Keeping Bueller Tip Top

Lars and I were both brought up with the mantra of leave it better than you found it. We take this to heart with our beloved Bueller. Some improvements were prompted by Bueller and others were prompted by our desire to improve the comforts and luxuries aboard the ship. We’ve documented many improvements in various posts, but we thought we’d write a post to fully outline the maintenance, improvements, and upgrades we've made to Bueller over our adventure.

Upgrades

  • House Battery Bank - When we purchased Bueller, she had two 200 amp/hr 6V Golf Cart batteries in series for the house bank (plus a starter battery). We added another set of two 6v golf cart batteries to double our house bank... giving us twice the juice!
     
  • LED Lighting - We installed all LEDs in the interior lights to help lower power consumption. With the previous owner installing an LED anchor light, the only Halogens left on Bueller are the steaming light and stern light.
     
  • Solar Panels - Bueller came with 5, 50 Watt flexible solar panels. We swapped out 3 of the flexi panels with 3, 100W semi-rigid panels. The extra wattage and improvement in efficiency of the panels increased the amperage provided by the solar substantially. 
     
  • 4 New Lewmar Hatches - When we purchased Bueller, the 4 of the 5 top hatches were heavily crazed and soft (the other had already been replaced by the previous owner). We opted to replace the remaining hatches to ensure safety running around the top deck.
     
  • EPIRB Emergency Beacon - To provide additional comfort to our mothers, we added an class II EPIRB to Bueller. Thankfully, we haven’t had to use this guy :).
     
  • Battery Charger - Although we didn't spend much time at dock, the old battery charger kicked the dust partway through the trip and so we replaced it with a new ProMariner 20A 3-bank sealed battery charger
     
  • VHF with AIS (Automatic Identification System) - We upgraded the Raymarine VHF for a new one that has a built-in AIS receiver. One of my favorite tools aboard the boat, this allowed us to verify the location, direction and speed of other vessels spotted during night crossings. As an added bonus, it also helped us track down friends in nearby ports =]
     
  • Drop Table Legs in the Salon - With a few friends joining for various passages and ports along the way, we found ourselves often converting the salon table to an extra berth.  After a couple of weeks struggling with the swapping the short legs for the long legs each night and morning, we wised up and installed drop table legs on the saloon table, making the conversion easy peasy.
     
  • Bean Bag Chairs - I doubted the power of the chairs at first, but nothing straightens the world out on a healed over boat like a bean bag chair. I would consider this a must have for any sailboat.

Maintenance

  • Engine, heat exchanger - We purchased Bueller with the understanding the Heat Exchanger needed a little work. Our initial hopes of an just a quick dip in an acid bath were wrong though, and we realized a replacement was needed.  The old exchanger was swapped out with a brand new OEM heat exchanger. 
     
  • Engine, Fresh Water Pump - Despite running smoothly the entire trip, once heat exchanger was replaced, the fresh water pump on our Westerbeke Diesel failed in St. Lucia. We opted to forgo the rebuild, and just replace it with a new one. 
     
  • Prop Balanced & Cleaned - While hauled out in Trinidad, we couldn't pass up on the expert facilities and great prices to get our prop balanced and cleaned. The prop now looks better than new.
     
  • Teak Stripped, Cleaned, & Treated - Clean teak makes for a clean boat. With some extra time in Bahamas waiting for weather, we dedicated a few days to stripping, cleaning, and treating the teak. 
     
  • Main Head Plumbing, Completely Disassembled, Cleaned, and Reassembled - Nothing makes for a happier captain and crew than a solid working head. Time +  Saltwater + Urine creates calcium build up in head plumbing. We completely dissembled the entire head and plumbing, removed all calcium build up in pipes, replaced the Y-Valve to the holding tank, and re-assambled her. It was definitely not the most fun job of the adventure, but afterwords we could use her with complete ease. 
     
  • Jib Restitched -  Sails were in great shape minus a little loose stitching of the sun protection when we purchased the boat. We had the jib completely reinforced while in Nassau in February 2015 by Phillips Sailmakers
     
  • Other: Of course, smaller jobs over the adventure including, Bimini re-stitching, acid cleaning hull & thorough wax. new outdoor grill, new cabin fans, new cockpit speakers, fishing rod holders, memory foam mattresses in both aft cabins, plus numerous smaller items we can't even remember.