Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style  ~  June – December 2004 ~ Repair and Clean-up


Once at the Abaroas boat yard, in La Paz, the patches were removed and damage assessed. There was one gaping hole where the stabilizing fin had been pushed through the bottom, into the head (bathroom). There was a dent in the port bow area, as well, where the wood had been pushed but not broken. Both areas had to be replanked, ribs had to be repaired. The reason for choosing the Abaroas yard was that it has a good reputation for the repair of wood hulls ~ not true of most yards. Jorge, a member of the large Abaroa family, is truly a wizard with the repair of wood hulls, we can vouch for that! He and his assistant Roberto (“Papa”) literally put our boat together again.



Bottom hull patch visible                                                            Bow patch visible



Dick of Corazon removes the big patch                                   The big hole, after yard work



Bottom replanked!                                                                     Roberto working on the bow planking


While the bottom/hull of The Cat’s Meow was being repaired, the entire interior of our boat was still trashed. It looks like a drowning victim. All but the structural parts have to be replaced, from the floors to the headliners. We had spent the entire winter in Mazatlan working on the generator and had the shaft aligned; Martin had remodeled the bathroom, including the addition of a bathtub; I had just finished painting the entire hull and the dark blue rubrail. We had installed a new Xantrex inverter about a month prior to our sinking. TCM was looking better and running better than she had in the six years we have owned her. Now, we are starting over. Of course, we are making some of the changes we eventually wanted to, and people have told us that we “get to redecorate”. Life has handed us a big bucket of lemons, and we will make the best of our lemonade. The Cat’s Meow will be even better when we are finished with this re-do. Right now we are living in a small apartment, with our cats of course, near the boat yard here in La Paz. Every day Martin and Robin work on the boat, thankful that we still have a boat to work on. Each day we see a little more progress, and although it is slow, our home is coming back into shape.

Also, Garmin, came forward with help in replacing our two GPSs, and Xantrex donated a rebuilt inverter to replace our newly installed one.  Interlux donated nine gallons of exterior Brightside paint, thanks to the assistance of Ray at Mazatlan Marine Center. Many friends and family members made monetary donations, which have made it possible for us to begin to put our home back together again.

While in the Abaroas boat yard, we were able to begin the daunting task of cleaning up the interior and putting it back together, to make it livable once again. Martin began immediately tearing out all of the wiring and replacing it with new, better, and neater wiring throughout the boat.

 BIG pile of old wiring


He also decided to change-out part of our 1800 gallon fuel tankage to water tankage, which both reduced the unnecessary fuel capacity and increased the rather small water tankage we had onboard. For months, most of what Martin worked on was not visible to the person coming onboard TCM, but she was getting better.

Robin started the huge job of cleaning, in the stateroom (bedroom) and head (bathroom), because those are the rooms we would need first and because they were the worst hit in terms of dirt, grime, and general nastiness. It took her two months to clean every surface in those two rather small rooms.


Stateroom June 2004                                                                                         Stateroom stbd. side June 2004


The diesel smell had to be removed, but keeping the boat open and fans running constantly throughout the summer also helped to accomplish that. Slowly but surely, the rooms became cleaned of all dirt, old and new.  We should have stock in the de-greaser market! The engine room, the bilges, and the entire interior of the boat has been cleaned, scraped, and scrubbed. Now, there is no diesel smell at all when one enters the boat ~ halleluleah!!  Work continued throughout the summer, cleaning and painting the cupboards and other dark areas; here are some photos taken in mid-September:


Stateroom mid-September                                                          Stateroom stbd. side mid-September


The bottom had been re-planked in fine fashion by the boat yard. So, finally, after sitting five months in the yard, The Cat’s Meow was ready to feel water under her keel once again. November second was the day for her re-launching ~ some friends came to assist and to see her float again. Here is a photo sequence of that event:


The Cat’s Meow ready to go!                                                      Her keel touches the water



Robin & Martin celebrate…                                                    ….with friends!


Unfortunately ~ or fortunately ~ during the brisk cleaning of the interior, some soft wood was found, hidden all these years by the water tank which was under the bed. Evidently fresh water (not from the tank) had seeped into that part of the boat and had rotted away numerous ribs, right under the shaft log. The bad news: the bottom planks had to be removed in order to repair these ribs and to repair other damage to the rudder area ~ and the cost, of course… The good news: we did find the damage before something terrible happened, and, we are in a very good place to have it all repaired! Once again, Jorge the wood-hull magician and his trusty assistant, Roberto, are back at work under the hull of TCM repairing the stern bottom. Thank the Gods!!

Rib repair to port side, near rudder


Martin and Robin are working furiously to get the stateroom and the head livable, so we can move aboard TCM in early January, 2005. Here are some updated photos of our current (December 27th) progress:


Robin sanding in galley                                                                                       Head before…..



Head, December 2004                                                  Stateroom December 2004


Much progress has been made and much more needs to be accomplished on The Cat’s Meow. We look forward to the year 2005 and new, happier adventures. But, it has not been ALL work and no play!  Read on for more Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style!