Preparing the Shantyboat

We’ve been working like mad to get the boat ready for the Tennessee River. We pulled the boat into drydock at the Santa Cruz Harbor Boatyard. Here is our untidy worksite.


There were lots of little things that needed doing, but only a few big important things: sealing the leaky motor well, refinishing the bottom, and fixing the messed up roof.


For two years, on two major expeditions, the motor well took on water and decreased our buoyancy. So we unfastened it, removed all the old caulk, and recaulked the crap out of it.

Meanwhile, we were also sanding the bottom of the boat, removing dead zebra mussels, and repainting it. Jeremiah took a hit for the team and spent an afternoon or two under the boat getting covered in toxic grit.


In order to sand and paint the places where the cribbing held up the boat, one solo morning, I used a borrowed house jack and moved the cribbing. What could go wrong?


We fixed the leading edge of the roof which after two years and 10 thousand miles of wind and tree-trimming had gotten amazingly messed up.


Benzy helped with roof repair.


Not quite satisfied with sealing the motor well, I made the questionable decision to not just seal it with epoxy, but fully glass it. We’d never used fiberglass matt and immediately regretted it.


To my surprise it turned out okay. I glassed the rest of it with the usual fiberglass fabric shit.


In the end, it turned out pretty decent. BUT will it keep water out when we put it back in the water? Who knows. I am not super confident about it.


We put new drain plugs into the newly refinished motor well. These replace the ancient ones we salvaged from some old boat. Will this keep the motor well from leaking?


We put the motor back on and hoped Freddie would work again.


The shantyboat is looking quite handsome really.


Still there are many things left to do. Ack! We have one week to do all this.



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