded on completion) BUT before it then makes a sharp 90 degree horizontal turn towards the front of the boat where it runs about 4' before it heads down at a 30 degree angle and attaches to the deck. WHEW LOL, I wonder if ANY of that made any sense? OK, try this, Basically a nice safe railing to keep us from falling off the back of the boat or getting "pulled" off by a really big fish!!!! A sweet built-in seat in each corner (Port and Starboard) which have the potential to allow us to watch the whole world go by from our floating back porch deck!!!! That last probably MUCH easier to understand? The next rail down much simpler and is almost ready as are the vertical supports for that top rail. The whole thing to finally be welded together and bolted down to the deck!!!!! That is all finished and turned out real pretty, sitting in place yet not completely fastened as it will be removed for the epoxy deck painting.

I cut this below out of a mail I had sent to best buddies sailing in Colombia and explains acquisition of a ready-made (kind of) cockpit cabin for the Liveadventure. (I now have her US Documented as "LIVEADVENTURE" hailing from Yosemite Ca.) A big break through with the boat project ... that fiberglass cabin I was preparing to build from scratch will still be a project yet maybe not so tough as I had anticipated ... I noticed a damaged deep V fiberglass houseboat (called a Seacamper) within 4 miles of my house and the guy gave it to me!!! (I gave him $50 to ensure he didn't change his mind!) It is a 24'er and even came on a tandem axle trailer. Friend hooked up to it the next day and put it in my yard next to Liveadventure. It has a fiberglass molded house on it 7'X 14' so I simply remove the one on mine, cut this one off at close to the right height, scribe it to the existing cockpit, cut it down the middle and add three feet down the center and fair the whole thing onto my cockpit with fiberglass!!!! It does have an inner tub (walls/ceiling) with 2" foam separation/insulation. Be great to speed this process up!!!

It has been here about two weeks now and I have gutted it as I couldn't have cupboards and showers hanging off the walls!!! Should have a fiberglass guy that just got laid off from boston whaler coming by one of these days to give me some EXPERT advice as to how it SHOULD be done. I have 15 gallons of resin for starters and no doubt should be shopping for roving cloth. (Would have taken at least 55 gallons of resin for a scratch build!) Various ways I can see to do it and one would be to cut a 3'X 14' strip of glass out of the gunnel on that houseboat and then glass it into the middle. I'll slip out and get a photo of it! I have NOT bit the bullet yet and removed either house. Probably best to go slow since we are in the middle of hurricane season.

I have been thinking what neighbors I can get to help as the next step requires a bunch of people to get the 1/2's to the ground where I can do some work on the interior ceiling while they are up-side down ... use gravity to my advantage when I can. After that I will need that crew back to get the 1/2's on top of the big boat!!! These neighbors will deserve a big launch party and I will be glad to give it to them!

OK, I found three kids yesterday and had it all set up so they could safely manage some lines ... it is now on the ground. (maybe 400-500 lbs per half?) already made strides with the glass-work on that 1/2's interior ceiling.

Ha last week I rounded up 6 neighbors and two boys and within 30 minutes both halves are now up on the boat! Too cold for glassing so I have been cutting and getting them set up for the glassing. And that brings us to today...1/19/10 and I have both halves scribed into place and am almost to the point of locking them in place with fiberglass. Looking really cool and I am a bit jazzed knowing this wild house plan is working!

And after a month and 1/2 of traveling I am back on the job and they are now locked in place with fiberglass and waiting for tomorrow.. weather permitting so I can finish that fiberglass work! Ah yes these two halves are joined at the top and center section is glassed in so it is now a 14'x 9'6" pilot house/party room.

Last days I have been working on installing the three big tempered glass windows on the front... that is almost complete and now planning door cuts !!! Just gotta love it when plans WORK! Those big windows installed and now putting in doors. Many windows and doors installed and waiting on a door and several ordered windows. Those are almost all installed, basically 11 big windows!!!! I just ordered the last one last week and got a message they had accidentally shipped two windows but to keep the second as a spare! (Nice mistake on their part!!!)

Fiberglass work to do this afternoon if it gets over 65 and about to head off on the skate. Of course time continues to pass, skated as usual today, that last window installed and "ONE" door to go. Basically all the structure for the windows is completed yet there is still fine finish work to be accomplished before they are caulked in and actually INSTALLED. The three big ones across the front are totally painted, caulked and installed. The 14'X10' headliner is installed and now painting the windows so they can be caulked in. Port exterior side of cabin painted and more painting going on which seems to be my focus as the new year begins.

Back in the interior of the boat so much masking to cover all the new wood and laminate from over-spray with the ceiling painting. ALL the interior painting IS accomplished as of early FEB 2012, actually used my scuba tanks and a long hose to breathe as those epoxy paint fumes are deadly!!!!

And so it goes ... Open-mouth smile A positive is that the boat is totally paid for and I never even felt the expense since it has been spread out over the years. A good thing as the marine insurance is very UN-dependable with so many asterisks it is very hard to collect on and also adversely effects your freedom on the sea since the companies dictate WHERE, i.e the latitude you must be above or below during the hurricane season. Most cruisers that own their boats have dropped the insurance which is a huge savings on an iffy product.

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