Following the acquisition of Kif Kif, these last five years have been a constant decision-making process on how to approach the yacht’s restoration based on the initial circumnavigation project and its subsequent intended performance as a floating home.
It is not easy to reconcile both objectives. Although safety, both that of the boat and that of the crew, my own, constitutes the common denominator that often served me in weighing alternatives, comfort over performance often prevailed in my decisions, thus dominating the residential aspect of my project, the relative well-being I desire for my retirement. Circumnavigation, I thought then, could only benefit from this approach. I hesitated a lot during the process, and even today; I am not sure I have always made the best decisions. But let’s start at the beginning.
Deplorable general condition of the sailboat at the time of purchase, Paimpol, January 2018.
You may remember some of the arguments I used during the haggling, when I bought Kif Kif in Paimpol in February 2018. The interiors had that unhealthy look that can still be seen in the image gallery, here on the left. The electrical wiring was fungus-ridden, the bulkheads were delaminating, the humidity made the atmosphere unbreathable and dirt, disguised, was nevertheless popping up everywhere. It was evident that it was not possible to navigate safely in these conditions of insalubrity and general abandonment. Therefore, the first work to be carried out on board was to dismantle all the bulkheads and interiors, clean the hull thoroughly inside, repair the delamination, and finish this preliminary work with a fungicide paint and varnish on the woodwork. All this was carried out in a shipyard in Paimpol while we, Muriel and I, returned to Mallorca to our work.
Taking advantage of the fact that the boat was completely disassembled, and after removing the engine for a thorough overhaul and subsequent painting, including a change of silent blocks, I instructed the shipyard to install a thirty-liter water heater coupled to the engine cooling circuit and to install a freshwater system including a shower, a convenience that the boat lacked at that time. I also ordered the alcohol stove replaced by a gas stove with an oven and had a refrigerator, and an electric windlass installed for anchor handling. Regarding the comfort in navigation, among other things, I gave instructions for an echo sounder to be installed. Then, when we went to fetch the boat to bring it to Mallorca, I took a radio beacon, a portable VHF, and a few automatic life jackets of 275 Newtons of buoyancy that advantageously replaced the rotten foam life jackets that were on board.
General appearance of the interiors shortly before sailing from Paimpol in July 2018.
After all these -basic- improvements, we could consider that Kif Kif was ready to welcome us on board and offer us a more or less comfortable and safe voyage to Mallorca. But, as we will see below, these works were only the beginning of a deep refit to come…
Planning the project…
Calculating space for the control panel…
My friend Benjy’s projection for the control panel to be made.
Organizing and distributing elements, although there would later be some significant changes due to the prohibitive cost of electronics.
By mid-October 2018, I was more or less clear on what I thought I would need for the sailboat to meet my expectations. So, helped by a friend -Benjy- an expert in electrical installations and electronics, I started to draw the plans for the control panel of Kif Kif.