Refitting a Charter Catamaran!

23rd, October 2019

Bringing the Cat Back – Repairs and Refitting in Croatia

On September 21st 2019, the charter company turned Nautilus Sailing’s new (new to us!) catamaran, over. Captains Ben and Tim J. landed in Split and arrived at the Trogir marina that afternoon, with loooooong to do lists! They had exactly one week to supervise and wrap up a myriad of projects on the boat, before the first adventurous crew of Nautilus alumni would set sail on the first delivery from Croatia to Milazzo Sicily.

Never Say Never, was actually in great shape, but Nautilus Sailing offers premium live aboard sailing courses, and so we wanted a catamaran that was truly exceptional. It was a CRAZY busy week aboard the boat, with 12-16 hour days working on projects and LOTS of folks coming and going. One thing we have to say, is that the marine services in Croatia are exceptional, and we have always been thrilled at the excellent work that everyone does. Here’s a taste of what we had done on Never Say Never during the initial week.

Haulout

The first order of business was to haul the catamaran out, patch some scratches on the port keep, install a thru hull for the new watermaker, and do a service on the sail drives. When the boat was out of the water the Yanmar mechanic noticed that the props were showing signs of wear, and so the seller installed new props without even us asking. We wish all buyers were like this!

Electronics

As the boat was in the yard, and then back at the dock, a local electronics team led by Jure (who was fantastic!) worked diligently to install the new B and G 4G radar on the mast and run the cables for it. They also installed a new 12 inch, Zeuss 3 touchscreen B and G chartplotter, and AIS unit. In recent years we have fallen in love with the B and G chart plotters and their excellent interface, great display, and user friendly features.

Watermaker

We get tired of hauling 5 liter jugs of water to the boat wherever we go! So we installed a 20GPH watermaker. This installation proved more challenging than envisioned, and we still don’t have it quite how we like. Currently the stock water pump motor heats up significantly, and we are looking into buying a more efficient unit with less heat output. At the same time we installed a water filtration system at the kitchen sink, so that we can drink the water produced by our watermaker and put into our fresh water tanks.

Sails

The original sails from Lagoon were just over 4 years old and were showing signs of wear and tear. For our long journey, we knew we needed some new sails. The North Sails dealer in Croatia was a huge help and helped us order a new mainsail, new jib, and the sail that we are SUPER excited about, a G1 Gennaker. This downwind sail, mounted on a top down furler and flown off the bowsprit, is great in true wind angles from about 80 degrees down to 150. We can’t wait to use her in the lighter winds in the med, and then on longer crossings. If you talk to most cruisers, they say that a significant portion of your sails (if you follow traditional cruising routes) will be on a broad reach. This sail is perfect for broad reaches!

Bow Sprit and Top Down Furler

We worked with the local Selden dealer in Croatia, to get a new bowsprit installed, blocks to fly the new gennaker, and get the new top down furler ready to go. After lots of research on top down furlers, we decided the Selden system seemed the best from everything we heard. This took a couple of days, but the guys did a great job getting things ready!

New Batteries

The battery banks on charter boats often take a beating, so top of the refit list was putting a new house battery bank in. Fortunately, Captain Ben has degrees and a background in electrical engineering and decided a lithium battery bank should be a priority. Lithium represents a bigger initial outlay, but in the long run has huge advantages. The batteries themselves last for almost twice as many cycles as AGM batteries, and have a deeper discharge rate. So we went with 4 new Victron Lithium batteries, each with a whopping 230ah. We also had to get a special charger and have everything hooked up properly. Note: When we get to Alicante we are having 4 solar panels installed and two high output alternators to help charge these batteries.

Monitoring System

To keep track of the battery bank, and charging system output we installed the amazing Pico battery monitoring system. This system is great, and we can easily add to and install additional shunts in the future to monitor fresh water tank levels, diesel levels, etc… You can either monitor from the digital screen at the nav station, or use their app on your smartphone to monitor everything 🙂

Liferaft

In Croatian coastal waters, life rafts are not required. However, with the big passage ahead of us, we knew we wanted a serious life raft. The best life rafts are SOLAS approved, and so we found a great 8 person life raft in a hard canister. Of course the space for the life raft that Lagoon builds into the 400S2 is far too small for any offshore life raft, so we had to have a custom stainless steel frame built to house it.

Other

There were SOOO many other small projects to do! These included changing half of the running rigging aboard, installing new rope clutches, installing a new Iridium GO antenna and wiring, putting new 20HP outboard on the dinghy, getting new bedding for all cabins, unpacking all the new kitchen equipment ordered from a chandlery in Germany, and supervising full engine servicing on both engines…

After an insanely busy week, it always comes down to the very end. Even up until the last minute, as Captain Ben caught a flight home, Captain Tim Jenne was running around making final purchases and making sure everything was set for his crew’s arrival. What a week! Ben and Tim didn’t get much time to enjoy Trogir, but wow, is Never Say Never going to be one AMAZING catamaran! Thanks to everyone who worked so incredible hard to get her ready for the long sailing adventure ahead…

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