Bill & Sue Ashenhart

FUJI 35 Ketch - 'SWALLOW'


The following is a rambling discussion of repairs and general information regarding my FUJI 35 - SWALLOW . As I said it rambles and I even repeat some topics. Well - that's life. If and when I get a chance I will go back over the write up and attempt to clean it up and rearrange. If you are a English teacher and my sentence structures annoy you I can only say - Sorry about that.

When I purchased SWALLOW, she had been neglected from a maintenance standpoint for several years. As a result, there were many things that needed to be cleaned, overhauled, repaired and/or replaced. The basic boat was in good shape but the cosmetic aspects needed a lot of elbow grease. Additionally, since many of the systems had just flat been neglected, I felt that I could not trust them until I had a chance to individually go over each item and verify its condition. I am one of those people who feel that if I am capable of doing a project myself and that if I have the time, then I will. I don't mind paying for a repair service if I don't have the time or skills. I do believe that when I do something myself, then that also means that I have the knowledge to repair that item when (not if) it fails in the future when there is not a repair service near. For example, I no longer change my own engine oil in my car. It is just too cheap to not go down to a local lube center and let them do it. But, in my younger years I changed the oil and did tune-ups in my vehicles. I have even changed out a couple of engines over the years. This means that I am capable of most repairs if I have to, but at this time in my life I believe that it is easier to hire out some work. I plan on performing most of the work on SWALLOW myself. Some of the grunt work, such as a bottom job will be farmed out to someone else.

I currently keep SWALLOW at Clear Lake, which is part of Galveston Bay, near Houston, Texas. This particular FUJI 35 had recently arrived from Alaska (with an extended stay in Baja California) via the Panama Canal to this area when I purchased her. It appeared to be a strong and seaworthy boat. The previous owner had owned her for about 2 to 3 years and kept it in Baja California for most of that time. The owner before him, was in Anchorage, Alaska and apparently owned it for quite a few years based on receipts, manuals and other information I found in the boat.

I've owned SWALLOW since April 1997 and I am currently doing a bunch of little projects on her. The last owner cruised her fairly heavily in Baja California and Central America but didn't do much maintenance. Apparently he felt that he should have been able to buy a boat and just treat it like a new car. This lack of maintenance is now showing up in a lot of minor problems and fix-it requirements.

This particular vessel came loaded down with a lot of equipment such as a Monitor Windvane, Autohelm 5000 autopilot, VHF, Magellan GPS, Loran, Raytheon Radar, CruiseAir A/C, Adler Barbour Water Cooled Refrigeration system, a couple of Siemans solar panels, lots of ground tackle, and other good junk. I'm still trying to figure out what all is on the boat.

I do have a couple on minor soft spots in the deck of my boat where water penetration is getting to the 1/2" plywood deck core. I think that the water is getting in around where the chainplates go through the deck plus a couple of cracks in the fiberglass covering on the deck at the lifeline gate area. I need to loosen the metal covers at each of the chainplates and then reseal these areas to begin with. I also need to strip up the rubber/cork non-skid covering which FUJI glued on the decks and fix the cracks. I will then probably try to inject epoxy into the soft areas to get back the strength. These deck leaks at least appear to be minor and repairable. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. There is leakage at every chainplate on the boat so I need to re-caulk all of them. I've traced the major deck leaks to fractures in the fiberglass covering where the lifeline gate stanchions bolt to the deck on port and starboard. Apparently, everytime someone entered or exited the boat thru the gate and grabbed the stanchion it flexed the deck enough until the fiberglass finally broke.

Also, I have a leak with subsequent dry-rot in the cabin bulkhead between the cockpit and the cabin on the Starboard side over the battery box area. It looks as though I will have to fully remove the teak(?) / mahogany(?) plywood used for this bulkhead and re-bond a new piece in place. I think the leakage is from some solar panel wire penetration the previous owner made in the bulkhead down low , right next to the cockpit seat level. This is going to be a bit of work but at least the area that is affected appears to be a non-structural ( non load bearing).

Other things are lots of dead wires from previous installations and removals of equipment. I'm pulling the dead wires out of the boat as I come across them and am able to trace and confirm that they are not hooked to anything.

This list got so long that TRIPOD was having problems editing it. I broke it up for my convience . Please click on Repairs Continued to see the next page.

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