Top 10 sexiest refits we’ve made – so far

Much progress has been made on the refits of our St Francis 50 catamaran, SV Aphrodite. Built in 2005, as the St Francis 50 flagship model, SV Aphrodite was due for some updates. We bought our boat in March 2015, and work began almost immediately

Here is my top 10 sexiest refits list that we’ve done to our catamaran since March 2015, followed by some other improvements we’ve made.

Top 10 sexiest refits list for our St Francis 50 catamaran

  1. Sexier woodwork – to restore the beauty of the original marine floorboards, and cabinetry we’ve hired a marine cabinetry craftsperson. Flying him in to Florida from his home in Victoria, B.C., he is a master with a passion for wood. Previously, he has been flown to exotic locations to work on cruise ships, including a Disney cruise ship, where each room had a different cabinetry story based on the Pirates of the Caribbean theme. He will be working on our boat in Florida from July 4-15. He also happens to be my husband’s cousin.
  2. LED lights everywhere – mainly to save on power. But, we’ve got our very own red light district planned to preserve night vision. Red/white LED combo lights will be placed in the cockpit, one of the heads, and the galley.
  3. Improved single-handed capabilities by upgrading to an electric winch, and installed new running rigging to bring the reefing lines back to the cockpit.
  4. Added RCI Universal Fuel Purifiers, which allows us to purify fuel in our fuel tanks. We will clean the fuel for contaminants to help preserve our engines. The fuel purifer operates independent of the engine. So, we can clean bad fuel three or four times before it ever enters the engine. We’re told that outside of North America, bad fuel can be commonplace.
  5. Replaced the existing solar panels with 1,020 watt solar panels and removed the wind generators
  6. Added Balmar AT Series Marine Alternators – 200 Amp. This is man cave sexy.
  7. Replaced the refrigerator with an Isotherm Cruise Elegance 130 EL, that operates with 12V, 110V or 220V
  8. Added Reverso oil change pumps, which allows for easier oil changes
  9. Cosmetic and safety upgrades – new trampolines, a canvas cockpit enclosure (which will be installed, shortly), the stanchions (fence posts around the perimeter of the boat) have been replaced and straightened, and we’ve finalized our new SV Aphrodite lettering and logo (to be revealed, shortly)
  10. Victron isolation transformer, which prevents us from being electrocuted when we are using shore power at a marina, for example. It is kind of like a magic box, which is best explained by the picture below.

How I might explain why we bought an isolation transformer. It has something to do with preventing electrocution and some magic occurs.

Other improvements

As well, we’ve made the following improvements:

  • replaced the headsail with a radial-cut headsail
  • fixed our dinghy, removed old davit system, and we are now using an extension on the boom to hoist the dinghy
  • with the help of an electrician, my husband is developing an electrical wiring diagram to capture the complexity of the systems that operate on our boat, including: 220V systems (European), 110V systems (North American), and 12V systems.
  • bought new shore-power cable
  • bought 2 SmartPlug receptacles and connectors. These plugs almost made it to the top 10 list of sexy refits (above). My husband really likes these.
  • we’ve upgraded the bilge pumps. We now have four of them and each pushes 2000 gallons of water per hour out of the bilge holds. Let’s hope we don’t need them to full capacity.
  • added ventilation fans
  • added Nicro-Fico solar vents to keep our boat from becoming dank and smelly if it is closed up for an extended period of time
  • ordered Jabsco automatic water system pumps to replace the old ones that seemed to be unreliable
  • ordered Speedseal products for the generator and the two engines. The Speedseals protect the impellers from jelly fish and sea debris. The impellers are important to engine function because they draw sea water into the engine area to act as a coolant.

There are more refits to come. My husband will be in Florida tomorrow to help with the refit process. Thanks to Pat Reischmann, who is advising us through this process. I can’t wait for me and my family to live aboard. There has been a lot of hard work and thought put into our boat.

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